Abram leaves Ur, his home town, a prosperous city with security and a high standard of living. Now he sets out on the journey, travelling miles to Canaan with Sarai, his childless wife, his nephew Lot and their flocks and herds. In an act of faith and obedience he leaves his country, his people and his father’s household to follow God’s plan.
At Shechem, in the midst of Canaanite country, God speaks again in response to Abraham’s call. ‘This land is to be the heritage of Abram’s descendants. Yet the journey continues. Abraham’s lifestyle represents the life of pilgrimage: the altar and the tent bear witness to his faith and his lack of a settled home.
In spite of his great faith Abram also failed. He lied about his wife Sarai because he was afraid that others would desire her and he would be killed to get him out of the way. Every time he did something his way, Abram put God’s plan into jeopardy.
Saving faith is an instantaneous event. At a point in time we become a new creation in Christ (2 Cor 5:17). We are born again. And just as growth follows physical birth, so spiritual growth follows spiritual birth. This means our faith – our trust in God – is a maturing process.
This was certainly the case with Abraham. His initial obedience in leaving his country and kin and going to an unknown place was followed by impatience as he quickly left the area of God’s direction and His provision and went to Egypt in search for food. Later Abraham had another lapse in his maturity as he listened to others, specifically his wife. He took matters into his own hands and failed to trust in God’s promise to provide a son.
Ultimately Abraham’s faith did withstand the challenges of everyday life, and eventually he grew strong in his trust of God even to the point of a willingness to give up his son Isaac.
Abraham had to learn, on his own, how to live out his faith. His life story reveals that faith does not spring up as full-blown trust in God. In all your times of faltering, God’s grace stands. Today you have Abraham as your model; he can serve as your guide and example.