“Guidelines from Genesis on Making Right Decisions II” – Joshua Hamilton (Part 1)
Abraham. His name evokes reverence and respect from three different major religions of the world. According to the Quran, he was the model Muslim (Surah 16:120). To the Jew, he is the Father of the Jewish nation and of Judaism (Genesis 12:1-3). And to the Christian, he is the first fruits of those that would come to God by faith (Galatians 3:6). Looking at Abraham strictly as a historical figure, he seems to be a colossal man of incredible moral stature. However, looking at his life as recorded in Genesis, we see a weak man prone to mistakes, failures, and in desperate need of the grace of God. Thankfully, God was there every step of the way revealing Himself in Abraham’s triumphs and failures.
In Genesis 12, we see one of the highest points of Abram’s (his name had not yet been changed by God to Abraham) life and one of the lowest. In the beginning of the chapter, God promises Abram a son, a nation, and a land. To Abram, he might as well have promised to turn the moon to cheese and the ocean to wine, but later in the New Testament we read that Abraham believed. He also promised Abram that He would bless those that blessed him and curse those that cursed him. It was a bulletproof promise that guaranteed his safety until God’s promise was fulfilled in him. Ultimately we see his belief would become reality in the child of Isaac but before Isaac we see several lapses of faith when Abram grabbed control of his life and steered it into a place that required God to rescue him from ruin.
One of the first places we see Abram grab the wheel of his life was later in chapter 12. Abram had stepped out with incredible faith by leaving his home and traveling to an unknown destination. For this act of faith, God had rewarded him with an amazing promise. God showed him the land He had promised him and all seemed to be working smoothly. Then came the famine. At this point, rather than trust the God that had brought him to this point, was aware of his predicament, and could provide for his every need, he decided to act outside the realm of faith and make decisions based on his sight rather than obedience to God’s revealed Word. What Abram did made perfect sense – where he was at there was no food so he simply went where the food was. Abram found himself in Egypt, and immediately he was overwhelmed with his own weakness and insecurities when he saw the power and grandeur of the Egyptian Pharaoh. He conspired with his wife under the guise of protecting her to refer to her as his sister, thus protecting his own skin (even though he claimed it would benefit her). How soon he had forgotten God’s promise of protection. How quickly he had forgotten the immensity of his God. His decisions would cost him his testimony and he was sent packing, banished from the sight of Pharaoh. Any opportunity to introduce Pharaoh to Jehovah ended the moment Abram seized control of his life and his decision making. How could Abram testify of the Almighty when his life demonstrated such faithlessness and cowardice? His actions would make a mockery of any testimony he could offer. More important than this, Abram had lost communication with God. Earlier in Genesis we see God speaking directly to Abram, but now God came and revealed Himself – and Abram’s sin – to Pharaoh, not to Abram. It wasn’t until Abram returned to where God told him to go and humbled himself at an altar of worship that he restored the relationship that was so vital to Abram’s survival.
What about you? Are you in a place of famine? Do you feel like you’ve lost connection with God? Have you grabbed control of your life and what you thought was a choice to make a “course correction” put you in place that has caused you to spin out of control? Perhaps you need to learn from Abram. It wasn’t until he let go and went back to the place of famine that he found the peace, provision, and protection that he needed. Get back to a place of sincere worship before God and ask Him to reveal where you have firm control on your life and then ask Him to give you the courage to let go. Then, let go. I promise you’ll never never regret it.
“A Prayer for the Election” John Piper
Father in heaven, as we approach this election on Tuesday, I pray
1) that your people will vote,
2) and that they will vote with a sense of thankfulness for a democratic system that at least partially holds in check the folly and evil in all our hearts so that power which corrupts so readily is not given to one group or person too easily;
3) that we would know and live the meaning of
- being in the world, but not of it,
- doing politics as though not doing them,
- being on the earth, yet having our lives hidden with Christ in God,
- rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are God’s;
4) that we would discern what truths and values should advance by being made law and which should advance only by the leavening of honest influence;
5) that your people would see what love and justice and far-seeing wisdom demand in regard to the issues of education, business and industry, health care, marriage and family, abortion, welfare, energy, government and taxes, military, terrorism, international relations, and every challenge that we will face in the years to come;
6) and above all, that we will treasure Jesus Christ, and tell everyone of his sovereignty and supremacy over all nations, and that long after America is a footnote to the future world, he will reign with his people from every tribe and tongue and nation.
Keep us faithful to Christ’s all important Word, and may we turn to it every day for light in these dark times.
In Jesus’ name,