November 30, 2007, 10:00 am; posted by
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Of all the saints whose lives are recounted for us in the Bible, my favorite character has always been Abraham. I know, I know, it should be Jesus, but Jesus is God. My attempts to learn from His life have not always been as fruitful as one might imagine.

The first time I read the book In His Steps, I was in college during the late ’70s and, although I don’t remember the exact circumstances, when I tried to stop and ask myself, “What would Jesus do?,” the answer was obvious — “He never would have been stupid enough to get into this situation in the first place.”

That’s why I like Abraham. He’s human. I love Jesus and worship Him. I look to Abraham for a good role model.

There’s something about him standing in the door of his tent, looking up at a brilliant sky lit with innumerable stars, telling God, “Yes, I know you are my God and everything is cool, but . . . I still don’t have any children, and you promised me children…” and God saying, “Can you count these stars? If you can count these stars, then that’s how many children you will have.”

His life is such a draw to me. There are no churches to be disappointed with, no law to come short of, no religion to fail at, no synagogue or temple. There’s just an enormous expanse of territory, of which God says, “Journey in the land, wherever your foot touches I’ll give it to you and your descendants.”

I long for that. No plan or purpose. Just wandering in the desert, raising a family and watching sheep. Every once in a while God shows up and makes a new covenant and promises more stuff. Almost none of it happens in his lifetime but he doesn’t care.

He becomes the father of the notion that there is only one true and living God, and that He has holy standards. He passes that onto his descendants and becomes the father of all three of the major faiths in the earth — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The prototype, the plan and the imitation. It all blossoms out of one man’s personal relationship with God.


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