Abraham...boy what a character. What faith! I'm thinking about Abraham today because of what I read in the L3 this morning. In Romans 4:18-22, talking about Abraham it says, "In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken...without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness."
This dude really makes me look bad. Especially when you take in account everything he went through...
The first we hear about Abraham in the Bible is in Genesis when it starts listing the geneology after the flood. Yeah, you know, those verses that you usually skip when you're trying to "read through the Bible in a year." Abraham was a descendent of Shem. You remember Shem, Hem, & the odd-ball, Japeth? Noah's sons? They had just survived a flood that wiped out the entire world. Then they were told to multiply and God scattered them across the the face of the whole earth because they couldn't stop arguing over whether or not they could build a tower tall enough to reach up to Heaven. Really? Hello, flood is over, you all have families now, it's time to get a J-O-B. Anyway, several hundred years later, a man named Terah had three sons, one of which he named Abraham. (They desperately needed a baby name book back then or at least to glance at the Forbes Top 10 Best Baby Names List for 500 B.C.) Anyway, Abraham married Sarai, and she was unable to have children.
Now there were those couple of times that Abraham lied about Sarai being his wife to keep himself out of trouble, but other than that, this man seemed to be almost perfect. Well, there was also that time when he slept with his maid at the request of his wife...so maybe he wasn't perfect. At least when it came to his faith in God it seemed that way.
In one incident, Abraham and Lot (his nephew who hung out with him because his own dad had died) had to find a new place to live. They had so much livestock that they couldn't live together in the same town (weird, I know. How many sheep and cows can one person have?) so they had to go separate ways. They came to a fork in the road so to speak, and one way was plush green pastures, the perfect place to establish a home. Abraham, being perfect as he was, decided to let Lot choose the way he wanted to go first. Lot, of course, decided to choose the pasture land, while Abraham was content to head in the opposite direction.
Then, there was a instance where Abraham was offered all kind of goods, but he wouldn't take them for fear that glory would be taken away from God. (Come on, dude, where's your selfishness? You're making me look bad!)
Then, of course, the time when God chose to reward Abraham for his faithfulness by telling him that his descendents would be more numerous than the stars in the sky. He also told Abraham that he would be the father of many nations, and that He would establish a covenant between Abraham and his descendents forever. This didn't make sense to them at the time since Sarai was not able to have children, so there was the time when Sarai tried to take matters into her own hands by having her husband have a child with another woman.(That always works well...) That didn't turn out so well with Sarai, but God took care of the situation and blessed that child and his mother.
Then the time finally came for them to have a child...when Abraham was 100 years old! (Talk about a news story!) But it doesn't stop there. When his son, Isaac was a little older God commanded Abraham to take Isaac and sacrifice him as a burnt offering to God. Now this is the point where I would've said forget it! "God, I'm done with you. I've got what I need, no thanks." But not Mr. Perfect, of course. He believed that God had a plan that was bigger than his. He knew what God had promised him. He knew that God would be faithful then as He had been before. And as always, God provided and Abraham did not have to sacrifice his son. Abraham lived to be 175 years old!
All of these things and more are what landed Mr. Perfect in the Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11:17-19.
"By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, 'In Isaac your descendants will be called.' He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type."
This got me thinking...what will people write about me when I'm gone? "By faith, Heather, when she was tested _________..." or maybe "yet, with respect to the promise of God, Heather did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God..."
Ouch. Lately it's been more like "Lacking faith, Heather, when she was tested screamed, cried, and stomped her feet in frustration and decided to take matters into her own hands..." or "yet, with no respect whatsoever to the promises of God, Heather continued to waver in unbelief not allowing God to strengthen her faith, and trying to take some of the glory for herself..." Double Ouch. That's definitely not the kind of legacy I want to leave, and that's not at all the kind of example I want to set. The truth is though, that's what it looks like when I doubt the faithfulness of my God.
I was encouraged this past Sunday at church when our pastor preached from Revelation 20 about the Judgement Day that will come after Jesus returns. He talked about how we will be judged according to the deeds we have done, both good and bad. Both great and small. We will have to give an account for those actions. While I haven't really studied about the Judgement Day as much as I would like to, I do know this. I don't want to have to stand in front of my God at Judgement Day and have Him ask me why I couldn't just trust Him. I don't want Him to ever have to show me what could have been if I would've not taken matters into my own hands. I want instead for Him to be pleased with me, and for Him to get glory out of my life. And for this reminder today, I have Abraham to thank. He set an amazing example for us to follow.
In other news, I just went to get a load of clothes out of the washing machine, and I discovered that I washed our dustpan. How in the world these things happen to me, I'll never know! Apparently while I was picking up some more clothes to put into the washing machine, the dust pan fell in, I threw clothes in right on top and never saw it. The dustpan managed to escape the scene with only minimal water damage. Hmm...maybe I'll host a 5K to help me raise money for a new dustpan...