The way God looked out and protected Abraham in the Old Testament it’s quite eye-catching. I was doing my devotional and the way twice God protected Abraham from someone taking his wife. One time was he faked his wife as his sister because his wife was so beautiful, and the second time is exactly the same situation with Abimelech. And first time God gave Pharaoh a dream so that he will not touch Abraham’s wife. Second time God inflicted the King’s household with sickness so that that the king won’t touch Abraham’s wife and relented and repented.
I’m intrigued and how specific and intentional God protected and guided his called one specifically in Abraham. Abraham is unique. His call is to fulfill a great covenant of God to be the blessing to the whole world. God promised to bless him so that he would be a blessing to the whole world. Abraham is no ordinary folk. God tested him one time too have him offer up his one and only son Isaac while he was only a teenager. And Abraham obeyed diligently consciously immediately the next day early in the morning he brought Isaac up the mountain Moriah to offer up his son Isaac. He had the audacity to put out his knife and almost pierced through the belly of his son Isaac, when the Angel of the Lord stopped him saying “Abraham do no harm your son but I know that you fear God.” And God responded saying, “Because you have done this that you feared God I swear will definitely bless you and make you into a great nation.”
15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring[b] all nations on earth will be blessed,[c] because you have obeyed me.” (Gen 22)
Note the emphasis here, God swore. He didn’t just say. He swore by His Name, because He really wanted to emphasize it and send a message how impressed, how blessed and encouraged He was with Abraham!
Now if you compare all these events, you can clearly see that not everyone it’s called to offer up , sacrifice his very own son. And therefore quite clearly not every everyone who is called by God gets singled out and protected it in a very specific way and intentional way like God did for Abraham. One may wonder why did God do all this for Abraham? The answer is clear, Abraham carries a great mandate, a great covenant in his body. In fact, the promised child for Sarah’s old age at 90 years old or so, was not even born at the time of threat of being taken up by the king to be to be his wife. Therefore the covenant of God will never be broken in any circumstances even in this temporal world. God is all out to protect his called ones.
Now we come to the New Testament, the fascinating story of Jesus is even more intriguing. Jesus was not only called by God, but he actually is God himself and also the son of God. With him being incarnated into the world, to take up the sins of the world and to redeem mankind on the cross is what I call ‘scandalous’ (for what extent God is going out for his people!)at any level but so beautiful and soul glorious showing the love of God. In his growing up even at a young tender age of being a baby, king Herod tried to kill him. And his parents took him and fled for Egypt just like the Old Testament prophesized “I will call my son from Egypt.” Jesus’s life is almost word for word fulfillment of everything written in the Old Testament. God protected him. But at the cross God seemed did not protect him. That is simple to understand. Because that’s precisely what Jesus came to the world to do. I would argue that God protected Jesus so He could endure the sufferings and even apparent rejection of the Father on the cross. To me, God protected and shielded Jesus for a higher purpose than the apparent rejection on the cross. We folks need to learn and see the higher purpose of God than the immediate sufferings and hardship!
But now if you apply all this to our lives, can we see possibly such intentionality or protection and guidance upon our lives as God did to Abraham? As I said before, not everyone has a calling like Abraham. Therefore my first point is this, there is a special hand of God upon those who are called by God to do specific tasks at different period, different times, different people. Now one may argue that Paul had a huge special calling in his life, but he got sent to the jail, he got beaten up and all this seemingly God was very quiet and did not protect him. That’s the hardest part to understand. New Testament seems to be much demanding dispensation of God’s dealings with his chosen ones. But thats how God protected and strengthened Paul to go for that extra mile, the highest calling. Folks, apparent temporal worldly downcast doesn’t not mean a failure on an eternal plane. Thats exactly how God brought His glorious will and plan to pass in Paul’s life. What a mighty apostle who planted more churches, strong churches, and written more epistles, and most powerful theology! I’m talking in the context of being called and chosen by God. Israel was called and chosen by God as a nation. Now the church is being called and chosen by God as the body of Christ. In the epistles we are the chosen people, royal priesthood, to proclaim the excellencies of God. But this is a group calling. This is a group choosing. This is not individual calling. And would God do the same thing as he did to Abraham to the group of we called the church today?
Of course he will. But in a very different way. Sometimes it can be very tangible like what he did to Abraham, sometimes he’s very silent : just like the way how he did with the greatest apostle Paul , this makes us wonder. However we must understand that the suffering produced the best in him. And similarly in the epistles Paul wrote about we rejoice even in our trials and sufferings, because sufferings and trials produce perseverance, produce character and produce glory. So in the context in all this, it’s really a mixed bag. So one could also argue did Abraham experience a mixed bag? I said definitely yes, but in a very different way. For example, Abraham was childless all the way to when he was about 100 years old when he was promised by God decades ago about him being chosen father of many nations. He endured such childlessness. And in those silent years,
Romans 4: 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
That’s a tough time that Abraham had to face. But I would say the hardest time is when God tested him to sacrifice his only child. So looking all in all we could say is GREAT is the faithfulness of God. He will see us through. Those he has chosen he will bring it to completion.
Like the in Philippians says he who started the faith in you will bring you into completion. To God be the glory.
Phil 1 3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
And remember God is ALL out to save you!
With him being incarnated into the world, to take up the sins of the world and to redeem mankind on the cross is what I call ‘scandalous’ (for what extent God is going out for his people!) at any level but so beautiful and soul glorious showing the love of God.