The book of Genesis records the first several thousand years of human history and provides the names of hundreds of people. Yet only for certain individuals does the narrative expand to give more than the bare details. These are the heroes of faith, ones worthy of entry in the annals of Hebrews 11.
Among these, Abraham stands out as particularly significant. Almost as soon as we meet him, he is leaving all that he knows in Ur of the Chaldees and heading for an unknown place on the other side of the desert—simply because God told him to.
We are quickly drawn into the contours of this captivating drama. We marvel at the magnitude of God’s promises to His servant and friend. We cringe as Abraham attempts to fulfill the promise through Hagar. We enter into Sarah’s joy as she bears Isaac. We are stunned as God commands Abraham to sacrifice this child of promise, then rejoice when God provides another sacrifice.
It’s a powerful story with any number of lessons to learn. As Paul explains in Romans 4, Abraham is the premier Old Testament example of how God has always saved sinners—by grace through faith. But as well explained by Kevin Bauder and Doug McLachlan, the New Testament shows that the story of Abraham is about so much more than Abraham.
In retelling the story of Abraham through music, Josh Bauder has captured the drama of the story—the battle of the kings in Genesis 14, Abraham’s growing faith, the tension between Sarah and Hagar, the climactic moment on Mt. Moriah. It’s an exciting tale with music to match. But what does it all mean?
In his oratorio, Josh has helped us see with the eyes of faith that Abraham had (Heb 11:8-16). For this reason, the movement “One New Man,” coming almost at the end, may be the most significant section of the oratorio. It is here that Josh tells us what the story is really about.
Here the narration and music tie together what the New Testament teaches about the true significance of Abraham. The life of Abraham shows us how and why God justifies sinners. In other words, the story of Abraham shows us the gospel (Gal 3:7-9). The old divisions, even the seemingly irreconcilable one between the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael, are done away with in Christ. Pay careful attention to who sings what in this movement. One of the moving moments comes when Sarah and Hagar sing, “For He Himself is our peace, who has made us both one,” ending on a unison pitch.
It is just before this duet line that in the narration we for the first time hear the proper name of the real Subject of the story—Jesus. And then we understand that it was really Jesus all along whom we were to see in this story. Jesus is the true Priest-King of Salem. He is the Child of promise, the ultimate Seed of Abraham. And He is the Son whose life was not spared because He is the Lamb. Thus Isaac sings, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Who better than Isaac to know the dual meaning of this statement?
If you own a copy of the recording, go back and listen to “One New Man.” If you do not yet, you can purchase it through the Deo Cantamus website. As you listen, marvel at the truth contained here. Respect this hero of faith, but worship his descendant Jesus Christ, because this story is ultimately about Him.
“That He might create in Himself one new man in the place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross.”