Beautiful Possession (Genesis 12 – 15)

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Beautiful Possession_Gen 12 15_July 10 2011

 

MOTIVATE

µ      Genesis is not a sanitized book about Christianity.

  • It tells of a God who wonderfully creates a world with words and loves creation & creatures.
  • It tells of a God who powerfully judges those who reject and doubt His goodness.
  • It contains stories of real people with real struggles, trials and testings and even wild failures.

µ      Myths of God and Christians

  • God does not care about or incapable of helping creation or creatures (people)
    • In Genesis, God is constantly intervening
  • Believers are perfect
    • In Genesis, man is sinful and dependent on grace through faith

–          This is Abraham

EXAMINE             Genesis 12 – 15    Beautiful Possession

Abraham was another man who found grace with God. God called Abram out of an ungodly family (Terah) & city (Babylon) and in unexpected circumstances (75years old; Sarai barren). In Genesis 12-15, we will see Abraham has many possessions but his greatest was not of his own achievement but of God’s grace through faith. “For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void…That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring” (Rom 4:13-14, 16). And so, we continue to study Abraham’s life that we may grow in our own understanding of this faith.

What was Abraham’s beautiful possession?

Home/Land? (12:4-10; 13:8-18)

Abram traveled fromUr(Babel) to Canaan but his family settled inHaran. From there he was called by God to the Promised Land. During this time there arose a famine in the land and led Abram to sojourn toEgypt. God had just told Abram that He would lead him to a land yet Abraham has no contentment and leaves. There was an unsettledness in his soul that would not be filled by a physical location but through a spiritual longing:

Later, Abram andLotdivided up the land and God showed him the blessing was in an eternal offspring (13:8-18).

“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob as heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:8-10). 

ð      Are you finding your hope and contentment in this world or the next? Some of you are frustrated that God isn’t blessing you with wealth and beautiful possessions in this world. God does not want you to find ultimate joy in this world. Stop seeking happiness in this home/land and realize it will be filled with challenge and struggle.

2Corinthians 5:1-7 “1 For we know that if our earthly house, a tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 And, in fact, we groan in this one, longing to put on our house from heaven, 3 since, when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 Indeed, we who are in this tent groan, burdened as we are, because we do not want to be unclothed but clothed, so that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 And the One who prepared us for this very thing is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment. 6 Therefore, though we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight—“

Wife? (12:10-15)

On Abram’s journey toEgypthe took his wife, Sarai. Abram considered his wife a beautiful possession and sought to protect her. Yet, his scheme involved giving her over to Pharaoh and the Egyptians. His reasoning was that in giving her away he would maintain his own survival – it was selfish and ungodly. 

ð      Are you compromising faith convictions in your relationships? Do you make decisions for yourself and others that lack the wisdom and input of Scripture and godly counsel?

▪          Husband sends wife or daughters into world with no protection (security, confidence, wisdom). Man complains, “She never listens…”; “She doesn’t think before she acts…”; “She always…”. It is man’s fault because he tries to live and do life on his own terms without God.

▪          Wives blindly listen to husbands without balancing it with Scripture and godly counsel. Your relational predicaments could often have been avoided if you had listened to God in the beginning of a decision-making process.

 Proverbs 28:26 “The one who trusts in himself is a fool, but one who walks in wisdom will be safe.”

Once again, Abram was not perfect. His sending Sarai away lacked trust in God’s protection. Further, it showed little faith in God’s covenant promise. God promised to bless Abram with a son and ultimately a nation in a land. But, Abram foolishly gave both away – leaving the land (even though there was a famine) and giving away his wife to the Egyptians (even though he feared for his life). It showed foolishness and no faith.

APPLY/THINK

In the midst of Abram’s foolishness, God was gracious. God’s covenant was unconditional – it was not based on Abram’s faithfulness but God’s. The following passages and chapters reveal God’s unloading of grace, refreshment of God’s promise with hope, vision and purpose.

God returned Sarah to Abram (Genesis 12:17-20).

Plagues came upon the Egyptians because God sent them as judgment for adulterous relationships with a godly man’s wife. The Egyptians wanted no part of this divine judgment and returned Sarai to Abram.

ð      God protects you even in situations you don’t realize. {Conversation & Testimony with Ron Chambless}

God protected Abram and family (Genesis 14).

Lot’s family and possessions were invaded by foreign kings. Abram collected an army and rescuedLotwith all his people and possessions.

ð      Abram is blessed by the Possessor of heaven and earth; God Most High (14:19-20)

God refreshed Abram with a vision of the promise (Genesis 15-16).

Abram questioned God’s covenant promise. So, God spoke to him in a vision: “Fear not, I am your shield, your reward shall be very great… look toward heaven, and number the stars if you are able to number them, so shall your offspring be”(15:1, 5).

ð      To restore and refresh faith we must return to God’s promises. When faith is difficult and we are tempted toward unbelief, doubt or frustration, we must saturate ourselves with God’s unconditional grace and hope in the gospel.

  • God has paid the full penalty for all your sin: past, present and future.
  • God provides forgiveness that brings you freedom from guilt, shame and punishment.
  • God gives you Himself – every believer is filled with the eternal presence of the Holy Spirit; never to leave.
  • God sustains you with hope – having an eternal perspective.
  • God protects you with unconditional grace – covenant

Genesis 15:8 “Abram said, ‘O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?”

Abram is fearful but hopeful. Abram is not expressing unbelief but doubt. He has left father, homeland, all familiarity; suffered through famine, potential loss of life with Pharaoh and the Egyptian plagues, endured war to protect his family and he needs his hope and faith restored. He is risking everything on God’s promises and needs reaffirmed.[1] So, Abram goes to God with questions and God responds with a covenant reminder. The means of God’s covenant is sacrifice: God tells Abram to sacrifice animals and lay them in parallel lines. The idea is that the two covenant partners should go between the sacrifice and if one breaks covenant partnership they shall die as the sacrifices. Yet, only God passed between the sacrifice – meaning the covenant is fully dependent on God’s faithfulness not Abram’s. This is grace because God’s covenant promise is secure. He never fails or breaks promises.

“Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever” Psalms 118, 136

IN SUMMARY:

µ      Abram’s beautiful possession was not the blessings but the Blesser.
When you substitute your treasure in God’s gifts rather than God’s grace then you have misplaced your worship. God wants you to seek Him and see Him as our shield and reward – a beautiful possession.

µ      We need only to look to the covenant sacrifice of the cross to find restoration and affirmation of God’s promises toward us.

Abraham “was fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was ‘counted to him as righteousness’. But the words, ‘It was counted to him’ were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in Him, who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” Romans 4:21-25

  • God is faithful to provide forgiveness, righteousness and justification for your imperfect life. Do you believe?

[1] The difference between doubt and unbelief is that doubt endures a struggle (questioning) with God where unbelief surrenders quickly (forsaking) away from God. See Romans 5:1-5; 8:18-39.

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