Daily Devotional November 10
“It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents.” (Hebrews 11:8-9a)
The Book of Hebrews provides us with a list of individuals who showed their faith in God and accomplished some remarkable acts because of it. We should not for that reason, however, set them on pedestals of faith which are unattainable for the rest of us. When we go back to their life stories, contained in the Old Testament, we find that time and again they are as human as the rest of us; they were in fact as prone to doubt and misplaced faith as we all are. Take Abraham for example; he was a man of incredible faith. God told Abraham to leave his family and travel to a land that God would give his descendants, who would be as numerous as the stars and from whom would come blessing for all the families of earth–who we know was Jesus. Despite being childless at the age of 75, with a wife who was only ten years younger, Abram believed God’s promise. He picked up everything he had, left everything he had ever known, in order to travel to a place he had never been. A truly incredible act of faith. However, shortly after leaving we discover that there is one area of his life that Abraham doesn’t trust God as fully as he should and makes some terrible decisions as a result.
No, I am not talking about the infamous story involving Sarah’s slave, Hagar; that would serve more as an example of Sarah’s lack of faith as she attempted to help God’s promise along. And those of us familiar with that story know how badly it turned out! No, I am talking about an area of this man of faith’s life in which he experienced a failure to demonstrate full faith and trust in God and made some terrible mistakes as a result. He trusted God to give him children. He trusted God to give him a promised land. He did not, however, fully trust God with his life. How so? Check out two very similar stories in Genesis 12:10-20 and Genesis 20. Abraham and his family lived a nomadic lifestyle and the Bible records how on two separate occasions Abraham instructed his wife to say that she was his sister. Why would he do that? Because he feared that the rulers of the land they were entering would kill him to get to her. As a result, Abraham literally hands over his wife to another man...twice! Sarah is first given to Pharaoh of Egypt and becomes part of his harem. We don’t know how long Sarah was forced to endure being Pharaoh’s ‘wife,’ but we do know that her rescue had to be engineered by God. He inflicted Pharaoh’s household with terrible plagues until it was discovered that she was in fact already married and was returned to Abraham.
It’s not bad enough that Abraham does this once, but he repeats the scenario some twenty years later, just a brief matter of months after God tells him that he will have a son through Sarah in a year’s time. They have traveled to Gerar, when Sarah is once again taken to be the wife of King Abimelech, after being introduced as Abraham’s sister. Not only has Abraham allowed his wife to again suffer this betrayal in order to save his own skin, but he is messing around with God’s time line. Sarah should be pregnant with Abraham’s son soon, not a strangers! God again intervenes on her behalf...and on behalf of His plan. This time He speaks to Abimelech in a dream and pronounces him a dead man unless he returns Sarah to her rightful husband. King Abimelech is quick to act and returns Sarah to Abraham along with compensation for the wrong done to her.
Before we’re too hard on Abraham, let’s first consider the areas of our lives where our faith in God might be too thin. Abraham believed God’s promises and he is held up as an example to follow in the Book of Hebrews...though obviously not in all areas of his life. We can have strong faith in some areas of our lives too yet still lack total and complete faith and trust in God. Let’s be open to having God grow us in the area of faith. If Abraham still had room for improvement, why should we be any different?
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!