Summary: How do you view God’s love? Do you believe that God’s love for you is really unconditional? In fact, not only does God love you unconditionally, He pursues you with His love.
The Pursuing Love of God
Do you ever feel like you have blown it so bad that it seems as if there is no way God could ever love you? I don’t know about you, but I find it very hard to believe that God still loves me even the very second after I sin. Somehow I feel like I have to earn my way back into the love of God. But today we are going to learn that God’s love for us is unconditional. Plus, God pursues us with His love even when we choose to act sinfully.
Remember the context of these verses. In 12:1-9, God had just made a covenant with Abram to make his name great and to make him into a great nation! But now there is a problem. We learn that there is a famine in the land, which forces Abram and Sarai to go to Egypt. But on the way down, Abram begins thinking about a potential problem that could arise upon arriving in Egypt. The text tells us that Sarai was a very attractive woman (at about 65 years old!). So when the Egyptians saw her, they would be so attracted to her that they would kill him to get to her. So, the clever and wise Abram comes up with a plan—to have Sarai tell them she is his sister. God had just told him that whoever curses him, God will curse! Surely this protection would include his wife, wouldn’t it?
I. Sometimes God’s people do not act in faith.
If Abram died, it would be the end of the promised blessing. BUT, if she died, it would also mean the end of the promised blessing. And now the risk here is that if Pharaoh takes Sarai to be his wife, Abram no longer has a wife! But Abram can’t see beyond himself to see this. In a nutshell, Abram was treating his wife as if she were a piece of property. Think about how your wife would feel if you said, “Honey, I must protect myself in order to live here so say you are my sister and go be part of this guy’s concubine.” Abraham had to know that by saying she was his sister, she would be taken by Pharaoh. And that is exactly what happened.
Why would Abram lie? Probably because it was a whole lot easier than any other option. If it wasn’t easier to lie, then why would he do it? If he didn’t lie, he would have to trust that somehow God would pull him through. Abraham would have to have faith that God would do as He promised. But he didn’t want to wait upon God and his timing. And the same is with us as well, many times I want to manipulate my circumstances to fit them to the way I want them to go.
The ironic thing here is that his scheme worked very well for him. Abram asked Sarai to lie for him at first so that it would go well for him. Look back at verse 13. Now look at verse 16. They treated him well. Whenever we lie, most of the time the lie works for a while. Abraham was blessed! Sheep, oxen, donkeys, servants, camels. You can see Abram now thinking, “Aha! It worked!” But it didn’t and soon after he was found out. Verse 17.
Eventually we will be found out. Eventually we learn that evil cannot bring about good. Many times we justify something by saying that the ends justify the means. Meaning, that as long as I get my desired result, it doesn’t matter how I get there. In other words I can lie to get a certain result and as long as I get my result, my lying is justified. And in this case, Abram attempted to lie to secure the promise God gave to Him. The heart of Abram’s problem was that Abram didn’t really believe that God was strong enough to pull him through. Abram thought he needed to help God out a little by formulating a lie. And as with any sin, there were consequences that followed. But the irony in this situation is that even though it was Abram who endangered Sarai’s life, it was the Lord who delivered her. Don’t miss this! Even though Abraham just about blew it, God intervened and rescued His child from danger.
II. Even though don’t act in faith at all times, God still pursues us.
So why did the Lord protect Abram? Why didn’t He simply let Abram suffer the consequences? Because God made a promise to Abram. And this promise was not based on Abram’s faithfulness, but God’s.
The fifth point of Calvinism called the “perseverance of the saints.” This doctrine means that those who have been chosen by God are eternally secure in Him. A lot of people have misunderstood this by saying that this doctrine says we preserve ourselves. But in reality, it is not about us preserving ourselves as much as God preserving us. Our salvation is not based on our faithfulness to hold on to Him but on His faithfulness to hold on to us. 2 Tim 2:13 says, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” Why does it say “He cannot deny Himself”? Because our salvation is based on His promise to save us. Our salvation is based on His ability to keep us, not the other way around! And if we believe that it is based on my ability to hold on to Him, then I am going to be constantly doubting my salvation.