The word Hebrew is understood to mean, “one from the other side (of the river).” That is certainly true of Abram. God made him a promise with one condition, obedience, and Abram walked away from everything he knew, from comfort and security, into Canaan to follow God’s plan. Biblical scholars use the term Hebrews to designate the descendants of the patriarchs of the Bible—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (also called Israel [Genesis 33:28]).
If we thought that God chose Abram because he was the greatest and deserving of God’s promise, Genesis 12 shows us that he was as sinfully human as the rest of us. He showed outstanding faith and obedience one day, and the next day fear reigned as he lied, schemed, and protected himself using his wife as a bargaining chip.
Abram didn’t earn God’s blessing; neither do we. God chooses us and invites us to step into His circle of love, to be His children, to live in the hope of His promises.
- Has God chosen you to be His child and heir? Did you earn this position or is it a gift of grace?
- Do you hear God’s voice? Do you know that God speaks to you as He did to Abram? If you are a believer, He resides in you as the Holy Spirit, and you can hear his voice.
- Quiet your body and mind.
- Listen and learn to recognize the ways He speaks to you.
It might be a picture, a word, a name, a thought that seems to come from nowhere, or an audible voice. You may have a special dream or wake up “just knowing” something. You might experience “coincidences” that came from God.
- Hear and respond in obedience.
- Do you sometimes wonder, as Sarai did, that God doesn’t notice you or if He ever looks your way? You might wonder if God includes you in His promises.
- Was Sarai right in her doubt of God? Are you?
- What labels did Sarai accept as true?
Barren? Unloved? Unlovable? Less than (due to inability to have children)? Important only for her beauty, her usefulness limited only as a bargaining chip in alliances?
- Sarai’s life experiences seemed to reveal the truth of these labels, but were they the labels God held for her?
As I began researching the stories of the Biblical Patriarchs, I became quite frustrated with Abram. I totally identified with Sarai and understood her sharp tongue, her fight for power and position, and her unwillingness to believe that there was more to this life that what she saw with her own eyes. She had a rough time in her marriage, and I laid all the blame at Abram’s feet. I offered him no grace. I judged him unworthy, and wondered if God couldn’t have made a better choice.
Abram was unworthy as I am unworthy. You are unworthy as . We cannot earn our place as children of the Heavenly King. His love and grace draws us to Him. Jesus’ sacrifice pays for our sins. His promises are for us. We give ourselves as living sacrifices for Him.
This song, “Doubter’s Prayer,” sung by Cynthia Clausen seemed to express some of the many emotions Sarai must have experienced.