Overdue Obedience

This blog post is long overdue. Better late than never? I have known for a while that I should start writing again, but I’ve been delaying my obedience for a few reasons (all of which are trivial). Firstly, I have a lot to say. We’ve learned so much in the past two years about theology, churches, progressive Christianity, reformation, etc., and I really just don’t know where to start! Not a great reason, but one I’ve used as an excuse nonetheless. Secondly, I don’t know what this is going to look like. Learning more about the story of Abraham has encouraged me to just obey by taking this small step to start writing–despite my inability to see the long-term plan. Lastly, the topics I know need to be talked about are challenging and controversial. These topics are easy ones to avoid for the sake of comfort, even within Christian circles. This last reason, however, makes these conversations even more worthwhile, particularly when the integrity of the gospel is at stake.

We’ve been studying Joseph’s life in one of my church’s Bible studies, and my favorite part so far has been taking an in-depth look at Abraham’s lineage. When we began this study, we read the promise God gave Abraham (then called Abram) in Genesis 12, when he was 75 years old:

“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. And 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.’” (Genesis 12:1-2, ESV)

It must have been hard for Abraham to envision how God would use him to birth a great nation, considering both his age and the fact that he had yet to bear a child. In fact, just a few chapters later, Abraham lamented,

"‘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 15:2-6, ESV)

Ultimately, Abraham bore Isaac, who bore Jacob, who bore Joseph. Abraham’s line continued on even past his lifetime, and the greatest birth in his lineage was that of Jesus. I mention this lineage to highlight Abraham’s willingness to obey God’s calling even when he couldn’t see the outcome. Oftentimes, we are called to action without assurance of how everything will play out–there’s not typically a five-year plan involved! Abraham’s obedience challenges me greatly.

Am I willing to obey when blind to the long-term plan? Even further–am I willing to obey even if I won’t see God’s promise fulfilled in my lifetime?

Another important aspect to note in Abraham’s story is that God did not deem him responsible for the outcome; God held him responsible for his obedience. God shoulders the responsibility for the outcome of His promises; while we should steward our responsibility well, we need not try to take His tasks on as our own. Our role is to continually obey His call, step by step.

So–here I am, writing again. I’m not sure where I’m going to start, I’m not sure what this is going to become, and I’m not sure what you’ll think about it. How comforting is it, then, that I don’t shoulder the responsibility for the outcome–just for the obedience.

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