GOD MAKES HISTORY THROUGH ABRAM
After Terah, Abram’s father died, God appeared to Abram and spoke to him. ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 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 the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ (Genesis 12:1f)
Abram did not hesitate but went as the Lord commanded him. He did not need to be persuaded or enticed. It was enough for Abram that the Lord had appeared to him and spoken to him. He took his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot and whatever possessions he had, and left Nahor for the land God would show him.
WHO MAKES HISTORY?
Abram’s journey to the land of Canaan took place about 2000 years BC, by ancient calendars and records before the birth of Christ. Our time is dated from the crucifixion to the present time which is 2013 AD. Altogether we are looking back over 4000 years when Abram set out for the land God would show him. If we take into consideration the history of Noah and his descendants down to Abram then we may be looking back over 8000 years, for by the time Abram was born there were cities and nations already in existence.
History is an important study of the past for nothing remains the same. A still life picture of the past does not exist. We sometimes talk about the past as ‘in those days’ as if those days were identical with a film that never changed, or a story that had a beginning and an end. But this is not a true picture of the past. History does not come from itself. It had to be created like everything else and continues to be created. It is ongoing and on God’s good grace.
There are various theories of history, of where history came from, what causes things to change or develop, like war and peace, prosperity and economic depression or the transformation of nations and societies. It is widely believed that history comes from its makers, the strong over the weak, the powerful over the dispossessed, the empire over the world, the Roman Empire, the British Empire and so on. Strangely enough there are no empires left. Whatever man makes falls apart because he is not the maker of history. He struggles to be, to conquer and rise above others; to be the ruler and exploiter of others, to make history by force, the sword, the gun, the nuclear bomb.
But the Maker of history is really God. He does this by his love and justice the very things that are absent in man’s history from the beginning of his creation. God is the root of history, the soul and spirit of the past, present and future. He is the sovereign ruler of the world and the universe.
God accepts evil in the world for to remove it would mean removing mankind as well, because man is the cause of evil, evil ways, evil pursuits, evil conditions of life, and evil desires. For whilst mankind has freedom of choice, what is called free will, neither his heart nor his soul is free from evil thoughts and feelings. It is just as King David said, after committing adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, ‘Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me. You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.’ (Psalm 51:5)
The wisdom and truth that God requires to rule a nation and live a good life is not in man’s heart from the start. That is the legacy of Adam and Eve and Satan’s lie that God cannot be trusted. In Adam and Eve, our first parents the human race lost its Paradise and its control over history. The wisdom and truth that God requires is hidden in man’s nature. He is aware of it but it is illusive and mixed with foolishness and disobedience to God. Man can no more control history that he can control the weather, earthquakes, tornadoes or his own nature that is disposed to do evil as well as good. On the other hand God knows the past, the present and the future and this is the revelation he shows to Abraham and his seed after him, his chosen people.
GOD’S CONTROL OF HISTORY
God revealed his control of history and human kind with the flood. And whilst he promised that this was never to be repeated, he has never ceased bringing the forces of nature to check mankind’s arrogance, selfishness, moral and spiritual corruption. The fires, the floods, the earthquakes and the tidal waves are God’s warning that ultimately evil will not be tolerated in any shape or form, for his sovereignty over nations and empires will be enforced. But his final judgments are withheld so that mankind can repent of sin and be saved from a world that has no future.
God wants to save human kind from eternal damnation and eternal death. Despite man’s sinfulness and anger at God, God wants to win man’s heart from unbelief to faith, from hatred to love, from war to peace, to be part of a new world, a new Paradise. That is why he chose the least of earth’s people, the Jews, who wandered from place to place without a land to call their own, shepherds, who belonged nowhere. God chose to reveal himself through them because they were few and a stubborn, obstinate people,
(Deuteronomy 9:6) a people least likely to be loved by anyone. God set about showing to the world that he loved these people and through these people he would love the world. This is how God has chosen to control history and bring everything to fulfillment according to his will, foresight and predestination.
Abram stands as a figure of God’s future world for through him, according to God’s word, all families of the earth are to be blessed.
We shall see how this blessing is being fulfilled but first let us see what God is going to show Abram.