Thursday, November 29, 2012

Genesis 12 – 13:4

Genesis 12:1-3 – God Calls Abram

God had a plan for Abram and his descendants.  God told Abram to leave his county, his people and his family and go to the land where He will show him.  Abram lived in a world of paganism where they worshipped the moon god.  Rom. 1:20 – “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse”.  But the people did not choose to submit to the true living God.  I am sure Abram asked himself, “Why Me?”  Abram did find God’s will as God revealed it to him.  God was asking a lot of Abram, but provided him with much more.  God’s command had no explanations, but many promises.

God made seven promises to Abram:  He would bless him; He would make him into a great nation; He would bless his name;  He would be a blessing; God would bless those who bless Abram;  all the people on the earth would be blessed through Abram;  God promised that whoever curses Abram, God will curse.  We know God fulfilled all His promises despite Abram’s failures.  He blessed him and made his name great.  We are still reading and talking about him today.  We are all blessed because of Abram for through him came the promised Messiah, Jesus.

Asking Abram to leave his country and family is a symbol of separating us from the world.  It challenges us to put God in front of all else.  How do you do that? – by making God the greatest desire of your heart.

What is the deepest desire of your heart?
Is God in it? 
We are moving into the season of want – Christmas.  How will you approach Christmas this year?
What is God asking you to do today?

Wholehearted faith grows from a heart that desires God above all else.

Genesis 12:4-9 – Abram Obeys and Follows God

Abram didn’t know how all this was going to happen, but he trusted God completely.  He said “yes” to a radical change to his life.  He had no idea where they were going.  He was 75 years old and had no sons.  So how would God bless his descendants?  He didn’t have any sons and he and his wife were too old to have any.  He didn’t question God.  He just trusted and obeyed.  So Abram left his country and took his wife Sari, his nephew Lot, his possessions and the some of the people of Haran.  He became a witness to his wife and his nephew by obeying God.  God guided them to Canaan.  There God told him that He would give the land to his offspring. – Gen 12:7.  Abram built an altar to the Lord.  He called on God for guidance, worshipped God and preached about God.

Each step of faith impacts our intimacy with God and witness to others.

How does God’s call affect those who are committed to Christ? 
Matt. 4:18-22 – tells us they left everything and followed Him
Matt. 8:22 – we are to be more concerned with the living
Mark 8:34-36 – we are to deny self and follow Him
Luke 14:26-33 – we are to love Jesus more than anyone else no matter the cost
1 Peter 2:9, 1 John 2:15-17 – we are to declare His promises and we are not to love the world

Does God promise rewards to everyone who follow Him?  Yes.
Eph. 1:3 – we have every spiritual blessing in Christ
Eph. 1:18 – we have the riches of His glorious inheritance
Eph. 2:6-7 – we are raised up with Christ and are sealed with Him in heaven
1 Cor. 2:9-10 – God reveals what he has for us through His Spirit
Psalm 16:5-6, 11 – we have a secure and delightful inheritance; joy in His presence and eternal pleasures.

Saving faith is believing in the gospel and what God says, having a heart response to the person of God, and a commitment to God.  Abram’s obedience to God reveals his heart.

What does your daily response show you about your heart?
Does your response show you are wholeheartedly committed to God?
What kind of intimacy with God will you experience if you move forward?
How have you grown closer to God through obedience?
What do you know about God because you chose to believe what He says?
Are you building altars of devotion and surrender?

Genesis 12:10 – 13:4 –Abram’s Fear vs Faith

The Bible teaches that a life of faith is full of obstacles.  It’s how we handle them that show our true faith.  God tested Abram’s faith.  In Gen. 12:1-3 God was testing Abram to leave his home.  So I think the famine in Gen. 12:10 was also a test.  Faith is always tested.  God strengthen us through blessings and hardships.  God’s purpose in testing our faith is to purify it.  Even though Abram trusted God, he made some serious mistakes.  He was not perfect. 

There was a famine in the land and Abram chose to go to Egypt.  He didn’t trust that God would take care of him so he took matters into his own hands.  When he arrived in Egypt fear and panic took over.  He told his wife, Sarai to say she was his sister.  She was beautiful and he was afraid the Egyptians would not treat him fairly because of her and even kill him.  He didn’t lead his wife to pray, but to lie.  When the Pharaoh saw that Sarai was very beautiful, he took her to his palace to be his wife.  Abram was rewarded well for her sake and he became very wealthy. 

Lying is a sin and sin has consequences.  God brought diseases to the Pharaoh and his house because adultery is a sin.  When the Pharaoh found out that Sarai was Abram’s wife, he was very angry and sent Abram and Sarai away. – Gen. 12:18-20.  Abram knew he was wrong.  He could have built an altar, which would have been a better witness to the Egyptians than lying.  God gave mercy to Abram and protected Sarai.  Abram was allowed to leave Eqypt unharmed.  He returned where he had first built an altar and he called on the name of the Lord. 

What do you do when you mess up?  Abram went back to God.  Abram failed, but God did not fail him.
Wholehearted faith chooses to trust God when life gets scary.

How have you taken things into your own hands and not trusted God?
How do you respond when life gets scary?
How has fear made you react?
Do you stop and build an altar?
When trouble comes what do you do?
When you mess up, do you run to Him or run away?
These verses tell us how we can continue in our Christian life.
Col. 1:23 – we continue in faith
Col. 2:6-7 – we continue to live in Jesus
Heb. 6:1 – we become mature in Christ
Heb. 10:35-38 – don’t throw away our confidence and don’t be ashamed
1 Peter 2:2 – crave pure spiritual nourishment

Will you ask God to protect your heart?  It’s the most valuable thing you have. 
Are you running to Egypt?  Ask God to open your heart to trust Him.

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