Leading into the Unkown:Part 1
Imagine leaving the comforts of home and the security of friends and family you have known for a lifetime to go somewhere unknown. Imagine going on the promise that a great opportunity awaits you. Imagine taking your wife into such an unknown “opportunity”. That is what the Old Testament patriarch Abram (later Abraham) did. He led his wife and his nephew into an unknown future. What are the qualities of leadership we can learn from Abraham?
First: He was a man of firm commitment. You can almost since the resolve of Abram in Genesis 12:4. “So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him…” This was no light thing. Abram’s background, family, and environment were entirely pagan. But it was all he knew. To be snatched out of such familiar and comfortable surroundings by Jehovah was, to say the least, a life – changing experience. It took a lot of grace which resulted in firm commitment to the revealed will of God.
So it must be with every spiritual leader. We must have an unshakable reliance on the grace of God that results in a firm commitment to His revealed will. We have what Peter calls “a more sure word of prophecy” in the completed cannon of scripture (see 2 Peter 1:19). Everything we need to be wise spiritual leaders is contained there, and we would do well to saturate ourselves with it.
Second: He was a man with feet of clay. The Bible is quite frank about the weaknesses and failures of Old Testament saints. They were men and women “subject to like passions as we are” (James 5:17). In other words, they were human. They sometimes blew it. And Abram was no exception. There is some disagreement among serious students of scripture whether Abram was right in leaving Canaan during the famine and going to Egypt (see Genesis 12, 10ff). I tend to see it as a lapse in faith. But there is no doubt that he should never have put his wife in harm’s way by passing her off as only his sister and allowing her to be taken into Pharaoh’s house with all that could have entailed. God, in His mercy, worked providentially to deliver Abram and Sarah from a potentially destructive situation. There is both an encouragement and a warning found in this episode. It is encouraging to know that our heavenly Father can and does supersede our weakness and folly. If it were not so, we would fall into all kinds of harm and destruction. We can depend on His covenant mercies. “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Ps. 103:14). The warning, however, is this. We must not presume upon our Father’s grace. That is a dangerous path to tread. While it is true that God can restore the years the locusts have eaten, we should try to avoid feeding the locusts of life. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” But we are not to sin in order that grace may abound (See Rom. 5:20-6:2).
Abraham’s firm commitment was an excellent starting point for a man who was called to lead into an unknown future. The fact that he had feet of clay should remind us that we too are weak and sinful and in need of the resources that are ours in Christ in order to lead to His glory. And our weakness makes the next quality of leadership Abraham exhibited all the more indispensable. We will take that quality and one other up the next time.