Do not fear, Abram,
I am a shield to you;
Your reward shall be very great.
God to Abram
You probably still know the song by heart.
Father Abraham had many sons. Many sons had Father Abraham. I am one of them, and so are you. So let’s just praise the Lord.
Most of us remember singing that little song in Sunday school or VBS, probably comprehending neither who Abraham was nor why he was our “father.”
Let’s just praise the Lord.
That, at least, was something our kiddie minds could get behind.
It turns out Abraham was well-qualified to represent the generations of believers who follow in his footsteps –stumbling, fumbling, questioning, falling, rising, lurching forward every step of the way across the deserts of life toward the only One who could quench the soul’s hunger.
A man of significant contrasts, Abraham swung like a pendulum between great courage and conniving cowardice. A man of integrity, he nevertheless fudged the truth and accepted a different spin on it when it suited him. So very, very human, he was.
How did he ever obtain such favor with God? We read the answer in the first verse of the great faith chapter of Hebrews 11:
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval.
The rest of the chapter remembers his faith walk, not his failures, for posterity, clothed in a righteousness graced through his faith in God and His Word. This he neither earned by being good nor lost by sinning.
To be sure, he hurt himself and others when he fell.
He was not identified by his failures, however, but by his determination to believe in a good heavenly Father despite every disappointment and sorrow. He reached for a holy city beyond the senses. He yearned to get it right. God saw his heart and counted him a child of the King.
Just like us, swinging between courage and cowardice in a desperate age. Hungry for God. Needing grace.