Pastor Ricky Powell
April 11, 2010
What is the one fact you can get Christians, Jews, and Muslims to all agree on?
It is the fact that Abraham is the Father of Faith.
All three of the world’s great religions -- Christianity, Judaism, and Islam -- agree that Abraham is the Father of the Faithful.
Abraham is mentioned in several books of the New Testament for his faith.
He is considered the great hero of the faith in the New Testament.
But did you know that Abraham was not always a man of faith?
Like you and me Abraham experienced failures of faith.
It is possible to go from being at one moment a hero to the next moment a zero.
It is possible to go from being a person of faith to a person of failure.
It was true of Abraham and it is true of us.
Now we have all experienced failures of one sort or the other.
We have failed vocationally, academically, financially, or relationally.
But the worst failure of them all is a failure of faith.
The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
So let us learn a few brief lessons about failures of faith from the life of Abraham.
This is the first message in our new series titled, "Famous Failures" based on Hebrews 11.
Our text today will be Genesis 12:10 and following.
Open your Bibles and follow along.
Ask God to teach you how to be a person of faith.
And ask Him to teach you how to come back from failure when you have experienced a lapse in faith.
Genesis 12 finds Abram, as he was called in those days, in the Land of Promise.
How did he get there?
Well it is a remarkable story.
Abram had been a Mesopotamian moon worshipper in the city of Ur when the one true and living God came to him and called him to leave his home in what is modern day Mosul, Iraq and go to a land of Promise.
God told him to leave but He did not tell him where he was going.
Abram had to trust the Word of Yahweh explicitly.
God promised that He would give Abram a land of his own, the land we now call Israel.
God made a covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3).
I will make you a great nation.
2. I will make your name great.
3. I will bless you.
A. Involves spiritual blessings
B. Involves physical blessings, (fertility and wealth)
4. I will make you a blessing to the nations.
I will bless those who bless you.
I will curse those who curse you.
Never lose sight of the Abrahamic Covenant as you read the Book of Genesis from chapter twelve on.
It is the key to understanding what is going on.
So God called Abram from his pagan culture to a land where he would be the father of a new nation that would know and follow the one true God.
We do not know anything about Abram’s life before God called him, but we know that he immediately believed God and obeyed.
Abram left Ur and what family he had went with him.
He started on a journey with nothing but the promise of God.
He did not have a road map, GPS, or the On Star service.
God just told him to start walking and He would tell him when he arrived.
Now that is faith!
You can see why Abram is called the Father of the Faithful.
Our text this morning finds Abram in the land of promise, but just barely.
And that prepares us for our first lesson in failures of faith.
This first lesson has to do with…
1.The Timing of Failures of Faith: We often fail in times of Testing.
Abram had no sooner arrived in the land of Promise when a famine swept through the place.
Look again at verse 10.
/10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land./
Genesis 12:10 (NKJV)
We often fail in times of testing.
You would have thought that this great hero of the faith who has left everything he ever knew to follow God would have been spared from testing times.
You would have thought that after such a long and arduous journey that God would have granted Abram respite from times of testing and trouble.
You would have thought that when Abram arrived in the land that he would have found resources in plentiful supply, but he did not.
Instead of being greeted by a feast he was greeted by a famine.
As is so often the case, our faith does not always lead us first into lands of blessings but burdens; not feast, but famines; not triumphs, but testings.
Living by faith in God does not guarantee you a life of comfort and ease.
Living by faith will lead you into times of difficulty and danger.
Moses discovered this truth when he first led the people of Israel by faith out of Egypt into the wilderness.
No sooner had they gotten out of Egypt they were confronted with Pharaoh’s army behind them and the Red Sea before them.
After they crossed the Red Sea they ran out of water.
After they found water they discovered it was bitter.
After God cleansed the water they ran out of food.
Faith does not always lead us to times of tranquility, but times of testing.
So Abram finds himself in the midst of a famine in the Land of Promise.
But God intended for his man who was to walk by faith to trust Him during the times of famine.
Abram was to abide in the Land of Promise confident that God would make good His promise!
But that was not the customary thing to do.
The customary thing to do in those days was to flee to Egypt when there was a famine in your land.
Egypt was the great bread basket of the ancient world.
The Nile River made it a rich and productive land.
The logical thing to do in times of famine was to go to Egypt.
That is what Abram does.
He does not pray.
He does not ask God.
He just takes off for Egypt.
And who could blame him?
He was only doing the logical thing, the rational thing, and the natural thing!
But living by faith does not always mean doing the logical thing.
The man of faith is not to be a man of custom but of confidence!
Abram was to abide in the land of promise by faith, confident that God would keep His promise.
Abram’s sight told him to flee to Egypt, but his faith should have told him to trust God.
Faith, after all, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
Have you ever been in a famine?
A famine of joy, peace, financial stability, purpose, contentment, of strength you once had?
Did you turn to God or did you turn to Egypt?
* When your joy was gone did you turn to the King of Beers in an attempt to party your way back to joy?
Or did you turn to the King of kings trusting Him by faith to be your joy and peace?
* When your bank account was tight did you stop tithing and giving to God or did you remain faithful even when it did not make sense on paper?