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An Image of Leadership in Progress

First impressions can be powerful and disappointing. Whenever an individual doesn’t live up to your expectation, there will be a permanent strain on this relationship. This is how I felt about Abram who eventually changed his name to Abraham. Shortly after Abram is introduced by Moses in Genesis 12, he chooses lying rather trusting God, Proverbs 3:5-6. Based upon the actions of his son Isaac when placed into a similar situation, Genesis 26:7, one of Abram’s spiritual legacies is as a liar.

And they also took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods away with them. 13 Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew [one from the other side], who was living by the oaks or terebinths of Mamre the Amorite, a brother of Eshcol and of Aner—these were allies of Abram. 14 When Abram heard that [his nephew] had been captured, he armed (led forth) the 318 trained servants born in his own house and pursued the enemy as far as Dan, Genesis 14:12-14.

Yet, my perception of Abram began to change after reading Genesis 14. While every human being has fallen short of God’s glory, Romans 3:23, Abram’s swift action in the passage above paints a different picture than just someone who struggles to tell the truth. When a family member was placed into immediate danger, Abram jumps into action by forming a squadron of 318 men. Although Moses is silent on their training prior to battle. Moses presents Abram as a leader in progress.

He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and attacked and routed them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. 16 And he brought back all the goods and also brought back his kinsman Lot and his possessions, the women also and the people, Genesis 14:15-16.

The apostle Paul writes about the unfinished work among members of the Church in Philippi, Philippians 1:6. Another letter to the Church at Ephesus compares Christians to God’s craftsman, called to act, built and complete what God has called you to do, Ephesians 2:10. Abraham doesn’t become a member of the Hall of Faith, Hebrews 11, for lying. Rather, Abram was a work in progress just like you and me. May we all learn from Abram’s faith journey so that we become obedient to God’s calling in 2023.

by Jay Mankus


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