So He Went

Genesis 11:27-12:4
December 31, 2017
Abraham Hong

 

Many people immigrate to America. And it is a very significant event in their lives. They leave their homes and their families in lands far away. They often come with little or nothing in their name. But they make the move believing in the promise that if you work hard then you can achieve your dreams. And so this is why many people immigrate to America. Many people come with a hope for a better life.

Today’s portion of Scripture is a story about the beginning of Abraham. The world that Abraham lived in also hoped for a better life. They immigrated, so to speak, to Babel. They left the commandments of God and pushed him far away. They sought to make a name for themselves. They believed in the promise of brick for stone and bitumen for mortar. They worked hard to overcome the curse of suffering and death and achieve their own gospel and happy ending. This was Abraham’s world.

And Abraham was right in the middle of it all. According to Joshua 24, Abraham and his family were originally pagan worshippers of false gods. His hometown was Ur of the Chaldeans. That city was a city of great prominence, peace, and prosperity. And that city had a ziggurat dedicated to Nanna, who was allegedly a god of the moon. Thus said the Lord to Israel through Joshua, “Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods.”

But God showed grace to Abraham. God called him out of the world that he lived in - a world that hoped for a better life. And God promised him a new world with a better hope.

What a significant moment in redemptive history - and in Abraham’s life! After the fall of Adam’s sin and the promise of God’s salvation, the world continued to rebel. Great wickedness in Noah’s day led to a flood. Great pride in Babel led to a scattering. But God would make good on his promise of salvation. And here in Genesis 11 and 12, we see a gigantic advancement of the gospel in history that ultimately leads to Jesus Christ. What a significant moment in redemptive history!

And what a significant moment in Abraham’s life! Abraham’s brother Haran died in the presence of their father Terah. It is one thing for a son to bury his father. It is another thing for a father to bury his son. Abraham’s wife Sarai was barren and without child. There was no joy or hope for their family. And Abraham’s father Terah died at the age of 205. This was Abraham’s life. He lost his brother and his father. And he had no future family of his own. What sadness! What hopelessness! But here in Genesis 11 and 12, we see a gigantic promise of blessing in the life of Abraham that ultimately leads to Jesus Christ. What a significant moment in Abraham’s life!

Praise the Lord! Salvation belongs to our God! He said to Abraham, “I will show you a land. I will make of you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great. I will bless those who bless you. I will curse those who dishonor you.” These are amazing words. These are amazing words that point to the person and work of Jesus Christ.

For the land that God showed Abraham was the land of Canaan. But the land of Canaan was a picture of the ultimate promised land of the new heavens and the new earth. The great nation that God made for Abraham was the nation of Israel. But the nation of Israel would ultimately give way to a church beyond borders or bloodlines. The greatness of Abraham’s name was found in the possessions and the victories that God gave to him. But the greatness of Abraham’s name was ultimate found in the matchless name of the Lord Jesus Christ. God cursed those who dishonored Abraham and God blessed those who blessed Abraham. But the curses and the blessings are a picture of the ultimate work of Christ when he took away our curse secured for us the blessing of forgiveness and eternal life.

So God showed grace to Abraham. God called him out of the world that he lived in - a world that hoped for a better life. And God promised him a new world with a better hope.

Brothers and sisters, this promise has been fulfilled in Christ Jesus. The kingdom has been inaugurated. Soon and very soon, the kingdom will arrive on the Day of the Lord.

And many people are being called out by God to immigrate to his kingdom. Many people leave their homes and their families in lands far away. But they do so because they have been adopted into a new home and a new family in the kingdom of God. Many often come with little or nothing in their name. But all end up renouncing their self-righteousness for the citizenship of being saved by the name of Jesus. Many people once thought that they had to work hard to achieve heaven and God’s love. But now they have great joy that they can rest in the person and work of Jesus. And so this is why many people immigrate to the kingdom of God. Many people had their own hopes and dreams for a better life here on this old and fading earth. But now they wait for God’s promise of a new world with a better hope.

Abraham was one of them. Can we be like him? I hope so. Can we have faith and obey as we are called out by God? I hope so. Even though we do not know how our earthly lives will go, can we look forward to the city of God? I hope so. Can we acknowledge that we are strangers and exiles on the earth? I hope so. Can we desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one? I hope so. Can we go, as Abraham went, as the Lord had told him? I hope so. Let us be like Abraham and have hope and confidence in what Jesus has in store for us. And let us be like Abraham and immigrate well.

End