One stop was Egypt. Often likened to the world, Egypt was a wrong turn for Abraham. With famine as his motivation to move, sojourning among the heathen seemed like a logical decision, but just as it is for us, logic can be a pot hole on a wrong route. God’s instructions didn’t govern this choice for Abraham; the threat of another appetite did. It wasn’t disobedience per say, but the move didn’t involve a God consultation either. It wasn’t a step that Abraham made in faith. It was a shortcut, a path that seemed like it would bypass trouble, when believing God would have been the most direct route through the setback. Instead, heading to Egypt was a move that supported more wrong, deceptive sins of omission. Abraham’s efforts to self-protect could have compromised the promise of a God-chosen child as it put Sarah in the tender favor of the pharaoh. The covering, like the first couple’s fig leaves, had to be removed by God who revealed the truth in such a manner that Egypt gifted Abraham so he’d leave their land. According to history, however, one of those gifts was Hagar, a servant for Sarah, a handmaid who’d have a hand in another shortcut.
As time delayed the promised child, reason again raised its hand with a solution, and Sarah and Abraham decided that the Egyptian servant would make a wonderful surrogate mother. So, Abraham stepped out of covenant with God and into the culture of the world, creating a son, Ishmael, with Hagar. But the man-made effort to achieve what God had promised backfired and the whole household suffered lasting, painful consequences. The road was winding, full of overgrowth and fallen limbs, and it added time to their journey.
Mr. and Mrs. Abraham finally got to their destination, but the ride was bone jarring and full of angst.
Along the way, however, Abraham grew in faith, learning that shortcuts weren’t the pathway to victory. Doing the unreasonable, instead, was the surest, safest way to reach God-destinations. So, he circumcised the males of his household, trained them in the righteousness and justice of God, believed for a son with Sarah, and made the journey to the mountain top to sacrifice his promise, Isaac.
God’s faithfulness through Abraham’s missteps led Abraham into the kind of trust he needed. Though Abraham couldn’t rectify his wrongs, His faithful, loving God could, pouring out blessings on Ishmael and making a great nation of the bondservant’s son, who was not part of the promise. And just as God’s grace extended to Abraham’s mistakes, it made a new identity for Abraham. Father of the faithful, he’d later be called.
Like Abraham, we make grave errors in judgement. Reason leads us astray. We offer God assistance, not denying His plan and power, but not fully releasing our own. Shortcuts appear to hold benefits, so we take them. We go off-roading when we need to stay on the straight and narrow. Our appetites feel threatened, and we look to Egypt for comfort, but the world was never meant to be a part of our destiny. Our purpose is fulfilled through trusting the one Who called us to be His—set apart and disentangled from people, places, and things that offer a fruit of their own: solutions that are transitory at best and always weighted with care and consequence. Our hope, like Abraham’s, lies in the heavenly. What’s begun in the spirit is never completed in the natural. So, we cut away our fleshly will and commit our faith to the God of the Promise. Our efforts crash to the ground, released from our controlling grip. Amid consequences of our choices, we stand with nothing but His word in our grasp and watch His faithfulness make blessings our of our misdeeds. The promises He’s spoken unfold, and we behold the gifts of His covenant. Surrendered, we reach our destination. We see what He has wanted to give us all along, where he’s planned for us to be…and that He rode every bumpy mile with us so that He could get us there.
Tip/Tidbit: Today, come to terms that trust is the surest route to the beauty of God-destinations. Listen to Zach William’s song “There was Jesus.”