The Way of the Warrior Week 26 - The Warrior's Journey®

The Way of the Warrior Week 26

Author: Nathan Werner,

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

In our next devotionals, we’ll be viewing the life of one of the greatest men of the Bible, who also was a courageous warrior – Abraham.  His name, originally Abram, meant ‘exalted father.’ This was ironic, since he was unable to have children. God tapped him on the shoulder and told him: “I will make of you a great nation” (Gen. 12:2). Before Abram had children, he was going to be a combat veteran, annihilating a great invasion force, with just 318 Special Forces men he had trained (14:1-16).

His story begins in Genesis 11:10, when the lineage of Shem was listed – father of the Semites.  Abram was down the ancestry quite a way, when the Lord called him. The episode of the Tower of Babel had passed in which the Lord confused the languages of the people who built the Tower: So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. (11:8).  Abram was the man God used to begin an endeavor to reach all people: …in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (12:3).  The Lord’s vision is to bring blessing to all mankind, spiritually and practically.  He dispersed them, then pursued them to bless them.

Abram was to spearhead this ministry.  Read Genesis 12:1-3 very carefully, since it is our mandate, also.  These verses are called the Abrahamic Covenant, and include responsibility and reward. These verses are written as conditions of a contract.  God has obligations, and Abram and you have duties. The promises made to Abram, are yours: “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:29).  This means if you are a genuine believer in Jesus Christ, you have great responsibilities and great blessings.

“Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you’” (12:1).  Okay, how does Abram do? “So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him” (12:4).  The first part of the verse is great.  Abram launched as the Lord directed. By faith he went to the land of Canaan.  But what’s Lot doing with him? No family members are to be with him – read v. 1 again!  Here is the first hint of trouble. Compromised faith. This will have huge consequences for Abram and for his new mission.  Tiny deviations from the Lord’s direction will blossom with problems. The same is true for your life. Little compromises become big issues.

The book of Genesis was written by Moses to the people of Israel after they had been liberated from their bondage in Egypt.  Israel had spent 400 years in servitude to the Egyptians, and Moses was reviewing their history, which had been wiped out by Egyptian culture.  Genesis was written to Jewish immigrants on their exodus to the Promised land. Lightbulbs were popping off in their mind about their similar journey to Abram’s.

“Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’” (12:7).  God shows up in person.  This is not a vision, nor a dream, but a real encounter with the living Lord.  This meeting affirms that God is giving the land of Canaan to Abram and his descendants – thus the ‘Promised Land.’  What is Abram’s reaction? “So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him” (12:7).  Huh? Why does this very influential and very wealthy man, build an altar by himself, after a one-on-one with the Lord?  There are people with him, and Abram does the hard labor of building an altar, alone? (12:5) His meeting with the Lord made an impact.  How are your one-on-ones with God?

The former Jewish slaves reading their history during Exodus would understand this kind of hard work.  They built many projects for Pharaoh, the god of the Egyptians. Abram willingly built for the Lord a project that required very intensive labor.  The Israelites had been forced to build for Pharaoh, so Abram in worship, built for the Lord. This was evidence that though wealthy, Abram was very humble, an attribute worthy of a leader.

Why did he build an altar?  In the previous chapter 11, people built a tower – the Tower of Babel.  “Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves’” (11:4).  Their motivation was pride.  They wanted admiration. Abram’s attitude was quite different.  Humility and adoration of the Lord was his desire. An altar signified something innocent had to die.  Instead of Abram dying, something guiltless will replace him. This is emblematic of Jesus Christ dying for you: “…he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29)

Abram built the altar in front of his entire entourage.  He boldly and humbly, in front of family, friends, and acquaintances, made a public proclamation of his faith.  In addition, it was in the land of Canaan, where the inhabitants had a different approach to divine matters. The Canaanites were fertility worshippers, whatever gave life they valued, especially depraved sexual practices (Read Genesis 19 covering Sodom and Gomorrah). It was a hedonistic culture that Abram was confronting with humility and purity.  Unlike the people who built the Tower of Babel, Abram sought no attention, though he was public.

“And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD” (Gen. 12:8). Not only did Abram build an altar, but he did another thing publicly: “called upon the name of the LORD.”  The word ‘called’ was not a whisper, it was a proclamation.  He let people witness, that he purposefully was bold in prayer to the Lord.  He let people see his faithfulness. His relationship with the Lord was not hidden, nor private, nor something that was to be only for himself.  Others would see how the Lord would respond to Abram and his petitions. Followers of Christ are to be bold, letting others see faith in action.

Abram reached a spiritual peak.  He was focused on heavenly matters, acting by faith in his life.  He was bold in the middle of a profane culture. He was a spiritual and visionary leader. His family and colleagues watched spiritual maturity exhibited.  Then storm clouds formed on the horizon, of his life. How would his new spiritual outlook carry him, through his next challenges?

“Now there was a famine in the land” (12:10).  Uh, oh. Abram’s got a bunch of family and employees he’s got to feed.  Will he: call upon the name of the LORD…?  

What is the faithful man going to do?  We’ll see.


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