Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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Following in Faith Part 3

Genesis 12:10-20

10 At that time a severe famine struck the land of Canaan, forcing Abram to go down to Egypt, where he lived as a foreigner. 11 As he was approaching the border of Egypt, Abram said to his wife, Sarai, “Look, you are a very beautiful woman. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife. Let’s kill him; then we can have her!’ 13 So please tell them you are my sister. Then they will spare my life and treat me well because of their interest in you.” 14 And sure enough, when Abram arrived in Egypt, everyone noticed Sarai’s beauty. 15 When the palace officials saw her, they sang her praises to Pharaoh, their king, and Sarai was taken into his palace. 16 Then Pharaoh gave Abram many gifts because of her—sheep, goats, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels. 17 But the Lord sent terrible plagues upon Pharaoh and his household because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram and accused him sharply. “What have you done to me?” he demanded. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ and allow me to take her as my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and get out of here!” 20 Pharaoh ordered some of his men to escort them, and he sent Abram out of the country, along with his wife and all his possessions.

Abraham focused on the Promises not the problems and secondly on the Provider not a plan and thirdly on

  • Faith not Failure

The challenge is not just to start out in faith, but also to stride forward in faith; faith isn’t just the start of the journey it is the sustainer in the journey.  The Bible describes the next painful chapter in Abram’s life, one that resulted in failure, when he departed from the path of faith. Abraham started out wonderfully and then he wondered away, heading down to Egypt because of a famine. This famine tried Abram’s faith and as he started to focus on the food he lost focus of the Father. No Scripture shows him receiving any direction from God about this; he just pulled up stakes and moved. Whenever we stop living by faith, we start doing what we think is smart or what circumstances dictate. God had told Abram to sojourn in the land of Canaan that was God’s will for Abram. The test for Abram was not really about food, the test was could God care for him in that land even though a famine had arisen. Abram failed the test because he forsook God’s will for food, turning to Egypt for aid instead of the Almighty.  Abraham turned to the world believing that it could support and sustain him. Like Abraham we too can start off well but then end up out of God’s will because as we choose to react to our circumstances instead of Christ. Today our famine may come in the form of an economic pinch and the question that will arise will be “will our faith fail in the famine or will we lean on the Lord?” Sometimes we walk away from faith because we don’t really trust God, other times it’s because our pride causes us to trust in self. Either way we get into trouble quickly and soon find ourselves in a weakened position. When we forsake God’s will we also end up forsaking our time of devotion and fellowship with Him. You never see Abram at the altar in Egypt, it’s only after he comes back to Canaan that we see him return to the altar. One act of disobedience can kill our devotional life, because disobedience brings guilt which causes us to fear God and run from Him rather than to seek Him. When we forsake the will of the Father we forfeit the assurance of the Father. Up until this point in his life, Abraham was not afraid of the inhabitants of the land, he was trusting in God’s promises. Now, when he wasn’t where God wanted him, he didn’t have that assurance. Fear always replaces assurance, the fear that God doesn’t love us any more, the fear of getting caught, or fear of the future. When we forsake the will of God we also end up adopting and walking in the world’s ways, Abram ended up trying to lie his way out of the situation. When we walk away from God’s plan it also effects other people, as they neared the Egyptian border, Abram took one look at his beautiful wife and said, “Sarai, I see some problems down the road. Pharaoh and his men will desire you, and they’re going to kill me in order to have you, so we’d better lie and say you’re my sister instead of my wife.” That little scheme only half-worked, the world’s ways always create bigger problems than they solve. Abram avoided losing his life, but poor Sarai was led away to join the royal harem. What an outrageous and low-life thing to do to your own wife, he saved his own neck, but risked Sarai’s virtue and future. Sarah was not the only one hurt by her husband’s actions, Lot watched his uncle and learned some bad habits. Not just those around us but generationally, his son Isaac later committed the same sin of deceiving, as did his son Jacob. Believers who adopt the world’s ways will hurt those around them.

What a remarkable lesson that in the life of faith, we can wander from the promises and plans of God, we can fail miserably but we don’t have to stay there. Abraham got back up and back on track, which required coming back to the place where he left God. How do you do that? Acknowledge that you should never have walked away and this calls for humility and honesty. Admitting you left “Canaan” is called confession, God, you are right and I am wrong, and that is the first step. He also had to act upon his confession and that’s called repentance, turning away from the world and back to the Father. When Abraham came back to the place where he had built the alter, he worshipped God. We need to come back and call upon God, to reconnect and rebuilt the prayer altar of our lives. Before fire fell at Mt. Carmel and revival took place the altar had to be rebuilt. The greatness of Abram was not in his perfect walk but His pursuing walk. Too often we worry about me instead of walking with the Master. We worry about who is forgetting us, who is not giving us credit, who is reaping benefits at our expense, we become anxious about things that are better left in God’s hands. Worry always nips at the heels of faith and tries to drag us down. Faith deals with the invisible things of God. It refuses to be ruled by the physical senses. As Abram came back, God met with him, ready to forgive and restore the relationship. Just as the prodigal’s father waited and longed for his sons return so God waits and longs for you. If you have “gone down to Egypt” why not start afresh today, repent and return, follow in the footsteps of the father of faith. God has promised to receive everyone who comes to him through Jesus Christ our Lord. Don’t hesitate because of how far away you have strayed or what you did while you were there. Don’t be afraid when you don’t know exactly how God will lead and supply, instead, hold onto his hand of hope. So what’s your next step, will it reveal the footprint of faith?