Remember, advent means coming and in my advent series I’m going back through Old Testament Scriptures and examining them in the light of Christ. I love to look at how the Old Testament of the Bible points toward the coming of Christ, not just directly through prophecies, but also through typology. Really the entire Old Testament is a shadow or type of what’s to come in Christ. If you haven’t yet read my posts on the proto-evangelium or Noah and the flood, they’re a good place to start. Today’s post focuses on Abraham, our father of faith.
The Lord said to Abraham, “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
First, notice how God calls or chooses Abraham and not the other way around. God chose Abraham, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). God asks him to leave behind his country, his family, and his home, in order to follow the Lord to a new land that God will show him. This reminds me of the way Christ calls His disciples and also of how Paul describes counting all things that were gain to him as loss that he may gain Christ (Philippians 3:7-11).
Second, notice Abraham’s response to God’s call. Immediately after God told him to leave, Abraham “departed as the Lord had spoken to him.” (Genesis 12:4) So, he responded in obedience. Hebrews tells us that Abraham obeyed by faith (11:8). Remember that Abraham was 75 years old when God promised to make him into a great nation, childless, and Sara was not only old, but barren. When Abraham questioned God about this the Lord said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them. So shall your descendants be.” (Genesis 15:5) And Abraham believed the Lord, and the Lord accounted it to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). So his response to God was belief and God saved him by his faith just as we are saved today by faith. Abraham proved his faith to be genuine by obeying and following the Lord.
Finally, I want to focus on this great nation that God has promised to Abraham. When Abraham gets to Canaan, the Lord appears to him and says, “To your descendants I will give this land.” Certainly Joshua would someday lead the Israelites into Canaan and under David the Israelites would unite into a strong nation, but is that all God has in mind here? He explains a little more in Genesis 17:8, “Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” An everlasting possession? Hmmm. The book of Hebrews sheds a little more light on this inheritance. “By faith Abraham dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Hebrews 11:9) The city whose builder and maker is God. Then the clincher and here’s where we expectantly join with them in waiting. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:13-16) As Christian puts it in Pilgrim’s Progress, “There is an endless kingdom to be inhabited, and everlasting life to be given us, that we may inhabit that kingdom forever.” Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:2-3) Is this starting to sound more like the everlasting possession God promised Abraham? And again this brings us back to expectantly waiting for Christ to come again, but until then we, like the patriarchs are strangers and foreigners on earth. This world is not our home, so this Christmas season let’s try to keep an eternal perspective and focus on our homecoming which will coincide with Christ’s second advent.
- I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.