When I was in elementary school I had a habit of claiming I’d read the latest book or knew the most popular song, even though it wasn’t true. Not only did I want to fit in with my peers and be part of their conversations, I felt very strongly that I should do whatever it took to be perfect. I didn’t want anyone to think I didn’t know something, I never wanted to be wrong, and I did everything I could to please people so no one would ever be disappointed in me.
As a Christian I have to admit it took a long time to grow in my faith enough to realize that God wasn’t waiting around for me to mess up so He could leave me. Although the mask of perfection served me well in the corporate world and with people, God was waiting patiently for me to begin walking fully as the woman He designed me to be – a woman who will never be perfect but who depends on the Lord to be my strength where I am weak.
Maybe that’s part of the reason Abram and Sarai’s story has always resonated deeply with me. The writers of Scripture could have easily skipped over the hard, less desirable parts of their stories and focused on the highlights that made them look perfectly faithful. But without flaws, without failure, we would never need the beautiful plan of redemption and salvation that God prepared for us. Like any good story, without conflict there can be no celebration of resolution. Without failure there can be no lesson learned on the way to true success.
Our reading today covers the beginning of Abram and Sarai’s story, as we read the family record of Terah (Abram’s father), the marriage of Abram to Sarai, the journey of Terah, Abram, Sarai, and Lot to Haran (settling there on their way to Canaan), the sending of Abram, and the promise of God to make him into a great nation, give his people land, and to make him a blessing. We read about a second move, this time to Canaan, with Sarai, Lot, and all the people with them. Canaan is the land God promises to give to Abram’s descendants.
“God gave Abram a one-verb command with four aspects to it. Abram was to go out from: his land, his relatives, his father’s house TO a land chosen by God. Obedience to God often means leaving one thing in order to receive something else even better.” (HCSB Study Bible)
“So Abram went…” (Genesis 12:4)
Where is God asking you to leave something good and comfortable so you can receive something better? Are you willing to lay down the mask of perfection and step into messy, unknown, imperfect faith to take that next step with Jesus? As we read about Abraham and Isaac over the next few weeks, I pray that you will be encouraged and see that what God has set in motion, our imperfection can not delay or destroy. Even when our faith falters, God will be victorious. Even when we mess up, God will still invite us into the story He is writing. Even when we go our own way or choose to stay in that comfort zone, God will keep His promises.
In fact, you might have noticed in our reading today that Sarai’s barrenness is mentioned twice, setting up the major miracle God would perform when she does conceive. The areas where we feel the least capable of accomplishing what God is asking from us, the parts of ourselves that make us feel “less than,” the areas where we feel like we need to hide – those might be exactly where God will shine brightest.
Week 1 Challenge:
List as many promises of God as you can. Be careful to note the context of the promise. Make a list of the promises of God, to whom they were made, and whether or not God fulfilled these promises.
Week 1 Reading Plan
Week 1 Memory Verse
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