Abraham was a great man of faith who had numerous faithless lapses. Sound familiar?
In Genesis 12, God commanded him to leave his family, his country, his people and all that was comfortable, and travel to an undisclosed location. He was to leave the old behind and begin a brand new life. Abraham heard, believed, trusted and obeyed. He exercised faith and departed on his great adventure.
When he arrived in the land of promise, it was filled with well-situated, warring kingdoms. Questions must have filled his mind. Surely he was tempted to doubt the wisdom of God and leave this already populated locale. But God met him again and told him to remain. Abraham heard, believed, trusted and obeyed. He pitched his tent at Bethel and worshiped the Lord.
However, before the end of chapter 12, Abraham had his first crisis of faith. He received God’s revelation, obeyed God’s direction, and found himself in a land with too many people groups and not enough food. At this time, Abraham’s faith and faithfulness faltered, and this could be seen in two regards.
First, Abraham lacked faith in God and left the land of promise. To this point, Abraham had been led by God from Ur to Haran to Canaan. At each and every stop, Abraham and God were seen enjoying communion. But now, without clear direction from God being presented, Abraham left the neighborhood chosen by God and journeyed south to the land of Egypt. The Scripture does not expressly state this to be a faithless sin, but this author feels this was a definitive step in the wrong direction. God had called Abraham to travel, take and possess a land for his children; he was found in the wrong location.
Second, Abraham lacked faith in God and left his wife in the hands of another. A good husband cherishes his wife. A good husband guards and protects his wife from all harm. A good husband fights to the death for his wife’s honor. A good husband sacrifices all, including himself, to present her spotless and blameless before God. A good husband does not honor God and spouse by encouraging her to hide her marriage vows, take up residence in a brothel or strip club, and come close to sexual fornication in order to feed his stomach, save his skin, and fill his wallet. But such was the faithless decision of Abraham.
Paul wrote to Timothy, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13) Perhaps he had this story in mind, for this is not the final chapter in Abraham’s life. He was indeed the great Patriarch of Faith, but he was not perfect or sinless. Throughout his faith journey, there would be many more stumbles (i.e.. Sleeping with Hagar, Preferring Ishmael, Counting his years and doubting God’s miraculous providence). However, in the end, God would keep him in the faith and his light would shine for all the world to see. (i.e. Continual worship, Rescuing Lot, Preferring Melchizedek, Sacrificing Isaac).
So what should you do today? Hear God; believe God; trust God; and do the next right thing. Confess your sin; forget the past; praise God for his undeserved blessings, and obey. Realize your faithless yesterday and determine to be faithful today. Only Jesus was faithful every day. Rejoice that your scriptures are full of men, beloved by God, who were faithless and double-minded at various stages in their life. You are not odd. You are not apostate. You are not a Judas waiting to be uncovered. You are much like Abraham — a faithless sinner, saved by grace, called to be faithful, and being used by the Great Covenant Keeper who never fails you.