All these people were still living by faith when they died.” (Hebrews 11:13)
If you’re a fan of Shakespeare, you know that his heroes always have a serious character flaw. I guess it’s what makes for a good story—and teaches some important lessons too. The same is true of our Bible hero Abraham. His flaw? Fear.
Twice Abraham succumbed to the fear that the rulers of other nations would kill him and steal his wife. So he deceived the kings and said that she was his sister, in essence welcoming them to take her into their harems. By letting fear dictate his actions, he put at great risk God’s promise and plan that through Abraham and Sarah a great nation would be born from whom Jesus the redeemer would ultimately come (Genesis 12:1-3; 15:4-5).
Not Abraham’s proudest moments—but thankfully, God intervened. In Genesis 20:1-18 we learn that “God came to Abimelech in a dream one night and said to him, ‘You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman’” (Genesis 20:3). Suddenly the tables of fear were turned, as Abimelech and all his officials “were very much afraid” (Genesis 20:8)! When they confronted Abraham, he replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife’” (Genesis 20:11). He had let fear get the best of him.
But before you come down too hard on Abraham, it might be good to ask: For fear of losing your job, would you put your integrity at risk? For fear of appearing old-fashioned, would you put righteousness at risk? For fear of being ridiculed or misunderstood, would you neglect sharing the gospel and put someone’s eternity at risk?
If you’ve ever felt the intimidation of fear, then be assured that only one thing will conquer your fears: tenacious faith in God—in His presence, His protection, His power, His promises. Remember, God is bigger than your biggest fear!
And here’s the good news: Abraham is actually known for his legacy as a man of faith. In fact, the “Hall of Faith” chapter gives Abraham a lot of good press (Hebrews 11:8-19)! Thankfully he wasn’t marked forever by his flaw.
Maybe it’s not fear in your life but another “fatal flaw” that consistently puts God’s will and plans for you at risk. But remember, your flaw doesn’t have to be fatal! Have faith in the fact that He will never ask you to do anything that He can’t bring to completion, even if it requires miraculous intervention on His part. Live in such a way that you can be counted among those who “were still living by faith when they died” (Hebrews 11:13)—even if things aren’t going the way you thought they would. And when your faith trumps your fear, He’ll turn your sweaty palms into raised hands of worship and praise!
This passage first appeared in “Strength for the Journey with Joe Stowell” (www.getmorestrength.org)