Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Abraham was Good at Making Mistakes—Yet He is Called the Father of our Faith

I am so glad to know that God can take someone like me who has made many mistakes and still accomplish His perfect plan for my life. I thought I had failed so many times, it would be impossible. But I have learned that God is not hindered by my failure. Look at Abraham’s life. It was full of serious mistakes that had huge consequences; yet he is called the father of our faith (Gal. 4:12).

God told Abraham to leave his home and his family. But he took along his ailing father and nephew Lot. As a result, he was delayed in Heran until his father died. Later, his relationship with Lot became a source of serious conflict. Abraham also erred by going down to Egypt during the famine (he was afraid). It was from there, he brought back Sarah’s handmaid Hagar; and without Hagar there never would have been an Ishmael, who is the father of the Arabs, the archenemies of Israel to this day.

Our mistakes do have consequences. But however horrible you may think your mistakes are, you can begin again with God. No matter how many times you have tried and failed, you can still experience new life
(Ro. 6:4). And God can still accomplish His plans for and through you. Zac Poonen says “even if you have made a thousand new beginnings in the past and have come to failure, you can still make the 1001st new beginning today.”

By way of my mistakes, I have learned an important principle: my failures (like Adam’s failure in the Garden) are the beginning of a new work of God’s grace for me—they precede God’s greater opportunities. Has your past failure made you afraid to start again? Faith says “God is greater than your mistakes!” Look at Abraham! He is the revered 'father' of the Jews, the Christians, and the Muslims.


  1. Greg,

    Long before the Law was given Abraham was called a "friend of God." On more than one occasion the scriptural record says that he "believed God...and it was credited to his account for righteousness." This must mean that righteousness means much more than following a proscribed code of conduct, though it might include that in the mix.

    True, Abraham made some poor choices in his life as God's friend...that cost him and others after him. But that didn't seem to ruffle God because Abraham actually believed that God made promises that He would keep. And THAT seemed to keep Abraham square in the forefront of God's favor. Go figure.

    When someone calls themselves our friend they have a way of making commitments to be true to their word whenever they give it. We humans have developed a value for that virtue. But we got it from God. Being "true" to one's word as a human can never be equal to God's kind of trueness because even our best intentions and motives are subject to circumstances beyond our control. But if our commitments emanate from our righteous character, even if we fail to keep our word it can be overlooked by those who love us--including God- because they know we are but dust.

    God, on the other hand, is not subject to things getting out of hand. His power to follow through on any and every word He gives is what makes Him God. That and the fact that His character is pure and holy and His motives are always for the highest outcome.



  2. Two thoughts come to mind. First, that God is absolutely sovereign and faithful (even when we are unfaithful!). Second, that God has been planning to deal with our failures from Adam to Abraham to the present.

    Jesus poured Himself into the disciples, knowing that they would all fail Him at the last minute!