I am in the early stages of teaching through Genesis and one of the things that is really hitting home is the pairing of tension in Abraham’s life balanced with God’s promises. We read in 11:30 that Sarah is barren but we read in 12:2-3 that Abraham will be the father of many nations. He goes to the promised land like God told him to in Genesis 12:7 and arrives their safely but a famine drives him to Egypt…not the land God promised. So he has to leave the P.L. He goes to Egypt and ends up fearing for his life because Sarah is beautiful and he fears they will kill him. In the meantime the Egyptians greatly bless Abraham (12:16) with great possessions. He gets to go home but when he gets there he has problems with Lot so they separate. He then has to come and rescue Lot and runs into Melchizedek who blesses him and makes his name great, just like God promised would happen (Gen 14:18-21). On and on it goes…trouble and tension keep brewing and God’s promises keep shining right through and things keep working out.
Life really is like that if you know how to look for it. Abraham’s life is such a healthy reminder that God’s promises aren’t always answered in a nice, neat fashion. God wants us to have faith and often faith is best seen and grown through trouble and seeming challenges to God’s promises. The question is whether or not we will continue to believe what God has promised even when it seems impossible from a worldly point of view. 2 Corinthians 4:14-18 says,
“14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
That first verse implies we are going to die. If you are going to be raised you must first be lowered. But God is graceful in giving us new life even though outwardly all the things that are seen are trying to tell us God will not keep His promises we know inwardly what the truth of the matter is. God is faithful and God will bring an eternal glory that will surpass anything we have ever known. So that is what we look for and when we do we will see it, maybe not in an instant but eventually it will shine through just like God did for Abraham.