How many of you play cards? Anyone know how to play euchre? I gotta tell you—a kid couldn’t make it through MY high school if he/she didn’t play euchre. If the teacher finished the lesson five minutes early, we students shoved our chair-desks together in groups of four and started dealing out cards.
Give me a break—it was the 80’s—no internet.
Looking back, I see more than a few tough things about this particular habit. The worst being—it excluded anyone who didn’t know how to play the game. It also excluded anyone who didn’t “fit” into one of the quads.
And we all know the scars we carry from high school exclusions, right? As if pimples and prom and sports weren’t enough.
It Just Ain’t Fair
As Americans, the idea of exclusiveness grates against our sense of democracy. Everyone is “created equal under the law,” and should have equal rights, opportunities, and privileges.
So as a young believer, when I learned that God chose one man—Abram—to be the recipient of His blessings, I was…miffed.
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3
I don’t imagine God was too shook up about my anger. He handled it the way He deals with most unfounded human accusations—patiently.
Through the years, He gently showed me a myriad of ways He opened doors of redemption to ALL of mankind. And, of course, Jesus was the ultimate gateway to God…
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.” John 10:9
What About Before Jesus?
I always wondered about those Old Testament folks who weren’t descendants of the Promise—those not related to Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob by birth or adopted into their household by circumcision—but who still believed in Yahweh, the One True God. Were they swept away with all the idol worshipers and pagans just because they weren’t born into the right family?
“So then, [Abraham] is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them…Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.” Romans 4:11,16
I remember the relief I felt the first time I read and understood this passage. Paul assures us that those—even in the Old Testament—who believed in Yahweh and His promise of reconciliation were “credited with righteousness” as Abraham was. I sure am glad—being mad at God is exhausting.
From Genesis 1-13, we see God working through Creation and then the Flood to bring all His blessing on Abram. And then up pops this interesting character named Melchizedek, “priest of God Most High.”
What? Where did he come from?
I think that’s God’s point. No one knows where Melchizedek came from, but Abram believed in him immediately and without question—even gave him a tenth of his spoils of war in worship.
Melchizedek was the King of Salem (Salem interpreted as peace), so presumably the people of Melchizedek’s kingdom would also have worshiped God Most High. Why isn’t THEIR story included in Scripture?
Because God wanted to tell us about Abraham. 😉 Okay then.
God’s Open Door
God reveals His power to others in Genesis—and in other stories of the Old Testament—but only a few actually left their idols and pagan rites to follow Yahweh.
(POP QUIZ: If you can think of those other stories, please share them in the comments!)
One woman’s brush with Yahweh has always piqued my curiosity. God certainly went to a lot of trouble to get her attention, and she risked everything—her reputation, her royal position, and her life—to save a squalling Hebrew baby from the Nile.
When The Pharaoh’s Daughter pulled Moses from the Nile, little Miriam waited in the bulrushes to suggest a Hebrew wet nurse—who we know as Jochebed, Moses’s birth mother.
The Pharaoh’s Daughter was willing to:
- speak with a little Hebrew girl
- accept the girl’s suggestion of which wet nurse to hire
- ignore the king’s edict to kill all Hebrew baby boys
Yahweh chose THAT kind of woman to become a formidable Egyptian mother for Israel’s eventual deliverer.
God chose The Pharaoh’s Daughter. The question is: Did she choose Him?
- Wonder about eternity for folks who were non-Israelite in the OT but still believed in God?
- God handles my anger the way he deals with most unfounded human accusations. Patiently.
- God chose THE PHARAOH’S DAUGHTER. The question is: Did she choose Him?
- Can you think of an Old Testament story in which an idolater cast aside his/her pagan rites in order to worship Yahweh?