By Will Whyte

Read Part 3 here...

We began by looking at how the “original sin” was really about a shift in our trust. A shift from trusting in God and his character to trusting the serpent’s word about God to ultimately trusting in our own human ability to judge and rule. Genesis 3—11 clearly shows the negative affects of those choices, not just for us as humans but for God’s creation as well. Last week we looked at how God found a person who would trust him—Abraham—and how through him God would once again bring blessing to the entire world and restore his creation. Paul reminded us in Galatians 3:9 that…

“Those who trust [in Jesus] are blessed along with Abraham, the man of trust.”

Last week I mentioned that it was important that we notice in Genesis 12:2 that God promised Abraham that he would “make his name great.” As a young man I attended a lot of Christian men’s conferences, and it seemed that a repeated theme was “leaving a legacy” and “leaving a good name.” These are good things, and many people are concerned with their “name” as in their reputation. Now, I am not going to give you tips on how to make sure you can leave a legacy, or how you can leave a mark on this world, ok I am, but it is just one tip. Give your life to Jesus and trust him with the outcome. Abraham trusted God and here we are in 2020 and Abraham is still a world-wide known name, why? Not because he did anything to secure his legacy, but simply because he trusted God. Was he perfect? Heeeeccckkk no! Did he struggle? Yep. Did he live to see all that God promised him? Nope! But he trusted God, he put his life, his name, his legacy, his security in God’s hands, and we all see him as our great, great, great, etc. grandfather in the faith.  How are you ensuring your name is remembered?

Not too long after God redeemed and made a covenant with his people Israel, they began to place their name, their security and reputation in other people and figures’ hands. In 1 Samuel 8, Israel is settled in the land God gave them, but they require a more concrete symbol for their security and reputation—apparently the God who is beyond any image was not enough. But it is not just that they wanted a human king, but that they wanted a human king for selfish reasons. They are less interested in trusting God and more interested in making their own way, making their own name known. In 1 Samuel 8:19 – 20 the people say to Samuel

“…they said, ‘We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the OTHER NATIONS, with a king to lead us and to go out and fight OUR battles.’”

These are the very people who God promised to make “his treasured possession,” he promised to make them a “holy nation” and a “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:3–6). They entered in covenant with God, promising to trust and obey him (Exodus 24:3–4). Yet not too long after this relationship with God began, and after God had come through on his promises this selfish desire to make the human name great rises up. This desire was prevalent before God called Abraham. At the tower of Babel in Genesis 11 humanity gathered and declared

“Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may MAKE A NAME FOR OURSELVES and not be scattered….” (Genesis 11:4)

Right after this, in Abraham, God found someone who would trust him and not rely on and relish in selfish human desire or ingenuity. Hebrew 11:8—10 sums this up for us.

“By trusting, Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. Through trusting he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. FOR HE WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO THE CITY WITH FOUNDATIONS, WHOSE ARCHITECT AND BUILDER IS GOD.”

Abraham, by trusting in God, and giving his legacy and security to God’s control, shows us that God keeps his word. Nobody knows the names of the people who wanted to build that tower of human pride, but we all know Abraham’s name. Nobody knows the name of the king of Egypt in the book of Exodus, but the names of the two Hebrew midwives who feared God and spared the lives of innocent children (Shiphrah and Puah) are forever written down in scripture (Exodus 2:15–18).

A prophet from a pathetic little town called Nazareth went around healing people and hanging out with prostitutes and tax collectors. He also had a rag tag following of regular dudes and spoke about how people who know they can’t do it on their own will inherit the kingdom of God. He ruffled many religious feathers, but he was ultimately crucified by Rome as a failed wannabe messiah. This man Jesus trusted his father. In fact, he was the epitome of what a life lived trusting God looks like. For his trust, a trust that lead him and sustained him through an excruciating death, the apostle Paul writes in Philippians 2:7–9

“he made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and GAVE HIM THE NAME THAT IS ABOVE EVERY NAME.”

Leaving a legacy is important, but too often we humans get caught up in wanting to make our name great. We don’t just want to make a mark on the world we want to leave OUR mark on the world. We long for power and control. Yet the bible records names of people who did very little in the eyes of the empires or the world. It records names of apparent failures and screw ups, people who we would not normally want to be associated with. Yet it promises us in Revelation 3:12 that

“The one who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I WILL ALSO WRITE ON THEM A NEW NAME.”

If you want to leave a legacy, if you want your name to be remembered, then put your trust in the name above all name, JESUS. Do not worry about jockeying or maneuvering for power or position or status, trust Jesus. Follow his direction, his burden is light but the journey will not be easy. But if you trust his name, he will make your name great!

For reflection through song I encourage you to look up the song “My Desire” by Jeremy Camp