Friday, 20 July 2012

I am the God of the past and of the future

Genesis 15 contains one of the most important verses in the Bible. God has undertaken to be both Abraham's shield and his exceedingly great reward but Abraham has a question; But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Gen 15:2 NKJV. His safety and provision have no point if he has no descendant. His chief household steward stands to inherit if Abraham has no blood line. God's answer is a breathtaking glimpse of the starry heavens and a breathtaking promise.

This is the context for one of the most important verses of the Bible; And he believed in Jehovah. And he reckoned it to him for righteousness. Gen 15:6 ASV. This event becomes the template for saving faith. He rests his cause in God alone and the record declares that as a consequence God 'reckoned it to him for righteousness'. Abraham's acceptance with God was not to be based on his own achievement but upon God's free grace. This is a thrilling moment in Bible history but I want to concentrate on the revelation that follows.

We have said that these personal introductions or self-revelations of God are vital links to the way in which God wants us to 'see' him. In the moment we call 'now' Abraham is probably elated by his victory but subdued by his childlessness. He looks into the skies and sees myriads of stars, he looks into his own moment of 'now' and sees empty hands; I am childless. This is the exact moment, the perfect context in which God will reveal more of who he is to Abraham. In such moments God chooses to reveal himself to Abraham not only as the possessor of heaven and earth but as the Lord of history. Jehovah holds all things in his hands and he holds time too.

And he said unto him, I am Jehovah that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. Gen 15:7 ASV. When we are mid-process it is all too easy to be lost in the momentary detail. God's revelation of who he is declares that both the past and the future are in God's control. In fact, there is something of a guarantee in the past that stretches into the future. God is reminding Abraham of his own past; I am Jehovah that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees. The reason you have come to this moment in time Abraham, is that I did something in your past. I brought you out. You walked on your own feet but the truth is 'I brought you out'.

And my purpose in bringing you out was to take you in, to give this land to you as your inheritance. I am Jehovah that brought thee out … to give thee this land to inherit it. Gen 15:7 ASV. God never runs out of resources. He has counted the cost, he knows he can complete what he has begun. There is a painful cry in the prophecy of Habakkuk; O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years! Hab 3:2 NKJV. Sometimes we need a special revelation 'in the midst of the years'. God is the God of beginnings and completions, he is also the God of the middle years, that time of life that we call 'now'.

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