Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Skeptical, Questioning Man of Faith

Is it possible to be skeptical and questioning and have remarkable faith in God?

This is something I've been pondering as I'm making way through the book of Genesis.

Both the New and Old Testaments describe Abraham/Abram as one who was faithful, and whose faith was accounted to him for righteousness. But, at the same token, Abraham had doubts and posed questions. Abraham questioned whether God's promises to him could really be true given the realities he was facing (Gen.15:3). And not only did he struggle with putting faith in seemingly impossible promises, further he asked for assurance regarding God's promise to him (Gen.15:8). You can tell that being childless put his faith to the test and caused him to really examine whether he could trust God's promises.

Abraham certainly seems to have been an intense individual. In the narratives of Genesis 12-15 we see a lot of different facets of his character. He showed prudence in his dealings with the king of Sodom. He showed great statesmanship in resolving the issue with his servants and Lot's servants, and also in rescuing Lot. He also showed a lack of courage and faith in using trickery to try to protect his life in Egypt.

There was something remarkable about Abraham. It wasn't that he was without doubts or had a perfect trust in God. He very much struggled as chapter 15 makes clear. But Abraham was remarkable and unusual in a different sort of way. This should be very obvious when we remember that Melchizedek appeared out of "nowhere" with wine and bread to bless Abraham and say:

"Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
and blessed be God Most High,
who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” (Genesis 14:19-20)

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