Prayers, Theology

Beautiful Chaos

This morning, I listened to Genesis 12-20, and I was struck with the chaotic nature of the Abraham cycle. There are so many things that happen in the story that make no sense to the modern sensibilities. There are angels of YHWH who tell Abraham’s concubine to return to an abusive situation with Abraham’s wife. There is this scene outside his camp where Abraham argues with YHWH, trying to convince him to save a sinful city. What’s more, YHWH seems to pop down to Abraham’s house for some mutton and conversation, seems to enjoy being with this guy who keeps making a mess of things.

We like to turn faith into an orderly procession from one idea to the next – some kind of step-by-step plan whereby we obtain righteousness. But the father of our faith, Abraham, did not follow this pattern. His life was a series of things we would not consider doing in our world – children with handmaidens, arguing with God, giving into his selfish wife, abandoning a child in the wilderness. But is there any doubt that God loved Abraham and walked with him?

This chaotic faith is something foreign to our modern world. We like straight lines and mathematical precision. We like things that advance us, whatever that means. Don’t we lose something in the symmetry and perfection of our modern world? I think we do. I can’t remember the last time YHWH dropped by my house for a snack. Can you?


1 thought on “Beautiful Chaos”

  1. Interesting thought – really made me think…

    Having more of a physical context, the OT is full of stories of divine manifestations, angels, crazy miracles, and the like. 

    When we look at the NT (specifically church age), we see those visitations and things subdued a bit.  Why?  Maybe the indwelling of the Holy Ghost has a part in that. Jesus wanted to get people to understand the importance of being spiritually minded rather than earthly minded. People had a hard time grasping spiritual concepts – people like Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman at the well, and Christ’s own disciples.

    When the Comforter comes, things are going to be a little different. You will have God with you during all of your snacks…and meals…and fasts…and triumphs…and failures…and…

    Now we have His word, and His teacher in us. Our struggles and arguments and the manifestations of these are still just as real as Abraham’s. We can look at our own lives and think of things that we have done (or thought or even prayed) that rank right up there. Type them up, bind them in black leather, let generations following read them, and suddenly Moses’ life (in comparison to ours – mine, at least) seems a whole lot neater and cleaner and straighter.

    A life compressed into a few chapters will most always look and feel uber chaotic. Why? God is not the author of confusion, and man loves to go in the way opposite of God. Man turns back to God, does his own thing, turns back again, goes on his own some more, back to God, back to self, and on and on. 

    There are patterns to follow – straight patterns (II Peter 1:58 for example) – but we don’t follow them perfectly.  There’s your chaos. Not designed by God, but created by man’s inability to obey Him. The fact that we can walk with Him and serve Him despite this chaos is just another testament to His awesome mercy and grace. 

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