LENT DAY 11 - THE ADVENTURE OF FAITH
Whenever the Bible speaks of Abraham, it is speaking of faith, for he is our father in faith. The story of the Akeda, the great test of faith and obedience, comes near the end of a lifetime of faith. As we enter more deeply into Lent, it would behoove us to take a quick look at where Abraham's story began.
Abram, at the age of 75, was summoned by God to leave his home city and, with everything he owned, to begin a wandering trek in the desert in search of a land that God would show him. The miracle is that he did it since, at first he seems to be wavering in faith. He needs some kind of guarantee.
God makes a formal covenant with him, and he does so in the standard manner of the time. He tells Abram to bring several animals forward and to cut them in two, laying their halves side-by-side. The idea is that the two people entering into an agreement would walk in between the severed pieces and swear that the same would happen to them if they broke the covenant.
Abram falls into a trance and a deep terrifying darkness came over him. Here we see his side of the deal. What does trance imply if not a loss of control? When you fall asleep or unconscious, you are practically defenseless. And doesn't darkness signal the same thing? The fear of the dark is primordial. We don't know where we are going, and that is so frustrating! So it is with the things of God.
But then we see God's side of the deal. "When the sun had set and it was dark, there appeared a smoking firepot and a flaming torch which passed between those pieces." In the form of fire, God signals his covenant fidelity.
God can be trusted, even when he is leading us through the deepest darkness. This means that great faith is justified - for Abram, and for us.