Summary: A sermon in a series about how God directs His people and warns them against sin. This manuscript including a question-and-answer session on the topic between Dave Stone and Kyle Idleman of Southeast Christian Church.
Kyle: The question in this series is a very personal one: Is God trying to warn you? Is He trying to get your attention and call you to make some changes, to get some help, to take some action now…right now…before it’s too late down the road? One of the things we’re seeing with the warnings of God is that how we respond to those warnings now makes a difference between there being consequences down the road or being blessings. When we respond to God’s warnings, we not only avert consequences but we put ourselves in a place to receive His blessings.
I was reading that when a military operation takes place in a warzone they will oftentimes create what is called a “safe zone.” The safe zone exists within a warzone, but it is a place where people can come and find rest. They don’t have to worry so much about their safety. And, really, that is what the Word of God is for us. It is our safe zone. It is a place where we can run to and a place where we can find assurance in the decisions that we’re making for our lives. That is the way Proverbs describes the Lord. Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” That is really what this series is about: that we hear God’s voice, we run to God, and in Him we find safety, we find the best way to live. One of the things we’ve said is that God’s warnings are both personal and they are timely. They come at just the right time for us.
Today Dave and I are team-teaching and we want to talk about two of the most personal and important questions that you’ll ever answer…decisions that you’ll ever make…and how you answer these questions has either some tremendous consequences or tremendous blessings down the road. So here are the two questions we want to discuss together. Question number one, “What am I going to do with my life?” It’s kind of a question of career. Second question, “Who am I going to marry?”
Dave: To help us think through these questions, we’re going to study the lives of Abraham and also his nephew Lot. As we look back on their lives and we see some of the consequences and some of the blessings that they received, we’ll realize that it was out of a response to whether they were obedient or whether they were disobedient to God.
So take your Bible out. Turn to the very first book of the Bible, Genesis. We’re going to turn to Genesis chapter 12. At this point he is called Abram, and his wife Sarah is called Sarai. In chapter 12 of Genesis we read this famous promise that God gives to Abraham and essentially to the Jewish people. We’ll begin with Genesis 12, verse 2, and go through the fourth verse:
“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.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
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.
Now that is an incredible promise. But if you go back to verse 1, right before God gives this promise He gives Abraham a condition. Look at verse 1: “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.’” So here is Abram. He is seventy-five years old and God says, “Hey, it’s time for a career change for you,” and God is calling him to do something different with his life. God makes this great promise about the future, but it would mean Abram leaving his hometown, leaving where he had been successful, leaving his comfortable life and doing something different.
The decision that Abraham faces is one that every one of us faces as well. So that first question that we must answer is, “What am I going to do with my life?” Notice that God doesn’t mention to Abram where it is that he is to move. He doesn’t give him that luxury; instead he just says, “Leave your homeland and go to the land that I will show you.” Well, how does Abram respond? Look at verse 5: “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.”