Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. [Matthew 5:8 ESV]
God’s covenant with Abraham is fulfilled in the life of His Son, Jesus Christ. With Abraham we see the revealed beginning of the lineage of Christ.
Read God’s command again and then Abraham’s actions. “Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you’” [Genesis 12:1 ESV]. God told Abraham to leave “your kindred and your father’s house.” Abraham walked away from his father’s house taking with him his wife and all the slaves he had acquired.
We are faced with a common misconstruing of Scripture. Abraham was told to leave his kindred. Many are taught he “took” Lot, his nephew, with him. Yet, the words of Scripture suggest Lot went with him of his own volition. He was not compelled nor was his presence requested by Abraham. Simply, Abraham packed and left and Lot packed and followed.
Had Lot stayed behind two nations which hated Israel would not have existed. Eventually, God would separate Lot from Abraham and remove him from the Promised Land. God’s covenant was with Abraham and his descendants and no one else. But, the covenant was not with all of Abraham’s descendants. Only through Isaac, then through Jacob, would the world be blessed.
God was preparing the world for His Son by setting Abraham apart. He would continue setting apart the line and lineage of His Son, through rebellion and war, through exile and return. Jesus is the descendant of Abraham through whom the whole world is blessed. Those who curse Him, reject Him, ignore the evidence of His life are cursed, rejected and ignored by God. God and His promises will not be mocked. He will do what He has promised.
A moment of Abraham’s life reveals the character of God. Obedience, like sacrifice, is the evidence of selfless love for God. Those who God is giving a pure heart have moments of selfless love for God, giving Him their first, their best, acknowledging all belongs to Him. When He commands they obey. Whether they have great knowledge or little understanding of God, they have at least the rudimentary ability to trust He will fulfill what He has promised.
This is the description of a moment of Abraham’s life.
After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.”
And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. [Genesis 15:1-6 ESV]
At that moment, though surrounded by a sinful world, motivated by sinful flesh, filled with doubt, Abraham “believed.” His faith, believing the evidence of God’s work, trusting the promise because He who gave the promise is trustworthy, and obeying His command, all rolled into one moment.
When God looks at the one He is preparing for eternity He sees the likeness of His Son finished in the person. Those who are His may doubt and rebel, will sin but will also submit. God will teach us to have selfless love for Him, as He always intended.