In the previous post I joked around with the “out of sync” Judas Iscariot. For a person like that, we may want to put some distance between them and us. I was joking about Jerry Springer and the idea that some people who watch that show may say things about the people on the show like “I’m not a very good person but at least I am not that bad.” Outrageous behavior gives us a reason to feel good about ourselves and if it is extremely outrageous, we don’t want to be associated with it at all.
We want some distance…
It seems to go both ways. We know of people who are so nice that sometimes their niceness intimidates us. Maybe they seem to be holy and their holiness is beyond our reach. Maybe we feel some distance from those people because we cannot reach their level. And yes, there are those people who scorn very good folks because they resent how good they are. They believe they don’t have a chance to emulate their behavior. Those folks are just “too good” and they feel they are just “too bad.”
Bevere uses Abraham as a perfect example of a man who is so holy that he seems out of reach. He is a man who has Godly fear, a man who chooses God over good.
Where is the evidence that Abraham is the man Bevere claims him to be? First of all, Abraham obeys God instantly. He may have had doubts about killing his only son Isaac but he prepared to do it and was ready to carry out God’s command. He was ready to obey God even though God’s command did not make sense to this man who was given a son so late in life. In a worldly sense, God made no sense but as Christians we have to accept that God’s ways are not our own. Abraham was feeling pain over this command yet he was willing to carry out God’s wishes anyhow. Abraham did not see the benefit but he was willing to obey. Finally, Abraham was willing to carry out God’s command all the way to the finish. You know the story, the knife was in his hand and he had drawn his arm back to kill Isaac when God intervened.
How is it with so many Christians today?
We have to see the benefit of obeying God before we actually obey. It works that way in life in many circumstances. I spent a good deal of time early in every semester proving to students that they would benefit from studying human communication. Salespeople work hard to get customers to see that buying their product will enhance life, increase their status or even fulfill dreams. Authors who want to sell their books point out personal advantages to the reader in a title, subtitle or on the book jacket.
Should personal benefit be the ultimate criteria in obeying our Lord and Savior?
Sadly, most of us want to fit in with societal standards so much that we choose the world over the Kingdom. “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” [John 15:19]. “Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” [Romans 12: 1-2]. “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever” [1 John 2: 15-17].
This is just a sampling of Scripture that speaks clearly about choosing God over the world; choosing God over “good.”
Yes, Abraham is a daunting figure in the Bible. I can’t imagine what I would do if God said I had to sacrifice my son [I too have only one child]. Could I obey God without question?
But that does not mean that I have to create distance between this Godly man and myself. Why not admire him? Why not let his love for God inspire me to be a better man? Why not learn from his Godly example…
Why not let Abraham teach me to choose God over good…