Summary: We say God is all-powerful, but when push comes to shove are we ready to put all our faith in Him? Is believing in God a risk?
President John F. Kennedy once said, “There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.” History is strewn with people who took risks and in so doing they changed the course of history. It is something we don’t like doing very much, but only those who take them do great things. Most of us limit our risk taking to trying a new restaurant or taking a different way home from work. We love to be comfortable and we like things to generally stay the same. Fear of change is very real and predominant in our decision-making, but when we read through the bible we see people who took great risks and saw great rewards. God asks His people to risk thinking as big as He does and the results are monumental. I want to challenge you this morning to be the risk takers God has called us to be.
1) Godly risk is motivated by faith (vs 1a)
Up to this point in the bible Abram was only known as one of the sons of Terah. No special birth or amazing prophecies over his life, just a man who was part of a family, married to Sarai and had just finished moving to a new place. One thing becomes very clear though as you begin reading chapter 12, Abram was a man who had relationship with God. Not only can we deduce from the beginning of this verse that God was speaking to him, but Abram was hearing it. God was about to ask Abram to risk everything to follow a promise and go to a place that God would show him later. Abram was ready to take the risk because he had faith (Heb. 11:6-10).
James Garfield, the 20th President of the USA, once said, “The men who succeed best in public life are those who take the risk of standing by their own convictions.” Faith is foundational in seeing God do great and amazing things. We see this time and time again in the scriptures, but we don’t like to put ourselves too far out there. This goes to underline the fact that you can’t take godly risks on the faith of others; it just doesn’t work. This journey of deep conviction begins at salvation and it continues until the day you see God face to face. We should continually be moving forward in boldness. If God came and spoke to you today would you be willing to risk everything based solely on faith that if God’s asking then it’s something I must do and trust him for the rest? Great moves of God begin with great faith!
2) Godly risk always involves change (vs 1b)
It should come as no surprise that God proceeds to ask Abram to leave everything: family, friends and home for something greater. Not only did God want an expression of faith, but also a willingness to follow and change. Abram probably had a nice place, probably supported the local footy team, had a good job, but God had more in store for this young Jewish man and his family. Abram would have to move to a place that he was not yet aware of so that God could fulfill certain promises in his life. It would have been so hard to make that change, to say goodbye to everything and everyone you know just on the word of God. God wanted to be the driving force behind His people and so he needed the beginnings of the nation of Israel to be grounded, not in a man, but in God’s ability to be true to His word and accomplish His will through men and women. This involved a great deal of change for Abram and Sarai.
How often to we love to get excited about what God wants to do. Yeah, woohoo, we want to see God move in power and might, but what if that means you giving up your house? Still want it? What if it means you giving up your free time to help someone else? What if it means you overcoming your fear and actually speaking to someone about Jesus? God moving in power sounds great, but how He accomplishes that is preferably done through someone else right. We don’t like the change factor, the letting go factor that will turn our lives upside down, but that is what God requires, like Jesus said to the rich young ruler in Luke 18. How much do you want to see God’s
3) Godly risk always has rewards (vs 2-3)
Abram was given a very special promise when God called him to leave. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Not a bad promise? How would you feel if God wanted all of the people of the world to be blessed through you? God was not challenging Abram just for the fun of it, God had a plan and He wanted to use Abram to make it come to pass. Through Abram the nation of Israel would be birthed into existence. Through Abram a great king would be born and through Abram a Savior would come to wash away the sins of the world, something of which you and I are receiving blessings from today. How many of you think that God came good on his promise to Abram?