Failures of the Faithful
And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there. So the days of Terah were two hundred and five years, and Terah died in Haran . . . . Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. Genesis 11:31-32; 12:1-5 NKJV
God appeared to Abram and made to him an unconditional covenant of grace, whereby God obligated Himself to perform the covenant in response to Abram’s simple faith in God. We, as believers, are heirs to the same covenantal promises (Gal. 3:29). The Scriptures declare that Abram is the father of faith to us in Christ Jesus. If we can understand some of Abram’s challenges and his failures; then, we too can better understand our journey in life—all the ups and downs and have hope for our tomorrow.
When you look at Abram’s life as recorded in the Genesis account of his call from his father house to go to the land of Canaan. Abram made this journey, making several missteps while waling by faith. His first failure was that God told him to get out of his country, away from his family, and away from his father’s house, and go to a land that God would show him (Canaan land). According to Genesis, Abram in response to this call, also took his nephew Lot with him. Abram didn’t leave all and journey all the way into the Promised Land at first. He stopped in Ur and was stalled in Haran. What seemed to require just simple obedience was altered. Like many of us, we either don’t act on the Word of Lord or we act by modifying His instructions—that’s a failure.
Abram’s second failure was that when he did arrive in Canaan land, in the face of a very harsh famine, he–without acknowledging God–went to Egypt to escape the famine. Instead of seeking the Lord, he chose to seek the strength of the “world.” This is a very subtle mistake we often make, but a failure nonetheless because Proverbs 3:5, 6 admonishes us to trust in the Lord with all our heart, and lean not on our own understanding; but, in all our ways to acknowledge God, and He shall direct our paths. Often-times difficult circumstances may cause us to depart from our God-chosen path. But this is a failure.
While in Egypt, out of the will of God, Abram intentionally conspired with Sarai, his wife, and lied about their true relationship out of fear for his own safety (see Gen. 12:14-20). Notwithstanding this failure, God intervened for Abram rather than releasing him to, what could have been, very painful life-threatening consequences. But for the grace of God, this failure could have been terminal. If God intervened for a disobedient liar, who later became a faithful friend of God and mentioned in Galatians as the father of our faith and also listed in the Hebrews chapter eleven’s “Hall of Fame” of faith, He will intervene for you in your time of need and feeling hopeless because of a failure in your life. But remember, Abram had to return to the place he left (Canaan land) and do his first works of obedience to God. If you’ll confess your failure, repent of your disobedience, God will make all things work together for your good as He did for Abram.