RELFECTIONS ON ABRAHAM: Why Abraham is my hero! part 2

(this was originally posted on my Facebook page May 1, 2010)

Abraham, from Ur of the Chaldees, is my new hero for two big reasons. The second reason is nearly as incredible as the first.

Reason #2. “Abraham, when called to go … obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”

Isn’t that fantastic? The old boy liked to live on the edge, there’s no doubt about that. But doesn’t that strike you as being just a little bit irresponsible? Crazy? Impetuous, or at best, eccentric? He went – but didn’t know where he was going. What was He thinking?

See, Abraham didn’t HAVE to know where he was going because he knew the One who had set the course, the One who would lead him, the One who would go with him all the way. He didn’t HAVE to know where he was going to end up… in order to get there. All Abe had to do was lift his foot in the first step of obedience … and God would set that foot down in the right direction. And as far as we know, Abraham was ok with that. That’s why he’s my hero.

This big adventure all happened 25 years or so before Isaac was born, but still it wasn’t just Abraham that was effected by this massive mystery move. He took his wife, his nephew, their servants, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired, herds of livestock … and who knows what else. And because God had told him to go, he went – picked up his tents and went – not knowing where he was going. East or West, North or South? He didn’t know. He just went. He knew they would end up in a different country. He knew it would be a different culture with different customs and perhaps a strange language. He knew they would encounter hardships and opposition along the way. He knew all of that. But he knew God would be there. Instinctively, he must have known what the Psalmist would write centuries later: “even if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast” (Ps. 139:9-10). But still, it couldn’t have been easy for him. He and his posse had become well settled in the land. They were respected and loved by the people. They were comfortable. Life was ok.

But God said to Him, “Abe. I want you to go. Take your stuff and your peeps and leave this land of your fathers …. just go. I’ll tell you when to stop and I’ll tell you where you are when you get there.” So … “by faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8).

At the risk of personalising this too much … I feel a bit like Abraham at the moment. We don’t know exactly where God wants us to go we just sense that it’s time to go. And so, in obedience, we are going, even though we don’t know exactly where we are going. God has a plan and it’s probably much bigger than anything I can think of. I’m sure it’ll be very different from any scenario I can dream up. My only desire is to know God’s will and to be in the centre of it because I know that His will is by far the best place to be. I would LOVE to know where we will be 3, 5, 7 months from now, but I don’t HAVE to know … because I know the One who has set the course, the One who will continue to lead me, the One who will go with me all the way. I don’t HAVE to know where I am going to end up … in order to get there. All I have to do is lift my foot in the first step of obedience … and God will set that foot down in the right direction. I’m ok with that.

So thanks Abe. Thanks for showing me that it’s ok to trust God in this way. Thanks for showing me that trust and obedience are the two main ingredients for a man of faith. Thanks for being my role model, my hero. And thank You, God, for being the same yesterday, today and forever.

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REFLECTIONS ON ABRAHAM: Why Abraham is my hero! part 1

(this was originally posted on my Facebook page April 30, 2010)

Abraham, of Ur, is my new hero. Not because he was a perfect specimen of humankind – he certainly wasn’t. Not because he was the father of many nations; not because God made his name great; not even because ‘all peoples on earth’ would be blessed through him…but for two other reasons.

REASON #1. “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Before the Law, before the Old Testament was written or the New Testament conceived, before there were any tabernacles or temples or churches, long before Jesus lived on earth and died on a cross, before there were any such things as Christian fellowships or small group Bible Studies or inspirational books … Abraham believed God. He didn’t just believe that God existed. He staked his life, and his honor on the FACT of God, and the reality of God’s personal interaction with him. “Against all hope Abraham, in hope, believed and so became the father of many nations… without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead … and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised” (Rom 4:18-21 – NIV).

Abe’s my hero because when everything was hopeless he kept on hoping, believing the unbelievable, holding on to the impossible, until God made good on His promise. Listen to this affirming tribute to Abraham’s incredible trust in God: “without weakening in his faith” … “did not waver through unbelief” … “fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.” We have the record of 4,000 plus years of God’s personal dealings with man. We have the patriarchs and the prophets and the apostles. We have the Gospels, the early church fathers and two thousand years of Christian teaching. We have the full benefits of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and the Holy Spirit dwelling within us to teach us and guide us into all truth. We’ve read books and heard sermons and experienced God at work personally in our own lives and the lives of others … and yet, how many of us believe God the way Abraham believed God?

For example: It was utterly and completely physically impossible for Abraham and Sarah to have children, yet he was promised that they would. “Abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, “It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.” Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously sceptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what He had said” (Rom 4:19-21 – MSG).

And then there’s the whole Isaac thing. After waiting a decade for Isaac to finally be born, and knowing that it would be through Isaac’s offspring that God would do His amazing work, he takes the boy up on the mountain top, builds an altar, lays his son upon it, and draws the sword to offer him as a sacrifice … just because God told him to do it. If it were me, I would have been convinced that I heard God wrong. But Abraham? No. “Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead” (Hebrews 11:19). Where did Abraham get that idea? Nobody had EVER been raised from the dead before. There was no such thing. Dead men don’t just … rise from the dead. Why would Abraham have thought that? Some would have called Abraham a fool. I call him a hero. Oh that we might trust God the way that Abraham trusted God.

Sure Abraham lived long before Jesus ever physically walked the dusty streets of Israel; and long before the death and resurrection of Jesus facilitated righteousness for all who would believe on Him. But Abraham totally and completely believed God, and the righteousness that comes by faith, was granted to him…. by faith. The guy is my hero.

~ to be continued ~

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