Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Preaching Abraham (2)

My last posting mentioned my forthcoming sermon on Abraham (Gen 11:27-12:9). Preaching on Old Testament characters must beware shrinking them for pulpit use. Though it is tempting to personalize, moralize, psychologize people like Abraham to draw out personal principles (and there is some room for this), the Old Testament text is there first and foremost to show us God at work. When Abraham begins THE story of the people of God, (he's first in Jesus' geneaology Matthew 1:1), large-scale matters of how God works in the world are in hand.

My sermon's main impact emerges out of the text, (that really does begin back in Gen. 11): By God's grace, my sermon will say that God chooses to speak, disturb and make stupendous promises, and Abraham obeys with amazing faith. And what my sermon will do: is challenge us to trust and obey the same God who calls us to live "beyond normal."

I continue to work on the details. I have already received an interesting comment about Abraham's age (75 years old), and am always open to further insights.

1 comment:

wsuriano said...

I agree with the concern you express about making Abraham seem too small in a sense. Those of us at this end of the continuum of the history of God dealing with his people have little sense for the enormity and significance of that unique contact and covenant. The faith of Abraham in responding, even surrendering, to God in that context is overwhelming. What gave him the confidence to believe in the absence of any God history? Now, we have Scripture to trace the relationship of God to His people. We know of His promises and faithfulness, His mercy and love and still many don't have any faith at all. And those of us who do lack the measure and depth that Abraham exhibited. What a pillar! I look forward to your series.