February 3, 2019

Trusting the One God sends

Passage: Luke 4:14-21

Throughout the time that humanity has been aware of the existence of the One we know as the Lord God, God has called and sent several leaders for the people of this world. Even before the time when God called Abram from the land of Ur, the Bible has recorded for us the life and times of people like Noah who was called by God and given the task of saving the created order from destruction. Instead of respecting the created order and respecting each other, people had begun to use and abuse one another and even come to the point of believing that they could take ultimate control of their lives and the world. God determined to restart the world, but he could not bring himself to destroy what was still good and so Noah and his family along with representatives of all species alive were gathered into an ark and saved from the flood.

The calling of Abram from the land of Ur marked a significant step in God’s personal involvement with the people of this world. God chose to establish a relationship that would become the foundation for a people and a nation. But to become that people and nation would require the commitment of Abram to God. Abram not only heeded the call of God on his life, but he even allowed God to rename him and his wife symbolizing their commitment to be the leaders of a new nation. And so, Abram became Abraham and Sarai became Sarah. They would travel to far lands and experience many things. They would see their family grow from one special child to become the father of one who would become the father of 12 from whom would come the tribes of the people known as Israel.

Another significant moment in the life of this nation of people came during the time when they had become slaves in the land of Egypt. At that time there came one who had been saved from death as an infant, raised in the house of the Pharaoh and then made to be ruler in the land. One day he witnessed the beating of a slave. Not knowing that these were his people, he killed the oppressor. He fled. During his exile, he encountered the God who had called Abram and who had been the companion of the generations that succeeded him. He was sent back to the people and they trusted that God had sent him. They trusted him because he knew the name by which the people knew God – Yahweh, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob from whom all the people were descended.

The people were led to a Promised Land where they were able to settle and establish themselves in towns and villages. God sent to them various leaders called judges and then prophets and kings. Through successive generations they sought to guide the people encouraging them to remain faithful to the God who had created their nation and who had been their constant companion. But as we well know ourselves from our own reading of the history of the people, things did not always go smoothly. There ever existed tensions between the people and those God sent to guide them. And whenever people’s personal ambitions came into conflict with the wisdom of God, the prophets suffered as the people rejected the place of God in their lives.