Long Story Short: God Gives Abram a New Name

Never imagine you have rightly grasped a biblical idea until you have reduced it to a corollary of the idea of covenant.”*  When I was in college, one of our mandatory classes was “Theology of Ministry.”  Everyone was required to memorize this quote, and though it’s been more than fifteen years, it was so drilled into my mind that I can still remember it almost word-for-word.  As we spent yet another week on Abraham this quote came to my mind.  God’s covenant with Abraham was one of the most important events in the Bible.  If I were to sum up the major events of God’s whole “Grand Story” as told through the Bible, I would put it this way:

  1. God created the world as a place for his masterpiece, mankind, with whom He wanted to live in relationship.
  2. Mankind rejected God’s authority, believed the lie of the Enemy, and consequently caused sin to enter the world.
  3. Although sin separated man from God, He had a plan to redeem His Creation: He promised that someday He would send a Savior to crush the Enemy.
  4. Out of a world now ruled by sin, God chose one man, Abraham, who trusted in Him.  Because of Abraham’s faith, God made a covenant with him, promising to bless his family and from them to bring forth the Savior through whom he would bless all the families of the earth.
  5. Abraham’s family became a nation, Israel, the first to be “God’s people.”  Although they did not always follow him faithfully, through His relationship with Israel God revealed His nature: slow to anger, abounding in love, rich in grace.
  6. When the time was right, God sent the Savior, Jesus, who conquered sin and death.  Those put their trust in Him are grafted into “God’s people.”
  7. Jesus ascended to heaven, but someday he will return to fully establish His kingdom, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth, where God’s original intention will be fulfilled, and His people will live with Him for all eternity.

The story looks bleak until God’s plan is put into action, when He makes His covenant with Abraham.  This week in Long Story Short by Marty Machowski we talked about God changing Abram’s name to Abraham, which means “father of a multitude,” telling him, “I have made you the father of a multitude of nations” (Genesis 17:5).  His wife, Sarai, who has spent decades lamenting her barrenness, is told that “she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her” (Genesis 17:16). I wonder what it must have been like to be Abraham and Sarah.  God has promised them something so incredible: not just the baby they have ached for and long since accepted as an impossibility given their advanced ages, but a major role in the Grand Story, one that encompasses all of history, from Creation to eternity.  I think they must have borne their new names with a sense of humility and awe.

I love that Long Story Short is making me consider such things.  The covenant between God and Abraham is at the core of our faith.  While the slow pace through these chapters in Genesis is making me do something a little different with our lessons, I’m still glad we’re using it.  Next week I’m planning to go back to a few of the activities we’ve done before, but for now we’ve just used the lighter Bible lessons to start a math program, focus a little more on reading, and spend time enjoying our composer study.

Even our “Listening Lesson” is less than what it usually is, but here’s what was on our playlist this week:

* After seaching for this quote online, I see it is from Paul Ramsey, but I can’t find any more information on it than that.

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Posted on October 24, 2012, in Bible lessons, Long Story Short, Preschool, The Gospel Story and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. On the Ramsey quote – Mont was the best! PCC yeah!!
    Parties terms & promises
    Ta ethne, ad olam, b’rth, cHesed

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