Psalm 69:1-5, 30-36; Genesis 17:1-18; Romans 4:1-12
What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”
The juxtaposition of Genesis 17 against Romans 4 (which is a discussion of Genesis 15) is remarkable.
Paul holds up Abraham in his letter to the Romans as a paragon of faith. Yet, as we read in Genesis 17 this faith of Abraham's was one that was rife with doubt. Abraham was no fool. He understood what was happening in the promises being offered him from the Divine. A 90 year old couldn't possibly have a child. So Abraham says this, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!” (Genesis 17:18)
The father of the faith was one who doubted.
The one whose belief was credited to him as righteousness didn't quite believe.
I mean, it's amazing isn't it? It's not like Abraham offered a plan to go adopt a child. No, Abraham was hoping that his (by our standards) illegitimate son by his wife's servant (slave and likely could not have said no to the demand to be impregnated by Abraham) could receive the blessing offered by God. This is all an absolute mess. Yet, Paul lifts this man up as the father of the faith and God says his faith is credited to him as righteousness.
There is nothing clean or perfect or easy about faith.
Faith is hard. Faith is ugly. Faith is doubt. Faith is failing. Faith is painful. Faith is grace. Faith is mercy. Faith is love.
Faith is a bare knuckled brawl to hold on to hope in the face of an apparent reality that doesn't make sense.
The faith that we see in the Scripture is not something that comes from ourselves. It is a faith that is really and truly wrapped up in the faithfulness of the Divine.
In the end, it is the faithfulness of the Divine that brings about all the good in the story. Both for Abraham and for us.
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