Abraham: doubt and worry

Cover to Cover

Reading: Genesis 18:1-20:18

Focus: Genesis 18:1-15

The story of Abraham is one of great anticipation, of which the central focus is God’s promise to make Abraham into a great nation. However, it is also a story of human disruption in the divine plan, as time and time again, Abraham does stupid things because he lacks faith in trusting for God’s provision and protection. God had made it explicitly clear to Abraham that Sarah herself would give birth to a child, but instead Abraham had a son with Hagar, Sarah’s servant. As Abraham travelled throughout various cities, he would hide the fact that he was married to Sarah, saying she was his sister (which she was, though not of the same mother). The list goes on.

So, to further emphasise and clarify His promise to Abraham, God made a visit to Abraham. It would seem to Abraham that he must have been absent-minded or completely unaware to miss three visitors walking by in the open landscape, for he hurried to meet them and invited them into his hospitality. For us readers, it somewhat amusing to note that Abraham does not know the identity of these visitors, yet addressed them saying, “If I have found favour in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by.” Most likely, Abraham was merely being polite and requesting that the visitors accept his hospitality.

As the event unfolds, what Abraham made to be a small cause of hospitality turned into a feast (fresh baked bread, curds, milk, and a choice calf). During this time, a discussion began between Abraham and the visitors and it quickly led to God’s promise to Abraham. Abraham must had wondered who these visitors were, though quick to realise who was before him. In the dialogue recorded for us, Abraham and Sarah were in disbelief and fear, as highlighted by Sarah’s words, as they heard the promise repeated by these three divine strangers.

Imagine the difference it would make to our lives if we would just listen to God in the first place. It’s not to say that life would be any easier, but the freedom of trusting in God’s plan for our lives allows us to see life from a different perspective. Life has enough stresses of its own with work, study and family, why would we want any more stress about the plans that God has for us tomorrow? We need only look through the stories of those such as Abraham, Moses and David to see where human endeavour and priority lead us—Abraham had to deal with Hagar and Ishmael, Moses could not enter the Promised Land, and David’s latter family life was an absolute mess. God used each one of those situations to His cause, but how the stories would be different we don’t know.

God has made His promises to us, God has demonstrated His power and grace, God has expressed to us His unconditional love—most evidently expressed through His Only Son, Jesus Christ. How foolish we are, myself included, for continually doubting and questioning the plans God has for us! Matthew 6:25-34 records for us Jesus’ words on worry with the closing remarks, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” God is faithful.

Next Reading: Genesis 21:1-23:20