Summary: Journey of Faith, part 3 “Lessons Learned Along the Journey”
Journey of Faith, part 3
“Lessons Learned Along the Journey”
Introduction – Abraham is someone to look to for encouragement and to emulate their lives. Abraham is a model of fiath for us, not perfection but a growing trust in God as he grew to know God as his friend. Heb 13:7-8.
Main idea – Along our journey of faith, there are lessons we must learn to grow internally and expand our influence externally.
1. Do not take God’s mercy for granted (vs. 1-4)
After Gods merciful intervention, Abraham seeks out the Lord for fellowship, restoration, and worship. Abram failed the test God brought to him but his faith is encouraged because God had spared him and Sarah harm. As we learn to walk in Him and his love for us, we become freer people. Jesus did not just die on the cross to forgive our sin but to destroy the power of sin in our lives. We see this in Abrams life. The goal is not to learn to be a better Christian as much as it is learning to know Father better and let him transform you from the inside out. Abraham was loved by a Father that knows everything about him yet loves him completely. God’s mercy leads to repentance and so he goes back to the place where he built an altar to the Lord and sought Gods presence. There is no better place in our failures than to be in the presence of the Lord. He could not earn what he already had. The writer of Hebrews tells us to confidently draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace in time of need. Do you need mercy and grace? Boldly draw near and receive it. Don’t let your accuser, Satan, condemn you when you fail but let the advocate, Jesus, work on your behalf presenting your confession to your Father. Condemnation immobilizes us; conviction brings repentance. Reject condemnation of the accuser but embrace the conviction of the advocate. He did receive grace, as we will see.
2. Be willing to trust God with your provisions and giving (vs. 5-13)
You will be tested along the way
At this point Abram and Lot have their own tribe with animals, livestock, and an abundance of material possessions. This abundance created a shortage of resources, which in turn, caused strife between their herdsman seeking to tend and graze their herds. Abram has a choice, the land is his according to the promise but there is strife in his family. Abram won’t let strife have the last say in this relationship. Abram gave up his rights as the elder and gives Lot first choice.
When we have promises we can be generous toward others
We can freely to let go of that which is rightfully ours if we trust God’s promises to us. Abram gives Lot first dibs knowing he could lose the land which was rightfully his! He could do this because as a friend of God he knew that his Friend was faithful and true to his word and that his Friend had the ultimate responsibility of providing for him. God takes the responsibility of providing for his children. Abram did not need to protect himself, his possessions, or his land because God was his protector, God was his provider. Faith matters not where the lines fall because it knows that God cast the line and is satisfied with the portion God gives. Increasing trust in God is the result of growing relationship with God. In contrast to Abram, lets look at Lot (10-11).
As we said Abram gave Lot the pick of the land. Lot takes three actions: he looked, he saw, and he chose. He scanned the horizon, saw that the Jordan Valley was like the Garden of Eden (pointing to Eve’s failure in the garden) and like the land of Egypt (pointing to Israel longing to back to Egypt in the Desert), he desired what delighted his eyes and he chose what was not his to take. The writer makes a comment showing us the folly of Lot’s choice. Lot chooses for himself all the Jordan Valley and Lot journeys east. All references to the east in Genesis are away from God and toward sin (3:24, 4:16, 11:2). Lot fought for what was not his because he did not trust Father intentions toward him and his love for him. Sin is not just a choice but it is a movement away from God. As we make consecutive choices in the direction of sin our hearts begin to slowly become calloused toward God. Lot ended up living in Sodom, lost his wife to death, his daughters to sin, and all his possessions. We don’t know how our choices are linked to fatal consequences years down the road. Lot chose himself over others, chose prosperity over his family, and chose the immediate over the long term.