Beautiful Faith (Genesis 12)

MOTIVATE

○         People of notoriety yet regular beginnings

○         Ministry with children reminds you of simplicity of faith, which God wants.

EXAMINE                             Genesis 12

The book of Genesis lists many generations whom God has called to faith in His goodness and commands. Yet, most sought personal satisfaction independent from God. Adam & Eve chose the lure of the serpent and the lust of the flesh. Generations that would follow would reject God and be totally depraved. The generations after Noah chose to build a city and make a name for themselves. Few went against the multitude and looked to God. Jesus said, “the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many” (Matthew 7:13). So, once again, God chose to continue His purposes through alternate means. Human obedience never compares to God’s grace.

 

God calls you to an uncomfortable faith (11:27 – 12:1-2, 4-9).

God spoke and called out to a man named Abram. Abram was an ordinary man with a ungodly background. His father, Terah, was a godless man (Joshua 24:2) and settled for less than God’s best in a pagan city (Genesis 11:31).

 

The mystery of it all is God’s grace to call out to Abram. God speaks to those He chooses. He does not schedule appointments, ask for permission or clear it with anyone – He just shows up and speaks. And it becomes that person’s choice for how they will respond.

In these moments, you may hear God’s voice and you will become responsible for the message. God speaks through His Word and His people. It is no accident you are here.

To what was God calling Abram?

God was calling Abram to an uncomfortable faith. He was calling him to a relationship more than a place. Abram was called to listen, trust and obey God’s voice. If he did then he would be blessed, if not he would miss out on the blessing.

ð      Much of life is dependent on our paying attention to the right moment God speaks and brings about in our life.

Further, God was calling Abram to an uncomfortable faith of leaving his country, kindred and father’s house to an unknown land.

–          Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones, and “God spoke to him [Abram]. God disturbed him. God called him out. That is always, invariably, the first step… What Abraham was asked to do by God was this: he was to look at the kind of life that he was living and see that it was wrong and that he must therefore come out of it. That is what the Bible calls repentance.”[1]

–          Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loves his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:34-39).

Abram’s response

–          Obedience over comfort.

Abram obeyed immediately and went as the Lord told him. He took his wife, nephew and all their possessions and the people they acquired inHaranand set out toCanaan.

  • Abram called out people fromHaran; from sin to salvation. What an evangelist!
  • “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

–          Obedience over circumstances (age, Sarai’s barrenness,  difficulty of transition)
Abram was 75 years old but didn’t let age alter his obedience. His wife was barren and they were settled in a country but he didn’t let difficult circumstances crowd out his obedience.

James 2:23 “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness- and he was called a friend of God.”

 

God blesses you to an unconditional promise. (Genesis 12:4-9)

The covenant relationship that God begins with Abram is unconditional. Note the personal responsibility assumed by God, “I will make…I will bless…I will make your name great…I will bless those who bless and I will curse those who dishonor…; I will give this land”. The covenant is based on God’s work not Abram’s.

The blessed life is not one that realizes your potential but God’s promise. God tells Abram, “to your offspring I will give this land”. This patriarch and promised blessing is claimed by three major religions: Jews, Muslims and Christians. We will see this more in future chapters. However, ultimately it is interpreted for us through the New Testament. If you remember from Genesis 3:15, there was a promised offspring to come and bring deliverance. Here it is repeated. And the Apostle Paul interprets as such: “Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, ‘And to offsprings’, referring to many, but referring to one, ‘And to your offspring’, who is Christ” (Galatians 3:16). In other words, the promise does not belong to Jews, Muslims or Christians but to an individual – Jesus Christ. Yet, to all those who by grace through faith receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, will inherit the blessing. “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29).

 

Jesus said, “Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad…Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:56, 58

 

APPLY/THINK

The covenant promise involves:                                  

NEW COVENANT                               Jeremiah 31:31-34; Matthew 26:26-30

1)       Personal relationship with God                      –> Jesus

2)       Place to live                                                   –> Heaven

3)       Promise to believe                                         –> Eternal life

 


[1] The Gospel in Genesis. p.148, 151.

 

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