How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you.
You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world. (Psalm 31:19 NLT)
This week, I have been reading again of Abraham, one of the most well known and well loved men in the Old Testament. Chapters 11 to 25 of Genesis chronicle his life.
In Genesis 12:2 we read that Abraham is both the receiver of and the instrument of blessing:
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.
We also read that he was a devout man. On a number of occasions, we read of him building altars to God. For example, the first was an altar of gratitude and praise:
The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. (Genesis 12:7)
We also observe that Abraham was a gracious, noble and generous man. A time comes when Abraham separates from his nephew Lot to resolve a dispute between their respective workers. Abraham nobly allowed Lot first choice of the land, knowing that he would choose what looked like the best for himself. And Abraham would, some time later, prove himself to be loyal to this same nephew who, through his own unwise choices, found himself in a city, besieged, overcome and its inhabitants taken captive by the enemy. Abraham bravely pursued the attackers and:
He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people. (Genesis 14:16)
And of course, he was a man of obedience, willing to give to God his most precious possession, the life of his own son.
However, Abraham was a man who sometimes fluctuated between faith and fear. When he wandered into territories occupied by other settlers, he adopted a strategy of deception to protect himself. In his own words, speaking of Sarah, his wife, he said:
And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother"'. (Genesis 20:13)
Abraham foolishly used deception rather than trusting in God, running the risk that others would commit adultery, a capital offence in the Near East, as well as potentially costing him his life.
Living by faith takes courage, determination and perseverance. There were times when Abraham leaned on natural rather than spiritual defences.
As I was meditating , on the fluctuations in Abraham’s faith, I felt a gentle whisper come and say to me, “I can do much better than that for you!”
Wonderful as Abraham’s faith was, God has an even deeper place of faith for us: a place where we find our feet are firmly embedded in the rock of faith, not just on it, and we will not walk away from that rock to seek another place of refuge when the storms of life assail us.
When facing challenging circumstances, rather than allowing faith to fizzle out, you let it take wings and sore upwards as you pray;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. (Psalm 61:2,3)
If God is opening that door to you today, don’t hesitate to walk through what seems such a narrow door, but leads to wide places of blessing and fellowship with God.
Remember the goodness of God in the frost of adversity (C H Spurgeon)
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