Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Abraham: Following In The Footsteps Of Faith, Part 10, 12/7/2011
ABRAM'S TROUBLE WITH LOT
For Abram, everything isn't smooth sailing! After his return to Canaan from his disastrous trip to Egypt, there arises a conflict between himself and his nephew Lot. It was a conflict that had serious ramifications and had to be resolved. How this conflict was settled is the focus of the message today.
Just like Abram, there are times in our life when conflicts and troubles arise. How we deal with those conflicts and troubles reveals more about our characters than we want to admit. Because what you are when the pressure is on is what you really are!
Since that is true, let's take some time to look into these verses this evening and notice some aspects of this story that speak to our lives. Let's look on this thought, Abram's Trouble With Lot.
Gen 13:5-7 A TROUBLESOME PROBLEM
The Cause Of The Problem - Both Abram and Lot had gained immense wealth and power. Neither is inherently wrong as long as they are controlled by the right spirit. When our "things" control us, then we are headed for trouble. ( Matt. 6:19-21).
The Course Of The Problem - Their problem remained unresolved and eventually developed into a bone of contention. Evidently, each wanted the best grazing ground for their flocks and herds. Trouble is always a certainty when the focus of life is removed from the Lord Jesus Christ and focused on self, individual right, or to the things of this world! (Heb. 12:2.) How Abram and Lot responded to this crisis in the family says a lot about the character of each. If you want to know the true character of any person, just see how they respond in a time of crisis or conflict!
Gen 13:8-9 A TENDER PROPOSAL
V. 8 Involved A Plea For Peace - Abram displays a loving, gracious spirit when he deals with Lot. He gives a two-fold reason as to why they should live in peace. By the way, his reasons for them are still valid for the church today!
1. They Were Brethren - They should love and respect one another! The same is true concerning the church (John 13:35) Even in the best of circumstances, trouble is always a possibility. In the church, there should be peace, love and tenderness between the members, but, because we are sinful humans, trouble often arises. However, it is never right, regardless of the reason. There is nothing so important that it should be allowed to tear up the work of the Lord in His church. And, friends, He cannot bless in an atmosphere of discord and trouble. The best course of action is to forgive and to forget! (Matt. 18:21-22; Luke 17:3-5; Eph. 4:32; 1 Cor. 13:4-5).
2. The Heathen Were Watching - Verse 7b tells us that the Canaanites were living around them at the time. This presented a dual problem in the face of the conflict. First, it placed both Abram and Lot in danger. If these warlike people saw an opportunity to attack them and take their possessions they would. Second, no doubt these people were keenly interested in Abram's God. They would evaluate his religion by the effect it had on his life. The same problems confront the church in our day! When we fight, Satan has a heyday in the church and scatters the flock. When we fight, the world sees our lack of love, tenderness and forgiveness and concludes that we are no better off then they are, and that this "Jesus business" means nothing!
Involved A Price For Peace - Abram willingly gave up his rights as the elder of the family. He could have chosen first, but he yielded to Lot. He willingly placed Lot's happiness, wishes and rights ahead of his own. This is not something that we see often, but it what believers are supposed to do (Phil. 2:4; Rom. 15:1; Rom. 14:19-23). We should never compromise the truth to please anybody! However, there are times when we should give in to the wishes, needs and rights of others!
Involved A Promise For Peace - How could Abram so easily give up the best of the land to Lot? Abram knew that his cause was safe with God! The Lord has already promised to give him "all" the land ( Gen. 12:7). When a believer's faith truly rests in the Lord, then they can afford to hold their possessions and their rights very loosely. After all, it is God, not they, who look after their interests (Rom. 8:28). Abram did not get mad, bitter or puffed up when he did not get his way. He simple did everything in his power to work out the problem. That is the way of Christ and the will of God!
Gen 13:10-13 A TRAGIC PLAN
Lot Lived By Sight - Lot made his decision based upon what his eyes told him. He claimed the land that appeared best for raising flocks and herds. He did not consult with the Lord, he just looked until he saw what pleased him and that is what he chose. He gratified his flesh! He did just what Eve did in the Garden, (Gen. 3:1-6). He allowed his flesh to live for him ( 1 John 2:16, a reference to Egypt). Lot must have fallen in love with that country and chose what he did because it reminded him of Egypt. It is a dangerous thing to live to fulfil the appetites and lusts of the flesh. Yet, anytime we cease to walk by faith in the Lord God and go after our own path, we are walking by sight.
Lot Lived For Self - Lot's choice demonstrated a total lack of regard for the needs of Abram. Evidently, he didn't respect Abram at all. Lot lived to please one person and that person was Lot. He was selfish to the core. He is a perfect description of many in our day. Everything is about "my rights", "my wants", "my needs", "my life", "my way", etc. Friend, that is not a way of life that is pleasing to the Lord. You live like that and you will always be mad at somebody over something. You will always have your feelings hurt about some issue or other.
Lot Lived In Sodom - Lot left the life of a pilgrim behind and settled down among the sinners of Sodom. He raised his family there. He also lost his family and his testimony in that place (Gen. 19). Lot was a "just man" (2 Pet. 2:7-8). However, that is no way for a believer to live! Sadly, Lot's way of reacting to trouble is the way chosen by most folks in our day. These men needed to separate, but Lot chose the wrong path and he chose it with the wrong attitude. His choice led him down and cost him plenty. Abram's choice brought him blessings and honor.
Conc: If you had to be honest today and compare yourself to one or the other of these two men, which would it be? Abram, who took last place so that another could go first? Or, Lot, who grabbed all he could for himself without regard for anyone else?
TODAY'S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING:
New International Version (NIV)
10 You have exalted my horn[a] like that of a wild ox; fine oils have been poured on me. 11 My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries; my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes. 12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Abraham: Following In The Footsteps Of Faith, Part 9,
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE ROAD BACK TO CANAAN
In Genesis 12:10-20, Abram is seen leaving Canaan (The Promised Land) during a time of famine to go to Egypt (a picture of the world). We are told that to get to Egypt from Canaan, Abram had to go "down", (Gen 12:10). Anytime a believer leaves the place where God has placed them, they are on a downward path. This is seen in the actions of Abram while in Egypt. He lied about Sarai, (Gen 12:12, 18); He encouraged her to commit the same sin, (Gen 12:12); He became self-centered, (Gen 12:14); He created the potential for others to fall into sin, (Gen 12:14-15); He left Egypt worse than he found it, (Gen 12:17); He ruined his testimony in the eyes of the Egyptians, (Gen 12:19-20). To say the least, Abram's little trip to Egypt was a disaster!
However, I am glad to report to you that no failure need be permanent in the walk of faith! Gen 13:1 of our text tells us that Abram "went up out of Egypt." While he had taken a downward path to get into Egypt, he took an upward path to remove himself from that place. It is the steps Abram took to get back to Canaan that interest us. Because it is possible for the wayward saint to return to the place of blessing, but there are certain requirements that must be met by the returning saint. In chapter 12, we looked at The Truth About The Path To Egypt. Now, let’s look at The Truth About The Road Back To Canaan.
Gen 13:1-2 IT INVOLVES REMOVING
He Removed His Person From Egypt - Abram separated himself from Egypt. He placed distance between himself and that place. Separation is a requirement for those who wish to walk in God's blessing and power, (2 Cor. 6:17, Heb. 12:1.) considering the anger of Pharaoh, it was pure grace that Abram was allowed to leave Egypt at all, (12:18-20)! So it is with the wayward saint. If God gave us what we deserved, He would slay us in our sins. He does chasten those He loves, (Heb. 12:6-13). But, thank God, He always deals with us in love and grace.
He Removed His Possessions From Egypt - He did not allow anything he owned to be left at the disposal of that evil system. He took his resources with him when he returned to the place of blessing. Too many Christians like to talk about living for the Lord, but they spend more of their resources on worldly pleasures than they commit to the control of the Lord and His work. I would just remind you that the Lord blesses in direct proportion to our giving, (Mal. 3:8-10; Luke 6:38.)
He Removed His Potential From Egypt - He took Sarai with him when he left Egypt. She held within her the key to the promises of God. He knew God wanted to grow this family in Canaan and not in Egypt. Canaan was the place where God had promised to meet with them and to bless them. The Lord wants more than our persons and our resources, He also wants our entire futures placed at His disposal, (Rom. 12:1-2.)
Gen 13:3-4 IT INVOLVES RETURNING
To The Place Of God's Worship - He left Egypt and made his way back to Bethel, "The House Of God", and the "place of the altar", v. 4. When Abram was in Egypt, there were no altars, there was no praying, and there was no word from the Lord. The child of God will never be fulfilled until he or she returns to a place where God can be encountered.
To The Place Of God's Working - Abram returned to the place where God had previously worked in his life. The Lord will always be found in the place where we left Him. Many of the Lord's people need to return to their altars and to the place where they walked away from God. He is waiting to meet you and bless you again!
To The Place Of God's Will - Abram returned to the place where God sent him. Canaan represented the perfect will of God for Abram. The place where God can bless you the most is the place where God places you! He'll give you a lot of rope, but in the end, if you want His blessings on your life, you must be in that place near Him. (Moses - Ex. 33:21)
Gen 13:3-4 IT INVOLVES REVIVING
He Revived His Devotion To God - Abram came back to the place of the altar. There seems to be a renewal of the desire to be in God's presence. He came back to the altar! There is something fundamentally wrong when a believer possesses a lack of a desire to worship the Lord. This is true both privately or publicly. God would have us be in a state of mind where His worship is a priority in our lives, (John 4:23-24; Heb. 10:25.) We have forgotten what the altar is for in the church! It is a place of sacrifice; of seeking the Lord; of repentance; of surrender; of thanksgiving; of forgiveness, both given and received; of supplication; of praise and worship! May the Lord help us to remember the way there and how to use the altar for His glory!
He Revived His Dependence On God - Abram "Called on the name of the LORD..." Abram is now through with Egypt and he does what he should have done in the first place, (Gen. 12:10, he relies on the Lord. Instead of looking here and there for the help we need, the Lord would have us walk in total dependence upon Him. He desires our faith and will honor genuine faith by His provisions, (Matt. 6:25-34.)
He Revived His Dedication To God - Whatever happened in the heart of Abram that caused him to walk away in the first place has been dealt with. The phrases "at the beginning" and "at the first" suggest that Abram has experienced a renewal of his "first love". What happened in this man's life is what needs to take place in the lives of many of God's children this evening! So many have allowed the flames of love to becomes mere embers. We need a revival! We need to fall in love with Jesus all over again! (Rev. 2:1-7) Days spent out of fellowship with God are "wood, hay, and stubble". They are wasted and can never be redeemed!
Conc: I wonder how many would have to admit that they are more "down" than "up" in their walk with the Lord? When we are in that down place spiritually, the Lord cannot bless and use us like He desires to. We need to take the same steps that Abram took and come “back up” again. I don't know where you are spiritually today, but I know that if you need to come before the Lord to seek His forgiveness, to love Him, to thank Him, to pray for a lost loved one, or for any reason at all, He will gladly meet you at the altar if you will come. May we determine in our hearts that Egypt is no place for us to dwell and that we are going back to Canaan whatever the cost.
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING:
New International Version (NIV)
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Monday, December 05, 2011
Abraham: Following In The Footsteps Of Faith, Part 8, 12/5/2011
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE PATH TO EGYPT
We have before us what is probably the saddest event in the entire life of Abraham. We see him making a decision that will bring tremendous trouble into his life. Our text tells that during a time of famine in Canaan, Abram took his family and moved to the land of Egypt.
Now, in the Bible, Egypt is always presented to us as a picture of a type of the world. It was where the children of Israel were held in bondage to Pharaoh for 400 years. Even after they were delivered by the power of God, they still longed for what they had left behind in Egypt (Ex. 16:3). That's just like us! Regardless of how the Lord blesses us, there is still a part of us that looks back longingly to the world we have left behind. As we see this man make his journey into Egypt, there are some truths about the path he took to Egypt that we need to notice. Let’s look for a few minutes about The Truth About The Path To Egypt.
Gen 12:10 IT IS ALWAYS A DOWNWARD PATH
When a believer leaves Canaan (The place of victory and blessing) to go to Egypt (The world), it always leads him down ( Jonah 1:1-5). Amos described it as a low place as well (Amos 2:10; 3:1.)
It Led Him Down From The Land Of Promise - The land of Canaan represented God's Best for Abram. Canaan land was where he was supposed to be! There is no place more precious than the place God wants you to be! (Joseph -Gen. 50:20.)
It Led Him Down From The Land Of Preparation - The famine in Canaan was not a punishment for sin, rather it was a test of faith. He left God's best and ran away from God's test. Real faith will always be tested. The great test is to submit to the test and trust God instead of running away! Abram was to choose the uncertainty of Canaan over the abundance of Egypt.
It Led Him Down From The Land Of Provision - God had promised to bless Abram in Canaan (Gen. 12:2). Canaan was also the place of God's rest for Abram. Only there could he rest in the arms of providence and trust God to take care of him. The best place to be is where the Lord places you, even if it is difficult - (1 Kings 17:4, 9 -16 )
Gen 12:11-15 IT IS ALWAYS A DISHONEST PATH
Abram Birthed A Lie - It is a sad day when a believer turns away from the truth to embrace a lie. This may be the saddest episode in Abraham's life, and it forever preserved in the word of God. We can learn from his mistake! We all have those times when we birth a lie in our hearts to try and justify the things we do and allow in our lives. It is a sad day when it happens!
Abram Became The Lie - After he told the lie, he began to live the lie! One lie always leads to another! This is clearly seen in David's lies and actions following his adultery with Bathsheba ( 2 Sam. 11.) Your lies always affect your life!
Abram Believed The Lie - He came to believe the lie he had fabricated more than the truth he had received from God. Verse 12 tells us that Abram was worried about something that could never happen. He could not die because God's promise to him had not been fulfilled, (Gen. 12:2-3). This is always sin's way. In Gen. 3:1-6 , Eve sinned because she believed the devil's lies more than she believed God. Peter fell because he believed his own lies more than he believed the Lord's word (Mark 14:30-31).
Gen 12:15-17 IT IS ALWAYS A DISASTROUS PATH
Because Of The Potential , Abram's sin had the potential to cause others to fall. Pharaoh could have taken Sarai to be his wife! When a believer goes to Egypt spiritually, it causes others to fall away or stay away.
Because Of The Punishment - Abram's sin brought God's hand of judgment into the situation! Wouldn't it be a shame to know that our sin caused a believer to stumble or a sinner to be confirmed in his decision for hell? (Matt. 18:6).
Because Of The Profits - The Bible tells us that Abram left Egypt with more than when he entered. This is not always the case (The Prodigal - Luke 15: 11-24), but sometimes the believer will prosper in the far country. However, those things that people think are gain are really often loss! Among the servants Abram acquired while there was an Egyptian girl named Hagar (Gen. 16:1-3). She became a problem for Abraham and Sarah and Abraham's sin with her still has consequences in the world today. The lesson here is this, "What we think are the world's best blessings often become life's greatest burdens." (Matt. 6:19-21)
Gen 12:18-20 IT IS ALWAYS A DISAPPOINTING PATH
The world and all of its allurements can never satisfy the soul that has ever tasted of the goodness of the Lord!
Because Of The Testimony It Forfeits - Abram lost his testimony in Egypt. He is even told by Pharaoh, "Take her and go!" He was literally kicked out of the world by the world! Lost people never forget a ruined testimony! They may never remember your good works, but they will never forget your failures! What gets more air time, Peter's preaching at Pentecost, or his denial of Christ? What about David and the Ark, or David and Bathsheba?
Because Of The Things It Forgets - In Egypt, Abram had no altar, he offered no sacrifices and he lifted up no prayers. He totally left God out of all that he was doing! When in the world, the child of God lives like the world. That is a tragedy within itself! God, and all that pertains to Him are neglected and ignored! You see, no man can serve two masters (Matt. 6:24).
Because Of The Tragedy It Fosters - Instead of bringing the light of the one true God into the darkness of Egypt, Abram only brought more darkness! He was not "salt and light" as he should have been! When we walk out of Canaan into Egypt, we cannot be what God has called us to be (Matt. 5:13-16)! It is always a tragedy when believers leave the world worse off than it was when they found it!
Conc: Where is your tent pitched today? Are you camping in Canaan, firmly fixed in the land of blessing, victory and testimony, or have you gone down to Egypt? All it takes to get to Egypt is a little compromise here and there, and before you know it, you are miles away from the Lord. You will never prosper as long as you are not where God wants you to be! Come home! Rebuild your altars and live for Jesus like He saved you to do.
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING:
New International Version (NIV)
1 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. 3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. 6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. 7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. 9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. 10 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’S unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. 11 Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!
Sunday, December 04, 2011
ABRAHAM: Following In The Footsteps of Faith, 12/4/2011, Part 7
Gen 12:7-9 ABRAM'S OPPORTUNITIES
While this man was called to walk by faith to an unseen place, he was given opportunities that others knew nothing about. These include:
Gen 12:7 To Experience God's Promises - This man could travel as a pilgrim in Canaan knowing in his heart that every square inch of ground was his and his children's forever! They are fighting over that patch of ground even today, but I've got news for you, that ground belongs to the Jew! As he traveled, Abraham enjoyed the future, though it still remained unseen!
What an example he sets for the children of the Lord! Even as we continue on our pilgrimage toward glory, we can see the future by faith, as though it were a reality today! Friend, keep traveling for Jesus, you are as sure for Heaven as if you were already there if you are saved. (Eph. 2:6)!
Gen 12:7-8 To Enjoy God's Presence - As he journeyed, Abraham had a companion that excelled all others. God walked with him every step of the way!
In His Worship - It seems that whenever Abraham pitched his tent he also built an altar. He took the time to worship as he journeyed. His altars give loud testimony to the condition of this man's heart. The fact that he built them in the center of Canaan, where all around the people were enveloped in the gross darkness of idolatry, says much about his love for the Lord.
God's people should be known for their altars! Not just in church, but everywhere our path takes us. We should mark our days with prayer and with time spent in His presence. We must make worship a priority in our lives (John 4:23-24). When we build our altars and are not ashamed of the God we serve, it stands as a powerful witness to those around us! There is nothing wrong with telling people about the Lord, and we should all be vocal witnesses. But, when you get right down to it, if you have to tell someone that you are different, that you are a Christian, then something is wrong with that too! Our devotion to Him should make us stand out from the world around us!
In His Wanderings - Notice that as he journeyed, Abraham and God enjoyed sweet communion and fellowship. God spoke to him and he worshiped the Lord. It seems that Abraham was determined to include God in his pilgrimage.
Far too many people attempt to leave God out of their journey. That is a recipe for disaster! Whether you acknowledge Him or not, God is always there with you as you travel (Heb. 13:5). If you include Him in your life by listening to Him when He speaks and by worshiping Him as you travel, it makes the miles shorter and the trials easier to bear.
In His Ways - Verse 8 tells us that Abraham pitched his tent between Bethel and Hai. The word Bethel means "House of God." It was at Bethel that the patriarch Jacob would later meet God one lonely night (Gen. 28). The name Hai or Ai means "A Heap of Ruins". It was here that Israel would later learn a valuable lesson about faith, obedience and the destructive power of sin. I find it interesting that as Abraham journeyed, he seems to be moving away from "A Heap of Ruins" toward the "House of God". This symbolizes the fact that Abraham was moving away from what he used to be, toward that which God desired for him to be! That's what happens when a person sets out to walk with the Lord by faith!
When we determine that we will walk in the paths of the Lord, He will begin the process of transforming this "Heap of Ruins" that is our life before Him, and He will transform us into a "House of God" for His glory (1 Cor. 6:19; Rom 12:2). That's why He says, "We have this treasure in earthen vessels" (2 Cor. 4:7). He takes us like He finds us and He changes us into His image (2 Cor. 5:17; 1 Cor. 15:49; Eph 4:22-24)!
To Enter God's Place - This passage closes with Abraham journeying on with the Lord. He was headed somewhere. He may have pitched his tent at many addresses in Canaan, but in his heart, Abraham was already living in a far away country. He had already looked away by sight and had entered a land called Heaven (Heb. 11:8-16)! Friends, that is why the life of Abraham is a study in successful living. Why? Because He lived on a higher plane than other men. He lived in Heaven while his feet walked on the earth! He had plenty of things, but his things didn't have him. He held this world with a loose grip, trusting God to give and take as He saw fit. That is how you make it successfully through this life!
May the Lord help us to get our eyes and our hands off this world! When we begin to live on a higher plane, we will see the things of this world become less and less important. When we determine that we will be heavenly minded, it will transform our walk down here (Col. 3:1-3). It will take us away from thinking that we have this or that. We will be satisfied with Jesus! When that happens, we are on the path to certain victory in our spiritual journey.
Conc: Abraham sets the example of a man who was totally committed to a life of faith. Can you say the same thing about your journey? In which country are you more firmly planted, earth or Heaven? God is still looking for those He can call to a life of faith and use them to astound the world. Are you willing? Are you that one God can use at this time to touch the world for His glory? If there are needs, this altar is open! Answer God’s call and walk by faith.
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING:
New International Version (NIV)
1 LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? 2 The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; 3 whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; 4 who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the LORD; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; 5 who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken.
Saturday, December 03, 2011
ABRAHAM: Following In The Footsteps Of Faith, 12/3/2011, Part 6
Gen 12:4-6 ,
Gen 12: 4-6 ABRAM'S OPPOSITION
Abram wasn't going to find everything "smooth sailing". There would be difficulties in his pilgrimage, just as there will be in ours. Let's notice a few obstacles that Abraham faced as he journeyed.
Gen 12: 4 The Days Opposed Him - Verse 4 says that Abram was 75 years old when he left on his pilgrimage. That's about the age when some people begin to seriously think about slowing down. Not this man! He set out at that age to follow the Lord. I'll guarantee you some of his kinfolks thought he had lost his mind. I can almost hear them as they try to talk some sense into old Abram, but, he is determined to follow the Lord in spite if his age.
May I just remind you that there will never come a day when you can turn in your traveling shoes and your walking staff for a rocking chair? There may come a day when you can't teach anymore. There may come a time when you can't preach anymore. There may come a day when you won't even be able to attend church anymore. But, until we go home to glory, there will never be a day when we will have the liberty to sit down on the Lord an quit! Don't let your age, whether you are young or old, stop you from serving the Lord (Titus 2:2-3; 1 Tim. 4:12).
Gen 12:6 The Darkness Opposed Him - This verse says, "And the Canaanite was then in the land." That statement reveals much about the country that Abram was moving into. The Canaanites were a godless people, trapped in a system of religion that involved the worship of many gods. They practiced human sacrifice, various fertility rites, and had no regard for morality and decency. Abram was headed into hostile territory, where no one would be sympathetic to his lifestyle or to his God. Yet, he was determined to follow God regardless of the opposition from darkness that he faced!
Nothing has changed since Abraham's day! Those who determine that they will live a life of total dedication to the Lord soon discover that "the Canaanite is still in the land." The world, the flesh and the devil have no sympathy whatsoever with our desire to live for the Lord. If you choose to live a life of total dedication, you might as well know up front that there will be opposition (2 Tim. 3:12). Of course, if the Lord Jesus faced opposition and difficulty when He walked in this world, why should we expect any better treatment? (Matt. 10:16-23; John 15:20).
In spite of the fact that the world is against the child of God, we should still determine in our hearts that as long as there is breath in our bodies, we will live for the Lord, regardless of the personal cost. Who cares if we are opposed, mocked, hated or ridiculed? Who cares if persecution comes our way? A life of total commitment demands that we stand faithfully in the face of all opposition (1 Cor. 15:58; Eph. 6:10-18) --- Stand and BE FAITHFUL TO THE LORD!
Gen 12:5-6 The Distance Opposed Him - From Haran to Beersheba, in the south of Canaan was about 500 miles. That isn't too great a distance today, but then with flocks, herds, servants, household goods and all the other things they had with them, this was quite a journey. It surely would have been tempting for Abram to stop short of going all the way. But these verses tell us that he didn't stop. In fact, he just kept on going until he had seen everything there was to see in Canaan land, v. 9. God had promised it to him and he wanted to see it all!
What a lesson for the child of God today. How often are we tempted to unhook and drop out of the race? How often do the loads of life get heavy and the ways of life get rough? Isn't there a tendency for us to get weary and want to quit? Let me just encourage you my friend: stay in the race! It will be worth it all when we get home. Right now, the way gets hard. When it does, you can count on the fact that God is just trying to help you grow in your faith.
Determine in your heart that you will never stop, never pull up short and never quit until you have seen everything that God has for you in your “Canaan-land“! Just keep going on with the Lord. One day we will reach the end of the journey and step out of Canaan into glory, but until then, just keep on keeping on for the glory of the Lord!
Gen 12:5 The Duties Opposed Him - Abram was a man with many responsibilities. He had his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot to look after. He had servants, flocks, herds and all that came along with the “to-look-after“. If he was like most men, then he would have believed that it was his responsibility to feed that whole crowd and to provide for the needs that arose. It took great faith for him to place the unseen ahead of the seen and trust God to take care of all the needs of life. Yet, that is just what he did!
That is the place God wants us to reach as well. He wants us to arrive at that place where we willingly abandon the seen for the unseen at the command of the Lord. He wants us to come to the place where we know that we have what He has promised us, even when we cannot see it (Heb. 11:1). He wants us to come to the place where all of our tomorrows, all of our needs, all of our fears, cares, worries and problems are left at His feet (Matt. 6:25-34). When you get right down to it, you and I only have one requirement as pilgrims for the Lord: trust Him and leave all the details to God!
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE and BLESSING: Psalm 18:1-3
1 I love you, LORD, my strength. 2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.
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