Saturday, June 23, 2007

Genesis 12 - 13 - Learning Faith

Learning Faith

Gen 12:10 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.

Abram went down into Egypt out of worry and fear. He had family and cattle to care for. We should not let fear lead us to escape into the world. He was called to Canaan, not Egypt. Suffering and trials are part of the walk of faith. Possibly the trials that come are of God to test our faith. We walk by faith and not by our feelings.

Egypt like Ur, had rivers, so they were not so dependant on rain. Of course the rivers could dry up too, in a continued drought. The worst drought is spiritual drought. Do we delight ourselves in the LORD or in the things of the world? Is the church walking in faith today? How about the enticements of the world? Sports, music, ipods, ideos, computer, shopping? What do we escape into the world for when we hunger and thirst in our hearts?

Luke 18:8 ...when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Gen 12:11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon:

Abram was out of fellowship with God, he was using his human reasoning to guide him. Sarah must have been very beautiful, for she was sixty five years old, but they still had a longer life span at this time. Abram would live to be a hundred and seventy five and Sarai one hundred and twenty seven years, so she may have had the beauty of someone thirty five years old, today.

Gen 12:12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.
Gen 12:13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.

Abram controlled by fear again, thinks about his own safety, fearing for his own life. He wanted Sarai to lie for him; say that you are my sister, this was a half truth, for Sarai was also his half sister. His father had married another woman. Men, do we hide behind the skirts of our help meet? Do we put them in danger, perhaps spiritually, by our foolish choices?

Gen 12:14 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.

His fears came to pass. Often the thing we fear will be brought before us, as with Job.

Job 3:23 Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in?
Job 3:24 For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters.
Job 3:25 For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.
Job 3:26 I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.

We are to walk by faith in God and not by fear. How often have we hid the truth, for fear of man?

Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

The Messiah would come through Sarah, not by a Gentile King. Sarai was not the one to birth the Messiah, she was not a virgin, but she was chosen to continue the line leading to the Messiah. Would God ever use a bad sinner in his plans? Yes, by grace. For the prostitute Rahab would be in the lineage as well.

Heb 11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

Matthew 1:5 Shows that Rahab was the mother of Boaz who was the grandfather of king David.

Gen 12:15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house.

The king took the best that was around him for himself. King Jesus chose the unlovely, the lowly, those who were not esteemed by men.

1 Cor 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
1 Cor 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
1 Cor 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
1 Cor 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

Gen 12:16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.

Pharaoh was giving these things to Abram as a dowry. All these things were added unto Abraham, including the handmaiden Hagar, that bore him a son that would be a nation in conflict with the children of the promise. Riches from the world, may not be a blessing. They may choke the spiritual walk.

Mark 4:18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
Mark 4:19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

Abram's nephew Lot, was with him in Egypt, this influenced him to go towards wicked Sodom and Gomorrah.

Gen 13:10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.

Gen 12:17 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife.

Because of the covenant with Abram, God protected Sarai. Great plagues, or great troubles came. What were they? Maybe confusion, jealousy, strife, impotence, or the presence of an angel of God? I have heard from new believers how an angel came to protect them in a miraculous way.

Gen 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

If we want the LORD to bless us, are we keeping his promises? What must we do to be blessed?

Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
Psa 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Psa 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

We walk by faith in God's word and do not the things of the world, or our fearful imagination. We trust God to bring us to heaven so also we must trust him daily, in all our ways.

Psa 91:11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

Prov 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Prov 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Prov 3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
Prov 3:8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

Abram had leaned on his own understanding, when he went into Egypt. God did not call back His promise to Abram, because the promise depended on God, not on Abram. This is important. The covenant was made by God. Abram was chosen and was to walk by faith.

The New Covenant in Jesus' blood was also made by God who chose us. We received by faith. But even though we sometimes walk in our own thoughts, the covenant remains. For it is God who keeps us.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

That power is the Holy Spirit, that connects us to God. We received by faith, he confirmed our faith by making us adopted born again children of God. He keeps his children, but if it was not a true born again conversion, there is no salvation or covenant to keep us.

1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

Gen 12:18 And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?
Gen 12:19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.
Gen 12:20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.

The Christian’s conduct does greatly affect his credibility. Abram was learning to walk by faith, but he had failed to trust God in this decision. Do we walk in a way to bring honor and glory to our Lord? Or do we walk in our own heart? In fears, in lusts? or by His Spirit?

Out of Egypt

Gen 13:1 And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.
Gen 13:2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.
Gen 13:3 And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai;
Gen 13:4 Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.

Abram returned to where he was before going into Egypt. Abram's unbelief had taken him from his place of worship; it led him into sin, and caused him to lead others into sin. It made him more confident in his ability to lie than in the protecting power of God. It even broke apart his family for a while. Finally, even an ungodly king was rightly rebuking him.

He had material gain to show for the time in Egypt, but nothing but barrenness and weakness spiritually. Have you discovered how true this is? When you forsake the pathway of faith, when you refuse to walk in fellowship with God, when you depend upon the resources of the world to satisfy the empty hunger of the heart, these are wasted years!

Characteristics of the Life of Faith

1. Abraham's faith began when God chose him

2. God kept him even when he failed

3. The walk of faith is continual, until we are with him

4. Faith is based on the Word of God

5. The Christian walks in the revealed will of God

6. We grow in grace, Jesus is our model

7. Faith is rewarded when we are with Jesus

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