We’re in the second week of Lent. If you’ve been observing Lent so far, that’s awesome. If you haven’t yet, it’s not too late to start.
It’s never too late to start.
If you’re like me, when we miss the starting gun, we’ve missed the race. If I miss the chance to begin something right off the bat, I give up. That’s the way it feels.
This week’s liturgical Lent reading reflects that feeling. There’s a man named Abram and Abram means exalted father. The only problem is, he was neither. He was not a highly exalted man and more than that he was not a father. In fact, in his culture, you couldn’t be one without the other. To be exalted, you had to be a father. In children, your wealth, security, and status were found.
At the beginning of this chapter (Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16) we see that Abraham had missed the boat. The chapter begins with,
“When Abram was 99 years old.”
He’s no spring chicken. Yes, at this point people did live longer, but a 99-year-old man is still not a young man. He was past the age of conceiving a child. He had missed the start of the race and was pretty sure he’d miss the rest of it as well.
But, God doesn’t work like that.
God created our space and time yet He exists outside of it. He is not confined by our understanding of time. He does not age, He has no beginning and no end. And while we expect God to be greater than our concept of time, we still expect Him to operate on our timelines.
We try to give God finite and natural timetables for when He can do his infinite and supernatural work.
God tells Abram he is now Abraham.
He makes him a ham.
That may not seem like a big deal. Maybe Abram now needs to change his email address to firstname.lastname@example.org and update his drivers’ license.
But, God is making a statement through his name.
While Abram means exalted father. Abraham means father of many.
This dude with no kids is now going to be a father – not to one – to many! He’s told that kings and nations will come from Abraham’s family. He’s going to become great because his family is going to be great.
He’s now father Abraham and he has many sons. And many sons have father Abraham. I am one of them. So are you. So, let’s just praise the Lord. (Right arm)
And his wife, Sarai, which means princess, has her name changed to Sarah, meaning mother of many.
As we’ve been in this relationship series, we have talked briefly about this idea. When God starts his redemptive story, he begins with Abraham. And notice how God begins the restoration of all mankind; not through politics, not through power, but through a family.
He doesn’t make Abraham a president
He doesn’t make Abraham a CEO.
He makes Abraham a father.
The story of restoration is told through the family.
God gives Abraham a new vision, a new life, and a new hope.
I don’t know about you, but I need this reminder:
When it appears our best days have passed us by, God says our best is yet to come.
When it seems like we’ve missed the boat, God reminds us He never left.
When it feels like we missed the race, He reminds us He’s already won.
KEVIN STAMPER | LEAD PASTOR | @KEVINSTAMPER