Monday, February 11, 2013

Feb 11 - Genesis 21:22

God is with you
in all that you do.
Genesis 21:22

I had a gruff seminary professor who didn’t like the message of “Emmanuel.” Remember what that holy word means? It’s the assurance of prophets and angels that “God is with us.”

As my professor often did, he’d yell whenever we’d say the words “God is with us” in a comforting tone. He’d say, “I know the mess in my life. So I’m not so sure it’s good news that God is always looking over our shoulder.”

Maybe he was trying to be provocative. Maybe he was trying to teach us to avoid trite clichés. Maybe he was trying to make us aware of the differing spiritual conditions of the people in our pews. (Or maybe this professor just had a very guilty conscience.)

We live in a world that generally pretends that God is not alive and active. Even “good Christians” often keep God in a box. We access him at church. We turn to him a few times a day in study or prayer. But most of the time, we go about our days and our deeds as if he wasn’t really there. Moment by moment, we’re not aware of his presence, we don’t rely on his guidance, we don’t expect his power, and his omnipresence doesn’t keep us from our secret sins. Too often we live as if God is not there.

In Genesis 21, the words “God is with you in all that you do” was not spoken as words of comfort … it was not spoken to prick a guilty conscience … these words were simply a statement of fact. Abimelech had been watching Abraham, and simply said, “Hey, friend, it’s obvious that God is with you in all that you do.”

What would it be like to live our lives like Abraham … accessing God so naturally and regularly that neighbors simply observed, “Hey, God seems to be with you in all that you do.”

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who wants to be known as Abe
(whether it makes seminary professors
feel guilty or not)

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