Saturday, November 17, 2007

Humanity in Sin Part 31 - Abraham's Old Age

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev.Dr.Stephen Tong on 14th October 2007 in Newton Life. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: Genesis 25:1-11

The Scripture is unique in the way it recorded history. Normally people do want to reveal the weaknesses and shame of their ancestors and tend to write in the way to glorify their own history. Hence initially biographies in the world seldom world about how people fail. Since the confessions of St.Augustine, more people began to write about the struggles in their heart, about their ugliness and wrongdoings. The true source of influence actually came from the Bible.

The Bible never records human history with human subjectivity to glorify human beings. But God, as the Author, the subjectivity of Truth in Himself, records human history through the Scripture in an objective way. The Scriptures record things that are ugly. No single human record can compare with the Bible. The Scripture writes about how Abraham and Isaac lied to protect their lives, about David killed his enemies, snatched another man’s wife and killed the husband. All these are against human ethics so why should these be recorded in the holy Book?

A lot of people accuse the Bible of being unethical because of what it records. But the Word of God is like a mirror. It reflects our true nature. We cannot accuse the mirror as dirty simply because it reflects how dirty we are. In fact, it is because the mirror is very clean that it can reflect our filthiness. That is the essence of the Bible. Because it is holy, it records the shortcomings of the greatest people.

The revelation of God is progressive in nature. Initially the Bible recorded that Abraham lied and told half-truth but did not say directly whether he was right or wrong until the time of Moses where God passed the 10 commandments, one of which said that we cannot give false testimony.

Abraham had to live 38 more years as a widower after Sarah died. Although Sarah was 10 years younger, she passed away earlier. It is harder for a man to live a widower’s life than for a woman to live a widow’s life. Abraham married again when he was very old because he needed a companion in his old age.

He sent all his children off after they grew up. When Sarah was still alive, he gave everything to Isaac. The things he had acquired before Sarah died, he gave all to Isaac. The other things he had acquired he distributed to his other children. So the God-given child, Isaac, received all the inheritance as he ought to. Earlier, he had dealt well with Ishmael too. Abraham showed himself to be very wise in his dealings with his family and his children. He did things beautifully.

When he died, he had not received the promised land, but with faith he looked up to God, because God’s timing had not come. He is the father of all with faith.

All the teaching of the Bible is full of the wisdom we need, so that we will fear God and live a life fulfilling our responsibility before God.


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