Summary: It's all right to make mistakes as long as we learn from them.
The God Who Uses My Mistakes
Text: Gen. 12:10-20
1. Illustration: John Maxwell in his book Failing Forward, said, "The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception and response to failure...What does matter is that your life can change if you're willing to look at failure differently. You have the potential to overcome any problems, mistakes, or misfortunes. All you have to do is learn to fail forward" (2, 7).
2. We learn a great lesson in life from what happens to Abram and Sarai in this text...even great people of faith make mistakes.
a. Abram was the Father of Faith.
b. He was considered righteous because of his faith.
c. He was the father of great nations.
d. However, he made mistakes.
3. This should be an encouragement to us, because if Abram can make mistakes then it is alright for me to make them as long as I learn from them.
4. From Abram we learn that we shouldn't:
a. Walk Ahead of God
b. God Doesn't Need Our Help
c. God Can Make Something Good Out of Our Mistakes.
5. Read Gen. 12:10-20
Proposition: It's all right to make mistakes as long as we learn from them.
Transition: The first mistake we need to learn from is...
I. Walking Ahead of God (10-14).
A. Severe Famine
1. Just because God calls us does not guarantee that our lives will be free from trouble.
a. John 15:20 (NLT)
Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.
b. Following God does not guarantee that there won't be difficulties, on the contrary, it is a guarantee that there will be difficulties.
2. We learn this from Abram because as soon as he followed God's call, "a severe famine struck the land of Canaan, forcing Abram to go down to Egypt, where he lived as a foreigner."
a. Unlike the previous section this one begins with an indicative rather than an imperative.
b. Gen 12:1 is the first time since chp 2 where Yahweh takes the initiative.
c. However, in this section it is Abram and Sarai who take the initiative.
d. In other words, God didn't tell them to go to Egypt, they went on their own, and possibly without His blessing (Hamilton, NICOT: The Book of Genesis, vol. 1, 379).
e. Foreigner: The root means to live among people who are not blood relatives; thus, rather than enjoying native civil rights, the "foreigner" was dependent on the hospitality that played an important role in the ancient near east (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament).
f. We can hardly blame Abram because the phrase "lived as a foreigner" shows he did not intend to stay in Egypt and abandon God's promise, but rather was intended to be a temporary situation until the famine ended. However, he was not acting out of faith (Ross, 275).
g. He was not following God at this point he was trying to lead.
3. Just to demonstrate that walking ahead of God is a recipe for disaster, "As he was approaching the border of Egypt, Abram said to his wife, Sarai, “Look, you are a very beautiful woman. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife. Let’s kill him; then we can have her!’
a. Abram is married to a very beautiful woman. Keep in mind that at this point she is at least 65 years old and still very physically attractive (Hamilton, 380).
b. Being a stranger in the land he would be especially vulnerable, and so will Sarai.
c. Abram's fear of the Egyptians shows that the law of hospitality, that is central to biblical thought, was absent from other cultures.
d. Being a stranger, he is concerned that they will take advantage of him, abduct his wife, and kill him (Hamilton, 380).
e. The acknowledgment of Sarai's great beauty and his fear of the Egyptians' desire for her presented Abram with what seemed an insurmountable problem.
f. If he died that would surely be the end of the promised blessing (Ross, 275).
4. Once again Abram rather than praying and asking the Lord what to do tells Sarai, "So please tell them you are my sister. Then they will spare my life and treat me well because of their interest in you.”
a. He wanted Sarai to deceive the Egyptians by telling them she was his sister, possibly to buy time to escape because if she was his sister another man would have to negotiate with him to marry her.
b. He could rationalize this since she was actually his half-sister.
c. Notice two phrases that get to the heart of the matter for Abram: 1) they will spare my life, and 2) treat me well.