Last week we looked at leadership lessons from Noah, today we skip forward to a remarkable leader, Abraham. He started the Jewish nation and religion, and was a man of remarkable faith in God. He took a long time to get to the point where He fully trusted God, but eventually He found out you can trust God.
Abraham is the father of all those who believe (Romans 4.16) so one of the main aspects of his leadership that we can all learn from is that we can trust God. We have faith in God when we find out that God is faithful. We can trust God.
Abraham had several moments in his life where it looks like God could not be trusted, there was time between God’s promises being spoken and being fulfilled, a long time. When there is time between seed and harvest, we end up like children waiting for Christmas – if it does not happen tomorrow we don’t believe it. The fallen man is not good at waiting for things. Abraham got impatient with God and decided to try and do things his way.
You Can Trust God When Things Take a Long Time
Abraham I think took the step that I have seen many take – from IMPATIENCE to SELF-PITY. It takes a long time to build a church, and I have seen pastors get impatient for growth step into self-pity. When you get into self-pity, you compromise, you start to lick your wounds, you play the victim card, then you use that fact that life is so hard as an excuse to do what you want.
“I’ve left my father’s house for you, God, I’ve left my country because you said you would bless me and my children, I’ve been through famine, I’ve got Pharaoh chasing my life, Lot is an idiot – but I still risked my life to rescue him, but I still have no baby.. and God that’s on you”. So he went and had a baby with his maidservant.
We have to be careful not to step into self-pity while waiting for God’s promises to come to pass, while waiting for our harvest to come in.
God knew that and told Abraham that He was His shield, and then in the middle of this God made a covenant with Abraham, but still Abraham did things his way because he didn’t get his way with the timing.
One of the lessons we can learn from Abraham (and that is better than learning it the hard way) is that a promise delayed is never a promise denied. God is in no rush – His sense of time, maybe because He has been around for all eternity, does not match ours. We think it is a long time but God still comes through. Now we can delay things by our unbelief and rebellion, but even when we are in exactly the right place, doing the right thing, it might take some time still. You cannot build a million pounds overnight, you cannot build a healthy, thriving church overnight, things take time!
You Can Trust God Even When He Does Not Trust You!
There were times where it would have been hard to trust Abraham! He lied about his wife being his sister, not once by twice. He slept with his maidservant. He took Lot with him when God said leave your family behind. But God still came through for Abraham when Abraham was not coming through for God.
This is powerful – God will come through for you, even when you do not come through for Him. God can be trusted, even when you cannot. You do not need to be perfect, you just need to know God is. Your deliverance, healing, success, your ministerial success, is due to God’s faithfulness, not yours. You will not be a successful leader by trusting yourself, you will be a successful leader by trusting God.
I’m sure, like you and like me, Abraham was aware that he was not perfect. I’m sure he thought “why on earth would God call me and bless me, how on earth can I help God” – but he was not perfect, and nor are you, and that’s not the point, walk with God, trust Him, and let Him change your heart!
You Can Trust God When It is Irrational
There was a moment in Abraham’s life where God spoke to him and asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac. You cannot make sense of this on a rational level – it does not make sense, it goes against God’s promise to make his family into a great nation. But Abraham did not ration it out, he did not demand God make sense to his peanut, carnal brain – no, he got up early the next morning and just did what God said. Finally, after years of arguing with God, trying to do things his own way, negotiating, lying – Abraham reached, over time, a level of trust in God, and realized how good God is. He had tasted and seen that the Lord is good, and he believed God and did what God said. Did it work – yes, it did. He got a revelation of God’s character – Jehovah-Jireh – that no one had ever realized or seen before. He got his son, and he became the father of a great multitude. There is no better way to live, and no better lesson in leadership to learn from Abraham than if God says it, get up early the next morning and go do it with all of your heart.