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Our Father’s default setting is dynamic progression. Life moves forward from seed to body, blades of grass to fields of green, trees to forests, fish to schools, fowl to flocks, heifers to herds, one flesh to families, families to tribes, and tribes to nations. His blessing brings increase in quality and quantity.[1] Conversely, wicked disobedience brings the curse of caustic decay. Though many other examples of this principle can be found, Genesis 1-3 and Deuteronomy 28 are sufficient to illustrate the point.

Onward, forward, and go are imperatives intrinsic in the kingdom of God; flinching, backsliding, and turning away win no commendations from the King.[2]

Hebrews 10:37-39
37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Drawing backward into destruction is not the path of faithful saints. As subjects of the King, we believe unto the preservation of our souls. God doesn’t lead us in circles. Our journey with Him has a destination, a point, a purpose. Paul states it this way:

Philippians 3:13-16
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.
16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained. ESV

Pressing toward the goal as an objective journey full of hope was a foreign concept to the world at large until Abram/Abraham[3] came on the scene. In his book The Gift of the Jews, Thomas Cahill states that before and in the days of Abraham, the world’s cultures held to a cyclical view of time. They saw the Wheel of Life on the Hub of Death. Nothing progressed, it only repeated. Man had no purpose aside from playing his part in an endless repetition of unavoidable fate. Then God called out to Abraham.

Genesis 12:1-4
1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4 So Abram went … ESV

Abram’s departure toward the promise was truly counter-cultural, entirely foreign to the world he lived in and the Gentile cultures that would follow. Cahill contemplates on the advice Abraham would have received regarding his journey and how world-changing his obedience was. He writes:

“On every continent, in every society, [Abram] would have been given the same advice … do not journey but sit; compose yourself by the river of life, meditate on its ceaseless and meaningless flow—on all that is past or passing or to come—until you have absorbed the pattern and come to peace with the Great Wheel and with your own death and the death of all things in the corruptible sphere.”[4]

“’[Abram] went’—really went. Cyclical religion goes nowhere because within its comprehension, there is no future as we have come to understand it, only the next revolution of the Wheel … But the God of [Abraham] … is a real personality who has intervened in real history, changing its course and robbing it of predictability … time is no longer cyclical but one-way and irreversible, personal history is now possible and an individual life can have value.”[5]

Possibility, purpose, and value—direction and destiny—live in the creative realm of redemption we call time. As we have already noted, “Let there be light” was the beginning of time as we know it. Each day of creation redeemed, brought form and filled the wasted void, of “the world that then was.”[6] Time and redemption are intrinsically bound together. The Lord made this clear when He commanded to Moses to change the calendar.

Exodus 12:1-3
1 And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:

The month of Abib, also known as Nisan, was the seventh month in their calendar year. The Lord moved it to first place, the beginning of months. Ever after, their sacred year was to start with the commemoration of the Passover with its sacrificial lamb and their subsequent release from slavery to journey toward the mountain of the Lord. Redemption and deliverance was to mark the beginning of time and the following months were filled with their forward march to meet with God on the earth.

[1] This is not a prosperity gospel proclamation. It is the witness of Scripture. Ps. 115:13-15 encapsulates it well.
[2] Jer. 2:19; Hos. 11:3-7;
[3] Abram (high father) was his name until God gave him the new name Abraham, meaning “father of many nations.” See Gen. 17:5.
[4] Thomas Cahill, The Gift of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels, Nan A. Talese / Anchor Books, New York, 1998, p. 64.
[5] Ibid., p. 94-95.
[6] Gen. 1:1-4; 2 Pet. 3:6-7.

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