Lessons from Abraham’s failure (21 Feb 2016)

Where has Abraham failed? His decision to ask Sarah to pose as his sister is an indication of how little Abraham hold on to the promises of God because few verses earlier God had promised him that he will be “a great nation” and second time God even appeared to him (Gen 12:7) and told him that “to your offspring I’ll give this land”. So how can God allow him to be harmed when it is promised that his descendants will inherit the land? This was not a one-off failure as later in Gen 20 he tried the same ruse before king Abimelek. Again it was AFTER God in another vision told him “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield….” (Gen 15:1). So from the above two incidents it shows that Abraham has allowed his anxiety of life to become larger than the promises of God.

What did Abraham neglect? In Phil 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

It’s alright for one to have concerns over approaching storms in life and make pre-emptive preparation but he should not neglect to bring the matter before God and not to allow his own concerns to fester into anxiety. As a result of his anxiety Abraham took matters into his own hand which indicated that he places no faith in God’s leading and provision. He was just like Peter who when he saw soldiers approaching Jesus (John 18) acted on his own impulses instead of asking the Lord (who is next to him) for direction.

What did Abraham fail to seek? Abraham failed to seek first the purpose of God for his life and God’s plan for a nation he was promised. Should he have kept the purpose and objective and promise of God in his mind he would not became anxious and let situation robbed him of the Shalom of God.

What are Abraham failures in light of Ps 37:4-6? Clearly Abraham’s actions had showed that he has failed to “commit” his way and to place his “trust in” God. He failed to take God at his promise literally and that is how later Ishmael and Hagar came into the picture because he didn’t literally believe that it will be his future off spring that will inherit the land. For him his trouble came about because of the misplaced trust in his own ‘abilities’ and ‘initiatives’ instead of placing his trust on God.

In conclusion, several lessons we can learn from Abraham’s failure.

1. Though it is natural for one to have concerns over daily matters in life we shouldn’t let life’s concern overwhelm, overtake us and turning it into an anxiety. Rather we should bring the matter before God and seek His will in whatever situation.

2. Storm of life is God’s method to teach and instruct us and also for God to demonstrate His greatness, faithfulness and His ability to deliver.

3. We need to trust him utterly and completely and need to take God’s word literally, doing otherwise will be to water it down and missing out on all of God’s rich blessing and promises for us. Like Abraham this will even land us in greater troubles later down the road.


Brother Henry Yeo