A Leap of Faith

Gen. 12: 1-5


What is the scariest thing you ever did?  Public speaking – death is second. 

Circle de Soleil  that’s French for a bunch of people jumping around doing acrobatic things.

Video of trapeze artist

To be successful, there are three moves that need to be made:  person holding the trapeze bar needs to let go; then they have to wait; finally someone has to catch them.  Those same three stages many times express our relationship with God. 

Genesis 12: 1-5

1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great,    and you will be a blessing.

3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth    will be blessed through you.”

4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.

5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

I.  The leap of faith requires us to let go

Abram had a comfortable life in the land of Ur of Chaldeens – a civilization long gone.   God spoke to him and said:  Abraham – want you to leave your country – your people –culture - father’s household and go. 

God wanted to do some great things through Abraham – make him into a great nation – bless him – make his name great – be a vehicle through which all the world would be blessed – but before he could do that:  Abraham had to let go of his security of all of those things to seek God. 

Here we see the heart of God - God has not changed. He still wants to bless you today. But trusting God means you have to trust him more than you do other things. At one point in the gospels, he even says:  you can’t have two masters. – that has to be something you ultimately trust that trumps everything else. you have to let go of some things. 

In the scriptures, we find multiple stories of individuals who came to Jesus wanting what he had – he said yes I will help you – but you have to let go.

          Woman caught in adultery – let go of sexual misconduct

          Paul’s story is told in Acts – God says: I want you to be my ambassador – let go of your hatred for my people

          Peter – want you to be my witness – have to let go of your prejudice of gentiles 

          Nicodemus – want you in the family – let go of your traditions and be born again

          Rich young ruler came to him – want to follow you – ok  let go of your money   NO  can’t do it.

The word trapeze is the little bar that they hang on to.  It is a Greek word which means “table”  it is used in scripture doing the last supper – Matt. 26:20 when Jesus gathers his disciples around a table and says:  I have to let go of my life for you to really live.  He has to get up from the table, ascend a cross and let go of his life. 

What do you need to let go of?

          Addiction              anger/hatred

          Sexual misconduct          power

          Possessions           grudge

unforgiveness                 Pride

Jesus is saying to you much as he said to Abraham: I have great things for you – first let go.

II.  the leap of faith requires us to wait

The video shows the trapeze artist flying through the air – arms extended waiting to be caught – now if he starts to flail or grab or twist or move suddenly –he may not be caught – has to wait – midair – trusting that he will be caught

God says: Abraham you will be the father of a great nation. It doesn’t happen overnight. Vs. 4 says Abram was 75 years when he left home. He is promised a descendant – a son – but he and his wife Sarah have no children – they are getting along in years.  He waits.  Nothing happens.  We read about his story from Gen chapter 12-21 - a journey of 25 years Then it happens.  Gen 21:5 says Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born.

What do you do while you wait?

Worry      fret      forget    get angry   go back to an old lifestyle       blame God for the delay  take up an addiction instead of a direction 

Yeah actually that is what I do sometimes and you do to.

This is never going to happen – I give up – God never does give up.  He just says  wait? 

Sometimes rather than wait, we make bad choices; marry the wrong person; take the wrong job; do something slightly shady to get ahead; mumble and grumble  It’s hard to wait isn’t it?

What did Abraham do while he waited? Along the way he made some mistakes trying to help God fulfill this promise.  • Gen.12:10 – there was a famine in the land and he went down to Egypt. He lied to Pharoah about Sarai, afraid that they would kill him and take her away.  Said she was his sister. 

Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that God is blessing you when you’ve to go through so much.  Have you ever felt like God forgot about you – it just isn’t happening?

• In those days, if a man was childless, there were laws that enabled them to “adopt” one of their servants as son (to make sure the estate did not fall into somebody else’s hands).
• It then declared that if the master should have a son of his own, the son would take a double share of the inheritance; the servant would be next in order of inheritance to take his proper share.
• But if the master died childless, the servant became his sole heir. Abraham believes he needs that kind of a plan… a plan “B” in his life.
• Plan “A” (God’s promise) doesn’t seem to be coming along soon.  So, he makes plan to have his trusted servant Hagar to bear his heir Ishmael. 

At this time we could hardly nominate Abraham as father of the year – offers his wife into the harem of a foreigner because he is scared– has sex with his servant and produces a child– Jerry Springer type stuff – one thing you can say about the Bible – it doesn’t hide peoples warts – lays it on the line. 

Pick up the story in Genesis 17: 15-19  read

By this time, you can imagine how Abraham is a little skeptical. 

That’s hysterical Lord – I’m 100 and she’s 90 and we’re going to have a baby.  I wonder if Medicare can pay for the delivery.  I’ll be the only guy in the store buying pampers and depends on the same visit. When Sarah hears the story she laughs also.

As we read this story in the light of our own lives, we often ask the question?  Why do I have to wait for God’s blessings – I’m ready right now – pile it on me Lord –

• As we read the Scriptures, we discover many great men and women of God waited for the Lord.
We see Moses – spent 40 years in the wilderness tending the flock before God called him.
• We see David - Prophet Samuel went to his house, according to God’s instruction, and anointed him to be the future King of Israel. It was 7 years later that he became King.
Jesus waited 30 years before he began his ministry – then waited three days in the grave before he competed it

The wait isn’t meant for God. It is meant for us.
• We need the WAIT –in order to know Him, to deepen our trust in Him, to make us stronger in faith.

If we got everything we wanted immediately we would be emotional and spiritual weaklings never understanding that we need a relationship with Jesus rather than a set of rules.

God is looking for someone with which to have a relationship not just a rule follower.  Ben Patterson author and missionary, tells of the common experience of westerners who travel through the jungles of the Amazon. They will ask the natives – give me directions to a location.  The villager will respond: I will take you – no that’s ok – I have a map.  No I will take you.   Why?  Too many uncertainties in the Amazon to simply follow a map – too many things that aren’t on a map.  We want three steps to happiness, health and riches but God says:  I’ll be your guide.  Let me take you there.

No wonder Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV) says “…those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

’Waiting’ and being ’strengthen’ really doesn’t go together, but it does spiritually. The one who waits is the one who put his trust in God, and places his hope in God

What God promises will surely come true, no matter what you tell yourself, no matter what the circumstances tell you. In waiting we learn to take God at his Word. Valuable lesson that can’t be learned any other way.

Abraham was a man of great faith and yet even he had much to learn about faith . . . his faith wasn’t complete - God continues to build him up over the next 25 years. He still grows in faith. Ultimately, he reached the extent of being able to offer his son Isaac back to God, if He said so.

This story tells us there’s room for improvement in our faith. God is working in our lives. There may be lots of waiting time, persevering time, when we are stretched to our limits. Because we need to grow in faith, like Abraham. God will lead us step-by-step, to an ever-increasing faith in Him.   Like muscle, we grow strong when we are stretched.

III.  A leap of faith enables us to be caught

Lets finish the story of Abraham and Sarah in Gen. 21: 1-3, 6   read

They laughed when told she would be pregnant – they laughed for a different reason when he was born:  they named him Isaac which means “He laughs”  laughed not with derision but with joy. 

God caught them and fulfilled his promise. Isaac continues the seed of mankind that would eventually lead to the birth of Jesus through whom the whole world can be blessed. 

Conclusion:  where are you in the process?

God has promised to do great and mighty things within our lives, families, our church.            There is a prerequisite; God asks each of us to let go.   Let go of our pride, sin, hatred, fear, selfishness, darkness in your life.   Let it go.  Scary to let go of the known for the unknown – even when the known is bad – it’s a security blanket – this is what I know – God says:  let it go. 

In some sense all of us are in the waiting stage.  We haven’t received all God has promised. I believe with all my heart that when I die, I’ll go to heaven.  Scriptures are abundantly clear – but I haven’t seen it yet so I wait.  While I am waiting, I want to live my life in such a way that God is pleased. 

Many of our friends have been caught in the arms of God.  Lisa Hassell, Don Sumpter, Dale Whiteherse, Aubrey Bates,  maybe your spouse, friend, your loved one.  Their smiling. They have been caught up in the arms of Jesus.  If they could talk they would say:  I told you – it’s a fulfilled promise.  It was worth the wait.