Training individuals to become the messianic leaders of the next generation is ABOUT Torah's mission. Therefore, the ABOUT Torah Blog was created to publicly showcase the wisdom and understanding of the students attending the Association of Believers Observing, Understanding and Teaching the Torah.
While studying Lekh L'kha it becomes obvious that even the best of HaShem's followers are not perfect. The conflict that exists in each of us can clearly be seen in the life Avram. In some instances Avram was willing to trust HaShem with all his heart, soul and strength. In other instances Avram did not fully trust HaShem. When Avram was willing to follow HaShem with all his heart, soul and strength, he left his family, his friends and the life he had known. B'resheet 12:1-4 states "Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran." Avram's full commitment to HaShem guaranteed Avram and his descendants the blessings of HaShem. Avram's willingness to give up everything and follow HaShem, was an essential component of Avram's faith.
When asked about eternal life, Yeshua even puts a greater emphasis on the willingness to give up everything, than on keeping the commandments. Mark 10:17-21 states "when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal,Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me."
Avram's willingness to give up everything and follow HaShem was one of the greatest acts of faith in the scriptures. However, despite Avram's strong faith, Avram was not perfect. In fact, Avram's flesh often overcame his spiritual desire. For example, to protect himself Avram wanted to tell the Egyptians Sarai was his sister. B'reisheet 12:12-13 states "it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, this is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of you". Avram's fear of death totally negated the great faith that he had preciously demonstrated. Avram believed HaShem when it came, time to leave his fathers house. However, Avram did not rely on HaShem for protection from the Egyptians. As a result, Avram devised his own plan of protection. Unfortunately, Avram's plan did not provide protection for any one but himself. As a result, Pharaoh took Sarai into his household. B'reisheet 12:15 "The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house." Despite Avram's lack of faith HaShem was still protecting Avram's interests. B'reisheet 12:17 states "the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife." HaShem's grace was extended to Avram even when Avram decided to protect himself. Avram's flesh overcame his spiritual desire to serve HaShem.
Avram feared that the steward of his house Eliezer of Damascus would inherit his household. Therefore Avram wanted a descendant that was from his own bloodline. B'reisheet 15:2-3 states "Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir." HaShem reassured Avram that Elizer would not inherit his household as B'reisheet 15:4-5 states, "he shall not be your heir; but he that shall come forth out of your own bowels shall be your heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, so shall thy seed be" HaShem's reassurances strengthened Avram's faith. Therefore, Avram faith overcame his fleshly fear. As a result, Avram's faith it was counted to him as righteousness. B'reisheet 15:6 states: "he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness."
Unfortunately, Avram did not continue in a strong faith concerning his heir. Therefore, when Sarai devised a plan to produce an offspring from the bloodline of Avram through Hagar, Avram agreed. B'reisheet 16:1-2 states "Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai." Producing an offspring through Hagar was HaShem's plan. As a result, this action caused tension in the camp. B'reisheet 16:3-4 states: "Sarai Avram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Avram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Avram to be his wife. And Avram went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes." Despite Avram and Sarai's action HaShem still used them to fulfill his plan for blessing Avram's descendants. B'reisheet 17:19-21 states "God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year." Even though Avram believed HaShem and it was counted as righteousness, Avram's faith faltered. Despite Avram's weaknesses of faith HaShem's continued to work through Avram.
Avram was not perfect. Therefore, there were times when Avram did not have the faith required to trust HaShem. This becomes obvious when studying Lekh L'kha. In Lekh L'kha we can see that even though Avram was willing to leave everything and follow HaShem he was not prepared to rely on HaShem for protection. Therefore, Avram told the Egyptians that Sarai was his sister. Avram's faith also faltered in Avram's desire to have a blood heir. As a result, Avram fathered a child through Hagar. Neither of these instances was in the perfect will of HaShem. However, despite Avram's inappropriate actions HaShem continued to work through Avram. Avram's imperfection was not the attribute that made Avram the father of nations. HaShem continued working through Avram, because Avram was persistent. Despite the times that Avram failed, He continuously tried to serve HaShem. Therefore, Avram became known for his faith and not his failures. The book of Hebrews even lists Avram as one of the fathers of faith. Hebrews 11:17 states "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son," As believers we should learn from Avram's example. Our failures are not as important as continuous struggle to follow HaShem Everyday we are given a new chance to serve HaShem. Persistence rather than perfection is the key to continuously allowing HaShem to work through us.