History of Redemption: Blog Post 8
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. Abraham became the father of Isaac. The sons of Isaac were Esau and Israel.” - Genesis 12:1-3 ESV; Genesis 15:5-6 ESV; 1 Chronicles 1:34 NASB As I read about God’s promises to Abraham, I cannot help but see this as a foreshadowing of God’s adoption of us as His sons and daughters. Abraham had not done anything that merited God’s favor, yet God chose Abraham, and invited Him into His family, promising Abraham the blessings that only the Father could bestow on His son. Abraham was adopted by God. I am writing this from a guesthouse in the hills of Addis Ababa. In three hours, I will stand before a judge in the Ethiopian courts, who will decide whether or not I may legally adopt the little girl that I believe God has chosen for our family. I have only known her for three days now, and already my heart is bursting with love for her. If, by God’s grace, I am allowed to soon call her my daughter, she will no longer be a fatherless orphan. She will be my daughter, who I love. She will have every legal right as my own child, and more importantly, she will be loved more dearly than she can probably ever imagine. While I am willing to sacrifice my time and my money and my comfort to adopt this little girl, Jesus Christ was willing to give up His life on a cross, that we may be not only reconciled to God, but that we may be adopted as His sons and daughters. I know that the love I have for this little girl is only a dim reflection of the magnificent and awesome love that God has for us. Our relationship with God is not just one of Creator and created, or of even Judge and justified, but it is one of Father and child. We get to live in light of the fact that we who believe, have been adopted into God’s family, and we are truly and forevermore, loved by Him.
I love how God’s word in the New Testament gives new color and life to the words and stories of the Old Testament. As I read about these promises made to Abraham, God directs me to the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Truly, Abraham’s outer self was wasting away. He was old and he was childless. His wife was barren. Yet that light momentary affliction was preparing for him an eternal weight of glory, and Abraham trusted God’s promise of this glory. Abraham was not a perfect man. He was sinful, just as I am. Yet he trusted God, looking to what was unseen, and God counted him righteous because of his faith alone. What was this unseen thing that Abraham looked to? Again, we find an answer in the New Testament. Jesus told the Jews who were attacking Him, “Your father, Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad” (John 8:56). Abraham was looking toward the salvation that would come through Jesus Christ!
As we continue to read the Old Testament, we will see that this chosen people, the nation of Israel, did not walk with the Lord, but continued to turn their back on Him, to run away from Him, to dishonor Him. But God is “slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression” (Numbers 14:18). God is so good and so kind. So He sends His Son, Jesus Christ to come into human flesh, to live the perfectly obedient life that the people of Israel turned from. And then He exchanged the blessing that He deserved, for the curse that we deserved, and gave to us this glorious blessing, declaring us righteous before the Holy and Most High God, as well as adopted by our most perfect heavenly Father.
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).