Thursday, February 26, 2009

Abram believes The LORD who reckoned that as righteousness

Your mother tells me you have finished your last pack meeting and next week you start Boy Scouts, are you excited?

< = = = I think so, it is always odd to go from being the most senior, back to the junior, but Marty and Ben are also being promoted. And Ben's dad wants him to start preparing for his Bar Mitzvah and has invited me to the extra classes. I wasn't sure I wanted any more classes in life, it seems like I don't get any free time, life is school, tutors like you and then eat, shower and bed.

Idle time is a destroyer Master Cohen and you have a destiny you must fulfill. Today, we learn about the promise of an heir. After the incredible blessing of Priest and King Melchizedek, and the rescue of Lot, Abram took the next day to rest, after all, even though he is in good physical shape he is eighty five years old at this point and while he was resting the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, "Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great."
Now this simple statement has great meaning. If you look at this in Hebrew, you see the idea of "The Word of the Lord" and this is the first time we see this construct in the Pentateuch. However, after this, that phrasing will become common. Christians believe the Word of the Lord means Jesus Christ and it certainly refers to the Messiah to come. This is also the first time the Lord refers to Himself as "I AM". The LORD refers to Himself as Abram's shield and promises a great reward.

< = = = But Abram is the original man who has everything, what more can he possibly receive?

Ah, there is much more to life than money Master Cohen. Your parents are so proud of you and count you as a blessing. In the same way, I count my own son as an incredible blessing. Through Abram all the tribes of the earth will be blessed, at least those that choose to accept the blessing. And Abram fully understood what the LORD was talking about. He replied to the LORD and said, "O Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessings when I don't even have a son? Since I don't have a son, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no children, so one of my servants will have to be my heir."

In those days, not having a son was a shame, a failure to thrive. Abram has riches, a trophy wife, he is an outstanding cook, a leader, a great warrior, and yet in the eyes of society and even in his own eyes, he was a miserable failure.

Then the LORD said to him, "No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own to inherit everything I am giving you." Then the LORD brought Abram outside beneath the night sky and told him, "Look up into the heavens and count the stars if you can. Your descendants will be like that--too many to count!"

And even though he was eighty five years old, Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD declared him righteous because of his faith.

< = = = So, does that just apply to Abram, or does that apply to any man, that if you believe the LORD, the LORD declares you righteous?

That is a great question Master Cohen, but it is somewhat of a debate. Certainly if you believe The LORD, He can reckon you as righteous. However, the tricky part is believing The LORD as opposed to just any old god. Abram himself worked in an idol shop as a youth, he knew as well as anyone that the world is full of gods. His very special gift, his very special blessing was to hear God and follow God. His faith in believing God who told him he could sire children in the future when Abram was 85 was huge, but knowing the promise was coming from The LORD was just as important.

<= = = But what about us today? There are so many religions, so many interpretations, how do we know The LORD? How do we know which God to believe?

Mr. Storyteller paused, and in a quiet sincere voice replied, "A careful study of scripture and prayer certainly doesn't hurt Master Cohen and I am here to help guide you in your understanding."

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