Bible Society of South Africa

In step with God: God’s friend - 22 January 2024

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

23And the scripture came true that said, “Abraham believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous.” And so Abraham was called God's friend.

James 2:23GNBOpen in Bible reader

James’s words sound like the ending to a fairytale, except it’s no fairytale.

For Abraham, walking with God was reality and a continuing journey of grace each day. Like us, he wasn’t perfect, but God is, and he blessed Abraham as, with sometimes faltering steps, he learnt to walk by faith with God as he worked through his shortcomings and trials. Abraham learnt that faith only exists with actions, and that it was through those hard times of stepping out into the unknown, totally trusting God, that, “God accepted him as righteous”, and wonderfully, he became “God’s friend”. (James 2:23)

Abram was seventy-five years old when God first appeared to him in Ur and told him, “leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1, NIV) Over subsequent years God appeared to him many times, in different ways, expanding the picture of God’s blessing.

God promised to make Abram into a great nation, to bless him and others through him, and give his descendants the land of Canaan. Understandably, the most significant promise to him and the barren Sarai was that one day she would bear Abram his own son and heir.

As they grew older, their age became a stumbling block. When God appeared to be silent, and what they most valued absent, they devised their own way to produce an heir – instead of trusting God to fulfil his promise. This wasn’t the first time that Abram had made wrong decisions using his own human understanding instead of trusting God, but God, enabled him to mature through this, even Ishmael’s conception, which was to be his greatest learning curve yet.

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless’ ” (Genesis 17:1, ESV)

What followed was commitment as God entered into the covenant of circumcision with him, and re-named them, Abraham and Sarah. Isaac was born to Sarah the following year at ninety years old and Abraham one hundred – in God’s perfect time.

By the time God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham was unwavering as he courageously obeyed – his faith made perfect through actions.

God knows us and our faults. He sees our tendency to stumble over the seemingly small things that trip us up daily, which allow pride, fear, unbelief, greed and poor judgment disrupt our lives and challenge our faith. We may feel alone at times like these, yet his love and care for us remain as he allows us to find our way and emerge victoriously with greater faith, and more in step with him.

Prayer: “Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 32:17, ESV) Nurture in me true faith that shows itself in deeds to honour you. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.7
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