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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Abraham... Faith In Action

Now that Abram's journey is underway, we'll begin taking a closer look at the trip itself. This is a great opportunity to examine faith in action. This is essential for us because, if we're telling the truth, we get a very good look at ourselves as we watch Abram on his way to becoming Abraham. We'll also become aware that faith in action doesn't necessarily equal perfection...
One of the questions that was brought to our attention last week was "Who are you travelling with?" It's worth noting that even though God calls Abram, he doesn't make the journey alone. It's true that you're responsible for the condition of your soul, but your journey of faith isn't travelled in isolation. Abram is the man with the call, but Sarai travels alongside him and Lot follows him on the journey. We will all find ourselves in each of those roles. Sometimes, you'll be the one with the call; sometimes you'll be the companion; sometimes you'll be the follower.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that even though Abram (and by extension you and I) is walking in obedience to the call of God, his journey isn't without a few speed bumps. He reaches the land, receives the promise of God and calls on the name of the Lord (Gen 12:1-8). Things seem to be going well, but verse 10 changes the scenery with the knowledge that there is a severe famine in the promised land. Abram leaves the promised land because of the famine. Knowing he has left the place of God's provision, Abram takes steps to ensure his safety. I'm not saying the famine wasn't bad and I'm not saying I would have stayed, but it can't be overstated that Abram's problems begin because he left the place where God had called him. Ultimately, his attempted deception almost cost him his wife. He left the place of God promise and allowed Sarai, the means of God's promise, to be taken from him. God silently intervenes and allows Abram to return to the promised land and preserves Sarai in a bad situation, not because Abram has shown such great faith but because God is supremely faithful.
Once Abram returns, he goes directly to the altar he built after he first heard the promise of God and calls on him again. Abram is restored and is back on the road to becoming Abraham. As a result of his time in Egypt, Abram is now a wealthy man - to the degree that he and Lot can no longer coexist without fighting. He allows Lot to choose where he will go and Lot chooses to go in the direction of Sodom because it looks better. In essence, he ignores the promised land of God, thinks of himself first and chooses something he thinks will work out better. Sound familiar? It should, because Lot learned this move from Abram. When Abram left during the famine, he showed Lot that God's destination is flexible. When he lied and allowed his wife to be taken, he showed Lot that the promise of God is disposable. When he returned with the wealth of Egypt that he had received dishonestly, he showed Lot that the provision of man is as necessary as the provision of God. Is it any surprise that Lot makes the choice that he does?
Whether you are aware or not, you have a Lot - someone who follows you on your journey. Someones eyes are on you to see how you navigate your spiritual journey. What are we teaching the ones who follow behind us? What are we telling them about the God we serve? Just as important, where is your Abram? Whose journey have you joined and what is being modelled for you?

J.R.

1 comment:

  1. It is so much easier in many ways to think I am going to be a Lot. It is way too much pressure to have a Lot. Really enjoying this series. Stopping and making me evaluate. Thanks.

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