Summary: God chose Abraham to father a nation. He didn't always get it right. But he, along with his wife Sarah, teach us valuable lessons: to trust in God's sovereignty, to wait for God's timing, and to follow God's leading as we walk by faith.
Blessed to be a Blessing
Do you ever wonder why God seems to bless some people with extra helpings of blessings? And some people seem to sense more easily how God wants to guide them, how God wants to lead them? Abraham was such a guy. The Bible’s “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews chapter 11 lists him and his wife Sarah as heroes of the faith.
In fact, today’s story helps to reverse the curse of last week’s story of the sin of Adam and Eve. Today’s story introduces a promise, a blessing, hope for the future. For through Abraham, God promises descendants, land, blessings, and fame. Bible scholars call this the great Abrahamic Covenant. God will repeat it to Abraham, as he will to his son, Isaac, and grandson Jacob, and later to Moses. God is creating a nation, a people of God. And it all hinges on one person’s commitment to believe him, to follow him, to obey him. That is why Abraham is a pillar of faith, a role model for us. That is why the New Testament mentions him some 80 times, more than any other Old Testament character, and why Paul tells Christians they are the true descendants of Abraham (Galatians 3:6-9). I want to highlight three life lessons I learn from Abraham: to trust in God’s sovereignty, to wait for God’s timing, and to follow God’s leading. First, Abraham teaches me to...
1. Trust in God’s sovereignty. God was asking a lot of Abraham. He was asking him to leave behind his homeland, his job, his people, all he had ever known, and to follow God without knowing exactly where he was going! It reminds me of going off to basic training, doesn’t it? Or if you’re the spouse, marrying someone in the military. Your whole life is about to change, and you have absolutely no idea how, but if you’re a believer, you’re trusting God to guide through the whole process. Abraham had to trust that God was “sovereign;” in other words, that God was in control, that God knew what he was doing and was strong enough to bring it to pass.
In those days, one’s family god was tied to a geographical area. Joshua 24:2 tells us that Abraham’s father’s family practiced idolatry, the worship of false gods. Evidently, the one true God wanted Abraham to make a clean break from his past where he could start fresh in his relationship with the Lord. So God said, “It’s time to move away from all that is familiar, all that is safe, to trust only in me.”
Now change is hard, unless it’s your own idea. Whether you’re changing from working to retired, or from living alone to living in a close community, or changing from married to widow/widower or single again, or changing from healthy to more limited in what you can do, change is difficult!
And change is everywhere. You can’t escape it. Max Lucado quips, “If you’re looking for a place with no change, try a soda machine.” Change hits us whether we want it or not. And it brings fear, insecurity, sorrow, stress. So, what do you do when you’re overwhelmed with change? Look up! Hold onto Jesus who is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Everything else changes, but not him. Trust in God’s sovereignty. God is still under control. God is still on the throne. Paul writes about Abraham, in Romans 4:20-21: