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.

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2 Kings 18:6 No Stopping

jogging on a road

He held fast to the LORD and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses. 2 Kings 18:6 

As people are moving forward with something, there will come a lot of opposition and challenges. It can become easy to throw in the towel and give up. Or it can be easy to get distracted on the way and change paths.

It is very common for a person to begin something, but then to shortly give it up for something else or because it is too difficult. Those who continue to press on are the ones who become successful. Very few people become successful without a lot of struggle and dedication. Beginning well is easy, but finishing well is a challenge.

Hezekiah had become king of Judah and immediately he went through the nation and had all the high places to the false gods torn down. He focused on serving God and obeying all of His commands. He chose to hold fast to God and refuse to stop.

Starting to following God is not a difficult thing to do for most people. However, continuing to follow Him and obey Him may be a challenge. It challenge one’s belief and trust in God. It challenges his focus on serving God.

As soon as one begins to follow God, the world will strive to stop the following. Things will attempt to get in the way and distract the person from God and His commands. Reasons to not obey will constantly pop up.

The believer must hold on fast to God and not give up. He must hold on to God as though he were holding on to a rope that his life depended upon, because his life does depend upon God. One cannot save his life, but once saved he needs to honor God with his life by obedience.

At some point in your life, you have chosen to follow God and obey Him. The world will do what it can to distract you and turn you away from God and obeying Him. Do not allow yourself to get distracted and disobey God’s commands to you. Hold fast onto God.

Know that God has the best plans for you. The world has plans to destroy you in the end. As you are holding fast to God, He is holding fast to you. God will not allow you to be destroyed. Don’t stop holding on to God.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will be dedicated to serving God; that you will know what God wants of you; and that you will not stop obeying God. 

1 Kings 13:21 Completely Follow God

Forest road

He cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, “This is what the LORD says: ‘You have defied the word of the LORD and have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you.'” 1 Kings 13:21 

Obeying the rules is something that a lot of people claim that they do. However, many of those same people do not always follow the rules. There are times that they break the rules, sometimes on accident, but often on purpose. They choose not to obey for personal, selfish reasons.

At times when they choose to not follow the rules, they will give excuses as to why they didn’t follow them. Or they ignore the truth of what they did.

There was a man of God from Judah who had received a message from God to give to King Jeroboam. He was to deliver the message and  immediately return home and not stop anywhere else. He did give the message and began to head home. As he was going home, another prophet came to him, telling him a lie that God said to come eat with him. The man from Judah goes.

Immediately upon eating, the prophet tells him that he did not obey God, but did what he was told not to do. The man from Judah was led astray from God by a false prophet.

Many believers are told by God as to what they need to do. As they are in the process, other believers or false believers, will encourage them to change directions. Then some believers will choose to stop doing what they were told by God to do, in order to follow another believer or false believer. As with the man from Judah, many believers defy the word of God.

When God tells you something that you need to do, you must do it. Keep your focus on what God has told you. God does not change His mind or change directions like many in the world will do.

Not everyone will understand what God has told you to do, but you must keep doing it. There will be some believers who will attempt to change your path or direction, even in the name of God. Do not allow other believers to lead you astray from doing what God has told you to do.

God will speak and guide you directly Himself, if you allow Him too. Don’t change the course God has you on. Keep following Him.

I pray today that you will know what God wants you to do; that you will stay focused on what God tells you to do; that God will open your eyes to false prophets; and that God will strengthen you to make the right choices. 

1 Kings 11:9 Making God Angry

Highway into sunset

The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 1 Kings 11:9 

Starting out great is something that is easy to do, but finishing at the same level or better is difficult. To finish well, one must stay focused the entire time. There must be a goal kept in the center of the mind and it must be aimed for, or else one will falter and fail.

There has been a lot of people who have started out doing great, always making the right choices, being successful, but in the end they lose focus and walk away from the good choices.

Solomon had started out serving God faithfully. God had even chosen to appear directly to him, an unusual thing to occur. God had blessed Solomon with more wealth, wisdom and fame than another other man has ever known before or since his time. Yet, near the end of his life, Solomon let his wives lead him astray to follow false gods and walk away from God.

Living like this, God had become very angry with him and chose to remove the kingdom from him. God had mercy, in that He allowed to keep the kingdom in his lifetime, but would pull it from his sons.

There are believers today who have done the same thing. They start off their life following God with a whole heart, then along the way, they allow someone to lead them away from God. They begin to choose to follow after the ways of this world, rather than follow and obey God.

Some completely leave the church, while others just live with one foot in the world and one foot in the church. They are no longer serving God with their whole heart. This will always upset God. He has given everything for the believer.

The world will tempt you to turn away from God, to lose your focus on God. They want you to choose to leave God and follow them.

Keep your focus on God. You began the walk with Him, don’t give it up for some temporary pleasure. Do not allow others to guide you down a wrong path.

Jesus gave His life up for you, don’t make it a waste for Him. Live your entire life focused on serving and obeying God with all of your heart. Don’t make God angry.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will obey God in every area of your life; that you will have a heart after God’s; and that God will strengthen you to keep focused on Him. 

Deuteronomy 13:4 What You Must Do

Two paths

It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. Deuteronomy 13:4

Going through life brings many different choices that must be made. Questions as often asked as to what a person should do. There are thousands of different paths that a person can take, and choosing the correct one is often a hard choice for many to make.

Each path as different points that are good and bad. Most people do not want to make the wrong choice. Yet, the majority of the people in this world do make the wrong choice.

The reality of the matter is that it is only one real choice of two paths to make. Every other choice falls under one of those two paths that a person chooses. There is the path of following self or the world, and the path of following God.

Moses tells the people that they must follow God. In the process of following God they must revere, obey, serve and hold fast to Him. There is to be no other gods in the life of a person.

The question is then often asked, how does following God answer every other choice to be made? If a person is following God, He will lead him in the right direction every time. The choice is no longer left up to the person, but up to God to be made.

Around the verse, the people are told to love God with everything in them and to obey Him in every way. This puts God first in the life of the person. God is the one who knows the choices to be made. Believers must trust His choices and directions. Every choice God makes is for the benefit of the believer and for His kingdom. It is a win-win situation.

Trusting that you are a believer and believe in God, you must also make a choice. How much are you willing to trust and obey God? Are you willing to serve God with everything that is in you?

Hold on to God with all that is within you. God is there for you and is not against you. He wants only what is best for you. However, it is up to you to follow, obey, serve, honor and hold fast to Him.

Now you know what you must do, so start doing it.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will follow God alone; that you will serve and obey God with your whole life; and that you will allow God to make the choices in your life. 

Deuteronomy 9:23 Being Rebellious

Rebellious child

And when the LORD sent you out from Kadesh Barnea, he said, “Go up and take possession of the land I have given you.” But you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. You did not trust or obey him. Deuteronomy 9:23

The thought of rebellion brings up the thoughts of teenagers, motorcycle gangs, people dressed in weird ways, and those are always fighting against someone. It is seldom thought of as just people refusing to do something that they are supposed to do.

Simply put, rebellion, is going against the rules that are set in place. While most people do not think of themselves as rebellious, being rebellious is a very common trait among humans. Driving down the road shows that over half of the people are rebellious. These are good, high society people who are rebellious. Very few people follow the rules of the land by going the speed limit. It is a rebellion against the government.

Moses tells that the Israelites had rebelled against God in the taking of the land as He told them to do. They refused to obey or trust Him and lived in rebellion against God.

Most believers do not think of themselves as rebellious, especially against God, yet many are. How many believers actually believe God’s word to them and act accordingly?

God’s word tells every believer that he should be a witness, yet, many believers never tell someone about Jesus. God tells believers that path He wants them to take, yet, they turn down a different path. These actions are done out of fear. They do not trust God’s word or the people, so they do not do what God asks them to do. They are being rebellious.

Any person who does not trust and obey God, is being rebellious. He is fighting against what God desires. Yet, God only desires the best for each and every person who follows Him.

Think about your life. Like most you probably don’t think about yourself as a rebellious person. However ask yourself how many times have you refused to do what God as asked of you, or showed hatred toward someone instead of love, or refused to be a witness to those around you, or you feared the situation, rather than trust God?

Do not allow yourself to be rebellious, but trust and obey God. God loves you and only wants the best for you, so trust and obey Him, rather than be a rebellious person.

I pray today that you will know what God wants of you; that you will trust God’s word for your life; that you will do what God wants you to do; and that you will never rebel against God and His word.

Deuteronomy 8:2 The Reason For Tests

Taking a test

Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. Deuteronomy 8:2

Very few people like to go through testing. It is often a time of high anxiety and fear. The higher the importance of the test, the higher the level of fear and worry a person may have.

Testing usually determines what is next in the life of a person. If the person passes the test, he can move on to the next level in whatever field the test was for. If he fails the test, he steps back and either quits or has to re-take the test.

While the common thought of what a test is, is that it is a written test, the majority of tests people take are not written down. They are tests of character. When a person is working for someone, the boss is testing the person by watching how he works and reacts to things. This is done to determine if the person can get a promotion.

Moses tells the Israelites to remember what they went through in the wilderness. That time of wandering was a test from God. It was an unwritten test to determine what was in their hearts and how well they will follow God’s commands.

Even to this day God still tests people. Even though He already knows what is in their hearts, He tests them to see how they will react to situations and how well they will obey God. Although with God, He gives the answers to the test. He tells people how to act and follow Him. All a person needs to do is obey God’s commands and he will pass the test. Once a person passes God’s test, God will move him forward to the next level.

Think about the hard times in your life, the times of being in a wilderness. Those times are there to help build you up. They are a test to determine how well you will follow God.

Each time you are tested by God, you have to make a choice. Will you follow God’s commands in the situation? Or will you follow the ways of this world?

Following the ways of this world, will be failure. Following God will always be passing. God can then move you up and forward.

How are you passing?

I pray today that you will know God’s commands for your life; that you will recognize the tests of God; that you will pass every test of God; and that you will follow God with all of your heart and life.