Wednesday, January 24, 2018


One atheist explained why he had abandoned the Christian faith. He had prayed and prayed that God would undo his same-sex attraction. However, after years of waiting, he decided to wait no longer and jumped-ship. This same story is repeated thousands of times and for many different frustrated prayer-requests.

The patriarch Abraham was also ready to abandon hope in the promises of God. Sarah, his wife, had been barren. God promised Abraham a son, but he would first have to leave his family for an alien land. However, after 11 years of waiting, Abraham still hadn’t received the promised child. Therefore, he appointed his servant as his heir. However, God appeared to Abraham in a vision, beckoned him to look at the stars in the sky, and promised him that his offspring would be as numerous, and Abraham believed Him:

·       And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. And he said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” But he said, “O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying…(Genesis 15:6-18)

It was hard for Abraham to believe God after waiting for 11 years for the promised son and heir. He therefore asked God for confirmation, and so God ordered him to get together the necessary ingredients to make a covenant, a guarantee. Abraham, therefore, constructed a path outlined by the carcasses of animal parts between which the pledger would walk, proclaiming, “Let the bloody fate of these animals come upon me if I fail to fulfill the promise of the covenant” (see Jeremiah 34).

God then passed through the middle of these carcasses, making His pledge. Interestingly, what should have been a great and joyous occasion for Abraham became “dreadful.” Besides, God manifested Himself with the symbols of His wrath – “a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch.”

Why wrath? Because God’s promise would have to ultimately be fulfilled through His wrath and judgment falling upon His Son who would be judged for our sins. This is just one of the many Old Testament portraits of Christ and His Cross. This is why Jesus claimed, “Abraham saw my day and was glad” (John 8:56).

Abraham needed patience. He would have to wait for an addition 14 years for the birth of His promised son Isaac. During this time, He again despaired and decided to impregnate a servant woman, Hagar, so that he could have an heir, Ishmael. However, Abraham’s failure of faith only achieved disorder and tension within his family.

Nevertheless, God remained true to His promise to Abraham. After waiting 25 years, Abraham finally received the promised son.

We too must wait. Just because we do not receive what we have asked for within our timeframe, we should not despair. Instead, we too need patience in order to receive the promises of God:

·       For you have need of endurance [“patience”], so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. (Hebrews 10:36)

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