After the ‘we’ll do it our way thanks God’ disobedience of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3); the murderously jealous rage of Cain (Genesis 4); the descent into sexual depravity of the people of Noah’s time (Genesis 6); and the ‘we’ve got the technology’ arrogance shown in the ‘Tower of Babel’ story (Genesis 11) had trashed God’s plan for the human race, God instigated His ‘Plan B’.
The man whom God chose, and head hunted, to kick off His plan B for the salvation of the human race was a guy called Abraham (at the time called Abram). Now if we were choosing someone for this great task I doubt we would have picked Abraham. The reason being that Abraham was an idol worshipper from way out in what is now Iraq, a man who had noknowledge of God at all. Further, as we follow Abraham’s story we find he had severe character defects—for example he tried to give his wife away to save his own skin; twice! So why Abraham? As we follow the story from Genesis 12 onwards we find out that Abraham was man of faith, or at least a man who came to have faith. Somewhere between God tapping him on the shoulder with His ‘you’re my man’ message, and him setting off to leave his country, Abraham came to trust God; ‘got faith’ if you like.
Why is Abraham’s story relevant to us ? The reason is because his story is a ‘God-works’ story; i.e. it shows us how ‘God works’ in people’s lives and so will work in our life. The story went like this:
God chose Abraham, who appeared (in human terms) a very unlikely candidate.
- God called him to set out on the journey God had for him
- God then gave him faith, i.e. the ability to trust God
- God gave him a task which in human terms was a bridge too far, i.e. a task too difficult
In Abraham’s story we can see how God works with people today, note how all of the four points above are God’s activity. If we are a Christian it is because God chose us to be, has then called us to follow Jesus and has given us the faith, the trust to do so.
However, there is more to it than this. Abraham was given a big task—to leave home, country, friends, on a journey, the destination of which he didn’t appear to know. He came to trust God, that is what faith is, and it was this ‘trust and obey’ faith that saved him (Genesis 15:6) as it does us.
It needs to be noted that saving faith is not an intellectual belief i.e. knowledge, but is marked by obedience to God’s call. This is where it gets more serious; for God’s call to us, as to Abraham, may well demand us to do something we may not feel able to, or want to, do This is a repeated pattern in the way we see God dealing with people, indeed how ‘God works’. In human terms God’s call often seems a ‘bridge too far’ i.e. far beyond our capability. However so it was for many of the great Biblical men of God, e.g. Moses, Jeremiah, Gideon, all of whom claimed that the task God set them was a ‘bridge too far’ i.e. ‘no way God! I can’t do that!’. However, with faith/trust in the God who formed the universe, there actually is nothing we can’t do for Him, as the David and Goliath story shows. When we are called by God we must have a heart open to the possibility, even probability, that He may call us way out of our comfort zone, to actually stretch across that gap, that bridge that appears to be too far, between that which we think we can do and what God actually wants us to do.
This is also true of CrossRoads Christian Community. Our ‘bridge too far’ in human terms, is to construct a new form of Christian community, which is a ‘Church as we haven’t known it for a society as we haven’t known it’. However with Abraham, David, Daniel etc. type faith; faith in the Son of God, Jesus, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do it! This is because, both on the personal and congregational level, God is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power (i.e. the Holy Spirit) that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 4:20).
With God the ‘bridge too far’ is not!