Abraham and Us
Over the next 10 Sunday mornings we will be learning about Abraham. How are we supposed to read this ancient history, and how does it relate to us today? Fortunately, God tells us in the New Testament, in Galatians -
“Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” Galatians 3.7-9
God says there are four points of connection:
1. We’re in the same family as Abraham
“Those who believe are children of Abraham”
(verse 7). Perhaps you grew up with that old kids' song “Father Abraham had many sons.” We’re not likely to bring that one back! But here is where that came from. Although Abraham is the forefather of the Jewish nation – his true children are related to him not by blood, but by faith. So as we work through Genesis 11 to 22 we’re actually reading our family history. These are our stories, our heritage, our roots.
2. We have the same gospel as Abraham
God “announced the gospel in advance to Abraham”
(verse 8). Now the gospel usually means the good news about Jesus. Here we are two thousand years before Jesus – and the claim is that God’s same truths are there. Trewsbury Mead is a tiny little spring – in Cirencester. But as you follow along it widens to become the Isis in Oxford and then the river Thames through to London. The Bible is a little like that. Abraham is right back near the source as he hears about the gospel. But that plan of God deepens and widens until it’s a great gushing source of life for the world by the time we get to Jesus. (Although that’s where the illustration of the sometimes rather filthy Thames breaks down!)
3. We receive the same blessings as Abraham.
“Those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.”
On Sunday we’ll explore how God promises Abraham a people, a place, protection, a purpose and his presence. You might pause and think as you read this blog, how does Jesus give Christians each of these blessing? Can you think of a New Testament promise for each?
4. We have the same God
It’s just easy to forget that because Genesis is so strange. There’s circumcision, tribal wars, angels coming for dinner and cities being destroyed with sulphur. And yet reading of how God loves and speaks and gives grace to Abraham is greatly reassuring. Because it’s so clear - God hasn’t changed. If 4000 years ago he’s the same, we can trust that in 5, 10, 50 years ahead in our lives he’ll still be the same.