Our world overflows with chaos and confusion, with enticing and alluring evil, with brokenness and bitterness. Gone are the innocent and simple days of Mayberry and “Leave it to Beaver.” In one short generation our world has been transformed. As if someone flipped the switch, our world has gone from light to dark.
History has repeated itself.
God led Joshua’s generation as they crossed the Jordan River on dry land. The Israelites saw the walls of Jericho crumple and the Canaanites defeated. But “after them another generation rose up who did not know the Lord or the works he had done for Israel. The Israelites did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. They worshiped the Baals and abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed other gods from the surrounding peoples and bowed down to them” (Judges 2:10–12).
That’s not the first Biblical example.
“When the Lord saw that human wickedness was widespread on the earth and that every inclination of the human mind was nothing but evil all the time… he was deeply grieved” (Genesis 6:5–6) “but Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8, NKJV).
You know the story. When sin-filled men rampaged and rioted, God sent the flood. He wiped the slate clean! He started over with Noah and his family. But again, how quickly they forgot.
Sinfully single-minded, selfish, and self-centered mankind said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky. Let’s make a name for ourselves” (Genesis 11:4). They didn’t need God! They didn’t ask His opinion and they didn’t seek His glory.
In the short span of a few years, while Noah was probably still alive, a man named Terah fathered a child named Abram (Genesis 11:24-32). They “lived beyond the Euphrates River and worshiped other gods” (Joshua 24:2). They were godless pagans! So, how and why did God choose Abram? Did God throw a dart at the map? There can be only one explanation. There is no other.
“The Lord said to Abram: Go from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:1–3).
Abram/Abraham didn’t earn God’s great grace. It was unmerited, undeserved, and unwarranted. Abraham simply responded to God’s invitation. “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and set out for a place that he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out, even though he did not know where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8).
Even when Abraham repeatedly sinned against his wife and against God (Genesis 12:10-16; 20:1-16), God’s grace was sufficient. Years later, Abraham, the father of the Hebrew nation, was remembered as a “friend” of God, a “friend forever!” (2 Chronicles 20:7, NKJV).
Abraham wasn’t good enough in the beginning, nor did he stay good enough in the end. Similarly, none of us are good enough to earn salvation, nor can we maintain adequate goodness to sustain our salvation. It’s grace in the beginning, and it’s grace to the end!