Abraham and Sarah’s Wilderness Walk
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God told Abram: “Leave your country, your family, and your father’s home for a land that I will show you. [Please listen to that intentional phrasing: pack, leave and THEN I will show]
2-3 I’ll make you a great nation
and bless you.
I’ll make you famous;
you’ll be a blessing.
I’ll bless those who bless you;
those who curse you I’ll curse.
All the families of the Earth
will be blessed through you.”
4-6 So Abram left just as God said, and Lot left with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran….and set out for the land of Canaan and arrived safe and sound.
At that time the Canaanites occupied the land.
7 God appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your children.” Abram built an altar at the place God had appeared to him…but that’s not it for this old fella –
8 He moved (again) to the hill country east of Bethel….and again, he built an altar there and prayed to God.
Abram and Saraih, stepped faithfully into the wilderness with a sense of knowing that God would continue to inspire and grow them into God’s desired fullness, not only bringing about name change, but to blossoming out of ordinary nomads to spiritual giants of Faith.
Hundreds and hundreds of years later Abraham and Sarah’s legacy of faith inspired those first Disciples of Jesus, to embolden their “faithing.” In Romans, as written by the Apostle Paul: -3 So how do we fit what we know of Abraham, our first father in the faith, into this new way of looking at things? If Abraham, by what he did for God, got God to approve him, he could certainly have taken credit for it. But the story we’re given is a God-story, not an Abraham-story. What we read in Scripture is, “Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own.”
4-5 If you’re a hard worker and do a good job, you deserve your pay; we don’t call your wages a gift. But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it—you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked—well, that trusting-him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift.
13-15 That famous promise God gave Abraham—that he and his children would possess the earth—was not given because of something Abraham did or would do. It was based on God’s decision to put everything together for him, which Abraham then entered when he believed.
16 This is why the fulfillment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God and his way, and then simply embracing him and what he does. God’s promise arrives as pure gift. That’s the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it, those who keep the religious traditions and those who have never heard of them. For Abraham is father of us all. He is not our racial father—that’s reading the story backward. He is our faith father.
17-18 We call Abraham “father” not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody.