Friday, April 21, 2006

Found my notes about Abraham

I mentioned the other day that I lost my notes from the Rev. Dr. Scott Dudley's talk about Abraham, who followed God well but imperfectly.

He's told "Leave your country and go to the land I'll show you." He has no map, no schedule, and no idea whether things will turn out OK. So the first lesson is:

We're only given one step's worth; we don't get a roadmap. Why?
  • to spare us from fear
  • so we won't forget about God
This reminds me of the Israelites in the desert for 40 years.

The next thing is, we follow God and take a step, but that doesn't guarantee a smooth, wrinkle-free life. Abraham meets a famine (Genesis 12.10) and other problems. But we do have these guarantees:
  • God will be with me and strengthen me
  • He will use every bad thing to make me better. There's that story from Zorba the Greek about a butterfly emerging from a cocoon -- it must struggle and suffer to build the strength it needs to survive; "helping" it out actually will kill it. "Pain is weakness leaving your body."
The next lesson is: failure is directional, not fatal. Abraham made a mistake with Hagar (in my view, anyone could have made this mistake). But this mistake helped him see what to do (or not do) next.

And the last lesson that the Rev. Dr. Scott Dudley had for us from the life of Abraham was: There are always blessings, though there may be hardships. Abraham had a hard life but a great one.

So what shall this man do?

Three things.
  1. Read the Bible constantly; it's all about what God thinks
  2. Get counsel from trusted friends. An abundance of counselors brings victory (Proverbs 11.14) and the pleasantness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel? (Pr 27.9)
  3. Solitude and prayer. Scott suggests 2-10 hours alone when trying to make a major decision. Read the Bible, listen, tell God about everything. "Worrying in his presence" is a form of prayer -- then wait to hear something.
We want a map of the future, but a guide is what, or rather who we get.

1 comment:

collin66 said...

Actually, I didn't lose my notes; I just didn't have them with me on the train when I wrote that.