The famine was getting worse and Abraham began to drift away from his altar. Take a hard look at him, because Abraham is you and me at one moment or another of our Christian walk. You say, “I have lost something: my passion for prayer, my peace, my worship, my joy, my zeal for His house, my kindness, my generosity, my capacity to be moved by the needs of the people around me or afar.” Abraham had lost his altar because there was a famine.
What is the famine? The famine is a series of hard knocks, one hurt
after another. It is when we go through seasons with strings of
disappointments, and we bravely try to go on as if we are okay. Abraham
had lost his objective, his vision. Listen to him as he pondered the
thought “that I may be well, that I may be left alone, that my life
might be spared” (see Genesis 12:10-13). He was called to be a blessing to others, but he had lost his very purpose.
Abraham was dying slowly in the grips of a spiritual famine. He was
losing not only his fervor and purpose, but also his favor and his
faith. The man who had been called to be a source of blessing began to
tragically forsake what had made him great: the very faith that had
brought the favor of God on him and through him to touch and bless
“And Pharaoh’s house was struck with a plague because of Abraham and
Sarah. Pharaoh said, ‘Why have you lied and brought this plague on my
house?’” (Genesis 12:17-18).
Abraham was no longer a source of joy and respect; in fact, he had
become someone who brought shame and pain. He had completely lost his
faith and trust in God.
Come closer, take a look at him. He was tormented, afraid, and his
spiritual heritage was in danger. As we kneel beside him, we realize why
he was considered to be the father of faith. He wasn’t a model because
he was spotless and sinless, or because his life was an uninterrupted
succession of exploits, wisdom and immaculate perfection. The Bible
doesn’t treat his sin lightly or justify him in any way. However, he has
a message for us all simply because he knew how to rebuild his altar
and find God again. “Abraham came back to the place where he had built
an altar before and he called on the name of the Lord” (see Genesis 13:3-4).
Claude Houde, lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie
(New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada, is a frequent speaker at the
Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge
throughout the world. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown
from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few
successful Protestant churches.