Father Abraham

“Father Abraham had many sons, Many sons had Father Abraham; I am one of them, and so are you, So let’s just praise the Lord.”

That’s the beginning of a silly little song that kids love to sing. As the song progresses they are raising a right hand, a left foot, turning around, and sitting down. I guess I never thought about the implications of the song…until I read that Muslims, Jews and Christians were all singing it together at an interfaith gathering in Springfield.

I’m sure you’re aware that all three faiths claim Abraham as their spiritual father. You may not know that Baha’is do so as well. That makes four major religions all claiming a connection to Abraham, a connection that many would suggest minimizes the difference between world religions, and gives them equal validity.

The Jewish claim is, of course, without question. The Muslim claim is based on the fact that Arab nations descended from Abraham and Hagar, and the Baha’is claim descent from Abraham and Keturah.

In Genesis we do discover that Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael into the desert, and that the sons of Ishmael settled to the south of Canaan all the way to the border of Egypt. He later sent the sons of Keturah and his concubines to the land of the east. Islam originated in Arab lands in the 7th century, and Baha’i in Persia in the 19th. It seems to me that their identity as sons of Abraham has more to do with the ethnicity of the founder than commonality of faith.

In Romans and Galatians Paul makes it clear that we become children of Abraham by sharing the faith of Abraham, and we become heirs of promise through Jesus, the seed of Abraham. And that the only way various people groups can become one is by becoming one in Christ Jesus.

In Genesis 25:18 the NIV notes that the sons of Ishmael lived in hostility toward all their brothers. Sadly much of that hostility remains today, and it won’t go away by simply singing a silly little song together. It will only go away when all acknowledge Jesus as Lord, and the Prince of Peace.

God Bless, Rick

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