I am reminded just about every day how we give up on others. Now our choice is usually based on circumstances that support our decision. Yes, others will let us down and we let others down. Yet God never gives up on us. The truth is that we often give up on ourselves!
I was reminded of the Lord’s patience and persistence toward us. Our study to “Step in Faith” from Hebrews 11 leads us to take a closer look at the life of Abraham. The first reference to him in Hebrews commends his faith for leaving his home in obedience to God to travel to the “promised land.” We are reminded that he responded to God without knowing the destination. “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8) This is an incredible demonstration on Abram’s part. It is difficult to move when you don’t know the destination. He is commended for trusting God and as a result he became a blessing to us today by establishing the birth line for the Messiah.
Now, if you know anything about the life of Abram, you know that he was not perfect. The Bible records a number of accounts where his faith was lacking. Once after God had promised that he would have a son and God seemed to forget he took matters into his own hand. He took his wife’s servant as a surrogate to produce a male heir for Sara. We are still living with this conflict today between Ishmael, a forefather to Muslims and Isaac the forefather of Jews. There was another time that he told a half-truth to save his own skin. He told the secular ruler Abimelech that Sarah, who was drop dead beautiful, that she was his sister. Their public display of affection revealed Abram’s lack of trust in God. And then there is the situation in the account called out in our passage.
A deep study of the passage reveals that Abram for some reason stalled on his journey from Ur to the Canaan (the promised land) in a place called Haran. A casual reading of Genesis 11 and 12 leads us to believe that Terah along with Abram, Sarah and Lot left Ur and traveled to Haran and it was there that God called him to Canaan. Yet, as we piece the story together we learn that God’s call to Abraham was actually in Ur. The Bible reveals that God’s call was in Ur not Haran. “The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia [Ur], before he lived in Haran,” (Acts 7:2) Now this may be another lapse of faith in Abram’s life.
Let me get to my point. The Lord never gave up on Abram who God would rename Abraham which means “Father of Many.” I am reminded of God’s patience and mercy. I regularly come across those who have given up on God. It is the result of some failure in their life. The Biblical truth is that God has not given up on them but they have given up on themselves. They fail to understand the undeserved favor of God’s grace in their life. I am reminded of an Old Testament verse that reminds us that God never gives up on his people. “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
How about you? Are you blowing the opportunity of being a great person of faith because you cannot forgive yourself and come to your Creator for help?
-Pastor Joe Parkinson