It is so easy to feel like you have failed. To feel depressed, and clueless to God’s plan for your life. To think “I’m being a good Christian. I pray and worship the Lord. I am thankful for what I have and where I’ve been. But God still won’t give me direction. I just feel lost and don’t know what I’m meant to do or where I’m meant to go! I tried to do one thing and it didn’t work out so I tried another and still I’m getting nowhere, and now I have more problems. I’m stuck in a mess and just confused and wish God would clue me in.”
Have you ever felt this way?
Abram probably felt this way too at some point. God sent him and his family on journey from Ur to Haran and into Egypt. Over 560 miles on foot with his family. (That’s like walking from NYC to Toronto, CA) But God did not point to a map and say to Abram “I need you to go here, here, and here, and I need you to do this so you will understand my power and the favor I have in you. And also,so you can understand the fullness of the blessing I will bestow on you when you are 100 years old.” But God did make him a promise to protect him and bless him for his obedience and faith. In Genesis 12:1-2 God calls out to Abram saying;
“Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go 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 the people on earth will be blessed through you.”
Even with God speaking so clearly several times in the same manner as the verse above Abram still got stuck in a limited human mindset of what God had in store for him and just how God wanted him to get there. There are several times in Genesis where Abram fears what to do in his life, and tries to take matters into his own hands. He was confused about what God wanted him to do, and how he and his family would survive. Gen 12:10-20 is just the first of these examples. There was famine and Abram makes a decision based in his own fear that not only leads him into sin but puts his wife and the figurehead of a nation (Pharaoh) into sin as well. All because of misjudgment and fear.
However, God goes on to protect them from that sin and blesses them in spite of Abram’s misjudgment. Proving to Abram that God is in control and has a plan for him.
God has given us blessings and a promise too. Though Jesus Christ. The promise of salvation has been given to all who believe that Christ died to give us redemption from sin. Jesus has already completed that promise. So if God is willing to send his son to earth and die on our behalf don’t you think he is going to continue to look out for us, provide for us and love us? All it takes is having trust and faith in the face of what seems to be impossible and hopeless. Abram though he failed at times was faithful to God, and it wasn’t until the age of 100 that God gave him a son that he desired. It was all in God’s timeline. This is something that we all struggle with. We are limited in our understanding, and sometimes in our faith; but we can rest assured that so long as we seek out God’s glory no mater how trying the situation he will protect us and provide us with everything we need.
Sarah and Abram : It seemed like a good idea at the time!
Last week we discussed obedience and submission to God using the life of Sarah and Abram. We learned that fear cause them to sin against God but God still protected them and found favor in them .Today we will continue with that mindset and continue with Genesis 15:1-6.
Here God is making a promise to protect and provide an heir for Abram and Sarah. Abram discusses his future with the Lord and God tells him that his heir will not be from a servant maid (this was acceptable in society) but an heir will be born from him. Abram believes him and the covenant is made.
In chapter 16 Sarah does what she thinks is best and gives her maidservant to Abram so an heir can be born. She was old and this was probably a painful things to do. However, this action that was acceptable in their world was not acceptable to God. Abram does not take the lead in this situation and tell his wife that this is wrong, but we learn that he let her call the shots and went along with her plan forgetting what the Lord had said to him in Chapter 15:4. Abram sleeps with Hagar the maidservant and she becomes pregnant. Hagar becomes resentful and despises Sarah for this, and fights erupt in the marriage between Abram and Sarah. (16:5-7) Abram gives over control to Sarah completely and the result is Hagar getting mistreated and she runs away.
Hagar running away causes God to come down and speak to her as an angel. He comforts her and let her know that he seems what is going on and that she is hurting but also reassure her that he will protect her and her future son Ishmael. This is the first time we read of an angel talking to a woman and now doubt we all would have been awestruck. She was filled with the Spirit and returned to Sarah and Abram as God had said.
13 years later chapter 17. Where God once again comes to Abram and tells him that soon Sarah will have a son. And in light of this he changes Abram’s name to Abraham (100 y/o) and Sari’s to Sarah(89 y/o). As a sign of maturity and a sign of the promise that is about to come true. They will become the parents of a many nations.
Lastly, in chapter 20 we see God testing them once again in the same way that they were tested 25 years previous. But God stops, and protects them from their sin, and blesses them with land before the birth of Isaac. Which leads us into our next session…
Week of June 24th 2012
As we close our study of Romans 12 we should have a transformed sense of who we are as Christians. Now is when the real work begins. My prayer for all of you is that you would offer your whole self to our Father as a surrendered living sacrifice. Remember his promise for you and set yourself apart when this world and this city seek to pull you into its ways. Be humble and know that God has given you a purpose, and made you special with skills and opportunities to serve him by lovingly serving others. Remember brothers and sisters that we are called to show the same grace, kindness and love that Christ has shown us. Even when you are hurting, do not seek revenge but forgive and bless those who hurt you. Keep in constant prayer and know that God is stronger than any evil. He loves you, he wants you and he will never leave you.
Father in heaven, Thank you for your grace over our lives when we don’t deserve it. Thank you for speaking to us and for the blessings we receive in the Spirit. We surrender ourselves to your almighty arms Lord and ask that your Spirit lead us to always live surrendered and set apart. Living with sober minds, serving others and supernaturally responding to evil. So that the world will see a love in us and know it came from you. All of these things we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen