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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 whither he went. (Hebrews 11:8) A few days ago we posted an article by a guest blogger in which he tells of a journey of faith. https://truthjusticemercyandlove.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/spiritual-authority/ He speaks of the ministry requiring him to submit a certain matter, (which came out of a time of prayer) to them for their authority, and he refused. Three days later he was excommunicated. He says “Many of us have seen the anger behind the soft speech and been persecuted by fear and intimidation. The cgcm has come full circle! They have become exactly what they left hundreds of years ago and now it is imperative that we as true believers, personally led by the Holy Spirit of God, come out from among them or deny our faith in the God of our salvation.” This is an interesting account. Here we see a man who prayed, heard the voice of God, and then walked out in faith, even though it cost him his church membership and the approval of all the brethren. How do we know exactly what was said about him in order to convince the church members that they were doing a good thing by expelling him? Did they call him “independent?” “Intellectual?” Did they tell the people he was deceived, and would also deceive? How did they malign his character and his walk with God? Remember, this is a very dangerous thing to do. If a man is walking with God and listening to his voice, and someone tells others that what he is doing is from the devil, they are blaspheming the Holy Ghost. This happens often, with no apparent repercussions. When the ministry presents this matter to the church, and insinuates that they must excommunicate this man because he listened to the voice of Satan and believed it was the voice of God, they are leading the people into blasphemy. The ministers are to be blamed more than the people, because I believe they do what they do knowingly. The people have less culpability, if there is such a thing, because they have been mislead. However, is it not every man’s responsibility to know God and to follow him, regardless of the false voices that speak to him? In light of this, let us consider Abraham. His trust was not in the “church” or the brethren, but in the Lord. He proved himself to be willing to give up everything on earth in order to seek a heavenly city. He left Ur of the Chaldees, his father’s house and family; later he even drove out his firstborn son, Ishamael, because he believed God’s promises. He was willing to sacrifice his promised son, Isaac. He was willing to sacrifice the son God gave him, even though it might have appeared that this would annul the promise, because God told him to do it. Instead of striving to build for himself, he continually released everything to the Lord, trusting him to accomplish all that concerned him. Is it enough for us to be known of God? Or do we need the esteem of men? Abraham went out, not knowing whither he went. This means that when God spoke to him, he obeyed, even though he did not see the end of the road. He walked where God told him to walk. This caused him to be willing to sacrifice his first born son. It’s true that Abraham faltered from time to time, in ways. He lied about Sara being his sister instead of his wife, and perhaps jeopardized her even more than if he had told the truth. He faltered at the point of his wife bearing children, and took her handmaid instead. Yet, through all of this he remained steadfast in his belief that God would somehow perform the things he had promised. His overall performance of faith (his obedience) is not wiped out simply because from time to time he faltered. He always returned to the path. Even today, he is not here to see that his name endures in ways he never could have imagined. Three major world religions claim his as a father. The crux of the matter here is that Abraham listened to God’s voice, heard it and obeyed it. This was counted to him for faith. Today we speak of Abraham and his faith. We speak of the wonder of a man who was willing to move his herds and family hundreds of miles by foot, into a strange land, because some invisible voice had spoken to him. We are inspired to be like Abraham, men and women of faith, walking out into a wilderness, if need be, when God speaks. This would appear to be encouraged, and supported. It is spoken of in persuasive words. But wait a minute! What happens when God speaks to a man (or a woman)? The man, because he wants to be submissive to the leaders, opens it up to them, but then they want to take ownership of it and parcel it out to him as they see fit. Apparently, as a test, they ask him to give it to them and let them judge the matter. He refuses, for his faith is like that of Abraham. Gone are the sermons , the Sunday School lessons, and the daily devotions, in which Abraham was pondered. Reality requires that a man submit his ways to other men. The ministry can take charge of the message, the conviction, that God has given. How many men will calmly say, no thank you, God entrusted this to me, and I will hold on to it…..Knowing the cost, how many men will do it? Most men, at this point, will reverse directions, take it to prayer, and come back with an experience of submitting to the ministry and the church. This, then, will be pointed to as the thing that makes him worthy, not the fact that he was willing to walk out like Abraham, even though he was not knowing for sure where the path would lead, but certain of hearing God’s voice. In much the same way the people sit in church, and in a theoretical way, they sing “Dare to be a Daniel, dare to stand alone.” But do they do it if they have the chance? No, they might make an attempt, but when the pressure comes on them, they back down, admit that they were proud and in-submissive, and acknowledge that true peace is to be found in obeying the ministry and the church. Think on this, my friends. Do you see the truth in what I’m saying? Do you feel any alarm at the thought that you could be blaspheming the Holy Ghost? Do you want to be a man/woman of faith, like Abraham, or do you want to follow the crowd to have the esteem of men? Do you think you might want to dare to be a Daniel? Will you stand alone? Think on these things.