“When Abraham heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them and went in pursuit as far as Dan. And he divided up his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them and pursued them…Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions and the women and the people” (Gen. 14:14-16).
Waiting for God’s promises does not mean passivity. Abraham, waiting for God’s promises, took action. Abraham could have played the “wisdom and waiting card.” There is a time to wait before the Lord in silence. We are often running around with a hurried heart and need to slow down. But I am finding that more often, we are paralyzed by passivity. And we say, “I’m waiting on the Lord!” when sometimes we are just lazy and/or afraid of making decisions. Notice Abraham planning, preparing, training, etc. He is not simply twiddling his thumbs and sitting around.
Kevin DeYoung has a great book called, Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will or How to make a decision without dreams, visions, fleeces, impressions, open doors, random Bible verses, casting lots, liver shivers, writing in the sky, etc. One blogger, commenting on this book said, “Our reluctance to make decisions can often be traced to the misguided belief that ‘God has a wonderful plan for my life and I need to discover what it is so that I don’t make decisions that mess it up.” We all want the blueprint. Tell me what to do so there won’t be any problems in my life and everything will go smoothly. What is that? That’s being a coward! We are not able to make the right decision because we are worried about the consequences or the danger. Notice Abraham takes 300 some men and defeats four powerful kings! How? As in Abram’s day, it was not the size, training, armament, or deployment of the force. It was the Lord who gave the victory. He would not have experienced God in this way if he had not gone out.
Perhaps “His wonderful plan for our lives”—is one where he doesn’t give us the blueprint, but something better, His presence and He expects us to live wisely in ways that are God-honoring and faith-driven. Perhaps this means He expects us to trust Him while we make wise choices and take calculated risks. The life of faith is never passive—whether it moves or waits—it is active and never motivated by fear or selfishness.
DeYoung goes on to say, “The…reason we want to know the will of God is because we are cowardly. It’s true. Sometimes when we pray to know the will of God, we are praying a coward’s prayer: ‘Lord, tell me what to do so nothing bad will happen to me and I won’t have to face danger or the unknown.’ We want to know everything is going to be fine for us or for those we love.” When we look at Scripture, we don’t find people to whom nothing bad happened to them. A lot of people think that if I really have enough faith, and if I try hard to obey God and live a good life, God will not let anything bad happen to me. Is that biblical? Abel had faith and he died; Enoch had faith and he did not die; Noah had faith and everyone else died! And if the Savior we love came to die, how can we really expect anything less? And sometimes I hear people say, “Well I’m waiting to get peace about it.” I believe God gives peace, but peace is never the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ. But that “peace” can be very subjective. I ate some Chipotle last week and felt really at peace! I remember when I gave my life over to the Lord for ministry, I was so unsettled, nervous, scared out of my mind, unsure, etc. It simply took a risk and trust in Him.
I am not concerned that we feel stuck on pause. I am concerned if we are living cowardly lives. Are we paralyzed by passivity? Are we stifled by self-absorption? My point is not that we look to Abraham and find faith from him. My point is that we look to the truly courageous and humble person: Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 11, you have the hall of faith of heroes. The writer of Hebrews essential says, “Remember Abel, remember Noah, remember Abraham, remember Moses, etc.” However at the beginning of Hebrews 12, he doesn’t tell us to remember Jesus, but fix your eyes on Jesus, the founder, which can be translated “Champion.” In Him we find true courage.