Be Obedient (Genesis 12-25): Learning the Secret of Living by Faith by Warren W. Wiersbe is the second in his three-part commentary on Genesis. These chapters cover the life of Abraham.
Humanity had not had a good track record so far In Genesis: sinning in paradise, murder, drunkenness, immorality, and rebellion. But in His longsuffering, God continued working with man.
In this section, God called Abraham to leave his family, his country, and his idols and go to the land where God sent him. God promised Abraham He would bless him, make his name great, make of him a great nation, and through him bless “all the families of the earth” (Genesis 12:1-3).
Abraham and his wife, Sarah, were not sinless examples of living by faith. While I am not happy when anyone makes wrong choices, I am encouraged that even towering figures like Abraham were not perfect, and we can confess our sin, be forgiven, pick up, and go one. Abraham and Sarah are both listed in what is sometimes called the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11.
Ultimately, Abraham’s story is about God showing grace and faithfulness and setting aside a line of people through whom the promised Messiah would eventually be born.
In the last chapter, Wiersbe lists several ways “all the nations of the earth” are blessed through Abraham.
- “Abraham left us a clear witness of salvation through faith.” Romans 15:3: “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
- “Abraham also leaves us the example of a faithful life. James used Abraham to illustrate the importance of proving our faith by our works (James 2:14-26). Wherever Abraham went, he pitched his tent and built his altar, and he let the people of the land know that he was a worshiper of the true and living God.”
- “From Abraham, we learn how to walk by faith.”
- “Abraham gave the world the gift of the Jewish nation; and it is through the Jews that we have the knowledge of the true God plus the Word of God and the salvation of God (John 4: 22).”
- “Finally, because of Abraham, we have a Savior.” Matthew 1:1 begins, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
Here are a few of the other quotes that stood out to me in this book:
Living by faith means obeying God’s Word in spite of feelings, circumstances, or consequences. It means holding on to God’s truth no matter how heavy the burden or how dark the day, knowing that He is working out His perfect plan. It means living by promises and not by expectations.
“The victorious Christian life,” said George Morrison, “is a series of new beginnings.”
God alone is in control of circumstances. You are safer in a famine in His will than in a palace out of His will.
When you disobey the will of God, the only right thing to do is to go back to the place where you left Him and make a new beginning (1 John 1: 9).
God’s remedy for Abraham’s fear was to remind him who He was: “I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Gen. 15: 1). God’s I AM is perfectly adequate for man’s “I am not.”
The Hebrew word translated “believed” means “to lean your whole weight upon.” Abraham leaned wholly on the promise of God and the God of the promise. We are not saved by making promises to God but by believing the promises of God.
In times of testing, it is easy to think only about our needs and our burdens; instead, we should be focusing on bringing glory to Jesus Christ. We find ourselves asking “How can I get out of this?” instead of “What can I get out of this that will honor the Lord?” We sometimes waste our sufferings by neglecting or ignoring opportunities to reveal Jesus Christ to others who are watching us go through the furnace.
Once again, I am indebted to Dr. Wiersbe for his helpful insights.