How is your “Amen” today? Mine can get a little tired sometimes.
Today we continue our fall series titled
“Beginning…Again.” I have to make a confession. This title really frustrates me. It’s not because I don’t like the title. In fact, I think it’s perfect. That’s what frustrates me about it.
Why do we have to begin…again?
It makes my Amen a little tired.
Do you ever feel that way?
When I was in high school I threw the shot put and discuss.
We had the best coach. His name was Mr. Snesrud. We called him SNES.
The thing about shot put is that it isn’t as much about being big and strong as it is about proper technique. He would show us how to slide across the ring, then torque our hips at just the right moment to get maximum velocity.
We would slide, pop!
He’d look at us. “Again.”
And again. And again.
It’s like this with everything that is worth doing.
When I taught my kids to play the guitar, it was the same. They would struggle to get their fingers in just the right position for that G chord. They’d look up at me with a big smile.
“Excellent,” I’d say. “Now do that a thousand times and it will become second nature to you. It will become part of who you are.”
I’ve found this to be true in the rhythms of life as well.
The longer we live, and the more we try to follow God, the more we run into this pattern.
We follow, trust, run into obstacles, doubt,
It makes my Amen really tired.
This is the pattern we see in our text for today.
Two weeks ago we looked at how God began life in the garden, then things got messed up.
Last week we saw how God had to begin again with Noah’s family.
Those stories, and the first eleven chapters of Genesis, paint with broad strokes about the beginnings of humanity and the human condition.
This week we see that the focus moves from the wide angle, to the extreme close up. The rest of the story, of the whole Bible, focuses on one man’s family.
It begins with Abram.
His name means exalted father.
That’s ironic, because the guy doesn’t have children. He and his wife, Sarai, are too old to have children.
In chapter 12 God makes a promise to Abram.
“I will bless you. I will make you a great nation. In you all the nations of the earth will be blessed.”
You kinda have to have children in order to become a great nation, LORD.
“Trust me,” God says.
Abram trusted God’s promise and moved his wife and all his estate over 700 miles to a land called Canaan.
A bunch of stuff happened between chapters 12-15.
There was a famine, so Abram and Sarai went to Egypt where Abram thought the Pharaoh was going to take his wife. Then, Abram went to war in Canaan to save his nephew, Lot.
God protected Abram, but Abram was starting to doubt.
His Amen was getting a little tired.
We come to our text in Genesis 15.
“It’s been a while LORD. I’m not getting any younger, you know. The only heir I have is my servant Eliezar. Is that how you’re going to make a great nation? Through him?”
The LORD takes Abram out to look up at the night sky.
Just pause and imagine the most spectacular display of stars you have ever seen. Mine is in the desert in Zion Canyon, Utah.
“Count the stars, Abram.”
“I can’t, LORD, there are too many.”
“That, my son, is how many children you will have. You have to trust me.”
I can see the LORD standing like SNES.
“Now, again. Trust me.”
Look at our key verse.
Genesis 15:6 says,
“Abram said AMEN to the LORD.”
Wait, what? My Bible says,
“and he believed the LORD; and the LORD reckoned it to him as righteousness.”
This is an interesting word.
The Hebrew word here is awman. It is where we get the word Amen.
It means to trust.
It has, at its root, this idea of being held in a mother’s arms like a suckling baby. It is complete and utter abandonment in trust.
God said, “I got this.”
Abram said, “Amen.”
He trusted God to do the impossible.
Look at what the apostle Paul says about this verse in his letter to the Galatian churches.
“Just as Abraham believed (said Amen to) God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness, so, you see, those who believe (say Amen) are the descendents of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.” For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.”
How is your Amen today?
Three years ago I came to Easter because Pastor Kris asked me to join her in what you all were doing at Easter.
I moved down from Coon Rapids with a firm trust that God had called me here and I thought I knew what it was going to be like.
Easter has claimed God’s Promise. We are called to grow in faith and carry on the work of Jesus Christ.
Nobody knew that Pastor Kris was going to get sick and have to leave us.
I didn’t plan on 28 months of limbo when I moved here.
Last summer, in 2019, you might remember that I had built a website for Confirmation that was going to be interactive and allow students to take adventures and track their progress.
I was so excited about it, and then just as the fall started, one year ago right now, the website crashed. And it never came back.
We spent the last year eating humble pie and working to rebuild the site.
Nobody knew there would be 28 months of limbo.
Nobody knew the website would take a year to rebuild.
Nobody knew that COVID-19 would reshape how we live our lives.
I have to admit, my Amen was getting a little tired.
a funny thing happened along the way.
God brought a web developer to rebuild the site.
God called a lead pastor…during a pandemic…to take the helm.
I believe God is taking each of us, right now, out under the night sky.
Look up my friends. Can you count those stars.
And now…we begin again.
God is faithful.
And everyone said…AMEN!