Last fall we began an exploration of the Book of Genesis. In “The Story of the World: Rise and Fall” we made our way through chapters 1 to 11. After finishing those chapters, a reader may conclude that humankind left on its own is doomed for failure and self-destruction. Perhaps God’s purposes for humankind — to bear His image in the world — will go unrealized.
As we read on, however, we discover that humanity’s failure is just the end of the beginning of God’s larger plan. The judgement of the great flood and the great city were ways to point humankind in a different direction. To bring them to the end of themselves and prepare them for a different way of life — one in which humankind can flourish.
Enter “The Story of the World: The Way Forward.”
Last Sunday we began this new series on Abraham and the life of faith covering Genesis chapters 12-22. The first message, which you can find linked below, is titled “The Call of Abraham.”
In the call of Abraham we’re introduced to God’s promise — a central theme in all the Bible. To this old and childless couple God offers a new way of life. Not one built on human potential, but on the promise and power of God.
The purpose of this call is to fashion an alternative community within a creation that has gone wrong. In Abraham’s trust for a child we find the call of faith for people of all times. We make our way forward by learning what it means to rely on God in the face of our own inadequacy and a world closed to promise.
What the world has thought impossible is possible by the power of God. This is the meaning of the ancient story of Abraham and our present challenge in a world struggling with hope.
Our world today seems to be having its own early Genesis moment. In many ways, over the past year, our society has come to the end of itself. The pandemic has served to shine a light on our divisions and our limitations to solve the greatest problems of our time. Left to our own, we, too, seem doomed to fail.
The good news is we are not alone, nor are we made to do life on our own. We have been called — invited — to go forward with God. This new way is what the Bible calls the way of faith. It’s not easy or something we master overnight, but it is a way we can choose to live.
It takes Abraham — the model for all who desire to live this new way — many years to learn what it means to live by faith. From his call to leave his father’s homeland to the finding of a wife for his promised son, Isaac, 65 years transpire. Over this time he undergoes 11 trials matched by 10 unique encounters with God. His life is recorded here to help us learn better how to find our way forward.
I hope you will join me and others on this journey and begin to take greater steps in living by faith today.
“He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.” (Romans 4:17)
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