Summary: We all make mistakes. None of us are perfect and that includes those in the bible. Those great men and women of faith did some remarkable things but they had their flaws too. Today we'll look at Abraham and Joshua and see how they are just like us.
JUST LIKE US (part two)
Recap: Last week we looked at the fact that although we all make mistakes it isn't easy to admit it. Sometimes we make the mistake of looking at celebrities in an elevated way that portrays them as larger than life and almost too perfect. Therefore we conclude that they are nothing like us. But we forget that despite their good looks or great abilities they are human too and they have their flaws like the rest of us.
We can also make that mistake when it comes to how we view biblical people. We read about what these spiritual giants accomplish and we don't see them as people, we see them as super-human. And again, although many people in the bible did some pretty amazing things that doesn't mean they were perfect; they too have their defects.
It's important that we realize that so we can relate to them as well as understand that God wants to use us like he used them. Let's take a look at some of these biblical characters and see how they are just like us.
Abraham was a great man of God. He was the patriarch of God's people and he was the first prophet. It all started with God telling Abraham (Abram) to get all his people and his belongings and leave his country. The only problem was God didn't tell him where they were going. Yet Abraham obeyed and did as God said. He had a remarkable display of faith.
In the faith chapter, Heb. 11, it says in vs. 8, "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." Who would do that apart from having amazing faith?
Yet, shortly after this, Abram has a weak moment. During their travels, there was a famine in the land and they settled in Egypt. But, Abram had an idea.
Gen. 12:10-13, "Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”
So, instead of trusting in God, Abram came up with a deceptive plan to save his skin. The man who trusted God enough to pack up everything he had and leave without a destination now caved into fear. It doesn't make sense how we can have strong faith in one situation and have weak faith in the next.
The situation shouldn't matter because the God we trusted in one situation is the same powerful God in the new situation. But when the circumstances are different or what we're being asked to believe or do is different, we can act differently. Perhaps the difference with Abram was he didn't feel his life was in danger by just packing and traveling but when he entered Egypt it was going to play out differently. Abram trusted in his own plan.
Pharaoh saw the beautiful Sarah and did as expected. He took her into his palace and she became part of his harem. Then, God intervened and inflicted Pharaoh's household with infectious diseases. Pharaoh figured out why this was happening and he called Abram in and scolded him for his trickery. He kicked them out and they left. Then we see something interesting happen.
13:1-2, "So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold. From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the LORD."
Abraham did wrong but God still blessed him greatly. This shows that God's blessing upon us isn't because we deserve it. Abram deserved to have everything taken away for not trusting God but it didn't turn out that way. How many times has God blessed us even though we didn't honor him?
And then we see Abram calling on the name of the Lord. Abram messed up but his response was to call out to God. When we fall short we need to turn back to God in repentance and humility.
Unfortunately, however, Abraham was a repeat offender. In ch. 17 God institutes the covenant of circumcision with Abram and that's when he changed Abram's name to Abraham and Sarai's name to Sarah.