This section of Genesis gives you whiplash. Up to this point roughly 2000 years have passed. Centuries breeze by like seconds as you read this opening portion of Genesis. What figure do you have a head on collision with substantially slowing down the pace… Abraham. Larwence Richards says of him,
Abraham stands as the greatest figure to be found in the ancient world. Three world religions, Islam, Judaism and Christianity, revere him as the father of their faiths. But what makes Abraham important to the Bible student is not the reverence in which he is held. It is not even the belief that the The National Geographic once expressed that ‘Abraham, the patriarch, conceived of a great and simple idea, the idea of a single Almighty God. Abraham’s importance is not even found in the fact that he is today a prime model of saving faith. No, the importance of Abraham in Genesis is that through Abraham God reveals His purpose and goal for the universe. In promises to Abram, God revealed that he had a plan.
Abraham is huge – for you. The Old Testament is not throw away. Everything that will follow in the Bible, including the New Testament is an outworking of what is promised here. Up to this point we are expecting a Redeemer, born of a woman, to reverse the curse. Here God sets His plan in motion to bring that about. The promises are expanded, your promises, and the place from which all blessings will flow is further refined.
This is your story, not just in how it impacts you, but in how it mirrors how God works in your life. God comes to you, idol worshippers (Joshua 24:2-3), and calls you out of darkness into light (I Peter 2:9-10). It is a costly call – “leave all!” But it is a rewarding call – “gain more!” If you ever read the Old Testament and wish you could experience God like they did – you have. God’s powerful call comes to you in the same way, in the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14). If you have treasured all Christ is for you in this gospel then your life is a page in the universe on which God has revealed Himself.
So enjoy the change of pace, check out the scenery, God is all over it. And as you stare at Abraham’s world, though you are 4000 years removed from it, and you stand on the other side of the cross, you will see the same strokes of grace all over it.