The story of Abraham was fresh on mind as Ethan & I drove across 7 states in 3 days, on the way to our new home.
In 13 years of marriage, this is our 14th “home”, not counting 6 temporary living situations (some for a few weeks, some for a few months.) We have moved for jobs and we have moved unemployed. We have moved overseas and stayed in the States, both by God’s leading. We have moved, thinking we were finally digging our roots deep, only to find ourselves uprooted less than 2 years later.
God has been faithful in all of these moves – God is faithful. He can’t NOT be faithful. It is a facet of his character – his nature – to be faithful. We’ve moved so often that it’s become easier for us to rely on God’s faithfulness – He does it every time!
There were a few moves that we really struggled with; leaving China was very difficult. From the time we left China (because of my then-unexplained sickness) to the time we started to enjoy living in Istanbul was 2.5 years.
I was thinking about all of this as we drove. I was thinking about Abraham as we drove. On his way from Ur to Canaan, his father Terah settled in to Haran (Genesis 11:31). Abraham was 75 years old when he left Haran. He had some possessions, and some possessions, then. Over the next 14 years he accumulated many many more. Abraham was a wealthy man – he had possessions – people, livestock, gold, silver. (Gen. 13:2).
He was a mighty man, successful in battle – remember the story of his nephew, Lot?
Think back to it:
Abram and Lot both accumulated possessions – so much that their herdsmen start quarreling because all their flocks are bumping into each other.
Abram offered to Lot the first choice of land
Lot chose the land to the east – the Jordan Valley, near the cities of Sodom & Gomorrah
Fast forward some time: the kings of that area rebelled.
They had been paying tribute to other kings, but decided to rebel.
They lost, and Lot and all the other people were taken captive by these ruling kings
One of the people escapes and came to tell Abram about the whole thing.
Abram gets his men together and raises up and pursues the captors (150 miles to the north)
And brings back all the possessions, all the women and the people, and his kinsman, Lot
Abraham was able in battle and in war; he had trained these men (born in his household) – his servants – he led them. Abraham was victorious – he was successful. The king of Sodom comes out to meet him and then defers to Melchizedek, the king of Salem, who proceeds to bless Abraham,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” (Gen. 14:19-20).
So Abram was wealthy and victorious. He had things and he had a reputation.
Why then does God tell him in Genesis 15:1 to not fear?
…”Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” (Genesis 15:1)
Why would Abraham be afraid? Abraham’s answer reveals his concern – he has no heir. Though God had started to fulfill parts of his covenant with him, he had no children – no son – no heir.
At this point, Abraham:
Had seen the land, all around (Gen. 13:14-17)
Had a great name – a great reputation
BUT – he still had no son.
Abram comes up with a solution: at the moment, his plan is that one of his servants will be his heir. As he always does though, God has another plan – it was his original plan – God tells Abram that his very own son will be his heir (Gen. 15:4).
“And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” (6) And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. (Gen. 15:5-6)
Abraham believed the Lord. His faith justified him. Our faith in Christ justifies us. When we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, God the Father sees the perfect obedience and righteousness of Christ, in us. He no longer sees the sin that separated us from Him.
As followers of Christ, we believe in Him for our salvation, eternally. But I wonder sometimes if our belief – our faith – stops there: at the eternal.
Every single day there are opportunities, practically, for us to demonstrate our faith in the God – who cares for us, who provides for us, who clothes us, and feeds us.
Abram worried about his heir – we see that clearly in this passage. So God was gracious to remind him of what he had already told him and Abraham believed it. Though we shouldn’t, it’s easy for us to worry about things in our own lives. But Jesus says something in Matthew 6 that is profoundly simple. Jesus taught that we are not to be anxious – that we are not to worry about our life. Let that sink in. “Do not be anxious about your life.” (Matthew 6:25)
He says later on in that passage to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness (and that all these things that we worry about: food, drink, clothing, – will be added to us.)
The next time you are tempted to be anxious about your life, remember the truth that God will give us all we need. Remember it and believe it, like Abraham.
We have a sure foundation in God. The world presses us to pursue things, money, and status, but the pursuit of these things sets us adrift. The more they get these things, the more they grow unstable, wishy-washy, and afraid.
God’s always-reliable faithfulness provides the answer to our anxieties and fears.