I know, Job is the famed man of patience in the Bible. Actually, the Bible makes reference to the patience of Job in the KJV, but he never seemed all that patient to me. The NIV’s ‘perseverance’ makes more sense. After all, Job did demand some action and was pretty vocal about it. Not that patient, but he did persevere. Semantics, I guess. But I’m not writing about Job, I’m writing about Abraham.
Abram was called by God to go someplace … he wasn’t sure where that was, but he decided to follow the Divine voice and go. He pretty much obeyed in that he took other people and stuff with him when he went … I’m not sure he was supposed to do that. His name was changed to Abraham along the way. If I ever get a name change, I would not want to change it to Johnaham … I want something totally different. Like, from John to Stallone or maybe Cruise. ‘Abraham’ sounds like an item at a deli. Anyhow, I do not read where Abe was dissatisfied with his name change in the least. He did ‘go’ when God said ‘go’.
God made promises to Abe. Abe accepted the promises at face value and believed them. He then got a credit account with God that had tons of righteousness in it. A good thing to have, eh? Things rocked along pretty well. Nephew Lot (not Lotaham) had to separate his herd because people just can’t get along. Why can’t we all just get along? Lot and his crew head to a little quaint hamlet called Sodom. Shiver. Not only was this a bad choice, but it set in motion a hundred thousand sermons across the centuries on Lot, who ‘Pitched his Tent Toward Sodom’. Why didn’t he just carry it?
Those promises stay in the back of ole Abe’s mind. He and Sarah are getting older. “God’s kind of mysterious sometimes,” he thinks, “Maybe he wants me to make a baby with my wife’s handmaiden.” Sarah went along with the plan and pretty soon baby Ishmael (not Ishmaelaham) is on the scene. God did make it plain that this was not his plan.
” Hmm… Maybe I need to adopt a kid … that can fulfill God’s promise.” God made it plain that this was not his plan either.
Abe is too old to make babies, and Sarah’s too old to bear them. Maybe that’s why when some angels come to visit, Sarah gets the giggles. Laughin’ Sarah. A happy one, she is. A little too giddy when angels came along and said that she would be giving birth next year. She busted out with a big laugh and the angels weren’t impressed.
Now I don’t know about you, but Abraham isn’t exactly the patient sort. He had a promise from God….a God he was willing to follow into the unknown…why couldn’t he just believe Him? Why did he try to fix it? Why did he try to make God look good by fulfilling his promise for him?
Then I get to reading Hebrews 6. “…God made his promise to Abraham … and so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.” (Hebrews 6:13-15) If I were a Greek scholar, maybe I’d be able to say that ‘patient’ doesn’t mean ‘patient’. (Doesn’t that bug you when preachers do that? I mean hudreds of REAL SCHOLARS sit around a table and decide how to translate a word and some guy who had 2 semesters of Greek at a podunk college thinks he knows more!)
So Abe waiting patiently. I want to be clear here… I’m not disagreeing. From MY vantage point he didn’t seem all that patient. But God thought he was patient. God’s Spirit inspired ‘the Hebrew writer’ to write it. Patient Abe. And I begin to feel warm inside when I think about it. After all, if scheming, fornicating, disbelieving, hard to get along with Abe was “patient” in God’s eyes … I will not take that away from Him. I want to living in that same kind of shadow of God’s grace and mercy. I never would have thought that God might refer to me as ‘patient Johnaham’ … but given this example of grace … perhaps he will.