What God admires most of all

It’s quite obvious in our culture what qualities we admire most. “Our granddaughter is as sharp as a whip, there’s no fooling her,” a proud grandparent says, making it very clear that brainpower and talent are the qualities most to be admired. Or if the child is a boy it’s his spirited “never give up” attitude, his fierce independence, and even his stubbornness that are looked upon as signs of strength. The children most admired are those with beauty and brains, looks and personality, self-confidence and self-assuredness, inner strength and toughness, and a feisty “I can take care of myself, thank you very much.”

How interesting, then, that none of those qualities are mentioned as traits that God admired in Abraham. And yet Abraham was the man God chose to be “our father” (Romans 4:1, 16). It was through Abraham that God got the ball rolling as far as the gospel, the lineage of Christ, the existence of Israel, the promise of a new age coming in which all nations will be blessed, and the possibility of our inclusion in those promises right now. All through Abraham.

Those are quite the credentials for one man. You’d think, therefore, that God would be looking for a man like King David, for instance, a man after God’s own heart. And what about Noah, “blameless among the people of his time” (Genesis 7:9), an amazing compliment knowing what Noah was up against. Or what about Job, about whom God said, “There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8). But God didn’t choose David, Noah or Job, and none of their qualities did he seek in Abraham either. And yet Abraham was the first person in history to be called God’s “Friend” (Isaiah 41:8).

Imagine being called God’s Friend. But it didn’t take much on Abraham’s part. All he did was have the simple faith of a child who believes his Dad has the power to do anything (Romans 4:20-21). That’s what Abraham had, a child’s trust. So when God told Abraham to do something he did it. He didn’t question God like Job did, or mutter at God like David did in Psalms. Abraham simply believed God was good to his word, and that was it.

“Understand, then,” Paul writes in Galatians 3:7, “that those who believe are children of Abraham.” Those who share the childlike trust of Abraham also share in all that God promised him. God didn’t complicate things. He made it easy:  “Consider Abraham,” verse 6, because what God admires most in his children is their childlike trust in him.