Today’s Reading: Genesis 12,13
* God told Abram to leave Haran and go to Canaan… and Abram obeyed.
* Abram told a selfish lie that caused misery and got him kicked out of Egypt.
Two disparate actions by the same man. At one point he is obedient and God-centered. At another point, he is faithless and self-centered.
And yet, this is the same man that God chooses to bless within the same passages that contain both incidents.
If there is a Hallmark of Humanity, it is inconsistency. We are all over the place. Comforting, then it is, that there is a Constant in this Universe. Yahweh, LORD, Jehovah, God. He set Abram apart and marked him as faithful and righteous. God knew Abram would have his moments of disobedience, but His promises to Abram remained constant and consistent… even in the midst of Abe’s Dishonesty.
As Christian believers, we too are set apart. Also like Abram, we are also quite human. We are more fortunate than Abram, in that we have the Holy Spirit… God not only speaks to us, but also actually lives in us.
The stories of the Patriarchs are full of less than flattering incidents in their lives, placed right next to sincere portraits of their faithfulness. They, like us, were imperfect human beings. We fail and we fall… and then God picks us up again. Though we stray, He remains faithful in His promises.
Don’t beat yourself up when you have failed. But at the same time, don’t become comfortable in your failure. That’s the balance of Christian living. Wallowing in paralyzing guilt over our shortcomings is one of the most selfish things we can do. It is as wrong a path as is the unrepentant life.
Now, all this is not to say that because we share in Abram’s (soon to Abraham’s) imperfection, that we too are each worthy of some special blessing. We sometimes fail, like Abram sometimes did. But we are not Abram. We are neither Adam, nor Eve, nor Noah, nor Jacob, nor David, nor Esther, nor any of the men or women who are part of God’s Story throughout Scripture. We each have our own part to play in the Grand Narrative, but the blessings and hardships our forebears experienced were unique to them and their calling.
I was reminded of this on Sunday, and believe it bears pointing out and repeating.
I know I am sounding like a broken record (and basically just hopping on the bandwagon of the latest ‘hip’ way to understand the Bible)… BUT, the Grand Narrative interpretation of Scripture allows us to watch as God moves through history. He gives us object lessons through the lives of every character we encounter. That these people were real and actually experienced these things is understood. But, God, as the Master Painter, has provided us a deeply leveled portrait of His love, mercy, and righteousness.
Approaching things with this mindset allows us to understand these events within the specific context of the lives of these men and women… while at the same time opening to us the Big Picture view of teachable and applicable moments (to be used by the Holy Spirit as we need them).
I hope that made some kind of sense. I haven’t quite convinced myself that it did. Ah well… that won’t stop me from posting it.