God Builds a Nation

Whether it is the ‘bachelor’, the ‘apprentice’, the ‘chef’, the ‘dancer’, or the next ‘american idol’ – our reality TV shows present ample evidence that we think we know a thing or two about what makes a person worthy to be “chosen”. Even my adolescent sons are engrossed with Fantasy football, where they ‘choose’ players for every game to insure virtual domination each week.

Rewind a couple thousand years. Time has passed since Adam and Eve, and the earth is now populated. Some people seek God, others have become fully consumed with everything else, and then, there is the gray in between. At this place in time, God begins the work of building His nation, assembling His chosen people. I find this fascinating because we get to see the kind of people God chooses to be on His A-Team. We, a people so sure we know who should be chosen for what, get to see whom God chooses to be a part of the plan to save the human race.

He starts with Abraham, who was obedient in leaving his family and his country to follow God. Abraham loved God. He was also a man who sometimes wasn’t so sure of how God would protect and provide, so he told half-truths. He would take matters into his own hands, just to speed up God’s plans. I lost count of the times that God had to remind Abraham, ‘I will build a nation through you. Your descendants will be as numerous as the stars, as the sand.’ Abraham was a good man, but he was not perfect. God chose Abraham anyway. Abraham was not always faithful to God, but God was always faithful to Abraham.

Sarah was Abraham’s wife and the mother of God’s team. Sarah laughed at the promises of God as being impossible, ridiculous. Sarah believed in God, Sarah loved God, but Sarah didn’t always believe in His promises. Sarah thought she knew better ways to get God’s work done. She was jealous of her servant, possessive of her son. God chose Sarah anyway. Sarah was not always faithful to God, but God was always faithful to Sarah.

Isaac, the promised son and heir of Abraham and Sarah, married Rebekah. Rebekah and her younger son, Jacob tricked Isaac into blessing Jacob instead of his older son, and the rightful heir, Esau. The favoritism in this family led to deceit, hatred, and broken relationships. Jacob ultimately flees for his life for fear his brother would kill him. This family knew God and believed in God, but they did not always seek God. They took matters into their own hands and wandered from His presence. God chose this family anyway. Isaac, Jacob and Rebekah were not always faithful to God, but God was always faithful to them.

It is really easy to get the wrong idea of God -- to think we have to act a certain way all the time, say the right thing every time, be perfect Christian robots in order to do this faith thing right. But that is just not true. God does not ask for perfect players, because He doesn’t need them. HE IS THE PERFECT ONE. This faith thing is not about what we bring to the table; it is what He brings to the table. So, when He calls out, ‘where are you?’ as we hide within our busy little lives for fear that we don’t have what it takes “to be a good Christian”, it is evidence not that we have underestimated ourselves, but instead, that we have underestimated our God.

I used the think that I had to get bigger faith to be on God’s team, to be one of His people. But when I look at His story and see whom He chose, I see that I only need teeny, tiny, mustard seed-sized faith. I need only enough faith to say, ‘here I am, Lord’. For as the old hymn sings, ‘Great is His faithfulness’.