Saturday, January 23, 2010

God, Grace, and Faith

God made a promise to Abraham. Then, Abraham moved his family around. He offered his wife to rulers for as a concubine. He slept with his wife’s servant. He generously shared property and wealth with his nephew. He acquired enormous wealth. He routed tribes in short wars. He participated in bloody sacrificial rituals. He bargained with God. He nearly killed his own son. He gave a tithe to a mysterious, to me, priest, Melchezidek.

Abraham heard the voice of God and moved in the direction God asked of him. Abraham, sensitive to a number of divine directives, was deemed as right before God not for the sum of his deeds, but for his faith.

God’s promises to him seemed improbable if not impossible, and he certainly did not see in his life the totality of their fulfillment. The part he did see—the birth and life of Isaac—had to produce an increase of faith. I wonder how he processed all this in the middle of the night when he woke up and thought about Sarah, Isaac, Hagar, Ishmael, and the promise?

The fact that he was father two sons from whom came great nations fascinates me. The father of Islam; the father of the Israel; and we who are Christians are adopted as his offspring.

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