As we saw in the last lesson, Abraham is the father of faith because he was sensitive to the Word of God and answered the high and holy calling that God gave to him. Now we want to examine how his faith positively impacted his relationships with others. During the last lesson I asked you to read Genesis 12-15, 18 and 22.
I. Right away Abraham begins to invest in others the way that God had invested in him.
4 So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew *, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set * out for the land of Canaan ; thus they came to the land of Canaan.(Genesis 12)
Abraham could have taken his family and possessions and been obedient to God calling. Abraham took it one step further, he reached out to his nephew, whose father had passed away, and took him as a disciple. Lot was blessed because of his relationship with Abraham just like Abraham was blessed because of his relationship with God. A person who has a genuine relationship with God looks to invest in the lives of others, especially in the area of personal relationships. It is done for the benefit of the recipient.
II. A person with genuine faith in God values relationships over financial gain.
Not to say that financial gain is bad, because Abraham worked hard and acquired wealth yet when it come down to personal relationships or wealth, he chose personal relationships.
5 Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6 And the land could not sustain them while dwelling together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to remain together. 7 And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. Now the Canaanite and the Perizzite were dwelling then in the land. 8 So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. 9 “Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me; if to the left, then I will go to the right ; or if to the right, then I will go to the left.” 10 Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere -this was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah -like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar. 11 So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other. 12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom. (Genesis 13)
Lot was a work in progress like all of us are. Abraham invested in Lot and caused Lot to prosper. Lot was not grateful for Abraham’s investment. When it came time to choose, Lot should have deferred to Abraham right away. Abraham was more interested in maintaining good relations with Lot so he allowed Lot to choose. Lot seemed to be more interested in material things, looking out for himself and “getting his own” as it is said. The choice would come back to haunt Lot at a later time. But as for now, we see that Abraham valued relationships above material possessions. He was willing to be taken advantage of in order to maintain his relationship with Lot. Genuine faith is not naive yet it is willing to take financial loss in order to build and maintain personal relationships. Are you willing to invest in the lives of others the way that God has invested in your life? Are you more interested in personal relationships or financial gain?
III. Abraham does not hold a grudge but uses every opportunity to help others because he has genuine faith in God.
Lot gets in a jam because of the choice that he has made. Abraham could have said, “good riddance, you are getting what you deserve” yet he did not. Even though Lot had taken advantage of him, Abraham was still ready to sacrifice in order to help Lot.
11 Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food supply, and departed. 12 They also took Lot, Abram’s nephew *, and his possessions and departed, for he was living in Sodom. 13 Then a fugitive came and told Abram the Hebrew. Now he was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner, and these were allies * with Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen *, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. 16 He brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative Lot with his possessions, and also the women, and the people. (Genesis 14)
Abraham uses his personal army to go and rescue Lot, looking for nothing in return accept for Lot’s safety. Again, we see that Abraham chooses personal relationships over financial gain. He is willing to sacrifice in order to help out Lot and maintain their relationship. Do you seek to build and maintain personal relationships no matter the cost? Are you willing to invest in someone who does not deserve your help and may not even be grateful for it, the way that Lot was?
IV. A person of genuine faith shares that faith with his coworkers by teaching his faith to them.
Once you read Genesis 17, you see that Abraham introduced his servants to his faith in God. He was open about his faith and shared it with them. He had personal relationships with his servants or coworkers. What about you, do you share your faith with your coworkers? Do you invest in building personal relationships with your coworkers so that you can share your faith with them? When you know God the way that Abraham did, then the result will be the fact that you share your faith with your coworkers by investing in building personal relationships with them.
V. A person with genuine faith invests in his children, teaching them how to have faith in God the way that he does.
In Genesis 22, the first time worship and love are mentioned in the Bible, in the context of obedience, we see that Abraham taught his faith in God to his son, Isaac.
6 Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. 7 Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father !” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering ?” (Genesis 22)
Notice that Isaac knows about the sacrificial system and he knows that they are going to worship God. Obviously he has learned all of this from his father. He also learned complete obedience from his father as well because he is willing to sacrifice his life to obey God, the same way that his father is. He believes that God will provide. He saw that kind of faith and obedience lived out on a daily basis in his father’s life (Abraham). It was not hard for him to enter into covenant with God because of the role model that he had in his father. Isaac was a disciple of Abraham, just like Lot had been. Abraham invests in the lives of others the same way that God invested in his life.
- What about you my dear friend, what kind of faith do you have?
- Are you leaving behind a legacy of faith and obedience for your family and nation to follow?
- How is your relationship with God reflected in your relationships with others?
- Are you hospitable to others?
- Do you seek to maintain good relationships above all else?
- Do you intercede on behalf of those who do not deserve it?
- What changes do you need to make in order to be more like Abraham, the father of faith?