Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Abraham the Defender of Others

Abraham, then still Abram, was seventy-five years old when in obedience to the Word of the Lord he departed for the land to which the Lord had called him. He traveled to a new land, a land unknown to him, a land entirely foreign to him and his people. He lived in this land for one hundred years among the peoples who lived there, peoples of war and fighting. Yet during his one hundred years in this land only one account of fighting is recorded of this man of faith.

Early in Abram's wanderings in the new land his brother's son, Lot, was taken captive along with all his family and possessions, along with the five city-states where Lot lived. This action was made by a band of four warring kings who had conquered and ruled over multiple nations. Yet when Abram heard of his nephew's demise and the demise of his neighbors, Abram gathered his three hundred eighteen trained men and chased down the conquering army and triumphed over them. He brought his nephew and all the other people and possessions back to their homes, keeping nothing for himself, giving a tithe to the priest, Melchizedek.

Yet this is the only account of Abraham ever fighting. He had plenty of occasions for defending himself, but never is such a thing recorded about him. Only on this occasion of defending others are we told anything about this man of faith ever fighting. This father in the faith gave freely of himself, enduring wrong from others, defending those who needed help, but without vengeance or defense of himself.

This certainly reminds a person of the Prince of Peace who came to be sacrificed for others, who never raised a hand against anyone except to defend the saints who were being taken captives by those who turned the temple into a den of thieves. Twice He drove out these wicked men so that the people could worship in safety. Yet in defense of Himself He spoke and did nothing, enduring all the evil that was directed at Him. Finally He defeated all hatred and evil once and for all, by giving Himself to be abused and condemned and crucified. His life was offered for all, even those who made themselves His enemies. This is our Advent King, who comes to us with His life of peace in order to restore us to His peace. Peace with God is our inheritance. Peace with all is the fruit of faith, peace that is born in us by that faith. By God's grace, may this indeed be the record of our lives as we journey through this land of warring and fighting people, until our Lord brings us safely home.

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