The faith of Abraham

Genesis 12:1–5 in its context

St. Paul describes Abraham's faith as faith driven by hope (Rom 4:18). Abraham is the first one who believes in the Bible (Gen 15:6).
He is without children – and yet he is to be the father of nations

He left his country under the authority of his father (Gen 11:31). He is a part of the tradition.

Taking in account that Babel and Chaldea, where he is from, are the synonyms in the biblical language it becomes clear that Abraham has to take distance from the tower of Babel: from disobedience and pride,
from the ambition to make his own name (Gen 11:4),
from the confusion of human talk (Gen 11:9).
In our spirituality we have to separate ourselves from our selfish and proud "ego". God is the one who will make Abraham's name great.

Abraham has a disadvantage from the beginning: he is without children. This is not hidden; this will be even in the middle of God's initiative. We are inclined to hide and deny our disadvantages and troubles.

He is already under way, when important thing happens: his father dies (Gen 11:32). Abraham hears the personal call from God in the decisive moment of his life.

He is called to bear blessing. From the beginning of the Bible it is clear that God is the one giving blessing; now for the first time a man is granted not only to receive but to this divine action, to actively bring blessing to others.
Abraham is called to a great community: he bears blessing for all the families of the earth. For St. Ignatius universality is the sign of Spirit.

God is giving future. Abraham has to watch carefully what God will show him (future! Gen 12:1).

God demands a new beginning from an old man (75 years – Gen 12:4). When we think that it is already too late and that we have no power, God gives a new life – It is 100 years more for Abraham (Gen 25:7)

For reflection:
What are the decisive events in my life?
When God called me?
What I have to separate and take distance from?
Who do I bring blessing to?

8 August 2011

Niko Bilić SJ