1 Now the Lord said to Abram,
“Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
2 And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
3 And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

In March of 2019, actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman were among 50 people charged in connection with a college entrance exam cheating scheme. The scam sought to gain students admittance to elite universities throughout the United States. According to NBC News, “Authorities said the FBI investigation, code-named Operation Varsity Blues, uncovered a network of wealthy parents who paid thousands of dollars to a California man who boosted their children's chances of gaining entrance into elite colleges, such as Yale and Stanford, by paying people to take tests for their children, bribing test administrators to allow that to happen, and bribing college coaches to identify the applicants as athletes.”

The heart of this scheme was an attempt to gain the benefits of hard work and academic integrity while bypassing the proper means by which these things are gained. At the beginning of this week, we looked at the account of the Tower of Babel. Similar to this news story, the people who purposed to build the tower to heaven sought to gain the benefits of a relationship with God while bypassing the proper means by which this connection is gained.

However, despite their failed attempts to shortcut God’s ways to reach God’s glory, God did not leave mankind without hope. In Genesis 12, God made a promise to Abram that He would bring about the things that those at Babel sought to gain, but He would do so by His means. God promised Abram that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through Him. Ultimately, this promise of God pointed forward to the coming of Jesus, the One by whom we have access to God the Father.

As we have discussed this week, it is still common today to seek to shortcut God’s means while seeking God’s benefits. We are called to follow God’s ways and also point others to the better way of submitting our lives before God rather than seeking to reach Him by our own ways. The overwhelmingly good news is that God has not held Himself back from those who seek Him, but has come in the form of man, that we might have a way to Him.

• Where have you sought to shortcut God’s means while seeking God’s blessings?

• Where have experienced the benefit of following God’s ways even when it meant slowing down and pursuing God in a different way than you desired?

• Thank God that He has given us the best way to live before Him and also the means to be restored to a relationship with Him through Jesus.

[1] "TV Actresses among 50 People Charged in College Exam Cheating Plot." NBCNews.com. Accessed March 13, 2019. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/feds-uncover-massive-college-entrance-exam-cheating-plot-n982136.