ABRAHAM: The Dependable Phlegmatic
Like every Biblical leader, we see certain characteristics and personality traits as we explore the Scriptures. As we walk through the chapters of Genesis written about Abraham, we see a dependable, yet phlegmatic nature in his words and actions.
When he’s focused on God‘s plan and purpose, we see these dependable moments. He’s empathetic, cooperative with family members and other tribes, tolerant of other cultures, and has a genuine care for mankind.
And yet, when Abraham’s not focused on God’s plan, we see phlegmatic moments; apathetic, slow to action, avoiding risk and personal responsibility.
Over the next few days, we’ll look at some key points in Abraham’s life and leadership that display some of these characteristics. Today, we’ll unpack Abraham’s call and his struggle with courage.
A CALL WITH COURAGE STRUGGLES
“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’ So Abram went, as the Lord had told him…Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out…” (Gen. 12:1-4)
Abram Starts His Journey
God says to Abram, “Come on Abram, we’re going on an adventure!” And at 75, Abram’s all in. “Let’s do this! But has anyone seen my cane?” Forget about Freedom 55, at 75 years of age Abram is ready to answer God’s call.
This is an important note for church in the Western World.
Retirement from work may be something to strive for. But retirement from ministry is not found in Scripture and Abraham is a great example of that. We are called to serve God until He takes us home, and Abram got the memo!
Trouble In Egypt
So dependable Abram and his family set out on their journey. They settle for a while, but then there’s a famine in the land. “Where should we go?” Abram’s got an idea.
As was often the case in times of famine, Egypt was a good option. Abram takes great care of his family and leads them down to Egypt. When they get to the gates of Egypt, Abram loses his focus.
“As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, ‘I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.’” (Gen. 12:11-13)
“And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. He treated Abram well for her sake…” (Gen. 12:15-16a)
“But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife?” (Gen. 12:17)
Phlegmatic Abram shows up in Egypt.
Where did dependable Abram go? God had placed His calling and blessing on him. And yet, instead of having faith and courage, Abram goes spineless, avoiding any risk to himself and bucking personal responsibility for his wife.
And this wasn’t a one-time lapse in judgment for Abraham. Take a moment to read through Genesis 20 and you’ll find the same problem happening decades later with King Abimelech.
From these accounts in Genesis 12 and 20, we get the impression that as Abraham travelled around; throwing his wife under the bus to save his own skin was common.
Call Without Courage
Instead of shielding himself with his wife, Abraham should have had courage, trusting in God’s call and in turn, caring for his wife.
This considered, it shouldn’t be a surprise to us when God gives Abram the following message in Genesis 15:
“…the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.’” (Gen. 15:1)
Like Abram, God has placed a call on our lives. Furthermore, like Abram, God is our shield and our very great reward. But do we believe it? Do we act and talk like we believe it? And most importantly, do we have courage like believe it?
Can I get Your Feedback?
What journey or task has God called you to? How will you obtain the courage to obey that call?