The faith of Abram.
“Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go forth from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you;
To hear the Lord speak is enough to kick-start anyone’s faith. If you were Abram, and God added these words, would you say no? “and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you; and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed. (Genesis 12:1-3)
The family tree.
Abram’s father was Terah, a descendant of Shem whose father was Noah. Abram’s opportunity came because of his bloodline. It happened this way…..
Now, Noah had an embarrassing moment. He fell asleep naked having had too much to drink. His shame was exposed by Ham who told his two brothers, Shem and Japheth who covered Noah up. Scripture does not give a clear reason, but Noah cursed Canaan, Ham’s son. Perhaps Canaan saw his grandfather naked and told his father who then told the others? After cursing his grandson, Canaan, Noah said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem.” (Genesis 9:26)
“So Abram (a descendant of Shem) went forth as the Lord had spoken to him.” (Genesis 12:4)
That required trust. No matter how good the promises sound, they were only promises. God called attention to Himself by speaking to Abram just as He does with us. We have heard the voice of our shepherd and His promise of eternal life. Now it is up to us to follow as the Lord leads. And that requires obedience, the proof of faith.
Once before Abram had started out on a journey to the land of Canaan. His father, Terah, packed up Abram, Abram’s wife, Sarai, and his grandson Lot to leave the Ur of the Chaldeans. They stopped short of their goal and settled in a place called Haran. Life must have been fairly comfortable in Haran. Abram had acquired possessions and even owned servants. He could have stayed, but Abram obeyed.
Because he obeyed the most amazing faith strengthening thing that could ever happen happened to Abram. When they had arrived in the land “The Lord appeared to Abram….” (Genesis 12:7) Now, I am not suggesting that we will ever need that kind of faith strengthening. Our faith is not likely to be tested as that man’s was, but it is tested as we encounter our own trials.
“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials (temptations) so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”
Father, You know what is best for us and have created or allowed the circumstances we each face. In the midst of our trials and temptations remind us of their purpose and of Your love. Help us to understand and rejoice instead of complaining. What most of us will ever experience pales in the light of the sufferings Your persecuted children and martyrs face. Lord, encourage them with these words in their time of need…..
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)