The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” 4 So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. 5 He took his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all his wealth—his livestock and all the people he had taken into his household at Haran—and headed for the land of Canaan. When they arrived in Canaan, 6 Abram traveled through the land as far as Shechem. There he set up camp beside the oak of Moreh. At that time, the area was inhabited by Canaanites.
Hebrews 12:1 says “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” The command to lay aside the things that entangle the life of faith is preceded by the fact that so many men and women of faith have gone before us. We need to learn from those who went before us so that we do not become so easily entangled. When you look back to chapter eleven, where we see some of the names that went before us, they are all prefaced by the statement, “by faith.” As we look at Abraham we saw that first he focused on the Promises not the problems, and secondly on the:
• Provider not a plan
The book of Hebrews tells us that “by faith Abraham obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going”. He had no map, no GPS, no motel reservations along the way. His caravan simply headed west toward the Mediterranean, and that was that. God had told him that He would show Abraham where to stop sometime in the future when he got to wherever he was going. I think many of us would struggle with this, we want a comprehensive plan for our careers and our churches. Today we do very few things by faith because we want a master plan but for Abraham the Master was his plan.
The truth is Abram didn’t have a clue, if we could have met up with his caravan the conversation could have sounded like this:
“Mr. Abram, where are you going?”
“I don’t know.”
“How long will it take you get there?”
“I don’t know that, either. God only said he would show me.”
“You have quite a caravan, who will supply all the food you’ll need?
“I don’t know, God just said he would take care of me.”
“You don’t seem to have a security force. Who is going to protect you from the Jebusites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and all the rest of the warring tribes? ”
Abram would not have had any real concrete answers to our questions other than God. The question we need to ask today is this: Is God a concrete enough answer for you, is the Father enough foundation for your faith? Just like the Wise men who journeyed to Jesus, they did it by faith both ways. First following a star and second God’s spoken word after He said don’t go home by the same route. Faith is happy to step out not knowing where it’s going because it knows who it’s following. It’s not really a matter of where we are going or when we will get there but who we are going with. Why are we more comfortable leaning on a master plan than the Master? The real reason we resist faith is because we want to retain control, to be in charge of mapping out our own life. We resist because we don’t want to rely on Him, Faith is scary because at its heart faith requires us to submit. Faith means leaning on the Lord for life, the real issue is trust. Why do we want to know everything well in advance? So we don’t have to rely and we can redirect what we don’t like. Yet as long as God’s strong hand was holding Abram’s, everything was going to work out. So the caravan moved ahead in faith content just knowing that God’s promise would not fail. This is the excitement of walking with God, we are relying on the Redeemer, leaning on Love, trusting in Truth. When we read the book of Acts, we know the end of the story but for those who lived it they never quite knew what’s going to happen with the next turn of the page. The Spirit of God was in control, and that was enough. Paul didn’t follow a formula, he followed the Father by faith and God unveiled the route as he went along. The plan at the beginning of the book of Acts was to wait by faith for the promise: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you” Acts 1:8. Abram and his wife Sarai had to wait with expectation for what God had promised them, having hope is living by faith in the promises of God. Today we value those who are clever, organized and have a plan over those with the faith of Abram who are willing to trust God wherever he leads. We forget that the Church was founded in a prayer meeting not a planning session. Paul was humble enough to admit to the church at Corinth, “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. . . . My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power” 1 Corinthians 2:1, 4-5. This approach to living for God and igniting faith in those around us is rare today. We want people to admire and need us, to follow our plan instead of to rely on His. God does have a wonderful plan for you but when and how He chooses to disclose it is up to Him. All he asks is that we take his hand and walk along in faith. He will show us soon enough what should be done. What we view as the problem of having to rely, God views as the promise of a relationship. Don’t try to get ahead of God you will only get behind. Today are you trusting in a man made plan or the Master?