Abram was his name at God’s first call. And what a call!
While Abram was still living in Mesopotamia among his people group who had been scattered from the city of Babel, the LORD spoke...
“Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”
Furthermore, the LORD made Abram a 4-fold promise.
*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. I will curse those who curse you.
*All peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
This was the whole plan as far we are told in Genesis 12:1-3. Does it seem a bit vague for our modern travel itineraries?
No doubt the people of Abram’s day were quite a bit less tied down than we 21st century folks. And it is true Abram’s people were nomadic shepherds. Still, Abram was called out to pioneer to an unknown destination leaving everything familiar behind.
Reading Genesis 12:1 again today, I am reminded of Jesus as he selected his disciples. Regular men, at work, were intercepted by God to follow Him. Neither the LORD to Abram or Jesus to the fishermen offered much detail. Simply, they were invited to leave their old life behind and find real life with God.
I am often thrilled to hear the inner voice of God calling me to something new. It’s so honoring and fun to be chosen for an assignment. I find myself eager to say, “Yes, Lord!”
Because I love an adventure and I tend to be more of a visionary I set out on a path without a whole lot of information. For me, and I may be unusual, the leaving behind and going to the unknown destination is not the hardest part.
The challenge for me? Getting into the middle of the adventure & finding that wait comes before the fulfillment of the promise. Trusting God that where I am on the way is exactly where He intends for me to be.
What is the challenge for you?
In Nehemiah’s prayer he declared that God had found Abraham faithful & that God kept His promise because He is righteous. Yes, I wholeheartedly agree with Nehemiah that the Lord kept His promise to Abraham because He is righteous. But, something in me protests a bit at the idea of Abraham being found faithful.
I know God doesn’t miss anything that happens with His creation. So, what about the lying incident in Egypt (Genesis 12:10-20)? Or taking Lot with him on the journey? I think (Abraham) was supposed to leave father & people behind. (Genesis 12:1-5) What about Abraham agreeing to Sara’s plan for him to have a child by Hagar? (Genesis 16:1-4) Obviously, Abraham didn’t make the best choices all the time. Yet, God found Abraham faithful.
What happens when we (like Abraham) try to help God with His promises? We ignore God’s power. His way. We reveal a lack of trust in God’s good intention. We shortcut. Finagle. Make a mess. Cause pain. Cry to God, “Fix it!”
When God called (Abraham) to leave all that was familiar behind & go where God would lead him, God made a promise. The promise declares three times, “I will” & then a conclusion. Spending time chewing on God’s promise I realize He took all the responsibility on Himself including the result. The only thing Abraham had to do was receive God’s invitation to come along and to trust God. (Genesis 12:2-3)
Why do I (like Abraham) try to help God with His promises? Sometimes I think I’m big. Or I think I have to do something to receive God’s promise. However, I most often try to help because I’m tired of waiting for Him to fulfill His promise.
Has a young child ever wanted to help you bake cookies & then insist they can do it without you?
Could it be that God is not nearly as concerned about us getting to our destination without incident as He is about walking & talking with us on the journey? Are you ever tempted to help God keep His promises?
“Liar, liar, pants on fire!” inwardly accused me. My mother heart protested, “But, it was just a little white lie. It didn’t hurt anyone. Everyone…”
It was an average day, more than 20 years ago. Our young sons gathered at the kitchen table awaiting dinner. I carried hot fish sticks to the table & began dishing them onto their plates. Immediately, they both scrunched up their noses and asked, “What’s THAT?”
That night in an attempt to expand their food horizons, I served fish sticks. Determined they would not taste a stick called fish, I chose to call them ‘a different type’ of chicken nuggets. I coaxed them to give it a try.
“These aren’t chicken nuggets!” With conviction our youngest declared, “Mommy, you always tell us not to lie…”
I wanted to excuse my choice, but I knew I had fallen to an old tactic of my flesh. Completely humbled I confessed my sin before my children & asked their forgiveness. I am forgiven, but it has never been forgotten. It’s not true that no one was hurt. I lost some street cred with my sons that day.
Reading Genesis 12:10-20, my heart feels compassion for Abram.
He was following God. Seeking God. Conversing with God. Honoring God. Then when a severe famine fell on the land, Abram took Sarai to Egypt for a while. In the pinch of life, he forgot that God has His own way of doing things & His own reasons for allowing us to experience hardship.
Abram didn’t wait on God. So, one poor choice led to another.
Because of Sarai’s beauty, Abram worried an Egyptian man would kill him & take her. Abram’s solution? A little white lie. To protect himself. “Say you are my sister…”
God was not pleased. He intervened to rescue Sarai & redeem His plan to fulfill the promise He made to Abram.
Have you ever fallen to the old tactics of the flesh in an attempt to self-protect? How have you seen God rescue & redeem for the fulfillment of His good purpose?
One year we gifted our sons with a full day at The Magic Kingdom. Taylor then age 7 grew impatient in the long lines. He was a fanatic for roller coasters. Every minute or so, he would ask, “How much longerrrrrr?” We continually pointed his attention back to the prize & that it would be worth the wait. We promised!
The anticipation built. He asked often for an ETA update. And his dad’s answer was the same every single time – 20 minutes.
Yet, once he tasted the thrill of strapping into the seat & receiving the fulfillment of the promised prize, Taylor jumped right back into line for the next one. He learned the wait (though he didn’t like it) was worth the reward.
At age 75, Abram set out from Haran with his wife Sarai, workers, animals & supplies to a place God would lead. They knew not where or how or when, but God promised a spectacular prize. By the time Abram & Sarai detoured thru Egypt, split off from Lot, moved to Hebron at God’s leading & finally received assurance as God cut a covenant with Abram about ten years had passed.
That’s a long time to wait. Abram wondered out loud to God, “O Sovereign Lord, what can You give me since I remain childless…” I love his honesty!
How sweet to read, “Then the word of the LORD came to him: “… but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” (Genesis 15:2-5) We know Abram believed God for the promise, his finite mind just couldn’t comprehend the how or the when. (Tomorrow we’ll see how Sarai devised a plan to help)
I’m like that too. It feels like God is taking too long. What if I run out of time? Sitting in our prophetic boat, watching Jesus teach STFM how to sail, I whine. “How much longerrrr?”
It’s not that I don’t believe God for His promise. I get weary. I can’t see. My mind can’t comprehend. But when I take my questions to my Father who promised, He offers hope I can count on.
Waiting? Have you spoken your concerns out loud to Father?
This morning I really just want to hug Abram & Sarai, invite them in for a cup of coffee, and say, “I totally get it! I’m there… right now... waiting for God. Shalom & bless your hearts!”
After ten years of waiting for one of his seeds to bloom as evidence of a descendent, Abram believed God’s promise & it was credited to Abram as righteousness. And to seal His assurance, the LORD Himself cut a covenant of blood between He and Abram for the generations to come.
It’s so great when God speaks. Our hearts overflow with JOY & HOPE. And then we wait some more. As time goes by I tend to wonder if I made it all up in my head. Doubt creeps into the low places. And sometimes I forget that God is responsible for fulfilling His promise to me.
Sarai & Abram forgot this too. In my head the scenario between Genesis 15-16 plays out like this. Abram ran to Sarai. “You won’t believe the good news the Lord gave me today! Sarai, a son will be born from my own body! Can you believe this?” Sarai was glad for Abram, but doubt clouded her heart. She felt left out. God had not spoken to her. So she spoke, “The LORD has kept me from having children. God sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
While waiting for some inkling of progress in my situation, I’ve offered my own ‘work around’. I look at what is true in my circumstances & what I believe God has promised. Then running that through my thought processes of how I think I can resolve the in between I sometimes put my plan into action. It’s not God’s best.
Somehow I get caught up in feeling like doing something has to be better than sitting in the boat waiting. Yet, often it’s when I am sitting still, waiting and watching that I get to see His Hand. Hear His whisper of presence. Catch a glimpse of His moving on my behalf.
Have you ever tried to help God by jumping ahead with your own ideas? What have you learned by waiting?
Once again, I’m pressing pause to sit a while. Will you sit & ponder with me on the true history of Abraham?
As I’ve chewed on the rich scripture in Genesis 12 – 21 I’ve become increasingly encouraged by the life of Abraham, and his wife Sarah. They started, like me & you, taking blind steps of faith. Abraham pleased God by trusting His goodness & following.
The encouraging part is that Abraham was counted faithful only because he trusted God. Abraham made many mistakes as He learned to walk with God. The result was learning to take God at His word.
I want all of this for myself. I want to trust God’s call on my life & follow Him wholeheartedly. Even at times like this current part of my journey when I don’t know where (or even if) we are going anywhere, I want to know that God sees me faithful simply because I continue to trust Him.
Several years ago, in a dream, I was trying to get to the Grand Canyon. I could see the vastness in the distance, but my feet would not move forward. I stood on tiptoes craning my neck trying to see what grandeur lie ahead of me. Pondering, I understand God has for me a promise of something grand, vast & gorgeous. However, it is also clear that I am not ready because I’m not there yet.
I hold that dream close to my heart. Like Abraham, it reminds me (as does the sailboat) that God is preparing & training me to receive His promise. I’m waiting. Learning. Gaining faith muscles. Developing fruits of Holy Spirit. I’m waiting for Him. For His time. His course.
I’ve not waited perfectly & I’ve tried plenty to “help God out”. Yet, Jesus, my Captain & Pioneer is patient with me. I think He takes great delight in my enthusiasm to stand on tiptoes of anticipation of the GOOD He has in store for me.
Fellow Sojourner, are you encouraged to stand on tiptoes of anticipation to receive the goodness the Lord? What of Abraham’s life story touches you?
~ Meet Lisa Brittain ~
Thank you for joining me on the #write31days2018 journey through which I am writing Waiting for The Wind.
I appreciate your participation as we’ve now spent two weeks pondering the lives of David & Abraham with Job up next.
May the Lord encourage your heart and bless you through and through. May you see Him in your life at every turn and may you rejoice greatly in His goodness!
Eyes on Jesus and SHINE, friends!