I have the privilege of contributing to He Reads Truth, a website of whose purpose is “To help men become who we were made to be, by doing what we were made to do, by the power and provision that God has given us to do it, for the glory of Jesus Christ.” They do this by providing scripture reading plans accompanied by reflections that can be accessed for free online or purchased as print books. For those of you looking to engage scripture in a fresh way – either because you are dried up or have been away from it, these studies/plans will refresh your soul and engage your mind.
What follows is one of the pieces I wrote on the book of Genesis. You can find the full plan HERE.
Genesis 12:1-20, Genesis 13:1-4, Matthew 1:1-2
Faith is risky and risks are hard. It’s tough stepping out into the unknown to follow what you believe God is calling you to do.
A few years ago I lived in the suburbs of Chicago and had a decent job, when an opportunity came along for a different position in a different state that seemed like a better fit for the coming years. So I prayed, and I thought, and I followed (that’s what faith looks like most of the time) —all the way down I-65 through two intervening states to the strange and foreign southern land of Nashville. It was scary. Exhilarating and hopeful, but scary.
Abram received a much clearer and much more frightening call than I did when God told him to move from his home in Ur to some place called Canaan, away from his family ties and all that was familiar. God called him to the unknown but blessed Abram on his way, even telling Abram he would be a blessing to all nations. So Abram followed with his wife and livestock and servants. He acted in faith (Genesis 12).
Sometimes the risk of faith looks to be too much, especially when we face challenges. We realize we’re walking in the dark, that we’re in an unknown place. Yes, we followed God’s leading to get here, but what now?
Abram felt that too. There he was in Canaan, trying to make a go of things, when famine hit. For a nomadic herdsman, that was deadly. He could lose everything, even his life. What was he to do? God called him to this place, but now this? So Abram left the land God led him to and fled to Egypt, where he promptly lied about the identity of his wife to protect himself—though in the process he put her at great risk.
This is the kind of thing we do when we lose sight of the One leading us, when we forget the prompting that got us to where we are. When we forget the promise and the call, we go our own way and we inevitably fall. We stumble in the dark. We make rash decisions.
Abram’s waffling and stumbling isn’t remarkable; it’s completely normal. What’s remarkable is God’s faithfulness. God called a man to a faraway place, blessed him not just on his journey but for all time, protected him in spite of his failings, and established him in that blessing. Abram later became Abraham, and through Abraham all the nations of the world have been blessed because from Abraham came Jesus Christ, the true and living blessing (Matthew 1:1-2).
Abram isn’t so much our example of action as he is our example of hope. Is there a step of faith you need to take? Have you taken a step and fallen? Take hope; the blessing that God gave Abram is a promise we can trust no matter the risk or the stumble.