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Gen. 12:10-20 - Sidetracked - Part 3
Abram blew it! He faltered in his faith to honor God after receiving heaven’s favor. Fortunately, that’s not the end of the story. The Lord didn’t say: I made a mistake in choosing this guy, he ain’t ready for a relationship with me, I think I’ll look for someone better.” The Lord, with perfect foreknowledge of Abram’s choices chose HIM to become an example of genuine faith. Notice God didn’t punish Abram for his failure. In God’s grace, He blessed Abram despite his lack of trust.
Clearly the Lord’s favor on Abram didn’t depend on his “good behavior.” But like any good parent, God allowed the natural consequences of His child’s foolish choices to become a means of instruction. So, what can we learn from this?
1. We ALL face Famines: Some are off the charts and knock your feet out from under you: Cancer, divorce, death of a loved one, unemployment, etc. Others seem to be manageable, but either way, these experiences sometimes produce in us a crisis of faith, challenging us to answer the question: “In what do I trust...really?!
While famines can be harsh and destructive, they can also provide great opportunities to take our relationship with God deeper. We can discover how faith in God’s provision and protection can be strengthened through severe circumstances.
2. Every escape contains a lie: When we do anything we can to avoid facing our crisis of faith, when we seek escape through our old, familiar methods, we tell ourselves a lie: “I can handle this without God.”
It’s always worked in the past, why not now? We convince ourselves that with enough ingenuity, guts, and luck, we can survive the famine and dodge alot of the pain on our own.
We’ve spent our entire lives escaping tests rather than walking through them by the power of God. And along the way we rationalize, we justify, excuse, and minimize our misdeeds. Lying has become so easy, we don’t even think of our rationalizations as lies.
3. Every One of us struggles with weakness: This means you and I. EVERYONE does! And these weaknesses can cause us to make unwise choices as well as sinful, fleshly choices. To top that off, they also undermine our relationship with God. Our past responses competes with faith so that we prefer to trust in ourselves rather than rely on God to protect us and provide for our needs. More religion isn’t the answer. More hours spent reading scripture isn’t the answer. How many years you’ve been attending church doesn’t make a speck of difference.
Don’t tell me how much theology you know or how many degrees you have. NONE of that can protect you from foolish decisions or the lies you tell yourself. We are ALL weak, and we need supernatural help. If Abram could fall after building 2 altars, believe me, you and I can and will stumble into a moral tumble as well.
4. Every compromise jeopardizes Someone else: Whenever we revert to our old habits, someone gets hurt... including those closest to us. Our lives consist of relationships, and those closest to us trust us. There’s no such thing as a victimless sin, including the sins we keep private. You may sin in secret, but you never sin alone.
5. Every Egypt has a Pharaoh: In case ya weren’t aware of it, we live among a people who don’t know our God. They serve Gods of wealth, possessions, power, status, self and much more.
Then they hear someone talking about having a “relationship” with the one true Creator. Naturally, out of curiosity they start observing how this person’s life differs from their own. When they see us blindly blundering through life, making unwise or sinful choices, we bring shame to God rather than glory. We confuse the curious. Nobody respects a phony. No one admires hypocrisy.
Like Abram, Jesus also found that following the way of promise took Him through some faith obstacles. The one who was promised the nations of the earth as His inheritance came to His own people, and they did not receive Him. The exalted Son of Man, pictured in Daniel 7 as sitting on the seat of judgment, was Himself judged by a corrupt Jewish court and condemned to death.
Unlike Abram, who told a lie to save his own life, Jesus told the truth, knowing it would cost Him His life. The One who was promised that He would rule the nations with a rod of iron was Himself scourged by Roman soldiers to the point where His body was broken. The ONLY sinless one was given a criminal’s death, lifted up on a cross, a fate that the law regarded as a sure sign of God’s judgment.
Abram’s experience point us forward to the sufferings of Christ! But did the promise of God falter that day? Absolutely not! That day was the key to the fulfillment of God’s promises!
In the meantime, you and I continue to live here and now amidst the pressures and grueling difficulties of everyday life. And right now our thoughts may be firmly fixed on the cross, but tomorrow is another day. Like Abram, we have received the spectacular promises of God, and strive to believe them in the face of the the overwhelming disappointments of life.