19 Mar How Can a Family Be Blessed by God? (Genesis 12:10-13:18)
Faith (internal conviction & external action)
- Critics/Enemies see 2 kinds believers 1. Perfect 2. Hypocrites
- Bible – shows gap between 1. New & 2. Perfect = work in progress
- Faith is something you grow in (e.g. musical instrument, foreign language)
Abraham (case study in faith)
- Left everyone/thing = trust God for land & lineage
- Fall of Abraham (like Adam and Noah)
– We point to our A. best days. Enemies point to B. worst days. C. God honest about both
In Unbelief, Abraham nearly Loses His Promised Wife
Genesis 12:10-20 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.” When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels. But the LORD afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. So Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her, and go.” And Pharaoh gave men orders concerning him, and they sent him away with his wife and all that he had.
Egypt is a counterfeit of the Kingdom of God & he’s the “Jesus” & son of god
- He is overt, not covert 2. He is honorable, not dishonorable
Sometimes God uses unbeliever rebuke believer. Some “good” pagans/Samaritan
Abraham as a leader
Crisis: Famine – drought? war? locusts?
Decision: Egypt = going “down” – downward spiral
=Foreshadows 400 years in Exodus for Abraham’s family
- God told Abraham he would bless/curse others
- God did not tell Abraham to go (1. need 2. opportunity 3. will of God)
- Big tests come after big victories
- A crisis results in very short-term thinking & sacrifice of freedom
- Scheming is not trusting God or leading others
- Fear does not produce wisdom or God’s will
= OPTIONS: 1. Don’t go Egypt 2. Give $ gift 3. Negotiate deal advance 4. Change look
Abraham as a husband
- He’s a burden giver, not a burden lifter
- He has a low pain threshold (not pain, just threat of pain)
- Selfish “I” & “me” – selfish not a servant (may be a plot to get wealth “bride price”)
- Spirit vs Letter law – Even if Sarah is sister it’s his wife & this is terrible idea
= Lion & Lamb
Sarah as a wife
Around 65 years old
Possibilities: 1. sick of Abraham 2. trusting God 3. too quiet 4. Sick of tent living
- Hero Bible – 2 Tim 2:13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself
- Steps in to save the marriage & family
- Sometimes, God saves us from ourselves
Your Blessings Must be Stewarded
Genesis 13:1-7 So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb. Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. And he journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And their Abram called upon the name of the LORD. And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were dwelling in the land.
Lot & Extended Family
- Abraham told leave family, takes Lot & his family = partial obedience?
- Lot freeloading Abraham’s blessing
- Not one family, but multiple families. Boundaries
God promised to “bless” = “rich” – livestock, silver, gold, land, household
- Blessings must be stewarded (marriage, kids, wealth)
- Success is as hard to manage as failure
- Going “up” = repentance (down in sin to pull Hell up vs up to God invite Heaven down)
= Stewardship/Estate Plan. – 70% Lottery winners broke, 1/3 bankrupt (4X Rich/Poor)
In Unbelief, Abraham Nearly Loses His Promised Land
Genesis 13:8-13 Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.” And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the LORD.
Abraham should decide
- Chosen by God 2. Older 3. God gave him Promised Land
????? A. Faith? B. Generosity? C. Cowardice? (Rev. 21:8)
- Selfish & Entitled
- Lives by sight, not by faith (doesn’t speak to God & God doesn’t speak to him)
- No mention of Lot building an altar on his land for his family
= moves to “north’ Sodom & horror ensues
Find God’s Will and Worship Him
Genesis 13:14-18 The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” So Abram moved his tent and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the LORD.
- Walk land like marching around Jericho – commissioning it for God
- Worship – planting a church w/his family (like Rev. return to 1st love)
- Wait – 2000 yrs Jesus’ 1st Coming. 2000 yrs we wait 2nd Coming
LESSONS FROM ABRAHAM AND SARAH
- If God can forgive and use Abraham, He can forgive and use you.
- If you’ve failed your test, God can use it for your testimony.
- If you’ve made a real mess of your life, God can make it into a redemption message.
- If you have lived by sight, God can open your eyes to live by faith.
- If you’ve made some bad financial decisions, God can still bless you.
- If God can save this marriage, God can save your marriage.
- If God can rescue this family, God can rescue your family.
- If you have gone south, God will help you turn around and go north.
- If your life gets awful, God will meet you at the altar.