Friday, May 30, 2008

Genesis 20:11, 22:12


“Abraham replied, "I said to myself, 'There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.'”
                                                - Genesis 20:11

"Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son."
                                                - Genesis 22:12


Here in the first verse we see a hypocritical Abraham. He has ventured into this land and because his fear of man there was greater than his fear of God, he chose to lie and sin. Here we see the man called the Father of Faith stumble due to his lack of faith. He even blatantly says “There is surely no fear of God in this place…” But the lack of fear in God was in himself.

But two chapters and we see a transformed and obedient Abraham. Here we see him being tested by God. God wanted to test the condition of Abraham’s heart by asking him to sacrifice what was most important to him. Abraham must have been confused because this was the son that was promised to him as a miracle from the Lord in his old age; his only son with his wife Sarah. But he still obeyed the Lord to the very last moment. He knew now that God knew what was best for him and his family, even for his son. And so he obeyed. But what a heavy heart he must have had. His precious son was no doubt in dismay as he began to realize just what was happening. As his father tied him up, I wonder if he struggled. I cannot begin to imagine the anguish in Abraham’s heart as he raised that dagger. Yet his faith and fear of the Lord was greater than that pain.

But I wonder about the time between these two occurrences. On one hand we see a complete lack of fear and faith. But on the other hand we see a complete surrender to God through faith and fear and trembling. But what happened in between that caused this radical change? What caused God to become more and more real to Abraham? What caused this blind submission and utter fear and reverence of God?

In chapter 21 we see different events unfold. The birth of Isaac, the expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael, the treaty at Beersheeba.

We see the realization of a promise which no doubt strengthened his faith in God. We see the difficult decision to send away his first son and maidservant which was a decision based on faith in the comforting words of the Lord, “Do not be distressed…” Effectively telling Abraham that he will take care of them. And then we see Abraham taking a strong leadership role in the survival of his people. Stepping up to Abimelech with the fear of the Lord as his backbone. We see a gradual development of an awesome man of faith.


Many times as Christians, and especially as developing Christian leaders, we dwell too much on our shortcomings. I know that certainly rings true in my life. I look around at awesome men and women of God who seem to know it all. And in comparison I seem but a child in my own eyes. Yet I know that God has called me to be here, doing what I am doing. Much like Abraham’s calling as prophet, a father, a husband and a leader. He didn’t start off perfect nor did he finish perfect. But the important thing is that he was open to God working in his heart and through his life. If he had had a hard heart and wallowed in his lack of faith then when those circumstances happened his reaction would have been completely different and thus his development would have either been stifled or completely skewed.

What kinds of heart issues can keep us from experiencing life the way that God would want us to and developing the way that He intends?
What can cause us to miss out on the joy of glorifying God?

Misplaced fear.
Misplaced faith.

If we want to develop into the men and women that God wants us to be then we must be wary of these things and do a constant heart check. We must also remember what He has already done.

Looking back on how he has worked in my life thus far allows me to see clearly His hand on my life. They always say the hindsight is 20/20.


Heavenly Father,
Forgive me for the times when my fear of anything else was greater than you. I only want to serve you with complete obedience. Help me to guard my heart from attack from within.

In Jesus name Amen.

Pastor Rod:
God will provide opportunities to be authentic.
Innocent due to ignorance vs. integrity.

Abraham’s faithfulness due to God’s faithfulness.
God is always first.

He called us first.
He found us first.
He loved us first.
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