There is a pattern that is discernable within the callings of the people of faith in the Bible…starting with Abraham’s detailed and highly specific life-script…all the way through to the calling and ministry of the apostle Paul…that authenticates the divine origin of the biblical narrative stories of faith…but at the same time also provides inspirational guidance as to what Christians today should expect in their callings and mission-plans from God.
Like the information that is contained within the seed that grows into an apple, orange, or fig tree…God as our Creator knows exactly the precise information He has placed within each and every human being.
The analogy that Jesus uses in John 12:24 above…of a seed first having to die in the ground in order to emerge as a tree or plant…as applied to the people of faith in the biblical narrative stories of faith…reveals to us over the long expanse of human redemptive history…different types of people, callings, and missions that match the in-built personalities, capabilities, and characteristics of each specific person…like the seeds for apple, orange, or avocado trees.
Like the farmer recognizing and knowing the type of seed they are planting…God knows what He has placed within us…to be able to enter successfully into an adventure of faith…and to fulfill our unique and singular missions…with His assistance along the way.
One question that is crucial here…is how does the apple tree know when it is time to stop growing…and begin to produce fruit…to produce apples?
This information is contained initially in the apple seed, and then in the individual cells of the apple tree.
The same is true for the born-again Christian today…no matter what is our calling and circumstances.
One thing that pleases God…according to Hebrews 11:6 cited above…is to be able to match-up the innate, in-built capacities He has created within us…with a God-composed life-script actualized within the events and circumstances of this present world…for our benefit and for the benefit of other people…through a relationship of mutual trust and faith.
This dynamic of an adventure of faith…is designed by God to last and to endure for eternity.
This insight of John 12:24-25…universal within every biblical narrative story of faith…is so deep…it eludes all naturalistic explanations for its origin in the marketplace of ideas…and completely surpasses the reach of the worldly conventionality of humanistic literary imagination.
This concept is found…in all of literature…exclusively only in the Bible…actualized in the innovative idea of our ways dying on our individual crosses…designed specifically to match our created abilities and desires-of-the-heart…alongside Jesus on His cross (Mk. 8:34-35)…God displacing our self-directed ways with His higher ways and thoughts…within a God-composed journey of faith life-script…brilliantly replacing self-sovereignty with God-sovereignty…which only God could do.
Let’s look at a few biblical examples for illustration.
I do not think it would be a stretch to infer from the life-script of God’s calling of Abraham…to confidently say that the desire to produce a family was a high-priority in the information-package divinely created within the “seed” that describes the person and life of Abraham.
Abraham has everything…wealth, possessions, servants, and a beautiful wife he loves…but he does not have a family upon arrival in Canaan.
At the very center of the God-composed life-script for Abraham is a promise of descendants as numerous as the dust of the earth…pinpointing at the outset of his calling…a divinely created, in-built desire-of-the-heart for Abraham…that is accurately utilized by God in fashioning Abraham to become…over time…and through a series of divinely crafted events…the “father of faith.”
Yet this same created, innate desire for a normal family-life also produces the context for the problem with Sarah, Hagar, and Ishmael…and later on sets-up the supreme challenge of faith for Abraham on Mount Moriah…that may be the most difficult test that any human being has ever been asked of God to face…other than Jesus Christ as the Passover Lamb of God in a human body…taking upon Himself the sins of the world…on the cross at Calvary.
In other words…God not only crafted the life-script adventure of faith for Abraham…but God as Creator placed within Abraham the unique information-content…the capacity to take this adventure of faith…according to God’s script and on His terms…all the way to a successful conclusion (Heb. 11:17-19; Rom. 4:3).
What makes the biblical narrative stories of faith so extraordinary as to validate their divine origin…starting with Abraham…is that Abraham’s own ability to produce children of promise through Sarah…needed to fall into the ground to die like a seed…in order to rise up as a supernaturally endowed and beneficial life-story…that rises far above the worldly conventionality of self-produced outcomes through autonomous individualism (Gen. 17:15-19).
It would appear from the biblical narrative stories of faith…that the big-picture objective…is worldly unconventional to the core.
The big-picture objective gleaned from the biblical narrative stories of faith examples…is not to validate our worth and value according to self-reliant self-achievement (Mk. 8:36)…using our created talents and abilities…apart from God…but instead to validate an entirely different objective.
That entirely different objective is to create the unique contexts for biblical faith to actualize into personal relationships between people and God…at the height of our created purpose and destiny.
Can Abraham produce children…on his own…within worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…without God’s divine intervention…outside of the promises of God?
The answer is yes.
After the death of Sarah, Abraham took another wife…Keturah…who gave birth to Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.
We should not forget that Abraham produced Ishmael…his first son…through Hagar (Gen. 16:15).
But we do know…from scripture (Gen. 17:19)…that Abraham cannot produce Isaac the son of promise…outside of Sarah.
The three men that visited Abraham and Sarah in the plains of Mamre…recorded in Genesis chapter 18…the leader being called Lord by Abraham (I believe this was Jesus the Son of God)…confirms for us that in this critical opening scenario…introducing the biblical narrative stories of faith…this worldly unconventional and innovative component of God validates His divine participation in the affairs of mankind…clearly front-and-center…again for the highest imaginable reasons.
The life-story of Abraham does not validate the fact that Abraham is capable of producing a large and happy family-life on his own…according to conventional thinking…but instead that God can create the new reality of biblical faith as defined in Hebrews 11:1…having a gap in time between the initial calling of Abraham with God’s promise of descendants as numerous as the dust of the earth…and the fulfillment of this promise coming years later…that forms the context for this biblical faith to actualize into real human life experience.
Does the life-story of Abraham match the analogy that Jesus presents of a seed falling into the ground to die…rising up to produce much fruit?
Does the deferment…the postponement…of the birth of Isaac the son of promise…represent God dangling the desire-of-the-heart out of the reach of Abraham and Sarah for a period of time…for a capricious and ill-intentioned motive…or does utilizing this innately created characteristic in Abraham instead produce the unique context for biblical faith to actualize…to rise-up out of the ground to become a supernaturally created…fruit-bearing tree?
Does this concept…starting with Abraham…reside at the pinnacle of moral reasoning…at the very peak of importance…in the long expanse of human redemptive history?