What are the greatest risks you’ve taken this year? Where have you taken a step of faith, unsure of what would follow?
God calls us to things that leave us feeling vulnerable. Why do we feel this way? Because although God knows exactly what He means to do in and through us, from our limited point of view anything could happen. We see only a fraction of what the Lord knows. It has always been this way.
It is the kindness of God to move us to a place where we have no choice but to trust Him. Look at Abram and you will see that God’s call put everything in Abram’s life on the table—his home, his community, his wife, his descendants, his security, and his legacy. On top of all that, God told Abram that the call to follow Him would eventually become a blessing to the nations. So not only would everything in Abram’s own life be affected by following God, so would the entire world.
The call was framed as a covenant—a promise that God would fulfill through Abram’s life. The promise was that God would take a people to Himself and never let them go, and that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through Abram’s line. This call was about so much more than Abram’s future. It was about the coming redemption of the people of God around the globe and down through time—a redemption that would be accomplished by Christ.
John tells us Abram believed God’s blessing to the world would come through one of his descendants who would bring people from every nation into the covenant-keeping love of God, and that Abram took great joy in this hope (John 8:56). But like us, Abram saw through a glass darkly. He looked forward to the fulfillment of a promise without the clarity to see how God would keep it.
We often find ourselves in this position, don’t we? We cannot see how God will care for us, so we are left to trust that He will because we are more precious to Him than the birds of the field that He also cares for (Matthew 6:26).
The redemption for which Abram trusted God came through his descendant, Jesus. Matthew’s Gospel opens by illustrating this point with a genealogy. The rest of Abram’s descendants could only do so much, in terms of keeping the covenant. They could welcome strangers and sojourners into their gates and show them hospitality, but only Jesus could actually facilitate their adoption into His Father’s family, making them full heirs to the Kingdom of God. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:29).
Abram looked forward to God’s redeeming grace, and we, on this side of the cross and the empty tomb, look back. But like Abram, there are times in our lives when God calls us to follow Him into and out of things without showing us the big picture. Seeing how God fulfilled the promise He made to Abram through Christ assures us that even when we cannot make sense of the path He has called us to walk, our Father sees the road with perfect clarity.
The good work God began when He first called Abram to follow Him is a work He will be faithful to complete in us because of Christ, our true and better Patriarch.
written by Russ Ramsey