'Week 1

Monday Reflection

30th November 2020

'the time of waiting'

'The LORD had said to Abram,
"Leave your country,
 your people
 and your father's household
 and go to the land I will show you.
 I will make you into
 a great nation
 and I will bless you;
 I will make your name great,
 and you will be a blessing." '

..... Genesis 12 1

Advent is a season when we,
as Christians,
celebrate the time
of waiting for and anticipating
the celebration of
Jesus' birth
as well as
His second coming.

Each of the four weeks
of Advent focusses on
a particular group
of people or individuals;
the Patriarchs,
the Prophets,
John the Baptist
and the Virgin Mary.

In more recent years
there have been added
other areas of focus;
hope, peace, joy and love.

In our first week of Advent,
we will look at the
Patriarchs and hope;
and they certainly needed
plenty of hope to sustain them.

Abraham, his son Isaac,
and Isaac's son Jacob,
(also named Israel,)
the ancestor of the Israelites,
are known collectively
as the patriarchs,
the first members of the
family who were to become
a nation
and the period in which
they lived is known as
the patriarchal age.

Abraham was born Abram,
son of Terah,
at the beginning of
the second millennium BC in Ur,
the capital of Mesopotamia,
at the height of its
splendour as a highly
developed ancient world.

According to Jewish tradition,
he was the son of an idol maker
and smashed all of his father's idols
- except one -
in a story that foreshadows
his devotion to one God.

Abram was in Haran at age 75
when he got the call from God
to leave his home and family
behind and follow God
into a strange land
that He would give him
(Genesis 12.1).
A move that was a complete
departure from everything
that had gone before
in the evolution of

He set out in hope,
without knowing where
he was going,
but confident that God
would guide him;
taking his wife,
his nephew, Lot,
and his possessions
with him.

Abram moved south into
the land of Canaan,
a land inhabited by a warrior
people called the Canaanites.

On the way,
he settled temporarily
in Shechem and Beth-el.

God told Abraham
his descendants would
inherit the Canaanite land

The stories about the Patriarchs,
in Genesis, portray them as very human,
fallible people.
They sin and go astray,
they argue with God
and act very foolishly.

But at the same time
they have an intense
and intimate
relationship with him;
again and again,
God reinforces
his promises to them.

along with his descendants
settled in the land of Canaan
and they became a nation;
they were chosen by God
for their initial obedience:
God gave them His Law
and built a long-lasting
relationship with them.

But their relationship with Him
had many ups and downs
throughout time,
as recounted in the Bible.

Sometimes they would betray God,
stray away
and go after other pagan deities,
suffering the consequences
of this sinful behaviour
every single time,
provoking God and bringing
His judgment on themselves.

During the course of this week,
we will look at the lives
of these great men in more detail.

Their story and relationship with God
is something
that we can learn from,
even today.

As God does not change,
nor does His Law;
and as believers
we can ground ourselves
in the principles
of God's Kingdom outlined,
for the first time,
in the Old Testament
that are the same yesterday,
today and forever.

Are we prepared to listen
to God's call
and step out in faith and hope,
ready to do his will?

At the start of Advent
can we commit ourselves
to actively seeking God's will?