|W||Genesis 12:1-3 New International Version (NIV)
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
|O||The Lord chose Abram. God gave Abram specific instructions to leave his country and go to a land that He would show him. God promised to bless Abram and make his descendants into a great nation. God went on to tell Abram that he would make his name great and that he would be a blessing. The Lord promised Abram that he would bless everyone that blessed him and curse anyone who cursed him. Furthermore, God told Abram that all people on earth would be blessed through him.
|R||As I studied the verses, I began to feel amazed about how God called Abram. I was ecstatic as I read the amazing things that God promised to do for him. God not only promised to bless Abram, but he promised to bless his seeds. Not only just Abram’s seeds, God said all the people on earth would be blessed by him. WOW! Now that’s major! Major is an understatement so I will say the promises of God for Abram was SUPER MAJOR! LOL!
However, as I continued to explore the details of Abram’s journey, I noticed things were not always peachy cream. Abram was obedient to the Lord, but he made some mistakes along the way. Here are some interesting things that I discovered about Abram’s journey:
· The Lord continued to show Abram all the blessings he had in store for him. He promised to give Abram the land that the Canaanites occupied. Abram honored the Lord by building him an alter. Abram continued to worship and build alters for God as he traveled from place to place. (Genesis 12:6-8)
· But check this out! Things got real when Abram and his wife went to Egypt. Look at verses 12-13 of Genesis chapter 12:
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.”
I started laughing when I read this. Abram was willing to tell a lie rather than risk being killed by the Egyptians! He feared that the Egyptians would harm him and take his wife. Sarai followed her husband’s plan and it worked! LOL! As soon as they arrived in Egypt, the Egyptians noticed how beautiful she was. The king took good care of them because of Sarai. But guess what? God wasn’t having it! The Lord struck the king and everyone in his palace with terrible diseases. After concluding that Abram and Sarai was the cause, the king went off on Abram for misleading him. He 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 (Genesis 12:18-19).” Abram and his wife were kicked out of the king’s palace. Their journey continued…
· Even after the foolery that transpired in Egypt God, continued to speak blessings over Abram’s life. In fact, Genesis chapter 15 gives a detailed account of the promises of God for Abram. For example, the Lord promised to protect and reward Abram greatly. God even promised to give Abram and Sarai a son, after years of struggling to conceive.
· More things transpired along Abraham’s journey in chapter 16 (You should read it to find out what happened with Sarai and the other woman), but I want to move onto Genesis chapter 17 where God changes Abram’s name to Abraham. Abraham was ninety-nine when God promised to make him the father of many nations. Sarai’s name was also changed to Sarah. God promised that she would have a son and that she would be the mother of nations. God promised both Abraham and Sarah that some of their descendants would be kings.
· Now let’s fast forward to Genesis chapter 20. You would think Abraham would’ve learned from what happened in Egypt when he misled the Egyptians into believing Sarah was his sister, but oh noooooooooooo! Abraham lied again. When Abraham moved to Gerar, he told everyone that his wife was his sister! So, the king brought Sarah to him—same drama that happened in Egypt. God—upset with all the foolery going on—told the king that he would die for being with a married woman. Once again, people were being punished for Abraham’s lack of honesty. When confronted by the king, Abraham rationalized his behavior by saying he didn’t tell the truth because he didn’t think any of the people respected God and because he thought someone would kill him to get his wife. Abraham went on to say, “She is my half-sister.” Crazy, right?
· Finally, Abraham has a son (Genesis 21:1-7). In Genesis 22 Abraham offered the son that God promised him as a sacrifice! God honored Abraham for his obedience. Once again God promised to bless Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 22:16-18).
So, what can we learn by looking at the examples from Abraham’s life? God chose Abraham. God had a specific calling for Abraham’s life. When God chose and called Abraham he promised that he would bless Abraham. Abraham’s story tells about the highs and lows that he faced in life. Yet, God was still faithful in fulfilling his promises to Abraham even though Abraham made mistakes along the way. God called Abraham to be the father of many nations. God promised that all people on earth would be blessed because of Abraham. With that being said, I know God—being sovereign—knew Abraham would sin. The beauty of it all is, despite Abraham’s short-comings God showed him grace. The Lord did not renege on His promises because Abraham lied—not one time but twice (See Genesis Chapters 12 & 20). Nor did God renege on His promises when Abraham and Sarah tried to manipulate their situation by making Hagar have a baby for them (16:2-4). God did not renege on His promises when Sarah laughed at Him (Genesis 18:12-15). God was faithful.
I say all this to support my thoughts in the first devotional “The Cursing Christian.” God’s grace sustains us. When we fail and mistakes, He is still there for us. Still loving us. Still guiding us. Still forgiving us. Still willing to help us when we need Him.
God knows that we won’t get it right all the time. Romans 3:23 tells us “for all [and I DO MEAN ALL—for y’all self-righteous people] have sinned and fall short of the glory God.” But when we sin, do we stay there? NO! We must confess our sins. Repent by turning away from sin. God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). As we learned from Abraham’s story obedience is better than sacrifice. God gave them grace to not continue sinning further (Genesis 20:6), but he required obedience (Genesis 20:7). Philippians 2:12 advises us to work out our salvation. Salvation is free, but I believe you still have to do the work: 1.) building a personal relationship with the Lord through prayer and reading the Bible, 2.) being obedient to God’s Word, 3.) confessing our sins and 4.) setting a daily goal to live for Christ. By doing this, we activate our faith!
Thank you for the life. Thank you for the promises that you have for us. We ask that you continue to guide us along our journey. When we fall short, help us to seek you because you are always there. You have a plan for us. Help us to be obedient to the things you are asking us to do. Help us to not rely on our own strength, power, and knowledge to fulfill the call that you have on our lives. We need you every step of the way. We thank you for we know that you hear us and you care about us.
In Jesus’ name,