Scripture text for Tuesday, January 12, 2010: Genesis 15:1-15:21
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“Abraham believed God” (v. 6). I remember as a graduate student, I once had a heated, mutli-episode debate with one of my professors about Christianity which he had referred to in class as a “leap of faith.” I quizzed him on what he meant by that and I challenged what I sensed he meant which was, in effect, an irrational choice to believe in God.
While we may wish to argue for the reasonableness of Christian faith, at the same time we cannot ignore what Abraham’s belief and our own belief is, a choice and commitment to a God we cannot see or prove. In addition, such belief must exist in the midst of a pain-filled world and our own, at times, pain-filled lives. Walter Breuggemann puts this well in noting that Abraham’s faith and belief arose out of the barrenness that he and Sarah had experienced. In this chapter, he and Sarah are old and in v. 2 and 3 we read of how Abraham had already fully resolved in his mind that he would have no heirs and now this? I believe this mirrors our own struggles in believing even as we experience trials, disappointments, pain, and suffering in our lives. As Brueggemann writes: “Why and how does one continue to trust solely in the promise when the evidence against the promise is all around? It is this scandal that is faced here. It is Abraham’s embrace of this scandal that makes him the father of faith.”
And “God credited it to him as righteousness” (v. 6). A reminder that our righteousness is granted, not earned. How might we today demonstrate anew this same faith and trust, even in the midst of difficult circumstances or trials? It is a repeatedly tall order. Abraham establishes the paradigm in this chapter, we must go and do likewise.
Devotion prepared by Dave Timmerman