Summary: Surviving the tough times

Do it yourself sermon

August 25, 2002

Genesis 11:27 - Genesis 16:16

(Gen 11:27 NIV) This is the account of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot.

(Gen 11:28 NIV) While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth.

(Gen 11:29 NIV) Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milcah and Iscah.

(Gen 11:30 NIV) Now Sarai was barren; she had no children.

(Gen 11:31 NIV) Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there.

(Gen 11:32 NIV) Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Haran.

Let’s look at the things that were against Abram:

1) His younger brother died

2) Everyone in his family had kids but him

3) The whole family set out for Canaan -- what was to be the promised land -- but they settled dwon before they got there -- meaning they settled for less than what God had for them

4) Lost his father -- of course his dad was 205 -- but still it was a loss of the patriarch of the family -- the man with the plan.

The point is -- you may think everything in life is against you and you’re the only one who has to go through things --

Do It Yourself principle:

A: But I want you to understand that everyone goes through tragedy and heartache.

Everyone --

Yours seems bigger because it involves you.

It’s like they say the difference between minor surgery and major surgery is simple --

If they’re operating on you it is minor surgery -- if they’re operating on me it is major surgery.

Abram -- later to be renamed Abraham -- did not live a charmed, simple life.

He endured hardships, loss, heart aches, the pain of starting over, and family problems just like everyone else.

Let’s keep reading begining at chapter 12, verse 1:

(Gen 12:1 NIV) The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.

(Gen 12:2 NIV) "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

(Gen 12:3 NIV) I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

Now let’s fill in the part that lists the blessings that God promised:

1) God would make of him a great nation

2) God would make his name great in all the world

3) God promised that Abram would be a blessing

4) God promised that Abram would be blessed himself

side note here -- please note -- God said First - Abram would bless others, then he would be blessed.

This is a do it yourself sermon so you fill in the rest.

B. But your greatest blessings will not happen until you are a blessing to others.

5) God promised to bless those who blessed Abram and curse those who cursed Abram

6) God promised that the whole earth would be blessed through Abram.

7) God promised the land of canaan as a reward and a homeland.

Seven things God said he would do for Abram.

Let’s go back to the scripture:

(Gen 12:4 NIV) So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.

(Gen 12:5 NIV) He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

Now wait -- Look at verse # 1 -- Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.

Here’s the first thing Abram did wrong:

1) Took his father’s family when God told him to leave his father’s family behind.

Let’s read on:

(Gen 12:6 NIV) Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.

(Gen 12:7 NIV) The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him.

Now let’s list the first two things Abram did right:

1) He made an altar

2) He worshipped God.

We will see this time and time again -- Abram would blow it,

But he knew what to do -- he sought God.

Let’s read on:

(Gen 12:8 NIV) From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD.

Here’s the next two things Abram did wrong:

2) He didn’t stay put in the land of promise -- he kept on going.

3) He headed for a place between God’s promised land and the place of bondage - which was Egypt.

He wandered through the promised land but didn’t stay.

Side-note -- this is a do it yourself sermon --

C. But here is a point to think on -- Can we enjoy God’s best when we insist on camping half way between where God intended for us to be and where we want to be.

Verse 9: (Gen 12:9 NIV) Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.

That is the land of the south -- not Egypt -- but half way between Canaan and Egypt.

Is it really a good place to camp -- have way between God and the World?

(Gen 12:10 NIV) Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.

4) The fourth thing that Abram did wrong was when difficulties came the first thing he did was move from where God sent him --

4) When famine came Abram abandoned the promise land.

There is a famine -- and rather than to seek and depend on God’s provision --

He looked to where he saw provision -- Egypt.

It wasn’t God’s provision -- it was what Abram thought would work.

Reading on : (Gen 12:11 NIV) As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, "I know what a beautiful woman you are.

(Gen 12:12 NIV) When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ’This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live.

(Gen 12:13 NIV) Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you."

(Gen 12:14 NIV) When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that she was a very beautiful woman.

(Gen 12:15 NIV) And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace.

(Gen 12:16 NIV) He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, men servants and maid servants, and camels.

The fifth thing Abram did wrong:

5) He mis-represented his wife as his sister and traded her for livestock.

Now some of you ladies have always wished you had a husband that was a great man of faith like Abraham --

Well ladies -- he swapped his wife for cows and donkeys, not once, but twice.

So maybe you haven’t got it so bad after all.

Let’s read on:

(Gen 12:17 NIV) But the LORD inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai.

(Gen 12:18 NIV) So Pharaoh summoned Abram. "What have you done to me?" he said. "Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife?

(Gen 12:19 NIV) Why did you say, ’She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!"

(Gen 12:20 NIV) Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.

The sixth thing that Abram did wrong was:

6) Behave in such a way that he disgraced his name in Egypt and was sent away as a deceiver and liar

This is a do it yourself sermon -- so I won’t preach on it --

D. But here’s a thought -- we cause the kingdom of God damage when we call our selves christians, then behave like non-christians.

We keep reading;

(Gen 13:1 NIV) So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him.

(Gen 13:2 NIV) Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.

(Gen 13:3 NIV) From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier

(Gen 13:4 NIV) and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the LORD.

Here we find the third thing Abram did right --

3) He went back to the altar and He worshipped God.

He knew the source of help -- even when he had blown it big time.

We read on;

(Gen 13:5 NIV) Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents.

(Gen 13:6 NIV) But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together.

(Gen 13:7 NIV) And quarreling arose between Abram’s herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.

sied-note : Because Abram took Lot with him -- when God said leave the family in Ur -- there was not enough provision for Abram and Lot.

When people walk outside of God’s calling -- they walk outside of God’s provision.

Then it says:

(Gen 13:8 NIV) So Abram said to Lot, "Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers.

You see when people walk outside of God’s provision, they also walk in rebellion -- which breeds strife.

Keep reading: (Gen 13:9 NIV) Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left."

(Gen 13:10 NIV) Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)

(Gen 13:11 NIV) So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company:

Here is the seventh thing Abram did wrong:

7) Because he took Lot, when God said leave the family behind -- he lost the best lands and had to take second best.

E. Do it yourself time -- Demanding our way instead of God’s way always brings hardship.

How much have you sacrificed because you wanted your way instead of God’s way.

Verse 12:

(Gen 13:12 NIV) Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.

(Gen 13:13 NIV) Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.

8) The eigth thing Abram did wrong -- by disobedience the separation bewteen Abram and Lot happened at a place and time different from what God intended.

side note -- As a result of the wrong timing of the separation Lot wound up becoming involved in a culture God despised.

F. Do it yourself sermon time -- Our decisions impact those around us.

How many of your decisions have impacted others in the wrong way?

Let’s keep reading:

(Gen 13:14 NIV) The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west.

(Gen 13:15 NIV) All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.

(Gen 13:16 NIV) I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted.

(Gen 13:17 NIV) Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you."

(Gen 13:18 NIV) So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the LORD.

Let’s keep reading from chapter 14:8 :

(Gen 14:8 NIV) Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) marched out and drew up their battle lines in the Valley of Siddim

(Gen 14:9 NIV) against Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar -- four kings against five.

(Gen 14:10 NIV) Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits, and when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some of the men fell into them and the rest fled to the hills.

(Gen 14:11 NIV) The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away.

(Gen 14:12 NIV) They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom.

The ninth thing Abram did wrong:

9) By missing God’s timing -- Lot had to endure being kidnapped and being enslaved.

Do it yourself time

G. Sometimes what we walk through is not God’s fault, not even the devils’ fault -- We did it to ourselves.

-- what have you had to endure because you missed God’s timing or God’s place?

Let’s read on in verse 14:

(Gen 14:14 NIV) When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan.

(Gen 14:15 NIV) During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus.

(Gen 14:16 NIV) He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.

The tenth thing Abram didn’t do right:

10) Because of disobedience - Abram had to fight battles God never intended him to fight.

H. Do it yourself time --When we walk in disobedience we have to fight battles God didn’t intend for us to fight.

how many battles have you had to fight simply because you were in the wrong place at the wrong as far God’s plan is concerned?

We keep reading verse 18:

(Gen 14:18 NIV) Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High,

(Gen 14:19 NIV) and he blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.

(Gen 14:20 NIV) And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

(Gen 14:21 NIV) The king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself."

(Gen 14:22 NIV) But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and have taken an oath

(Gen 14:23 NIV) that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the thong of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ’I made Abram rich.’

(Gen 14:24 NIV) I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me--to Aner, Eshcol and Mamre. Let them have their share."

Here is the fourth thing Abram did right:

4) paid his tithes and gave an offering.

He did not want to be found having what belonged to God in his possession.

Let’s read on:

(Gen 15:1 NIV) After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward."

(Gen 15:2 NIV) But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?"

(Gen 15:3 NIV) And Abram said, "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir."

Heres the eleventh thing Abram messed up on:

11) With no kids -- Abram wanted to adopt his chief servant and leave everything to him.

I. Do it yourself time -- Why is it we think we have to figure out a plan for God to use"

What mess are we currently in because we told God we had a better plan?

Verse 4 of chapter 15:

(Gen 15:4 NIV) Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir."

(Gen 15:5 NIV) He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars -- if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."

(Gen 15:6 NIV) Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

The fifth thing Abram did right --

5) He really believed God when he gave him a promise.

J. Do it yourself time -- In order for God’s promises to work, we have to believe them

-- what promise has God given you that you have been hesitant to believe?

Either he will or he won’t -- what you believe decides it.