Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Lessons we can learn from the life of Abraham

Abraham, a man Challenged (ii)

A man of Faith, a man of Promise.

Reading: Genesis12:1ff

Abraham, this great figure of the scriptures who is seen as the father of the nation of Israel, and in the broader context, of those who are of the household of faith. He is a man who was willing to shun the social and cultural conventions of his day, in the pursuit of the call and revelation of God to himself. We have in this man, a case study of the struggles that can and do arise in our rising to the challenge of our Lord to depart from the world, and enter into the fullness of the light and life of the Kingdom. This process is not an easy one, but it is nevertheless, one that when we walk in faith and obedience, is not some hopelessly distant target that is always just out of reach, but is well within the grasp of any who would set themselves to learn and grow in Him who is our God.

We have looked at the initial call of God to Abram to depart from the city of Ur of the Chaldeans. This was a call to leave the way of life and ways of thinking associated with that place. The cities name holds the meaning of "LIGHT". They saw themselves as being in the forefront of social, cultural and economic development. They saw themselves as the pacesetters, which were exploring the frontiers on behalf of mankind. When in reality they were digging ever deeper into the pits of human carnality and depravity. They were not moving from darkness into light as they thought, but they were in reality moving from one degree of darkness to another. God said to Abram, "Leave this place and go into the land of Canaan, the land of humiliation." Abram left the city, but he did not leave the land. He went to Haran, who name means MOUNTIAN CLIMBER, a city of aspiring aspirations, which in its own way wanted to challenge the city of UR. It was upon the death of his father that Abram eventually moves into Canaan, where he goes to Shechem, a place of BURDEN; it is here that God speaks to him once again, and then he moves to BETHEL, house of God. Then because of famine he moves south.

The situation in the land of Canaan was that it was now starting the threaten those who were with Abram. So he starts to think of ways to meet the needs of those in his charge. He is possibly hearing reports that there is food in Egypt, to they move that way. His intention is that they are only in the land of Egypt on a temporary basis; he was only going "to sojourn there." That word Sojourn is an interesting word, as the meaning has to do with turning aside from the road, it also has contained within its meaning the motive as to why one would turn aside, is the shrinking from fear. He turned from the direction that he had set himself too and out of fear of the famine; he goes for a temporary stay in the Land of Egypt.

Now Egypt in the bible is seen as a place of bondage and slavery to all who become ensnarled in its world way. When you trace the meaning of the word Egypt, it derives from the meaning of something that is limited, something that is besieged and has erected defenses and is fortified. There is the sense of something that is hemmed in, that has been cramped, to confine, and it is that way because of the assault of its own ways. It worshipped its kings as god, it whole system was set in the worship of idols and those who had died. Its focal point was in things that have never been alive or had died or where going to die. So it geared its whole way of life to supporting such things. Out of the fear of the famine, which was a real threat, Abram goes for a temporary stay in Egypt.

Now that fear has managed to get a toehold, it starts to feed its self, fear feed fear. So Abram now notices how beautiful his wife Sarai really is, he has possibly heard stories of how some Egyptians have acquired their wives, and he starts to worry about his life. So he gets Sarai to lie about her relationship with Abram. There is a line of thinking that goes very much like this today, the situation demanded that I do it. At first this seemed to pay dividends. Abram’s life was safe; they get mentioned in the court circles, which resulted in Sarai going to the Royal Court. This in turn resulted in Abram receiving favors from Pharaoh, all seems well with this arrangement. Until the LORD steps in, and plagues Pharaoh and his household.

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