Think of me as a Beagle, nose to the ground, inhaling furiously. I see that every night right before bed.
My rabbit trail is the faith of Abraham, believing like Abraham. He was the friend of God, chosen by God, for covenant. God covenanted by fire with Abraham, and swore upon His own name, the most powerful and binding essence. It bothers me when His name is used as punctuation. Oops, wrong trail.
But Abraham, the prototypical man of faith, and his kin, have recorded a very important message for us through their lives.
God gave a promise to Abraham, that he would be the Father of Nations. That the whole world would be blessed through him. And that he would have a son. A special son.
We all know how he and Sarah waited, then decided to help God out, they were ready for the promise to be fulfilled, time was running out, and they had a plan on how to “help” God out. As if…
As we remember, Ishmael was Abraham’s first son. But not of the promise. He was the son of the slave. But in the whole matter, through all of that faithlessness by the “man of faith”, God remained faithful. Abraham and Sarah’s plan backfired, but it didn’t derail God. He saw it all in advance. And still, somehow, saw the faith in Abraham. Under the fear, mistrust, and laughter, God saw the real man. He saw an imperfect, but vivid, believer. A man who would walk to the mountain, believing against everything his mind told him.
His son, of faith, was Isaac. He was the inheriter of the blessing, the son of promise. Isaac waited until his child(ren) were born, also of promise. And God made His election known before the boys could choose good or evil. He foreknew, saw the future. Isaac was intent on blessing Esau, but Jacob bought the birthright, and Rebekah and Jacob both conspired to steal the very blessing that was rightfully Esau’s. Rebekah did not wait on God, and Jacob was true to his name, supplanter. Profanity, deception, intrigue, and betrayal. All played a part in the transmission of the blessing to yet another generation. God had proclaimed the truth, the word about the nature and source, the pathway, of the blesisng through time. And those involved had exerted their will, sinfully, all out of order. And yet God was not fooled, He still was lovingly guiding the blessing toward us, through the lost, misguided men and women he had chosen for his purpose. And in that, they were changed.
Jacob had many sons, and we remember how Joseph ended up being preeminent over his brothers. He told his brothers of his dream, and they sold him into bondage. And after many long years, lines in his face, heart broken and crushed, bent over through time, Jacob arrived to see his beloved son once more. Joseph should have kept his trap shut, his brothers shouldn’t have been so greedy and violent. God’s choice, and the path of Blessing, was not stopped at the source. The Wellspring still flowed, unchecked, forward in time.
Moses. He sensed his calling, stepped out prematurely, we’d say in the flesh, and failed grandly, hiding in the desert. Too many long nights, staring at the stars, thinking of what should have been. How could he have mistaken what he felt in his heart? How could he miss THAT so badly? Later on, Living Water flowed from the Rock, the Cornerstone. Still forward.
Samson. David and Bathsheba. Through Kings who were bad, those who were good, those who were both bad and good, meandering on, building up momentum.
Into near times, in a man named John who wore funny clothes, and ate strange food. In a Peter, or a Thomas. The Water flowed in them, through them, and washed them clean.
Now into our time. Into your time.
Have you presumed upon God? Have you missed your calling? Did you hear, but somehow mess it up?
The wittness of scripture says, no, if you come back and fall at His feet, no matter how deep the stain, God still has reserved the Blessing for you. The treasure is not lost, the ship can still be saved. If Lazarus has died, do not worry. He’s standing up, wrapped in linen, ready to step out when called.
I know this feeling, this path. I lost my way, was cast aside, and wandered in the wilderness. And I beleived that it was all over. Hang it up, nice run, but you’re done.
But I listen to the sound of this rushing stream of Life, of Blessing, of Living Water. The voices that tell the story along the way speak of failure, loss, mistake, deceit, and treachery. And they all say that this is not the end for you, or me.
We may be in the middle of a poor story line, but the story is not over. If you hear His voice today, even now, after all of whatever it is, you are right where you can be reached.
You are not done. It is not over. Whatever has happened to you, or through you, is not the final report for you. Not yet, if you still hear His voice.
Go ahead, and make your own list of glorious failures. The flawed Saints, and murderous Zealots. Brave Fathers in the faith who recanted, converted, recanted again, and were finally strengthened to where they plunged their hand into the flames like a child testing the water at the first of Summer.
Some of their stories are unbelievably bad. Sad. Just plain ugly. Some of them are the Giants we revere today.
So, if you go down to the River, and step in, you’re going to get wet.
If you go there, it’s unavoidable. I promise.