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9. [A]Typical Life Cycle

June 23, 2009

Text:    Genesis 12:1-20

Key Verses:   Genesis 12:2-3

Outline:             I. Moving……….with Obedience             Gen. 12:1-7

                             II. Exploring…….with Assurance           Gen. 12:8-9

                            III. Vacating………with Needs                 Gen. 12:10-19

                            IV. Returning…….with Humility            Gen. 12:20

Context/Discussion/Comments:

     This calling of Abram actually begins in Genesis 11:26 with his father Terah making his way from Ur toward Canaan via Haran where he settled. God instructs Abram to leave his country, his relatives, and father’s house to go to a different land. He is to change his lifestyle from that of a “city dweller” to being a nomad. In so doing, Abram receives God’s blessing, a promise that he will father a great nation, have a great name, be blessed, and be a blessing to others. God will bless those who bless Abram and curse those who curse him. So Abram believes God, obeys God, and leaves for Canaan with his family, nephew Lot, his possessions, and some “slaves” at the age of 75.

     Abram arrives at Shechem in Canaan where God tells him his descendents will possess this land one day. In response, Abram builds an altar at Shechem by the great tree [oak] of Moreh and worships God. This will become a very significant place in the history of Israel. Jacob destroyed all his families idols there upon returning to Canaan, Joseph’s bones were buried there, and Joshua renewed God’s covenant with Israel there before he died. It was Israel’s place of worship before David brought the tabernacle to Jerusalem.

     Abram explores the area east between Bethel and Ai, pitches his tent , and calls on the Lord. In other words, Abram worshipped the Lord. Later he moves south toward the Negev [Beersheba], a dry desert area. A great famine falls on the area. It must have covered the whole area in that Abram continues south to Egypt for relief instead of going back north. Abram is learning to obey God and to DEPEND on God for LIFE. This is a more difficult lesson for him to learn in that he tells Pharaoh that Sarai, his wife, is really his sister. He does this to save his life so he isn’t killed so Pharaoh can possess Sarai, who is beautiful. Sarai is taken into Pharaoh’s household and, as a result, Abram gains much livestock but plagues come upon Pharaoh and he learns that Abram lied to him. So Abram, his family, and his possessions are escorted by Pharaoh’s men out of Egypt and back to Canaan.

Lessons/Applications:

   Moving: God calls us to believe in Him so He can move us to a place where He can grow us so we can represent Him to those around us. Therefore, the threefold will of God is:

          • To know Him [justification]

          • To grow in Him [sanctification]

          • To represent Him [glorification]

   Exploring: Look around for opportunities to serve Him. It’s OK to investigate to determine what’s required. Listen before His throne and begin His work.

   Vacating: Depend on God before depending on yourself. Don’t take over where He wants to lead.

   Returning: Setbacks don’t end your God ordained mission. Press on! Humble yourself, seek forgiveness, acknowledge Him as your sovereign Lord, and let Him direct you once again.

   Points to Ponder:

     1. The blessings of God [His Presence] are more important than the blessing of man [his possessions]. Believe it! Abram believed God and it was counted as righteousness.

     2. First God calls you to Himself. Then He calls you to His work.

     3. God’s call and/or commands are always encapsulated in a promise.

     4. It’s not what you have been called to in life that’s important; it’s how you respond to what you have been called.

     5. When God calls you out of something He is getting ready to call you into something.

     6. God defines success as obedience and faithfulness; not accomplishment.

     7. Representing yourself coupled with failure to recognize God will bring God’s discipline. God uses the secular/physical to discipline the spiritual. In other words, spiritual discipline comes by secular means.

     8. We are all just as important as Abram in God’s plan of redemption. [see the chart below].

genesis_the_promise

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