Saturday, September 12, 2020

Abram and the Restoration

I titled this section ‘Redemption’ but ‘Restoration’ is probably closer to the truth. With Abram, God’s plan to restore humanity (and all of creation, for that matter-we’ll get to that) begins in earnest. Or maybe in obviousness. Here is the text:

Genesis 12:1-4

GOD told Abram: "Leave your country, your family, and your father's home for a land that I will show you.

I'll make you a great nation

and bless you.

I'll make you famous;

you'll be a blessing.

I'll bless those who bless you;

those who curse you I'll curse.

All the families of the Earth

will be blessed through you."

So Abram left just as GOD said, and Lot left with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. (The Message)

Abram, by making a new beginning, will be a blessing-no, not a blessing, the blessing, to all the families of the earth. By accepting God’s call, Abram enables us to recover our vocation to bear God’s image and reflect God’s nature. That’s the blessing, made possible because one man believed God. What our first parents rejected (or surrendered) through unbelief, Abram recovers through belief. 

You know the story so I won’t go into too much detail. God promises Abram’s barren wife a son (an unconditional, unilateral promise, by the way) through whom Abram will have more descendants than the stars in the sky. This son-Isaac-has twins, Esau and Jacob. Jacob has twelve sons who will become the twelve tribes of Israel. Joseph, one of Jacob’s sons, ends up a slave in Egypt, goes to jail for something he did not do and eventually becomes the second most powerful man in the country. Only Pharaoh will have more power, more authority. Because of a famine throughout the land Joseph’s father and brothers arrive. Pharaoh declares “...a reunion! Egypt welcomes them. Settle your father and brothers on the choicest land—yes, give them Goshen” (Genesis 47:5-6; The Message). And so “Israel settled down in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property and flourished. They became a large company of people.” (Genesis 47:27; The Message). For nearly five hundred years Jacob’s family grows. And grows. And grows some more. 

Eventually “A new king came to power in Egypt who didn't know Joseph. He spoke to his people in alarm, "There are way too many of these Israelites for us to handle. We've got to do something: Let's devise a plan to contain them, lest if there's a war they should join our enemies, or just walk off and leave us." (Exodus 1:8-10; The Message). Which leads us directly to Passover, and the Exodus. 

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