Wednesday, March 13, 2019
No matter how strong our faith has grown, there are areas in which we still walk by sight. This is the predicament of us all, and almost cost Abraham his life.
Genesis 20:11-13 Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”’”
As I evaluate the motivations for choosing to walk by sight rather than by faith, I find there are primarily two: fear of others and fear of self-loss.
Abraham has been traveling around all the magnificent land that God has promised him, and he arrives in an area that is currently under the control of a king named Abimelech. Abraham, for the second time recorded in Scripture, tells a lie about his marital status with Sarah. Abimelech decides this new woman to the territory needs to be a part of his harem, so he brings Sarah to his tents to make her his wife.
Imagine the emotional response of Sarah to this. She has just been told that within a year she will have a son with Abraham. Yet here she is in a stranger’s house with the expectation of marital relationships with the King. But God intervenes and speaks directly to Abimelech, telling him the truth of the situation. God gives him instructions to remedy the near tragedy. When Abimelech asks Abraham for an explanation, Abraham responds with an admission of walking by sight rather than by faith, and shows his human nature by trying to justify his actions.
Notice two very important lessons from Abraham’s confession:
- Abraham’s faith faltered because he feared how others might react. Abraham was more concerned with what men thought about God than with what God thought about men. He allowed his fear of what men could do to him to overwhelm his faith in what God had promised him. There are areas in our lives where this is true about us as well. Maybe it’s at work, or in some relationships, or maybe even in our church, but somewhere in our lives there is an activity that is motivated by the fear of how people will respond to us rather than by faith in how God will reward us. Growing faith in God’s promises conquers groveling fear of people.
- Abraham’s faith faltered because of the fear of self-loss. Let me share with you a very significant point that we need to consider in our walks of faith. Decisions motivated by fear rather than faith become almost unbreakable chains of bondage that can affect us for the rest of our lives. Notice in today’s Scripture that Abraham admits to Abimelech that he made the decision to portray Sarah as his sister at the outset of his journey from his homeland. It was a condition of his walk of faith. When God told him to leave his family and comfort zone, Abraham agreed, on the condition that he would do what was necessary to protect his own life. That decision at the early stage of his faith held him in bondage for a long time.
I believe that we all need to seriously consider what conditions we have placed on our walk of faith. What areas of our lives have we decided are ours alone and that we are solely responsible for them? What decisions did we make at an early age that still hold us in emotional and spiritual bondage? How have we limited God’s power in our lives because of human restrictions we have placed on ourselves? These are serious questions and our responses will seriously affect us for a long time. Don’t be like Abraham and try to justify the decision that was made by saying that there was a small element of truth to it. We all know in our hearts what we have done from faith and what was done from fear. That which is of fear must be confessed and surrendered to God, so it can be replaced with His promises.
My friends, there is hope. No decision of the past that led to an emotional or physical addiction is permanent. That is the wonder of the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Abraham learned from this mistake. He conquered his fears, and passed every additional test of his faith from this point forward.
So can you! God can and will forgive you and restore you. He will replace your fear with faith. Simply confess your need, make a decision of your will that you were wrong, and surrender to God’s will. He will make you whole!