Looking at the life or rather, the progress of Abraham’s life, there are a few questions that ruminate through my mind. His is the life of faith in God’s promise, but at best, a growing process of having faith or trust in God.
So, are we to read that Abraham, in the two depictions where he asked Sarah to lie that she was his sister account for him missing the mark? Was it wrong for him to devise such a scheme for the reason that both his and Sarah life would be somewhat spared? Although the bible does not mention that this was wrong does God’s intervention address that he (Abraham) made a wrong decision? And another thing, God never approached Abraham and tell him that what he did was wrong and does his intervention imply that he was more interested in generating trust from Abraham rather than telling Abraham straight in the face that his decision was the wrong one.
These questions could also be applied also in Abraham agreeing with Sarah to take her maidservant as a wife so that through Hagar, Sarah would have a child to give to Abraham. God was not made at Abraham’s decision here as well. There are no passages which mentions that God was pulling hair mad and stamping his feet be cause of what Abraham has done. But what God did was, he clarified to Abraham again that Ishmael was the not the promised son that God had been telling him about. And what’s more God did not curse but blessed him. There are other instances that can be conjured that paralle with this as well.
On last test of faith that God gave to Abraham, in some ways Abraham now sort of understood what God wanted him to do. Somehow Abraham was now able to discern God’s instruction to him without him offering any form of his own interpretation of what he thought God had said to him. And as we all know, Abraham passed the test in obeying God.
In this story we thus see that God patiently teaches Abraham on understanding him, for the reason of building in how he should trust God. We don’t see here a God of legalism or a God that expects perfect obedience. We see more a God who is patiently fertile ground so that we can grow in our faith in him.
Here we can also learn that faith has steps of growth. Obedience to God is not an overnight thing. Rather obedience in trust to God is something that is developed. This has great implication for pastors or leaders in discipling people to put their faith in God. Failure is unavoidable but it is also not final. If we are devoted and patient to build people to put their trust in God, then their leval of obedience will grow maturely as well.