Standing on the shoulders of Heroes!
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Heroes are folks we admire.
They have lives that are worth considering more closely~
Qualities we want to emulate!
In truth, heroes show us what is possible.
They give us hope.
The Old Testament has some heroes whose lives scream loudly from the pages we oft find difficult to decipher. In the next few weeks, I should like to highlight some people, passages and prophecies that inform our thinking and faith, and point to the Grace-filled One, Jesus.
In the book of Genesis alone, we find heroes upon whose shoulders we can stand.
What impresses me most is their great trust in God.
If God said it, if God directed them, they moved.
Why? They had deep trust in God.
'Noah, I'm going to put an end to all living creatures; I want you to build an ark -- here's exactly how you are to do it.' Genesis 6.11-22.
Key verse: Noah did everything just as God commanded him.
Did it make sense to Noah that there would be so much rain that everything and everyone would be destroyed in a flood? Probably not, because he had never seen anything like it. Noah likely took some serious criticism from passers-by... 'what in the world is the guy doing?' Did not matter - God said, 'do this' and he did it. He did not question God, he just went into action.
'Abram, time for you to leave Ur. Pack up and I will lead you to a new place.' This call is to the Father of the chosen people, leading him to the Promised Land. "Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father's family, and go to the landthat I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you." Genesis 12.1-3
Look at Abram's response: So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed. (the guy was 75!) Maybe it did not make sense to Abram's father or his neighbors, especially when he said, 'not sure where we're going just yet, but God will tell us.' Can you imagine? God would later change his name to Abraham, Genesis 17.
->Note to self: when directed of God, just do it.
Why would Abram just pack up and leave his father's family and everything that was familiar, everything he had ever known? Like Noah, Abram had a deep trust in God, and courageously responded in faith. Period.
Friends, from our vantage point in history, we have the benefit of the written Word of God - of seeing God's plans, people and purposes for our lives-from Old Testament to the life of Jesus, the spread of the Gospel and the forming of the Church. Abram had no written word of any kind; he had grown up worshipping idols and the Moon. He definitely did not grow up in Sunday School - 'know what I'm saying?
O, that you and I would have such a great faith in God - that it would be the strongest influence in our lives. It's possible, you know. But it seems in today's world, it is a learning curve, and we must be diligent in growing that faith and exercising it. God extended to Abraham the same invitation he extends to us--trust me with all your heart--and Abraham said yes-even though he had no idea where his yes would lead. He left the expected and stepped into the unexpected. He knew God would be with him. Abraham knew that God would guide him, protect him, and provide for him; he refused to be shaken.1
And it happened as God said it would; God proved worthy of the deep trust Abram had placed in him. When God declares something, it will come to pass, but God is not on our time schedule.
Indeed it was 25 more years before Sarah conceived Isaac; thus, at 90 years of age, Sarah gave birth to Isaac, when Abraham was 100 years old. Astounding. All the families on earth will be blessed through you. And of course, they have been, as Jesus was born from the ancestral line of Abraham.
James writes, "and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God's friend."2
So much to learn, so much to glean from Noah's deep faith and obedience.
So much to learn and apply from the great faith of Abraham, friend of God, my hero.
1 - Unexpected, Christine Caine, 2018.
2 - Genesis 15.6; James 2.23