I am one of them and so are you, so let’s just praise the Lord…
So I’ve spent the past few days thinking about Father Abraham. Before diving into any particulars, I have a few impressions after rereading his story.
God seems very small in this story
There was a lot of war and slavery
Abraham had no problem with other guys banging his wife
He was a lot wealthier than I remember
The culture of the time is very, very different than ours
I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, but I thought certain things would stand out more this time through. But this is the first time I’ve read Abraham’s story since being married, so his trip to Egypt stands out the most. Upon entering the land, he thought he’d be killed for having a hot wife. So he told her to lie and say she was his sister (which wasn’t so much a lie as a mislead; they’re half siblings). While having a hot wife is a good thing, I cannot image being completely fine going somewhere and having someone have sex with my wife.
And that fact that he heard about circumcision and just did it that day, like no biggie. He argues about getting things for free and for strangers not to be destroyed, but he’s completely fine doing this to himself?
Abraham was blessed by God, repeatedly. At every turn, Abraham faces peril, but comes out wealthier than before. People seem to help him. I gotta admit: I like him to. When he’s told he’s going to be a father at 90, he laughs (17:17). When someone’s about to give him possessions, he refuses because he doesn’t want them to think they ‘made’ him (14:22-24). He also seemed fine traveling around, and he seemed like a good barterer (18:16-33; 23:7-20).
I went in thinking I knew a lot more than I did, and was particularly interested in the stories of Abraham being tested (chpt 22) and Ishmael (chpt 16, 21:8-20, 25:12-18). But, they weren’t as interesting in the literal sense as I thought they would be. Rather, I saw a lot more symbolism. There’s a lot of number 12’s and 7’s, which I think are calls to tribes and creation. Then there’s Abraham giving 10%, which seems like a precursor to tithing. Then there’s the fact of the Only Son and having to Sacrifice that son to show faithfulness. I can’t help but think the Jewish people missed that when they gave Jesus away and that we’re supposed to realize sacrificing what’s most important isn’t a good thing.
But mostly, I’m left thinking the story of Abraham allows us a lot of freedom in how we should talk to God. We should be earnest, argue back, take ourselves seriously, and be inovlved in the culture around us.