Living Like Abraham
“That kind of sounds like Abraham.” I smiled at the thought. My friend had made a point that I’d never thought of before.
In 2010, I heard God say that my wife and I were supposed to go to Germany. We were excited! We set our hearts on this calling as we continued to serve faithfully in our local church as ministry leaders. Then God opened up an opportunity almost 5 years later and we happily took it.
And here I found myself in conversation with a new friend at our new church, telling him some of our story. That’s when he made his comment and I immediately thought this was an idea that needed to be shared.
I’m not the only one on this kind of journey. So many of you are on the same journey!
So, what does this journey look like? And what can we learn from Abraham about listening for and obeying God? Fortunately, a lot!
Abraham listened for God, moved when God told him to move, and stopped when God told him to stop.
Genesis 12:1-5 and Genesis 13:14-18 are two quick examples of Abraham hearing God and immediately (as far as we can tell from the text) responding to what he has heard.
I think we’ve all been in a similar situation. We hear or feel God nudge us in one direction and then we are faced with a decision: obey or disobey. Abraham’s command was huge: take up everything you have and move to a place where God would eventually show him! Our commands are usually a little simpler: pay for the ladies’ groceries ahead of you in line, pray for that person who looks downcast, don’t speak even when you feel you feel you have to.
Whatever the command ends up being, rejoice in the fact that you heard it! Then set yourself to obey the way Abraham obeyed.
Abraham Wasn’t Alone
Abraham’s story takes place right after the story of the tower of Babel in Genesis 11. God finds Abraham, a faithful man among a pagan world, and uses him to start a nation. But he wasn’t alone. Genesis 14:18-20 tells us that there was a priest in Salem. This indicates that there were other believers in God. So Abraham sought wisdom from this priest of the Most High God, Melchizedek, and even gave an offering to God through him.
What does this tell us? It tells us that we aren’t alone.
We see another great example of this in 1 Kings 19:14-18. Elijah the prophet has just shown that the prophets of Baal are false in 1 Kings 18 and then he flees to the desert shortly after, afraid that he is the only one left in Israel who hasn’t bowed down to Baal. God, however, shows him that he’s not alone.
When God speaks to us, we are not alone. We are surrounded by our brothers and sisters in Christ. He speaks to us all, asking us all to obey Him.
Abraham Wasn’t Perfect
Abraham made mistakes along the way. His journey was full of setbacks. We see fear in Abraham when he flees to Egypt in Genesis 12:10-20. We see impatience in Abraham when he decides to agree with his wife and use her servant to have the son that he knows God has promised him in Genesis 16:4-5.
Sometimes we look at the people in the Bible and think that they are perfect and that there’s no way we could ever be used by God like them. This is simply not true! Almost all of the people from the Bible were flawed in some way and God used them despite of (and sometimes because of) their faults.
When God asks you to do something and try to do it your own way, disobey completely, or fail at something else while obeying, don’t think that you are disqualified. God knew what He was getting into when He picked you!
Abraham believed in the promise of God.Romans 4:3 shows us that this belief was credited to him as righteousness. This is a concept that I don’t fully understand but it’s simply amazing that a man with recorded failures before God is called righteous, even before the blood of Christ was shed on the Cross!
Abraham not only believed, he also waited on the promises of God (though not perfectly all the time). Genesis 15:4-6 recounts the promise of God to Abraham and we see Abraham respond in faith, believing the words of God. Over a period of approximately 25 years, Abraham waited for this promise to begin to be fulfilled.
What God asks us to do or promises to do in our lives isn’t always immediate. Take courage from the story of Abraham. Believe what God says to you. Wait in faith as you continue to serve Him. You may make mistakes and you may feel like you’re swimming against the current but know that you’re not alone. The Church, the body of Christ, is with you!