Last time we looked at two qualities of Abraham’s leadership that were crucial to leading into the unknown. First: he was a man of firm commitment. Second: he was a man with feet of clay. There are two other qualities illustrated by Abrahams leadership.
Third: he was a man of fervent communion. Fellowship with God can never be taken for granted. Abraham obviously walked with God, for God spoke with him, and he spoke with God regularly. In fact, in Isaiah 41:8 God refers to Abraham as “My friend”. Nowhere is Abraham’s communion with God more vividly illustrated than in his intercession for his nephew Lot in Genesis 18. There he passionately pleads for the deliverance of his backslidden nephew, interceding based on his knowledge of God’s nature. This is perhaps the most crucial aspect of Abraham’s leadership, and no person can lead well without this vital component. Fervent communion with God may or may not be noticeable to others, but it is indispensable to spiritual leadership. Abraham’s close communion with his Lord would develop in him a strong faith that would ultimately be tested in the most personal way. God’s command for Abraham to sacrifice his only son, in whom was deposited all of God’s promises to him, would require the trust God had built in Abraham through their close communion.
Fourth; He was a man of fearless conduct. We often hear people speak of the importance of putting “feet” to our prayers. It may be a cliché but Abraham lived it. Perhaps we cannot appreciate the danger into which Abraham (then Abram) rode when he took his small band of servants and went to deliver Lot from the warriors of the four kings in Genesis. Abram was no trained warrior, but his faith in God armed him with a confidence to go and deliver Lot and his family from unspeakable danger and proved the God he so faithfully trusted. Abram’s actions are reminiscent of Paul’s words in 1Cor.16:13: “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be men, be strong.” Life brings challenges that are opportunities to trust and prove our great God, and such a life is not for the weak and timid. Spiritual leadership requires the courage to go against the flow, to be different, to stand for the truth of God for the glory of God. Like Abram’s, these opportunities may be unexpected and require resources we are not aware we have. The close of chapter 14 has Abram worshiping God and laying everything at His altar. Such is the disposition of the true spiritual leader.
We began by looking at Abraham as an example of our leading into the unknown. The writer of Hebrews tells us; “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed: and he went out, not knowing where he went” (Hebrews 11:8). But the truth is, none of us knows what the future holds. Following Christ and leading others by our Godly influence into the future requires the same qualities. We all have feet of clay. “A just man falls seven times and rises up again;” (Proverbs 24:16). So each of us must ask God to build in us firm commitment, fervent communion, and fearless conduct. May the Lord help us to be such leaders.