Knowing your destiny

God has a purpose for your life

(Gen 12:2 NIV)  "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.

God had a destiny for Abraham, a promising and bright one. It surpassed his wildest imagination. Abraham wanted a son but God gave him a nation. God takes pleasure in providing us with more than enough. He can do immeasurably more than what we ask or think.

(Eph 3:20 NIV)  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

Just as God had a destiny for Abraham, He also has a destiny for each one of us.

(Jer 29:11 NIV)  For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

We need not go through our life just wandering along. We can determine to find out and live out the destiny that God has for us.

God’s destiny takes us to a better place

Abraham had to leave the land of Ur but he was promised that he would become a great nation. He had to leave his household but was promised that he would have many descendants. He had to move away from the resources of his father’s household but was promised that he would have enough blessings to bless the whole world.

The city of Ur that Abraham left was destroyed in 1950 B.C. – fifty years after Abraham left. In calling Abraham to leave, God had saved him from destruction.

God’s purpose for us goes beyond ourselves

God had great plans for Abraham. Not just to bless him but to bless many others through him. God’s plan for us is not limited to ourselves. He wishes to bless us so that others may be blessed through us.


Directions from God may come in bits and pieces

Genesis 12:1­4 (NIV) The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.

Abraham did not have a complete picture when God called him towards his destiny. He was just called to go to “the land I will show you.” Many of us are hesitant to move unless we have the full picture. But not Abraham.

(Heb 11:8 NIV)  By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

It was only later that Abraham knew the land he was to go was Canaan.

(Gen 12:5 NIV)  He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

As we move in obedience to each step of God’s direction, He will show us the next step.

The son of King Saul, Jonathan, wanted to teach the Philistines a lesson for showing disregard for God but he didn't know whether it is God's will. What should he do? He decided to take a step first and if God would lead him to certain circumstances, he would take it as confirmation that it is God's will to attack the Philistines.

1 Samuel 14:6­12 (NIV) Jonathan said to his young armour ­bearer, "Come, let's go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows (ie the Philistines). Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. (You see, he wasn't sure at first.) .... Jonathan said, "Come, then; we will cross over toward the men and let them see us. 9 If they say to us, 'Wait there until we come to you,' we will stay where we are and not go up to them. 10 But if they say, 'Come up to us,' we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the LORD has given them into our hands." 11 So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. "Look!" said the Philistines. "The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in." 12 The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armour­bearer, "Come up to us and we'll teach you a lesson." So Jonathan said to his armour­bearer, "Climb up after me; the LORD has given them into the hand of Israel."

God’s destiny may take us out of our comfort zones

(Gen 12:1-3 NIV)  The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. {2} "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. {3} I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

The destiny that God had for Abraham required him to leave his comfort zone – his country, people, family – and go to a land which he did not even know where at that stage.

Abraham had to give up a lot. He was living in Ur of the Chaldeans and was a city-dweller. Archeological findings tell us that Ur was a city of great wealth and culture. There was a library and a university within this city, attesting to the intellectual and cultural sophistication of the people.

Not only did Abraham have to leave his country and people, he also had to leave his father’s household. When he was in his father’s household, the resources of his father and the entire household were available to him. But now he would no longer have the support of a home base.

God’s destiny takes shape when we leave the place of darkness

Although Ur was a sophisticated city, the people there worshipped the moon god. There is Biblical and extra-Biblical evidence for the worship of the moon god among the ancient Near Eastern peoples.

(Jer 8:1-2 NIV)  "'At that time, declares the LORD, the bones of the kings and officials of Judah, the bones of the priests and prophets, and the bones of the people of Jerusalem will be removed from their graves. {2} They will be exposed to the sun and the moon and all the stars of the heavens, which they have loved and served and which they have followed and consulted and worshiped. They will not be gathered up or buried, but will be like refuse lying on the ground.

Therefore God is telling Abraham not to remain in that land of darkness, Ur. He wants Abraham to leave that place and take on a new destiny.

God’s destiny for Abraham seemed unlikely at that time

(Gen 11:29-30 NIV)  Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram's wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor's wife was Milcah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milcah and Iscah. {30} Now Sarai was barren; she had no children.

How could Abraham be a great nation when he did not even have one child and his wife is barren?


Be patient and press on towards your destiny

Genesis 21:1 Then the Lord did exactly what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant, and she gave a son to Abraham in his old age. It all happened at the time God had said it would. 3And Abraham named his son Isaac. 4Eight days after Isaac was born, Abraham circumcised him as God had commanded. 5Abraham was one hundred years old at the time.

Who could believe that Abraham would have a son at 100 years of age? It seems to Abraham and Sarah that God would fail in His promise but again God proved that He does not fail in any of His promises. His promises will come true in His own timing. Abraham and Sarah had to wait a long time for it.

Because of her doubt, worry, and fear, Sarah had forfeited the peace she could have felt in God’s wonderful promise to her. How often we create stress for ourselves by not trusting in God. At the end of the adversity, we realize that God's promise to help us has come true after all but we know this too late as we have already forfeited the peace. The way to bring peace to a troubled heart is to focus on God’s promises.

Do not try to “help” God to fulfill His destiny through wrong means

Abraham felt the compulsion to lie to “help” God fulfill His destiny. Abraham probably thought that all of God’s promises would come to naught if he were killed. So surely a half lie wouldn’t hurt. He lied that Sarah was his sister (actually Sarah was his half sister) so that he would not be killed when Pharaoh wants to have her as wife.

(Gen 12:10-19 NIV)  Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. {11} As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, "I know what a beautiful woman you are. {12} When the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me but will let you live. {13} Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you." {14} When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that she was a very beautiful woman. {15} And when Pharaoh's officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. {16} He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, menservants and maidservants, and camels. {17} But the LORD inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram's wife Sarai. {18} So Pharaoh summoned Abram. "What have you done to me?" he said. "Why didn't you tell me she was your wife? {19} Why did you say, 'She is my sister,' so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!"

As the story goes, Abraham’s lie only complicated matters more and he had a scolding from Pharaoh.

We should never try to “help” God fulfill His destiny by wrong means. Surely the Almighty God can fulfill His promises for our life through right means.

Later on in life, Abraham learned his lesson. He learned to trust God to fulfill His destiny for him despite the situation. When Abraham and Lot had a dispute over the land, Abraham chose to give in and let Lot choose whichever land he thinks is better. Abraham knew that if he does what is right in the sight of God (in this case by avoiding conflict with his nephew Lot) God could bless him despite being left with “inferior” land.

(Gen 13:8-11 NIV)  So Abram said to Lot, "Let's not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. {9} Is not the whole land before you? Let's part company. If you go to the left, I'll go to the right; if you go to the right, I'll go to the left." {10} Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) {11} So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company:

Do not allow ourselves to be sidetracked away from God’s destiny

Abraham and his family set out for Canaan, which was 800 miles away from Ur. However, after reaching the 500-mile mark, they stopped their journey. They did not stop for just a short time but for a prolonged period – long enough for Abraham to make some money and increase the number of servants.

(Gen 11:31 NIV)  Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there.

(Gen 12:5 NIV)  He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

Why did he stop at Haran? Although the Scriptures do not tell use direction, I suspect that it was Terah (Abraham’s father) who was responsible for this decision.

This is likely because after Terah’s death, Abraham, Sarah and Lot resumed their journey.

(Gen 11:32 NIV)  Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Haran.

Terah probably liked Haran because in some ways, it was like Ur. The Moon god was also worshipped there and we know Terah was an idol worshipper (Josh 24:2).

In any case, Abraham allowed himself to be sidetracked from God’s destiny for a prolonged period of time.

Do not shift our focus on men to fulfill our destiny

(Gen 12:5-10 NIV)  He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. {6} Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. {7} The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him. {8} From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. {9} Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev. {10} Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.

Abraham arrived at Cannan and there the Lord reaffirmed His promises for Abraham. However, Abraham encountered famine in the Negev, the land south of Canaan. There was no mention of Abraham seeking God as to what to do. Instead he seemed to have decided based on common sense that the best thing to do would be to go to Egypt where food was plentiful. In doing so, Abraham had shifted his trust on man rather than on God to fulfill his destiny. We read that in Egypt Abraham encountered problems and had to be chased out.

The Bible warns against trusting in man rather than God.

(Isa 2:22 NIV)  Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?

Seeking the help of others is not wrong in itself. God provides us with parents, friends and godly Christian friends to counsel and guide us. However, if we put our trust entirely on men, and decide to do things we know is not in accordance with God’s will, it is wrong.

When we detour from our journey toward destiny, others will also suffer

Abraham detoured from his journey toward destiny and landed up in Egypt. There he feared for his life because he thought Pharaoh would have him killed in order to take Sarah as wife.

Abraham decided to ask Sarah to tell a lie that she was his sister so that Abraham’s life would not be at risk. Out of self-preservation, Abraham put Sarah’s honor, modesty and safety at risk.

(Gen 12:11-13 NIV)  As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, "I know what a beautiful woman you are. {12} When the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me but will let you live. {13} Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you."

Earlier we saw God promise Abraham that through him the world would be blessed. But when Abraham detoured, he became a curse to Pharaoh’s household.

(Gen 12:15-17 NIV)  And when Pharaoh's officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. {16} He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, menservants and maidservants, and camels. {17} But the LORD inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram's wife Sarai.