Posted by: mikenicholsblog | January 8, 2010

God can be trusted.

Looking up to heroes is a normal part of life. We all wish we could have the athletic skill of our favorite stars, sing like those with incredible talent or lead like those we tend to follow. Where life really makes a difference … in the spiritual realm … we also look up to certain people. It may be that you look to a spiritual mentor, or someone with great public gifts.  And wish for just a moment that you could have their talent or insight.

Most followers of Christ also have heroes from Scripture. You look at their life and faith, and just wish you could honor the Father in the same ways they did. But just like contemporary athletes, singers and leaders, our heroes from Scripture had their share of failures. Even a casual reading of the book of Genesis gives clear insight into the great failures of one of the original heroes of faith … Abraham.  This is man whose descendants number greater than the grains of sand at the seashore, or stars in the night sky, but who lived with a frailty that we can so easily relate too. Take a brief look at his life with me.

When God initially called Abram to leave his home, he obeyed by faith. But as we view his journey, God gives us multiple evidences through Scripture that plainly contrast that great faith.  I think it is fair to say that many 21st century Christians tend to lean on our weaknesses as an excuse for not accomplishing all that the Father has planned for us.  Not much has changed over the course of human history.  Abram’s life is a testimony that great results can come from a life of strong faith.  But one that was also, and so often plagued by great frailty. In Genesis 13-22, we find both great faith and failure on full display.

After leaving his country and following God, Abram went to Egypt and made a great blunder (he sinned … big time!). Out of fear, he had Sarai portray herself as his sister. His terrible plan seemed to be paying off, but then God brought disease on the Pharaoh and his household. Immediately juxtaposed against that miserable failure, was a perfect picture of Abram’s spiritual character and selflessness. We are told that he called on the name of the Lord, and when there was conflict with his men and the men of his nephew Lot, Abram showed great confidence in God. He let Lot have his choice of land. Can you relate your journey struggles with Abram’s, as you battle between faith and fear?

Imperfection bleeds over the pages of Genesis 16, in the tragic story of Abram having a child with Hagar. Abram failed, and history has recorded the results. But in the very next chapter (thirteen years later) we see God say, “walk before me and be blameless”. We see God in a final sealing of His covenant with Abram, and also giving he and Sarai new names … Abraham and Sarah.  In the midst of yet another failure , God knew the heart of Abraham and Sarah.  And knew that he could trust them with His plan. Not much has changed throughout the centuries.  And He regards us no less than Abraham.  He knows that we are not faultless, and still He chooses to use us when we turn from our sin and seek Him.  He pursues us, when we deserve no less than His divine wrath.  He desires a relationship with us, and his Spirit works in us to produce a tested and perfected faith.

The same kind of perfected faith that characterized perhaps the pinnacle of Abraham’s journey with God.  A faith that finds him in Genesis 22, preparing to sacrifice his son Isaac per God’s direct and specific instruction.  As Scripture recounts the story, Abraham never flinched in taking his beloved son, all the way to the point of a knife.  He passed the ultimate test of faith, and has given us an undeniable lesson that God can be trusted. I see all of us in Abraham’s failures.  And in 2010, I am trusting that you will see your faith rewarded, as Abraham’s was.  God can be trusted.


Responses

  1. mike — you are the best

    I know at times I have said to many different people —for many different reasons –“You are my hero !” maybe it was for the sale they made –or just a simple “nice job comment” but you my friend are incredibly talented and the work you are doing here for us is so much appreciated – YOU TRULY ARE MY HERO !!


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