Galatians 3:7 (NIV)- Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.
There was a time in my life when I found it difficult to associate myself with Abraham, the patriarch of the 3 great monotheistic Faiths of the world. My temporary disassociation with Abraham was due to two factors:
- Our history of violence.
- Our current struggles within our places of worship.
Who can rationally deny the fact of our violent history? The Israelite invasion of the Promised Land can be classified as a form of divinely-ordained genocide against the Canaanites. (Deuteronomy 20:16-18) It can be effectively argued that the First Crusade (1096 A.D.) was a necessary, self-defense measure against Islamic incursions. But many of the Crusades that followed can be interpreted as bellicose acts of aggression for the sake of greed. And then of course Islam, which at first sprouted from the Arabian desert as a form of peaceful monotheism, but because of persecution, it morphed into what some consider today to be a “religion of war.”
In spite of our bad rap, one of our common distinctives is the fact that we greet one another by proclaiming peace according to our own respective traditions. One could say that the reason why we greet each other with the word “peace,” is because we are re-affirming the end goal of our religions- PEACE!
Abraham is more than just the black and white of our Bibles. Abraham was a man that was taught through the process of life, that true peace can only be found when we seek to trust The God Most High in every circumstance.
When we read the Bible, we see that Abraham’s life-journey is oftentimes complex and troubled, filled with mistakes and disappointments. But when we take a closer look at the Biblical narrative, we recognize that the external challenges of Abraham were God’s way of forging the type of person that God desires to have fellowship with.
Through Abraham’s life, we learn that what God desires most from His servants is simple, unadulterated TRUST in His leadership and supreme control over all.
The toughest trial of Abraham was when God asked him to sacrifice his only son Isaac upon Mount Moriah. (Genesis 22:1-14) Without objection to His Master, Abraham took two of his servants, plenty of wood and his son, and went towards the place that had God told him. When they arrived, Abraham said the following to his servants:
“Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
Had God sent him to sacrifice his son? Yes, but Abraham knew that God ALWAYS keeps His promises. Through Abraham’s trials, God re-affirmed his promise that through his offspring all the nations of earth would be blessed. Although God was asking old Abraham to do the unthinkable…he somehow knew that El-Shaddai (God Almighty) had something greater to reveal to Him regarding the future. So he trusted and obeyed…
Without knowing, Abraham and Isaac climbed up to the plot of land that King David would buy from Arauna the Jebusite (2 Samuel 24:24) and where eventually Solomon’s Temple would be built (2 Chronicles 3:1).
But God wanted to show Abraham more than that… When he raised his knife in order to kill his son (Genesis 22:10-12), God stopped him and rewarded his faithfulness with an even greater vision of God’s transcendent plan of redemption for all of mankind. Genesis 22:13-14 (NIV) says:
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place “The LORD Will Provide.”
Across from the Temple Mount there is a place known as Golgotha or Calvary where the Romans used to crucify the sons of Israel. It is believed that the Ram that God provided was caught by its horns on the same spot where a few thousand years after, the Son of God would be crucified for our sins.
This is why Lord Jesus once said: “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56)
What makes a child of Abraham?
Simple, unadulterated and consistent FAITH in the promises of God and in His provision. When we run to and fro trying to gain God’s approval, we utterly fail. But when we simply TRUST God and in His provision; our hearts are set free from the burden of unbelief, and we find the rest and peace that all of humankind is seeking after.
Hebrews 11:6- And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
The “peace” that the Abrahamic Faiths (and the whole world) are yearning for can only be found when we place our full trust in the provision of God in all things, and especially, in the person, purpose and cross of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
Whoever trusts in God’s promises and provision is a “child of Abraham.”