Abraham: Doing Crazy Faith

Bavaria landscape

The LORD had said to Abram, “God from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” Genesis 12:1

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, who you love–Isaac–and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Genesis 22:2

As we continue to look at what faith is, we must look at Abraham. He is considered the father of faith.

When he comes on to the scene, it shows God coming to him and telling him to leave his land, father and inheritance to go somewhere God would lead him to. Abraham (at this point Abram), listened and obeyed God. He stepped out in faith to follow God’s leading.

Abraham had been raised up in the land of the Chaldeans in Ur. His father was probably and worshipper of a false god or some idol, not a follower of God. He had lived there most of his life. At the age of seventy-five years old, God appears to him and tells him to move away to an unknown area.

Elderly man

Think about this for a moment. There was no internet in those days. Abraham was not able to look up information on where to get housing. He was not able to call ahead and find a new job to transfer to. The new area was probably an area that speaks a different language.

Along with this move, he is leaving his father behind. He was no longer carrying on his father’s occupation or caring for his land. He was, in a sense, turning his back on his family, walking away from them.

Not only was this a new location to move to, but Abraham was not young anymore. He was seventy-five years old. Keep in mind this was after the flood and God had said that man’s days would be limited to about 120 years on this earth. Abraham was well over that half way point.

This was like a mid-life crisis. He had to change homes, countries, jobs, and family after being settled for many years. Yet, he stepped out in faith, trusting God’s word to him. God promised him land and families, though Abraham did not know how this would happen yet, nor the problems that would come about before it was fulfilled.

Boy stepping out

 

First point–Step out in faith.

God has a different path for each and every believer. Some things may be somewhat similar, but they are still different roads. One thing that God wants from everybody is for them to trust Him. That is what faith is.

Although radically changes are not an every day thing, they do occur within the life of a believer, or anyone else. As you walk with God, there will be times God will have you pack up and move out to something new, something you cannot see or really dream of.

Sometimes this can be a physical move from one place to another. Other times it can be a change in lifestyle, giving up something or changing your friends. It could also be a change of careers or work. Whatever the change is, it can be difficult, but it is what God wants you to do.

Usually these types of changes do not always make sense to the normal mind. It appears to be an insane change or a step towards suicide. Yet, God always makes a path towards a greater life.

Since Abraham had obeyed God, he was blessed with a nation from his family line. He was given land. Ultimately, Jesus brought salvation to the world through his lineage. All because of a step of radical faith.

When God calls you to do something, it is for a purpose. It is to make you better, make you His witness and to build His kingdom. So step out in faith to do what He is calling you to do. Trust that He knows what is best for you in this fallen world.

The other thing that Abraham had to face was when God asked him to sacrifice his son. This was the long promised desired son and only son that Abraham was called to sacrifice on an altar. It sounded like an insane thing to do. Why would God call him to sacrifice his promised son? What good could ever come from that? Isn’t God a God of life? Didn’t He command that no one is to kill anyone? Isn’t this going against what He had commanded?

God was not looking for the sacrifice at all. He really does not care about sacrifices. God is looking for obedience. To obey is better than sacrifice, yet God called for a sacrifice.

When God asked him to sacrifice his son, Abraham immediately obeyed. The bible does not say he questioned God or had to pray about it for days/weeks to make a decision to whether he heard God or not. He knew that he had heard God and so he immediately obeyed Him.

Since Abraham had obeyed without any question, God provided an alternative to sacrificing his son. He provided a ram to be sacrificed instead of his son. God knew then that Abraham would obey no matter what God asked of him.

Abraham and Isaac

 

Point two–Obey immediately in faith. 

There are times that God still asks people to do something extremely radical and crazy. Some of those things will even appear to go against what God has previously said to do or not to do. You must know that it is God who is speaking and guiding you.

In order to know it is God speaking, you must be in constant communication with Him. You must know His voice and what He has to say. You must know His character. In order to know these things, you have to stay immersed in the Bible and in prayer.

Every time you open and read some of the Bible, you are finding out something about God. You are learning who He is, how He is and what He does. As you spend time in prayer, communicating with Him, you are learning to hear His voice. Once you know His voice, you will know when He speaks or when it is something false.

As soon as God speaks something, you must step out an act upon it. This is obedience. Obeying God immediately every time. It is not questioning God or doubting self, it is trusting God–faith. It is knowing God and knowing you can trust him.

I doubt that God will call you to physically sacrifice your son, since Jesus became the sacrifice for all. However, He will call you to sacrifice other things in your life that it is not needed. He will also put a test in front of you to see if you will fully obey Him or not. This can be found in sacrificing something that is not bad, but is dear to your heart–your treasured possession.

It is at this point that faith steps in. It is trusting God and having faith in Him that what He is asking you to do is in the best interests of you, others and His kingdom for His glory and honor.

Faith will obey immediately without questioning. It will not to try and find an excuse not to do something, but will find a way to do it.

No Fear

As I close out this talk on faith, using Abraham as an example, learn from Abraham. Learn what it means to step out in faith immediately. Learn what it means to obey immediately in faith. God will not let you down, but will carry you through whatever is ahead of you in this life and the life to come.

Do not fear, but live and act in His love for you. God is there for you and will not forsake you or steer you wrong. Be full of faith as you step out and obey God in every area of your life.

Genesis 23:16 Being Generous

Autumn landscape

Abraham agreed to Ephron’s terms and weighed out for him the price he had named in the hearing of the Hittites: four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weight current among the merchants. Genesis 23:16

People are always striving to pay the least amount that they can for whatever they purchase. They fight hard to get the price lower or even free. While it is wisdom to pay a good price for a service or object, it can become stingy or greedy to pay less than a fair price or what it is really worth.

Christians are often very stingy with their money among other believers. Each one expects the other to donate their service or their goods, because they are both believers. They expect the one doing the work or giving the goods to be the generous one. If the person does not donate his time or goods, many believers are offended and go to someone else, or talk bad about him.

As Abraham had been traveling, his wife, Sarah, had passed away. Since he was in a foreign land, he had to purchase some land to bury her. He went to a man named Ephron to buy some land. Ephron wanted to give him the land at no cost, yet, Abraham insisted upon paying full price, and finally paid full price for the land. Abraham was the one being generous and refused to take something without paying the right price.

There may be times you are being given a service from another believer. Instead of just expecting it for free, offer what is a good price for the service. There may be times the person wants to donate the service or object, but do not expect it. Be generous in what you have and pay the right price. This is blessing the other person.

Think about what God has blessed you with. God is generous with you in what He gives you. God has provided the price for your sins, death on a cross. Yet, He does not charge you for it, He is generous to you. Pass that generosity on. God will provide more than all that you need.

Be the one who is a blessing to another person by being generous with your money, services or goods, but do not expect it from others. If someone is generous, you may accept, but do not expect it.

I pray today that you will know what God has given you; that you will be generous to others as God was to you; that you give as God has given to you; and that you will know God’s provision for your own life. 

 

Genesis 20:14-15 God Gives Favor With Others

“Then Abimelek brought sheep and cattle and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham, and he returned Sarah his wife to him. And Abimelek said, My land is before you; live wherever you like.” Genesis 20:14-15

As Abraham had moved into the region of the Negev he feared King Abimelek. He feared the king would like his wife enough to have him killed and take her to be his wife. Abraham chooses to twist the words a little and state that Sarah was his sister. When he does this, Abimelek takes Sarah to be with him. God stops him and warns him not to touch her.

After talking with Abraham about it, he gives Sarah back. The king then offers Abraham many animals, slaves, and the land. Abraham had received great favor with the man he feared.

In life many people fear other people. This is especially true of people who are in powerful positions and do not like the Christian belief. Many Christians fear what can be done to them.

In being afraid, many will take the situation into their own hands and try to work things out. They do not give God a chance to work through them. Often believers do not even give the non-believer a chance to believe in God.

Abraham was afraid of King Abimelek, and rightfully so, because the king did have the legal power to do what he wanted to. However, God is greater than the king. He can overrule the king’s desires. God also has the ability to touch the king’s life and change him. When God stepped into the picture, the king changed his ways.

As you are facing what appears to be a bad situation, what are you looking at? Or who are you looking at?

If you keep your focus on God and what He can do, it will relieve your fears. Stand back and allow God to work in the lives of others. See what God can do in your situation.

As with Abraham, God can give you favor with other people who do not seem to ever want to give you favor.

If you have God’s favor, you have all that you need, He will provide everything else.

I pray today that you will not fear what other people can do to you; that God will reveal His power to you; that you will have God’s favor on your life; that God will give you His favor with other people; and that you will be a light of who Jesus is.

Genesis 18:32 A Heart For People

“Then he said, May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there? He answered, For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.” Genesis 18:32

God had come down to meet with Abraham. After telling him that he would have a child, He revealed that He was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. These are the cities where his nephew Lot lived. Abraham called on God’s grace and mercy to save the people.

He starts off asking if God would destroy the city if fifty people could be found. Then Abraham keeps lowering that number down to a final number of ten people. Each time God agrees that if that number of people could be found who follow Him, He would not destroy the cities.

This shows the love and mercy of Abraham. These cities were full of extreme corruption and sin that it would have been easy to justify destroying the cities without question. In fact, God was already set to destroy those cities, and He is full of mercy and grace.

Looking around you can see places of extreme sin. It is easy to want to call judgment down upon them and allow God to destroy those places. Many Christians pray for God to destroy sinful cities, countries, and areas. They want to see sinners killed off or put away. However, Jesus did come to destroy, but to save.

When you see these places what does your heart feel? Is it anger against them, wanting to call down judgment on them?

Or is it compassion for their lost souls? People living in sin usually do not know anything different. It is what they were raised to do.

Your prayer should be that God would have mercy on them. You should be seeking God to find ways to be a light to them. Seek ways to show them who Jesus is. Pray that Jesus would be revealed to them, before it is too late and God destroys them. Do not just bring condemnation down on them. Have the heart that Abraham did.

I pray today that you will see people as God sees them; that you will have the love for all people as Jesus does; that you will seek ways to bring the gospel message to all people; that you will have love and compassion for all people; and that you will have the heart of Jesus in your heart.

Genesis 18:14 Is Anything To Hard For God?

“Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Genesis 18:14

Abraham and Sarah had grown old together without Sarah ever having her own child. It was their dream to have their own child. Years before God had promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations, yet this did not seem to happen.

When Abraham was ninety-nine and his wife was ninety, the Lord comes to them and tells them they will have a child the next year. Sarah laughs because she knows how old she is and is past the age of having children. It is something impossible. The Lord asks the question of whether anything is too hard for God to do.

Many people overcome some major obstacles in their lives to accomplish some great things. However, there are some things that cannot be overcome by anyone. So far, no one has completely overcome death. No one has ever been able to walk through a wall without destroying the wall.

Life is full of challenges. Some you will be able to get through on your own, others will require God’s help. Jesus beat death and did walk through a wall.

God may give you a promise about something in your life. Looking at your life it may look like an impossibility. Yet, with God all things are possible. With Sarah, at her age, having a child was an impossibility, but with God it was possible, and she did have a child.

Do not look at the impossibility or the roadblocks on the way to something God has called you too. Look at how big God is and how powerful He is. As many reasons you may come up with as to why something cannot happen, God has many more reasons why He can make it happen.

Ask yourself today, ‘Is anything to hard for the Lord’?

Trust Him today and see what He can do.

I pray today that God will reveal His power to you; that you will know that God can do anything; that you will trust what God has promised you will happen; and that you will not doubt God in anything.

Genesis 17:5 A New Name

“No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.” Genesis 17:5

Abram had only one child at this point, and that was through his wife’s maid, Hagar. Ishmael was not a full child by birth of Abram and Sarai. Yet, God changes Abram’s name to Abraham. This name means “father of many nations”.

God had changed Abram’s name before the event fully happened. He had called Abram to be separate and to become a father to many nations, so He had given him the name that would mean that.

In the Bible, and especially in the Old Testament, names usually carried a lot of meaning for the person. There are some countries today where the name still carries meaning for a person. In the USA it is not as common. Here it is titles that carry meaning for a person. When a person has a title, it reveals who they are or what they can do.

As a believer you have also had a name change. Once you started following Jesus, you are called “a child of God”. Prior to that you were a child of the devil. You are also called a disciple and a friend of Jesus. Every believer is also called to be an evangelist–a witness, and to be a light in this dark world.

When God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, he had to live up to that name. He had to become the father of many nations. He was not able to do it on his own, but through God’s power and provision, he could do it.

What name has God called you today?

Are you living up to that name?

Or are you staying with your old self and the old name you had?

God has something greater in store for you than what this world has to offer. Your parents may mean very well in your upbringing, but God has something even better for you. Seek what God has for you. Embrace it and live in it today.

I pray today that you will know the name God is calling you; that you will know the purpose God has for you; that you will live up to the name God has called you; and that God will strengthen and guide you in the path He has for your life.

Hebrews 6:18 Our Security

“God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.” Hebrews 6:18

What is “this” that God did? He gave a promise. In the verses before this it talks of how God promised heirs to Abraham. Abraham had to wait many years before this was to take place, but it did happen as God had promised.

God’s promise was also made in His own name because He is the greatest and there is no one greater than Himself. When a person does an oath, he must take it in the name of someone greater than himself to make it hold. Thus God’s promise was made and is secure because He cannot lie or deny Himself in any way.

What promises does God give us today? That He forgives us; that He will save us; that He will meet all of our needs; that He will make us more like Jesus everyday; that He will never harm us; that He will never leave us; that He will never disown us; and that He will be faithful. These are just a few of the promises God has made to every believer no matter where you are in life. God also makes other promises to individuals like He did to Abraham. God did not promise every believer that they would have descendants as numerous as the sky, but each believer is given individual promises.

Only you can know what God has promised you. Hold on to that promise. God promised He would meet your every need if we follow and trust Him with everything in you. Are you serving God with all that is in you? Are you giving Him everything in your life? If you are than that promise is there for you. You may not understand how or when God will meet the need, but you can rest assured that the need will be met in the best way possible. If you are not giving Him everything in your life and trusting Him with everything in your life, these promises will not be for you.

I pray that today God will help you to trust Him with everything in your life; that God will reveal to you all the promises He has for you; that God will give you the strength to wait upon Him for all His promises to be fulfilled; and that each time a promise is fulfilled you will see it, know it and glorify God in it.