Lekh Lekha
For the week of November 5, 2011 / 8 Heshvan 5772
Torah: Bereshit / Genesis 12:1 - 17:27
Haftarah: Isaiah 40:27 - 41:16


How Blind Is Your Leap?

And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. (Bereshit / Genesis 15:6; ESV)

One of the most important issues in the Bible is how one finds acceptance with God. For some Jews and Christians, acceptance with God is assumed based on ethnicity or religious affiliation. Many Jewish people think that by virtue of being born Jewish they are in good stead with God. Whether it is due to our forefathers' own special relationship with God or the gift of the Torah through Moses, our relationship with God is inherited.

Many Christians have a similar view, thinking that eternal life can be attained through affiliation with the right church by baptism and/or membership.

However popular these views may be, they have no biblical basis. Neither birth nor affiliation has any bearing on establishing or maintaining a right relationship with God. As we see modeled in the lives of people such as Abraham, it was their faith that connected them with the Master of the Universe. As so well said by the writer of the New Covenant book of Hebrews:

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11:6; ESV).

Right relationship with God demands first and foremost an acceptance and understanding of his existence. The performance of religious rituals is completely useless unless we first believe God - the true God - the God of Israel - exists. But that's not all. Real relationship with God depends on an awareness that God responds to our lives. He is not a concept, but a living being who "rewards those who seek him."

Besides realizing the necessity for this kind of faith, it is essential to understand what true faith is. Faith, especially faith in God, is often misrepresented as a blind leap into the unknown. While there are aspects of faith that include the unknown, true faith in God has far more to do with what is knowable than the unknowable. Having a vital relationship with God is not about throwing away our minds and going against our understanding. Rather it is committing ourselves to a view of life based on clear evidence of the truth and reality of God.

When children are taught correct life truths by their parents, they may have limited knowledge about those things, but their faith in their parents will benefit them regardless. For example we don't require in-depth knowledge of electric stoves in order to effectively learn how to prevent ourselves from getting burned. Trusting the wisdom of elders is not blind faith. The natural faith of children in their parents demonstrates that we are designed to learn the realities of life from others without having to first come to some elusive full understanding of this or that. Most of our technological advances have developed due to this principle. Scientists and engineers have no need to rediscover every formula from scratch before embarking on new inventions.

I am aware that having faith in our elders can be problematic, since they are not always right. But this problem helps to serve my point. Blind faith is not able to discern when the things we trust are wrong. Blind faith overlooks abuse, ignorance, and falsehood. True faith depends on reality. While it doesn't require complete and thorough knowledge, it must be based on what really is.

The evidence of design in creation, the accuracy of biblical prophecy, the reliability of the text of Scripture, the emergence of the church, the preservation and the restoration of Israel, and the testimony of believers are examples of the overwhelming evidence for the reality and reliability of the God of Israel as he is revealed in the Bible and for the fulfillment of the Scriptures through Yeshua the Messiah.

Deciding to trust in God through Yeshua is a most reasonable act based on clear, tried and true evidence. Are there elements of the unknown involved? - absolutely! - just as there is in anything in life. But blind? Far from it! There are few life decisions you will ever make that will be based on better evidence than this. And the result? Right relationship with God.

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