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Summary: A Time of Trust 1. Trust God in his promises 2. Trust God in your setbacks

Lent 2

Genesis 12:1-8

Human beings generally are pretty picky about whom we place our trust in. We don’t give away our trust too easily; it often has to be earned. And once our trust in someone is gone, it is extremely difficult for them to ever earn it all back. We are continuing our series as we focus on Time. This morning, we are going to see that we live in a Time of Trust. As we look at the call of Abram, we will see that the Lord calls us as well to jump into his arms and let us trust that everything’s going to be alright. So: 1. Trust God in his promises. 2. Trust God in your setbacks.

Part I

Immediately in the first verse, the Lord asks Abram to take a huge leap of faith, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land that I will show you.” Notice what a total break the Lord is asking him to make, and ask yourself what would go through your mind had the Lord given you such a command: Leave the country…the only place where you had ever lived. The only place where you had protection. The only place on earth where you were not considered a foreigner. Leave it all! Leave your people…leave the ones whom you have grown up with, whom you went to school with, whom you lived next to, leave all the people you trusted as respectable people to do business with. And leave your father’s household. Make a break from the strongest human bonds there are: family. Then the Lord makes this even more difficult: “go to the land I will show you.” This would be like your boss calling you into his office one morning and saying, “Pack up all the belongings in your house; pull your kids out of school. We’re relocating you. I’ll tell you where you’re going when you get there.” Do you think your family would go for that?

How on earth did God motivate Abram to take such a great leap of faith? I suppose God could have just said nothing else. He could have simply said, “Abram, you’re a human being and I’m God. So listen to me when I tell you to do this.” God could have motivated Abram by threats, “Abram, if you don’t do this, I am going to make your life so difficult that you will be begging for another chance to do my will.” God could have prodded Abram with sarcasm, “Abram, I’m a living God that is speaking to you. But if you’d rather listen to your gods of stone and wood, be my guest. I’m sure they’ve got great advice to give you.” These are all ways that human beings get each other to do things, but God’s way of encouraging is through promises. God gives Abram no less than seven guarantees of positive things that will happen when Abram places his trust in the Lord. Let’s count them. 1. “I will make you into a great nation.” 2. “I will bless you.” 3. “I will make your name great.” 4. “You will be a blessing.” 5. “I will bless those who bless you.” 6. “Whoever curses you I will curse.” 7. “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

Off the top of your head, how many people from 2,000 B.C. can you name? Or to put it another way, let’s assume that the earth lasts another 4,000 years (I think that’s a long shot, but work with me on this). Who from our time will people 4,000 years from now remember? Do you think they are going to care about our sports figures, our celebrities, our successful businessmen, the people that now seem to have great names? To be remembered 40 centuries after you lived is quite an accomplishment. And that is but 1 of these 7 guarantees that the Lord fulfilled to Abram.

God calls us to jump as well, and he motivates us with the same tactic: his promises, his guarantees. But so often a part of us doesn’t want to have a promise, we want something we can see now. How we forget that a promise from God is surer than anything else! But the sinful nature is suspicious of God. God tells us to work and witness for him, but we say, “that’s too hard, I don’t have time, or I’ll do that later.” God told Abram to travel hundreds of miles on foot and camel in the hot Arabian sun, carrying with him all his belongings, but when he asks us to hop into our air-conditioned cars to drive a few minutes in order to come to church where he promises to bless us, the lazy sinful nature yawns and says, “no thanks, I’m too tired; traffic is too heavy; my favorite sitcom is on Wednesday evenings when Lent services are offered.” Jesus once told a story of a man who threw a sumptuous banquet, and sent out invites to all his friends. But the RSVP’s all came back declining with lame excuses, “I have just bought a field and I must go and see it. Please excuse me. I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me. I just got married, so I can’t come.” God could motivate you and I to be better Christians with threats, but instead, he chooses to emphasize his promises to us, even though our life’s priorities are all messed up. God would have you and I look at the final promise he made to Abram, “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Everything good in your life is a direct result of this promise to Abram. Abram’s offspring, the Christ, trusted God the Father when he was told to make the long journey from his comfortable and powerful existence in heaven and instead travel up Mt. Calvary. Jesus trusted that all that hardship he endured would bring about blessing for his people. Jesus Christ had no doubt that his work of salvation would benefit your life. Now, your sins have been removed from you. Now, you have a noble reason for living on this earth: you don’t have to live for yourself anymore, but you can now live for God and for the people he still wishes to bring into his kingdom. Now, you have no fear of leaving this earth. Do you have tangible, measurable evidence of these things? No, but you have something better. You have God’s own Word on this subject. Yes, you live in a Time of Trust.

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