Summary: The need to make wise choices in our lives as seen in the life of Abraham
Intro: Did you ever make a choice, that as soon as you made it, you knew it was a bad choice? Sometimes, even before we make it, we know it is the wrong choice, but we go ahead and make it anyway! But then, there are some times that we can make a good choice and we know as soon as we make it that everything is going to turn out well. We started talking about Abram last week, and we want to continue that this morning by looking at the choices he made.
Abram is a good example for us of a man committed to following the call of God upon his life. We talked about what that meant for him and his family last week. This morning, let’s learn from the choices he made.
I. God’s followers are not always perfect: they sometimes make mistakes.
We see Abram making some poor choices in his trip to Egypt. Let’s read 12:10-20.
A. The wrong - Abram practiced deceit. We know by the very nature of God, God is a God of truth. Abram knew that as well. Yet he told his wife to tell the Egyptians that she was his sister.
Why would he do such a thing?
B. The reason - Fear. Abram was afraid that the Egyptians would kill him to take his wife. Fear does strange things to us. Satan loves to play upon our fears. Yet what is fear? It is really a lack of faith. Especially for Abram. He had been told that all the land would go to his descendants; yet he had no children. He knew that God had plans in store for his future, but he focuses on himself. Yet, there is more in store for Abram than just his fear.
C. The reward - what does Abram get for lying? look in verse 16. Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, menservants and maidservants, and camels. Abram made out quite well for himself for his deceit. No one ever said that lying doesn’t have benefits. Only we need to look beyond the short-term benefits and see the long-term consequences. The book of Hebrews talks about “enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season.” Don’t let anyone tell you that sin isn’t pleasurable. It is; but it is deadly. Driving down the Coldwater Rd at 130 MPH might be fun, but think of the dangers involved.
D. The Rules - we learn some rules for our own lives by Abram’s unwise choices. First, we see that others are hurt by our wrongdoing. Often we think, I’m not hurting anyone. Yet that’s not true. We affect so many others when we sin. Our lives are intricately tied to many others. Look at Abram: because of his lie, all of Pharaoh’s household was struck with deadly diseases.
#what is it that you do that you know is wrong, yet you think, “I’m not hurting anyone” - sin has consequences. others are affected by our wrong doing.
--a second rule we learn is that truth will eventually be seen. We think we can hide the truth and cover things over. We think we get away with our sin. But we never do. Num. 32:23 - and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.
Abram learns from his unwise choices. And so should he. We all make mistakes, but we need to learn from them and not make the same wise choices a second time. On the Gomer Pyle show, Gomer used to quote Grandma Pyle - “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!”
II. God’s followers Remember and repent
Even though they make mistakes and unwise choices, God’s followers return to make wise choices.
Look at 13:1-4. Here we see Abram leaves Egypt and returns to Bethel. He wanders after he leaves Egypt, going through the desert region, the Negev, going from place to place until he returns to the place he has built an altar. He returns and calls on the name of the Lord there.
How many times we wander about spiritually, until we are willing to call upon the Lord once again. The one who thinks the can do it all alone is doomed to failure. Seek the Lord quickly!
III. God’s followers know that what looks best often is not: sin is deceiving.
Read 13:5-18. Abram gets to the point where something needs to be done to maintain the relationship with Lot and his hordes. Did you ever make an uncomfortable decision for the sake of maintaining a relationship. Often those decisions end up being a lose-lose situation. Abram knows they will separate, yet he offers Lot first choice of any land that he wants.
Lot looks out and he sees the well-watered plain of Jordan, and he claims it all for himself. Notice the greed here. Just the plain north of the Dead Sea is about 25 miles long. It appears that at this time the Dead Sea was not there, just a valley that later flooded. Lot may have been claiming about 70 miles by 10 to 20 miles of land for himself. Yet, his greed leads to his downfall. For in that well-watered plain, Lot ends up pitching his tent toward a wicked city, Sodom.