In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Friday, June 25, 2010

It's not about being the "right" age or perfect - It's about God

As I'm studying the life of Abraham during my morning times with God, I'm so encouraged by two things I notice - neither youth nor perfection were required for God to work in Abraham's life and use Abraham in incredible ways.

When I read Genesis 12:1-5 I see that Abraham was 75 years old when God first called Him to this great thing God wanted to do through him. I don't know about you but I find that encouraging. I've been struggling with feeling discouraged because I lost my job and I'm 50 years old and haven't found what I'm supposed to be doing. Because of all the emphasis our culture places on youth, it would be easy for me to figure that I'm past my prime. But God's been graciously and repeatedly showing me that He uses people at every age and stage.

The other thing that really strikes me about God coming to Abraham and choosing Abraham is that Abraham was not some perfect guy; he did not come from a culture that was saturated in following God, and sometimes he acted like a jerk and a coward. Yet Abraham was the man God chose to be the father of a great nation through whom the whole world would be blessed.

Prior to God coming to Abraham, he had lived in Ur and Haran. Anthropologists tell us that the culture in those areas at that time were polytheistic. Nanna, the moon god, was the city of Ur's patron. The scripture is silent concerning Abram and his family's religious practices. Victor Hamilton, in his book entitled The Book of Genesis, says that several sources suggest that Terah (Abraham's father), Sarai (Abraham's wife), and Haran (Abraham's brother) were named after the moon god or his associates. So Abraham came out of a culture steeped with worshiping all kinds of gods; Abraham did not have a distinguished, God-following pedigree. Yet God chose to reveal himself as THE God to Abraham. It appears that God chose to do this just because He chose to, not based on anything specifically about Abraham.

Then in Genesis 12:10-20 Abraham is shown telling his wife to lie and say she's his sister so that not one will hurt him. The Egyptian pharaoh even took Sarah for his wife (the Bible is unclear what all this entailed) and Abraham let him. Sarah got out of that situation only because God sent plagues onto pharaoh for his actions so he released Sarah. Definitely not commendable actions on Abraham's part. But God chose to use Abraham.

I don't know about you, but I relate much better to people who aren't perfect. So the fact that God chose to use Abraham just because God wanted to encourages me. It encourages me that even when I mess up, all is not lost. God will still get done what God wants to do.

What about you, do you ever struggle with thinking that your age or past mistakes make you ineligible for God to do great things through?


Victor S E Moubarak said...

If I remember well ... Moses used to stammer and did not at first want to take on the task of comfronting Pharoe.

Peter was hot-tempered and somewhat impetious.

Paul used to persecute Christians.

Thomas just would not believe.

I'm sure we can think of other examples where God does not necessarily pick "perfect" people to do His work.

(Thinks). I'd better watch out in case He comes knocking at my door asking for something!

God bless you Tracy.

David-FireAndGrace said...

Great blog Tracy!

The Bible says this:
Romans 5:8 But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were STILL sinners.

The notion that we need to be all cleaned up, or special, or talented is just more of the same worldly thinking that we have allowed to infect our gospel.

God is not concerned about greatness in His people; not in King David, Moses, Gideon, Peter, Paul or David or Tracy. He is interested in a loving relationship where we will be passionate enough to WANT to become more like Him.

Those that God uses the most are the ones that want to get at the back of the line, serve others, love others, and recognize there is a great cost for following Him.

The Bible heroes gave up their entire lives to follow God - Abraham, Moses, King David, and the 12. The message today is still this: are you willing to sell it all, or leave it all behind to follow Jesus? The great apostasy is the folks saying "no."

There is no perfect servant in the Kingdom of God - just folks like you and me being refined by life, sin, and the amazing grace of God.

John Cowart said...

Being both young and perfect I have a hard time relating to Abraham. Doesn't the Scripture have anything for guys like me?...

O Yes, Pharisees.

Never mind.

Tony C said...

At 46 with a teenager, a toddler and a baby on the way in December...Abraham is my hero!

God's plan, through Abraham, for man to return to Him is completely amazing. God's use of people with serious character flaws to fulfill His promise is a constant reminder that we don't have to be perfect, we just have to keep trying to be obedient.

photogr said...

"What about you, do you ever struggle with thinking that your age or past mistakes make you ineligible for God to do great things through?"

Yep. Mostly the age thing considering I am older than dirt.

I can't count the amount of times I have to ask for forgiveness so I might be ok in that department.

JD Curtis said...

Beautiful entry Tracy. Keep up the good work!

FishHawk said...

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." {1 Corinthians 1:26-31 NIV}

The really hard thing (at least for me) is to humbly accept when He reminds us that just because He did great and mighty things in the eyes of this world through this one and that one way back when that this does not mean that He will do the same through each and every one of His children by faith. For it all depends upon what He wants to accomplish through each individual that determines such things, and as He has brought back out into the Light through you, what He does in and through someone has nothing to do with how worthy they have proven themselves to be--much to the chagrin of those who want to believe that such is required and that they have what it takes to do so themselves.

Of course, it could be argued that just being willing to endure all of the pain and sufferings of this world is a great and mighty thing, and we would do well to do so. No, I cannot "count it all joy" {James 1:2-4} yet, but He promises to finish the good work that He has started in me {Philippians 1:6}.

GCT said...

Doesn't anyone else see the myriad problems with Genesis 12:10-20? Abraham and Sarah lie and instead of being held accountable for their actions, they are rewarded by having god deal with their problems for them. They even walk away with material goods given them by Pharaoh.

Pharaoh, OTOH, is beset by illness for taking another man's wife. Yet, he didn't do so willingly, maliciously, or knowingly. Yet, he is made to suffer because Abraham and Sarah lied to him.

And, then there's the members of Pharaoh's family, who are completely innocent of this and are also afflicted with disease and problems. What did they do?

How can anyone defend the actions of this god? It might be nice that he picked Abraham, warts and all, but why would that absolve him of acting morally to others that aren't named, "Abraham?"

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