If you take a few minutes to read through Genesis 12 – 15 you’ll learn about Avram’s life. The account begins when The Almighty One spoke to him. The call was to “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”*
Avram did exactly that … at the ripe old age of 75. His journey was long and complicated, from Bethel in Canaan to Egypt back to Bethel and over to Hebron near Mamre.
Avram followed The Almighty One’s lead, but in Egypt he got wrapped up with sin when the fear of death compelled him to tell his wife Sarai to say she was his sister. Pharoah took Sarai to be his own wife and suffered serious diseases. When Pharoah figured out the problem instead of killing Avram he banished him, his household, and that of his brother Lot.
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When they returned to the Negev life became difficult when the herdsmen in the two households turned to quarreling. Avram suggested they separate to give provide more space. He allowed Lot to choose the beautiful Jordan valley for himself. In turn The Almighty One gave Canaan to Avram’s descendants forever.
Avram’s entire adventure was dotted by the building of altars where he followed the sacrificial laws in worship of the Holy One he was pursuing. Lot settled near Sodom and Scripture doesn’t record any altar-building in his activities.
We do learn that Lot and his household were carried off when four kings swept over the countryside around Sodom. When Avram heard about it he went and rescued Lot and brought his entire household home.
When the King of Sodom tried to grant Avram improper rewards, he turned them down. That’s when The Almighty One encouraged him, “Do not be afraid, Avram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
That’s when Avram explained his confusion over whether his servant was going to inherit it all. The Almighty One assured him he would have offspring from his own body and they would number more than the stars.
THIS is the declaration point of the account. You might call it the denouement.
In the face of common sense and ridiculous odds Avram believed . . . didn’t simply believe IN The Almighty One . . . that He was there and doing His thing.
Avram actually believed what The Almighty One told him.
And the results are astounding.
“Avram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness.”
There was a continuity of faith, confidence, and obedience in Avram’s behavior throughout his travels. He built altars wherever he went, to maintain the sacrificial requirements. In this way he made a visible and stable statement about the sovereign presence of The Almighty One to the seen and the unseen world – perhaps even to remind himself to worship.
In spite of his own weakness and sinful behavior, the realities and hardships of life, and the threats and challenges he faced there can be no doubt that The Almighty One was leading him onward in the path laid out for him.
There was no list of perfect behaviors to meet. The main criteria The Almighty One was looking for was a heart that believed what He said and translated into trust. As Avram exhibited it, The Almighty One delivered on His promises.
And the same is true for us, even today in the 21st century.
What false expectations have you attached to The Almighty One?
What would happen if you released everyone as a balloon to the sky?
Share your responses in the Comments section.
*all translations are NIV1984, unless otherwise noted