In our ALL IN series we are reading about the life of Abraham, whom God called to have a legacy; God made Abraham into a great nation that would bless the world. But in order to have this kind of legacy that honors God, Abraham needed to trust God, be used by God, and have the favor of God, and the same is true for us. Today’s message is focused on the concept of trusting God.
Trust: A belief that someone or something is reliable, being able to rely on the actions of another person.
If you’re going to trust God, at some point in your life, you will need to let go.
Abraham grew up in a wealthy family of international businessmen, owned his own military, and lived in a culture that worshipped many Gods, yet Abraham worshiped only one God. When God told Abraham to leave his people and follow Him, Abraham took his household, animals, and wealth and went traveling to all different cities. When he finally settled in the land promised to him, both him and his nephew’s houses had grown considerably and it was clear that they needed to separate to avoid conflict. Yet rather than choose the best for himself and give the leftovers to his nephew, Abraham allows his nephew to choose first.
If you’re going to trust God, at some point in your life, you will need to let go. How did Abraham have the faith to give up such an important choice?
1. Be sure to know the promises God has made to you. Genesis 12:7
The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. Genesis 12:7
This was all Abraham needed to hear. He trusted God and did not need answers to all the many questions he may have had. This can be a great lesson to you; if God says he loves you, He does. If God says He will take care of you, He will. If He says he will never leave you or forsake you, He won’t.
Trust in God’s Word sometimes means having to put aside what you feel or perceive, what you hear on TV, or what your friends say. You’re not always going to be able to rely on these things, but you can rely on God and His word. Fight and hold on to the truth of God’s promises.
2. Build altars to God throughout your journey. Genesis 12:6-8, 13:1-4, 13:14-18
Your ability to trust God in the future is largely determined by your awareness of His faithfulness in the present.
Everywhere Abraham went as he traveled and traded from city to city, he experienced God and built an altar in that place as proof that he had encountered God. When he returned to those places, he acknowledged his encounters with God and called upon the name of the Lord in those places.
Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. Genesis 12:6-8
So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold. From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord. Genesis 13:1-4
The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord. Genesis 13:14-18
Abraham was able to look back over all his journeys and acknowledge all the places where he experienced God’s presence. Even if you don’t have physical “altars” as reminders of God’s presence in your life, at least in your heart (or your prayer journals), you can keep track of all the things God has done in your life that prove His presence and His love. From what things has the Lord delivered you? If you don’t know, you’re not going to be able to take a step of faith when He asks you to do so. But if you clearly remember all the times of faithfulness, you will easily trust that God will be faithful again.
3. Put the needs of others before yourself. Genesis 13:8-11
So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.” Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company… The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”Genesis 13:8-11, 14-17
Lot chose his portion of land based on what he saw, whereas Abraham chose based on what he believed. He trusted that whatever he got was what God wanted him to have.
In verse 18 that follows, we can see that Abraham’s response was to worship the Lord again:
So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord.
Everywhere Abraham went, he showed God that He trusted in Him and believed. If God is going to do something in our lives, we must be a people that trust Him, acknowledge all He has done and clearly understand what He has called us to do.
As God calls you, look around and remember all that He has done in your life already to increase your faith and holiness. Remember all the things from which He has delivered you, and all the times He has provided for you. When you do this, you can’t help but trust Him!
Be willing to trust the Lord, take a step of faith, and let go of controlling everything. We want to say as a church community that we are “all-in,” and a people of legacy who want to be part of the church’s mission here, we want to be known forever as people who trusted God.