Legacy and Land. That’s God’s promise to Abraham in the beginning of Chapter 12. It was some promise. Abraham’s legacy is fulfilled in Jesus. We won’t see the promise of land fully fulfilled until God brings forth the new heaven and the new earth. That will be something. It almost seems too good to be true. almost :)
I used to get very confused reading the Old Testament… because the writers of the old testament seem oblivious to the fact that the main characters do stupid things. It took me a while to realize that those people really did do stupid things and it was okay for me to notice.
Abraham is a great example right here in chapter 12. He just made a most extraordinary act of faith by packing up everything he owned (which was quite a lot) and moving the whole crew down to the land God would show him. How’s that for obedience in the face of ambiguity? Wow. But then Abraham seemed to forget his God when traveling down to Egypt to escape the famine. He lied to Pharaoh and allowed Sarah, his wife to be taken into Pharaoh’s house as his wife! What? It just doesn’t make sense. How could the great Patriarch of the Faith do something that stupid? I’ll tell you how… he’s human.
It’s actually refreshing. I can identify with Abraham… at least his stupid parts ;)
We learn more about Abraham in the following chapters. First, i noticed how rich Abraham was. He and his nephew, Lot, had so much livestock and herdsmen that the land could not support both of them and they had to separate. Later, Lot got captured by a foreign king and we read of Abraham’s war effort to save Lot and all of the people (Gen 14:14-16). The language is heroic. It sounds like a scene from Braveheart!
But as Abraham was returning home from battle, he met a mysterious King. He was called priest of God most High (vs. 14:18). Abraham instantly recognized him as one with authority as he bowed and offered the King a tenth of all the spoils. The writer of Hebrews identified this King as a forerunner of Christ (Heb 7). This King, named Melchizedek, challenges my “Braveheart” image as he reminds me that Abraham only found success in battle because of God. Melchizedek said to Abraham,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
and blessed be God Most High,
who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”
God gets the glory for Abraham’s victory. God gets the glory when He rescues Abraham from stupid choices. God gets the glory for Abraham’s great faith. I wonder how God gets the glory in my life??