Introduction: Abraham's Journey of Faith
Faith seems to come so easy. We hear, Believe and you shall be saved. But any Christian that has lived a while knows that growing in his faith is a journey. We do not have one stop where all the faith we might need in life is received. Faith is gained through a series of testings.
Examine how Abraham grew in his faith.
Have you ever traced the ways God has provided opportunities for you to grow in your faith? In these chapters before us, we see not only the places Abraham had to wait upon God, but also principles helping us learn through these testing times.
Abraham's growth in faith can be traced both by God's revelations to him (calling, promises, visions) as well as his own obedience in responding to God.
We will see that when we persevere in our faith, God will do tremendous things for our lives and those around us. Abraham persevered through his hardest trials and so earned him the name The Father of Faith (Romans 4:16). Lets look at his life and note how to build up our own faith.
Two millenniums have passed since creation when we see Abraham. There seems to be no stop to the increase of sin. Despite the use of language to divide the peoples into different isolated cultures, the cities were still expanding. Ur and the other Sumerian cultures are known for their advancements from archeaological digs. The pull of the world for Abraham, his family and others was getting stronger and stronger.
One would think that God would give up on helping out man, but instead like He promised in Genesis 3:15, God was tracking down a man who had faith through which He could do wonderful and great things. Abram was that man. God would later change his name to Abraham'Father of Nations.'
Our goal for this session is to give a picture of the kind of man God can and wants to use. Fortunately for us, the scriptures not only reveal his strengths but also enough of his weaknesses to better understand the willingness of God to work in frail vessels like us. Instead of being discouraged, we are staring at a challenge to open ourselves to the work God wants to do in and through our lives.
This 'in and through' pattern is something we need to focus on for a moment. The in represents the grace God inputs into a persons life. Without this grace or blessing, Abram and we would be nothing. This 'in' is the 'streams of water that Psalm 1 mentions. God gives so that we might be able to give.
That which we give is the 'through' mentioned above. God works through us so that He can work in others. This is the enabling or the empowering pattern that we see scattered so carefully throughout the scriptures. God set Adam up so that he could bring great blessing and truth to all through his rule. God both called Abraham and gave him needed blessings. God did the same things with Jesus (through Holy Spirit's anointing) and desires to do it again through His church.
Our study of Abraham's life, then, is an exploration of how God might want to work 'in and through' our own lives.
Note the three froms and the two tos. in the text of Genesis 12:1.
The motion and direction of God's faithful believers cause disruption in the flow of the world and enable God's plans to be implemented.
Born in Ur (2008 creation)
Reflect on your call to be a Christian. When and where did it happen? Did you sense that call to leave the world? This is when God's grace began to be poured out on your life. When God 'touches' your life, it will no longer be the same. God's blessings will be on you. True enough, if you don't fully leave the world, then there are bad ramifications as we will see more in the next study. But even there, when you turn to the Lord God will be watching over you. Compromises with the world always will cost you. Make sure you are fully His in your heart.
Genesis Introduction: Introduction to Genesis | Outline and Genealogies | Genesis' Chronologies (5 & 11) | Unified Themes of Genesis