A few years ago we studied the Synoptic Gospels in our “Come and See” series – that’s Matthew, Mark and Luke. It may have been at that time that I read through the genealogy of Jesus in Chapter 1 of Matthew. I wasn’t too interested with the names of all of Jesus’ ancestors then and read them quickly, wanting to get to what I considered, “the good stuff”. Little did I know then how much “good stuff” was in that list of names.
While studying this first lesson of Matthew and re-reading the list of ancestors, slowly this time, I recognized quite a few of the names – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Judah, Boaz and Ruth (one of my favorites), and of course, David, all the way to St. Joseph, the husband of Mary. But the name Abraham kept drawing my attention, as though there was something special to think about with him.
So I turned back to the book of Genesis – Chapter 12, which we studied last year, and I read about God’s call to Abraham: “Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing… – and, finally, what seemed a most unusual promise – – and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
I didn’t remember seeing or reading those words in quite the same way before. God didn’t offer Abraham great riches for himself or a comfortable, long life or any of the things we might consider important today – God promised that all of the families of the earth will be blessed through Abraham.
At 75 years of age, Abraham answered God’s call and left all that he had known – his extended family, his friends and the life which he had made for himself – to go to the land God would show him. Abraham had no maps to show him the way, no cell phone or internet service to stay connected to his old life, no new job or home waiting for him when he arrived in that new place God would be providing. Abraham took this incredible risk for the promise of blessing to himself and to others – to all the families of the earth, including our own.
I thought about myself and the life I am leading, – am I following the Lord’s will for me? If not, what is holding me back from doing what God is calling me to do? Fear? Uncertainty? Pride? Willfulness – probably, but maybe all of them?
Like Abraham, I have God’s promise that following His will for me will bring blessing to me and all those I love and to those who come after me. And even more wonderful than that promise, taking the risk to follow in the steps of His Son Jesus, who has already blazed the trail, will lead to an eternal life of unimaginable joy with our awesome God. Why would I or anyone else say “no” to such a promise?
Heavenly Father, through the ages you have been our faithful companion, our help and our constant guide. We come before you this day to praise You and thank You for all the blessings You have bestowed on us through your servant, Abraham. We ask you to point out the way you want each of us to walk and ask that You assist us on our way. Give us the courage, strength and will to follow You. Gracious Lord, our lives are often difficult, and there are so many needs, not only for ourselves but for all our fellow pilgrims. We ask that You hear the prayers of your children gathered here this morning and answer us.