Highlights In The Life Of Abraham # 1
Gen 12:1-6 1 Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house,To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
4 So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. NKJV
Why is Israel in the news today? It relates to the text we just read. Israel does not want to give up any land that God gave to them. Islam feels the land was given to them by God, and they occupied it before 1948. America is despised by the Islam Terrorist because we have helped Israel, and continue to help them. This look at Abraham is in one sense is 4000+ years old, and in another sense it is this mornings news.
1. The . . Call of God In Abram’s Life. Gen 12:1-3
A. The . . Travels of the Call. v 1a
1 Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you.
1. This text gives us very little background.
a. We can ask many questions
b. Where and why was he going?
Abraham and Sarah were sitting around trying to celebrate their fifteenth wedding anniversary. It wasn’t going very well.
Some gift,” said the wife. “Fourteen times you’ve given me a camel-skin blanket for our wedding anniversary. Couldn’t you think of something more original?”
After fifteen anniversaries, it’s hard to be original,”
It’s only fourteen,” said Sarah.
“Who would have believed? When you think of what we’ve been through together!”
Oh, come on,” I said. “It hasn’t been so bad.”
Bad!” said Sarah. “Bad is the understatement of the year. Think of it, Abraham. No sooner were we married than you decided it was time for us to leave home and go traveling. No time even for a honeymoon.”
I didn’t decide,” I said. “God told me to.”
God!” said Sarah. “God! I’ve noticed two things about you and God. Thing number one: God never lets me in on these plans. Thing number two: God always tells you to do just exactly what you want to do anyway.”
Answer to both things,” I said. “Thing number one: God lets you in on these plans by having me tell you these plans.”
“Such a deal,” said Sarah.
“Thing number two: God does not always tell me to do just exactly what I want to do anyway.
For example, in this case, I did not want to leave home, but God told me to, so I left.”
“Home,” said Sarah. “It’s been so long, I can hardly remember anymore. What was the name of that town?”
“Ur,” I said.
“Don’t hem and haw,” said Sarah. “Spit it out, man.”
“Ur,” I said
Ur—uh--,” said Sarah. “Come on, don’t you remember?”
“Ur. Ur was the name of the town,” I said. “Ur of the Chaldees.
And there we were, you and I, both very happy, really, both right at home doing what ever one used to do in Ur of the Chaldees. A place with special ties. Your parents…”
“I miss them,” said Sarah.
“My parents.” “Them I don’t miss,” said Sarah.
“Your parents, my parents: all of the fond memories of where I wooed you and won you.”
Such a deal,” said Sarah again.
There we were, both very much at home. Very content. Very secure. Neither of us ever wanting to move, then, WHAM!” “Don’t yell,” said Sarah.
“I was just making a point,” I said. “WHAM! There was the voice of God, saying: ‘Go away from your country, and from your family, and from your father’s house, and I will make of you a great nation!’”
“Great nation,” said Sarah. “Great joke. You and me sitting out here all alone on our fourteenth wedding anniversary huddled under our fourteenth camel-skin blanket. Some great nation!”
Adapted from an illustration 0f David Bartlett www.kccucc.org/sermons/1999/1999-06-13.htm
Does that sound familiar? Does that have any familiarity to it?
Illustration The Job Is Too Small
Perhaps a story I recall hearing years ago explains it best. It seems the old Standard Oil Company offered an enormous sum of money to a missionary in China to work for them, to help with the development of Standard Oil in China. The missionary turned them down. So they doubled the salary offer. He turned them down again. They said, ?What do you want? We can?t give more money than that. He said, ?The money doesn?t have anything to do with it. The job is too small.? SIM/NOW, p. 3
B. The . . Trust of the Call. v 1b
“. . . To a land that I will show you.
+Did He have a general Idea? Contrast these verses:
Gen 12:5 “. . . and they departed to go to the land of Canaan.
Heb 11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he
would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. NKJV
1. Abraham's Faith Was an Obedient Trusting
a. Trusting, Abraham Obeyed God...
1) He left his country - He 11:8
2) He went to a foreign land - He 11:9-10
c. He offered his son Isaac - Heb. 11:17;
2. Trusting, We must Obey God...
3. Abraham Trusted in God, Not His Works...
4. Abram had true faith.
Faith is alive and active. If faith does not draw a response, it is not true faith. We call many things faith that, in fact, is not faith at all. This problem is not new; James confronted the same problem in the early church. James began by saying (to paraphrase), you believe in one God, good for you. Even the demons believe this and they tremble (a demon’s belief does nothing to save him). In James
What if Abraham had remained in his secure land instead of obeying God? He could have believed all he wanted but it would have meant nothing.
True faith is active. When you believe, you act and thus prove your faith is real.
Dr. L. S. Bauman, of Long Beach, used the illustration that Roosevelt was a church-goer. It is said that on one gloomy Sunday morning during the World War, he walked three miles in order to attend worship. One of his neighbors, noticing this, said to him: "I can worship in the fields or anywhere else." "Yes," replied Mr. Roosevelt, "but no one will ever suspect you of it."
C. The . . Tribute of the Call. v 2
2 I will make you a great nation; I will
bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.
Illustration Billy Sunday Ordination
An examining committee of ministers once met to determine the qualifications of Billy Sunday for ordination as a Gospel minister. Among other questions fired at the world famous baseball player was a request that he identify a well-known church father and define some of his writings. Billy was stumped.
After fumbling around for a moment, he looked up with a twinkle in his eye and said, "I never heard of him. He was never on my team." The learned theologians deliberated together, but found it hard to make a decision.
Finally, one of them moved that Billy Sunday be recommended for ordination, adding, "He has already won more souls for Christ than the whole shebang of us put together." The secret---he was sent by God.
D. The . . Treatment In The Call. v 3a
“I will bless those who bless you, . . .”
1. Has America been blessed because we have blessed Israel?
a. I say Yes!
2. We are hated because we bless Israel.
E. The . . Threatening In the Call. v 3b
“And I will curse him who curses you;. . .”
1. This is the promise of God.
F. The . . Touting of the Call.. v 3c
“. . . And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
Illustration Signing with the knee
Among those who sought Christ in New London, was one of Connecticut's ablest lawyers, who prided himself on his intelligence and rare eloquence. He had no confidence in what are called measures, yet he was very anxious about his soul's salvation.
In a large meeting I proposed instead of an inquiry meeting, or coming near the pulpit for prayer, that every person who was able should kneel down by the seat they occupied. That each person who kneeled should put his or her honor and veracity in the act as far as they knew. That it should be fully understood between themselves and God that when their knees touched the floor it should be the token of a full surrender of their wills to God, never to be taken back, as far as knowledge went, just as far as they understood themselves. That no one should kneel this time except those who meant it as a token of a full surrender.
This would be signing the deed with their knee. This lawyer began to move his foot slowly and after a great struggle his knee reached the floor.
He declared the moment his knee reached the floor, with his veracity in the act, he felt the witness in his heart that he was born again.
This action of the will unbolted the door of the heart so that the Spirit entered and imparted life to the dead affections.
If you have not already done it, will you promptly "go and do likewise." -- A. B. Earle, From: "Incidents Used ... In His Meetings," published in 1888