Lectionary Readings for Today
Psalm 69:1-5; Psalm 69:30-36; Genesis 17:1-13; Romans 4:1-12
Concentrating on Genesis 17:1-8
Read this portion of the scriptures out loud.
This passage is one that is filled with hope. When God came to Abram, to tell him that He was going to make a covenant with him, He started by introducing Himself by one of His names. I am sure it is no coincidence that God chose this name: El-Shaddai (God Almighty).
God knows that when it comes to believing what He can work through us, we often look at ourselves instead of Him and we just can’t imagine pulling it off. The only thing that precedes God’s introduction as El-Shaddai is that we are told Abram was ninety-nine years old. See, there is the first impossibility! Abram had already lived a long time and was growing old. Yet God says, “I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.” Abram knows no other response except to fall face down on the ground before God.
God promises Abram that He will make him the father of nations. He would give him a new name that means exactly this. Abraham means “father of a multitude.” Abram meant “exalted father” but God wanted Abraham to know that his life would be more than just about him. He would leave behind a multitude of descendants.
It’s mind-blowing to think that we are part of this multitude here in 2021. But we are! Abraham sure couldn’t have imagined us, could he?!
Christ came from this lineage and all who receive Him as their salvation are included in the multitude of descendants of faith. Christ is The Seed. He is planted in us – we are planted into Him – and now we are heirs of this ongoing, amazing inheritance.
What would it look like for us to re-enact Abraham’s story for ourselves?
I believe that God wants to do a “multitude” kind of thing through our lives too. That doesn’t mean grandiose – it just means an abundance. I wonder if we can worship and ask for this very thing – not as we think it should be played out but how God wants to write the story.
Jesus has come to us as El-Shaddai (Almighty God) for His is mighty to save. He saves us, not just for our own blessing, but to make us mothers and fathers of the faith and to have an abundance of “descendants” added to our lives. This isn’t just for married people who have children. It is not the children with the same blood as us that are the heirs of the promise – it is the children of The Seed (the children of the blood of Jesus). All of us are called to plant or water the seeds, partnering with the God who grows. (1 Cor 3:5-9).
God also speaks of a new name for us!
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. Revelation 2:17
Sometimes I wonder if our new name is actually being worked in us by the Spirit while we are here and when this earth is passed away, we will find out what it is. What is your name on the white stone that God is working the reality of in your life?
I invite you today to not only re-enact Abraham’s story but to also follow his response.
Lay on your face before God. Worship Him with words or in silence. Offer praise for being part of the Seed, one of Christ’s multitude of descendants, the adopted (grafted in) child of God. Open your heart and mind to God bringing an abundance of His righteousness through you – people that are touched by God through you. Tell Him that you yield to His work in your life…the work that is etching out a new name for you. Let yourself be filled with wonder about what that new name could be. I know we all have mountains that seem too big to get past. But don’t forget His name – El-Shaddai! What will God do through you this year?
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” Ephesians 3:20
If you happen to have a white stone, you might hold it while you listen to an old song:
Image from http://feleciawong.blogspot.com/2013/01/el-shaddai.html
Readings for the rest of the week are as follows:
Tuesday: Psalm 69:1-5, 30-36; Exodus 30:22-39; Acts 22:2-16
Wednesday: Psalm 69:1-5, 30-36; Isaiah 41:14-20; John 1:29-34
Thursday: Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18; Judges 2:6-15; 2 Cor 10:1-11
Friday: 139:1-6, 13-18; Judges 2:16-23; Acts 13:16-25