Genesis 12: Abraham-A Flawed Man Living By Faith
In Genesis chapter 12:1, we see the beginning of the building of the true Jerusalem. This began with Abraham through whom came the nation of Israel the capital of which was Jerusalem. There would have been no Jerusalem if there had been no Abraham. We observe in Abraham something completely different from what we saw in Babylon last week. It says, “And the Lord said to Abram: 'Go forth out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and out of thy father's house, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.'”
Abraham didn't suddenly get a bright idea one day like these people in Babel, and say, “I think I have lived long enough in Ur. Let me move to Canaan and do something there.” No. His move was dictated by God. Abraham was 75 years old. It is good to wait for even 75 years to hear God and then move. Moses waited for 40 years as a shepherd and then moved, when God spoke to him. And think of what he accomplished! I am not saying we must wait for 75 or 80 years. All I am saying is that we must wait until we hear from God and then move. But, do you think today's busy man has time for that? I don't think so.
Be careful about who you let move you. Let God be the one that moves you. Many people may urge you to do various things. Listen to their advice, but don't move until God also speaks to you. Wait until you hear God, because It will end up disastrously, if you listen to the opinions of men. I am not saying that we should not consider the opinions of our Authorities over us. We all have authorities over us. Whether Parents, Husbands, The Church leaders, etc. But I am saying that the final voice we hear must be God's. God told Abraham to “Go” and he went. God told Moses to “Go,” and he went. God told Paul to “Go” an he went. These are the people who accomplished something with their lives. Today people run around trying to do something or the other for God. But they accomplish nothing of eternal value. Statistics-wise, what they do may be impressive. But it's all religious Babylon, and not Jerusalem.
“Babylon says “Come, lets move. Let's do something for the Lord. Let's make bricks, let make mortar, let's do something.” You can impress men. “Let us make a name.”, Babylon would say. And you may make a great name for yourself building Babylon-like Nebuchadnezzar did. This is happening today in Christian work and that is the message in Revelation 17 and 18. But Abraham waited for God's “Go.”
Notice that whenever Abraham moved with out the leading of God, he got into trouble.
For example: We read that God had told Abraham to leave Ur of the Chaldees and to go where He would lead him. But in Chapter 11:31 we read that it was Terah, Abrahams father, who took Abraham and moved out of Ur. But what had God told Abraham? Leave “thy kindred, and thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:” but here we see the 75 year old Abram holding his Daddy's hand and moving out! That was how Abraham started!!
The ones who will hinder you from doing the will of God will tend to be your relative first of all- your parents, your brothers, your sisters, your wife and your children. Jesus said, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26) You may want to follow the Lord. But you father or your wife may say, “No”!
So Terah took Abraham, and they came as far as Haran (11:31) and settled there. That was not God's will. Why did they settle there? That was Terah's idea. Haran perhaps had good pasture land for the flocks. But it was not God's place. And Abram settled down there with his Daddy! Abram was a man who made mistakes. And the first mistake he made was to listen to his father, when God had already told him to do something else. So what did God do? God can easily deal with such situations. He took away Terah through death. (11:32)! Then, “Abram went out as the Lord had commanded him”. (12:4)
Do you have to wait until God does something drastic like that before you move on? If God loves you, He will do something drastic like that, But if God sees that you yourself are a compromiser, He may allow you to stay on in Haran all your life and miss the will of God totally. Learn to move with God. So how do you hand those who are in authority who are telling you to do opposite of what you know God desires of you?
Well first we must understand the principles God has laid out for us concerning Authorities in our lives.
There are 3 basic purposes for authority.
To Grow in Wisdom and Character
The only recorded incident in scripture that references the life of Christ between the ages of two and thirty was a discussion with His parents which involved authority. This occurred when He was twelve.
Should He follow his spiritual calling and be about His Father's business or should He become subject to His parents and leave His ministry at the temple?
And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? did you not know, that I must be about my father' s business? (Luke 2:49)
He chose to do the latter, and the following verse reports,
And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace with God and men. (Luke 2:52)
He advanced in these things, while being under the authority of His parents.
To Gain Protection From Destructive Temptations
The nature of submission is not "getting under the domination of authority but rather getting under the protection of authority".
Authority is like an "umbrella of protection", and when we get out from under it, we expose ourselves to unnecessary temptations which are too strong for us to overcome.
Because it is like the sin of witchcraft, to rebel: (I Kings 15:23)
Both Terms, Rebellion and Witchcraft, have the same basic definition which is- subjecting ourselves to the realms and power of Satan. So when someone rebels against the Authority that God has put in there lives, it is just like witchcraft. They are subjecting themselves to the realms and power of Satan.
To Receive Clear Directions for Life Decisions
Correct decisions are based on faith; that is, visualizing what God intends to do.
For all that is not of faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)
One of the most basics aspects of faith is to realize how God gets His directions to us through those He has placed over us.
After the centurion asked Jesus to come and heal his servant, it occurred to him that just as his life was structured around a "chain of responsibility," so the kingdom in which God operates must have a similar structure of authority.
When Jesus realized that he understood this, Jesus "marvelled; and said to them that followed him: Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel." (Matthew 8:10)
Our faith multiplies as we see how God speaks to us through those He has placed over us. Each of us has a multitude of character deficiencies that need to be perfected. God uses those in authority to do this.
In the case of a child the bible says,"Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, and the rod of correction shall drive it away." (Proverbs 22:15)
God assures us that the heart of one who is in authority is in His hand, and that He turns it in the same way He does a winding river by using the pressure of the current and time.
"As the divisions of waters, so the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord: whithersoever he will he shall turn it." (Proverbs 21:1)
God is even more concerned that our character become like Christ Jesus then He is in which "instruments" He uses to accomplish this. Therefore, if we push away or get out from under the reproofs and authority of our parents, God only has to raise up new "tools" to chip away at the rough edges of our character.
There are Four Basic Structures of Authority
Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing to the Lord. (Colossians 3:20)
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is just. Honour thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with a promise: That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest be long lived upon earth. (Ephesians 6:1-3)
My son, keep the commandments of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother. Bind them in thy heart continually, and put them about thy neck. (Proverbs 6:20-21)
The eye that mocketh at his father, and that despiseth the labour of his mother in bearing him, let the ravens of the brooks pick it out, and the young eagles eat it. (Proverbs 30:17)
A fool laugheth at the instruction of his father: but he that regardeth reproofs shall become prudent. (Proverbs 15:5)
2. (Church)-Pope-Bishops-Priest-Members of the Church
And we beseech you, brethren, to know them who labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you: That you esteem them more abundantly in charity, for their work' s sake. Have peace with them. (I Thessalonians 5:12,13)
Obey your prelates, and be subject to them. For they watch as being to render an account of your souls; that they may do this with joy, and not with grief. For this is not expedient for you. (Hebrews 13:17)
Let the priests that rule well, be esteemed worthy of double honour: especially they who labour in the word and doctrine: For the scripture saith: Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn: and, The labourer is worthy of his reward. (I Timothy 5:17,18)
The ancients therefore that are among you, I beseech, who am myself also an ancient, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ: as also a partaker of that glory which is to be revealed in time to come: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking care of it, not by constraint, but willingly, according to God: not for filthy lucre' s sake, but voluntarily: Neither as lording it over the clergy, but being made a pattern of the flock from the heart. (I Peter 5:1-3)
3. (Government)-National Leaders-Local Officials-Citizens
Be ye subject therefore to every human creature for God' s sake: whether it be to the king as excelling; Or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of the good: (I Peter 2:13,14)
Let every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God. (Romans 13:1)
For princes are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good: and thou shalt have praise from the same. For he is God' s minister to thee, for good. But if thou do that which is evil, fear: for he beareth not the sword in vain. For he is God' s minister: an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil. (Romans 13:3-4)
Wherefore be subject of necessity, not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake. (Romans 13:5)
For therefore also you pay tribute. For they are the ministers of God, serving unto this purpose. Render therefore to all men their dues. Tribute, to whom tribute is due: custom, to whom custom: fear, to whom fear: honour, to whom honour. (Romans 13:6-7)
Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not serving to the eye, as pleasing men, but in simplicity of heart, fearing God. (Colossians 3:22)
Whatsoever you do, do it from the heart, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that you shall receive of the Lord the reward of inheritance. Serve ye the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24)
Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. (I Peter 2:18)
Whosoever are servants under the yoke, let them count their masters worthy of all honour; lest the name of the Lord and his doctrine be blasphemed. (I Timothy 6:1)
But they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but serve them the rather, because they are faithful and beloved, who are partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. (I Timothy 6:2)