11 The Lord said:
I will punish Edom
for countless crimes,
and I won’t change my mind.
They killed their own relatives[s]
and were so terribly furious
that they showed no mercy.
12 Now I will send fire to wipe out
54 Jesus was arrested and led away to the house of the high priest, while Peter followed at a distance. 55 Some people built a fire in the middle of the courtyard and were sitting around it. Peter sat there with them, 56 and a servant girl saw him. Then after she had looked at him carefully, she said, “This man was with Jesus!”
57 Peter said, “Woman, I don’t even know that man!”
58 A little later someone else saw Peter and said, “You are one of them!”
“No, I’m not!” Peter replied.
Abraham is the source of the three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. He is the ancestor of the Jewish people; for Christians he is the father of faith (romans 4.1-3); in Islam he set up the Kaaba in Mecca and is the father of the Arab people through Ishmael. Abraham is renowned as the first monotheist, who came to the truth of the one God despite growing up in an idol-maker’s household. Then he left home at God’s command and obediently followed to an unknown land. He put his life and his future in God’s hands, trusting that he would provide. Though sojourning as a stranger among the peoples of Canaan, he showed remarkable compassion for them, particularly when he interceded for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Father Moon teaches that God entrusted his entire providence to Abraham, and looked to him as a partner to make the conditions on earth needed to advance the work of salvation. Therefore, every act, every offering, every prayer of Abraham was fraught with significance. When Abraham did well, as when he left home at God’s command without hesitation, God’s providence advanced. When Abraham made a mistake, as when he failed to cut the birds in two at the important sacrifice described in Genesis chapter 15, God’s providence was set back and prolonged. When there was a quarrel in Abraham’s family, as between Sarah and Hagar, it created a negative condition for enmity between Jews and Arabs that has persisted to this day.
Abraham passed through many trials in his walk of faith. The culmination of these, when God asked him to sacrifice his son, is treated in the next section.
1. Abraham: A Man of Absolute Faith
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. 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. I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves.”
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions which they had gathered, and the persons that they had gotten in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. Genesis 12.1-5
We gave Abraham of old his proper course, for We were aware of him, when he said to his father and his people, “What are these images to which you pay devotion?” They said, “We found our fathers worshippers of them.” He said, “Truly you and your fathers were in plain error.” They said, “Do you bring us the truth, or are you some jester?” He said, “No, but your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, who created them; and I am of those who testify to that. And, by God, I shall circumvent your idols after you have gone away and turned your backs.” Then he reduced them to fragments, all save the chief of them, that perhaps they might have recourse to it.
They said, “Who has done this to our gods? Surely it must be some evildoer.” [Others] said, “We heard a youth make mention of them, one called Abraham.” They said, “Bring him here before the people’s eyes that they may testify.” They said, “Are you the one who has done this to our gods, Abraham?” He said, “No, their chief has done it. So question them, if they can speak.” Then they gathered apart and said, “You yourselves are the wrongdoers,” and they were utterly confounded. Then they said [to Abraham], “You know well that they do not speak.” He said, “Do you worship instead of God that which cannot profit you at all, nor harm you? Fie on you and all that you worship instead of God! Have you then no sense?”
They said, “Burn him and stand by your gods, if you will!” We said, “O fire, be coolness and peace for Abraham!” They wished to set a snare for him, but We made them the greater losers. And We rescued him and Lot, and brought them to the land that We have blessed for all peoples.
The word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord god, what wilt thou give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, thou hast given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness. Genesis 15.1-6
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
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