Monday, October 21, 2013

The Wandering Witness

As one reads through the Scriptures, we find that Abraham is a very prominent figure throughout, whether we read about his life directly in Genesis or he is being referred to by the Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Roman congregations, his life is impacting. We often pull lessons from the obvious things of his life, such as his call to serve the One True God, or the sacrificing of his promised son, but what about the background events, such as his consistent wanderings throughout the land of Canaan? Is there any significance in it? The answer is yes, there’s significance in the whole of Scripture.
            After the call of Abraham by God, then named Abram, he was called to leave his familiar and stable living, to a life of wandering throughout a land he didn’t know and wasn’t familiar with (Gen 12). Some of the various places he pitched his tent while in the land were Shechem, Beth-el, Egypt, and Hebron, and one only needs to look at a map of the land to see that these can be quite a distance on foot. But what’s so significant about this? Although the Scriptures themselves don’t give much background information or details of the in between, the Jewish Oral Law (Torah, body of traditions passed down from one generation to the next) does. It is said that it was in these places that Abraham did his witnessing for the Lord. It was in the places of rest that he taught about the One True God to the people of the land who worshipped idol gods, and from this witnessing he made many disciples. In other words Abraham was God’s witness to the people of that land, and it was in their hands to either accept or reject the message. Now let’s look at the days of Jesus
            As we read about His early ministry, we find that He also did a lot of traveling, mainly around those towns in which He was close to and grew up around, as well as down to the southern parts of the country (Mark 4-6). During His travels, He too was a witness of the Father (The Spirit) and of His ways. Where ever He found Himself, He sought the opportunity to witness and teach about the Good News (Gospel) of what was at hand, the coming kingdom, such as the woman by the well (Jn 4) or the curious Pharisee Nicodemus (Jn 3) or the famous Sermon of the Mount (Mt 5-7). Jesus too, like Abraham and so many in between, found unbelief and opposition to the message or indifference, with people being comfortable where they were and not seeing the need to change (Jn 6-7). So what am I getting at? Well I’m glad you asked.
            Many times we feel very unstable in our day-to-day journey’s, in such unstable times, we may feel like we can’t keep a job, or stay in one place as long as we’d like to, but take comfort that you are walking in the same foot steps of our forefather’s and our Savior. The Scriptures testify of Abraham “It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God” (Heb 11:8-10 NLT). So even in his wanderings, Abraham had faith that God had a place prepared for him, even if he didn’t know where that might be. In his wandering’s, Abraham, probably unknowingly, fulfilled New Testament teaching when we were instructed to “ Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today”(Matt 6:33-34 NLT).
            In this life, in these times, things may feel very unstable for the faithful, we may feel like we’re always in transition, or like our Lord who said “But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head” (Matt 8:20 NLT), but we can take comfort that He’ll provide for us. Yet in our wanderings in this life let us be a witness to all that we meet in our journey, teaching them about the One True God and His Salvation, and fulfill the Words of our God and Savior. In doing so we can directly identify with both our forefather Abraham in being a witness to the culture around us in our wanderings and our Savior who stood on the message He was given to be a witness to even in a culture that felt that they knew and lived for God the way He wanted them too. It's okay to be a wandering witness.
            “Behave wisely toward outsiders, making full use of every opportunity- let your conversation always be gracious and interesting, so that you will know how to respond to any particular individual” (Col 4:5-6 CJB)

Authored by:
MIT. Christopher Bateman
Last Days Ministries Apostolic Church