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2023 Daily Lenten Journey – Day 31

If you are keeping up with the readings of the day, you have probably noticed that the Church skipped some verses recently. It isn’t that these verses aren’t important. What is important to keep have in mind is that the readings during Great Lent are reminding us of the beginning and setting us up for Pascha.

The readings of the day skipped the story of Ishmael and his mother Hagar. Hagar was the slave of Abram. Since Abram’s Sarah’s wife was old and sterile, she never had children. Abram took it upon himself to fulfill God’s promise to have children, so he took Hagar and Ishmael was born. BUT…. We’re reading to the story of God’s promise. God didn’t tell Abram to take it upon himself. We find out more about Ishmael later, but it is enough to focus on the story of the savior, and the savior doesn’t come through Ishmael, just like the save doesn’t come from Cain.

When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless.  And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.”  Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him,  “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.  No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.  I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you.  And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.  And I will give to you, and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

Genesis 17.1-9

I don’t want you to think today’s blog is about punishing Abram. He wasn’t punished. Ishmael will have his own relationship with God. Fast forward and you will remember that Ishmael is the ancestor of the Islam. Today we continue with our ancestry. You can always go back and read chapter 16 later.

When God makes a promise, He already knows when that promise will be fulfilled. Today, God is reminding Abram, now Abraham, to trust His path. The faith that Abraham expresses in God is our salvation.

It isn’t up to us when God should fulfill His promise. It is our job to be faithful and walk with Him. If we have learned anything by our Daily Lenten Journey this year, it is this. When we try to bypass God’s way, things don’t end up very well. Be patient with God and walk with Him. You will be blameless like Abraham.

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