If you’re reading through the Bible in a year, and you’re using a standard approach, you are into the family drama and faith odyssey of Abraham. There is so much we can learn about life from Abraham. Nearly every monotheist in the world would agree. Though we’re onto Lot, another man we can learn from, I am still caught off guard by Abraham. It really isn’t Abraham who is surprising, however, it is God. Let me know about how you and Abraham get along, meanwhile, I’m going to, again, note some things that stand out to me. Keep in mind that this is one of the most important activities we as believers can do. We read the Bible and talk about what we read. This builds our relationships with each other and God. It’s not demanding, necessarily, but it is rewarding. The rewards, however, may not stimulate like so much that we have in our world today. They can be slow like a sunrise, rather than instant like the lights that we turn on with a switch.
Now, let’s talk about Abraham (or really, God)…
- Bless, bless, bless… is that God ever does? Well, for those He calls, yes! Genesis 12, as it says in The (Ligonier) Reformation Study Bible (RSB) -( yes, I ended up actually deciding to read this entire “big heavy, hairy one” AND to also fill my new ESV Journaling Bible with my own notes this year… typical of me… whatever is the hardest, most time consuming thing to do…) – anyway, as it says in the RSB notes…“These verses mark a pivotal point in Genesis and in the history of redemption as God begins to establish a covenant people for Himself in fulfillment of the promise He made in (Genesis) 3:15.” Redemption and covenant are long, beautiful words that cannot exist if God didn’t decide to bless His people. He enables us to respond to Him with the kind of active faith we see in Abraham. God calls us with blessings, the first of which is just getting to know and be with Him, something our sins prevented.
- A-ha! The famine! I think I may have seen this before. Abram (what Abraham is still called in Genesis 12) really seems to have failed in terms of faith from verses 10-20 (Genesis 12:10-20). He had great faith before this, even though he was childless and landless. But famine has a way of gutting our faith, even if we are Abram. Beware of this! Have you underestimated the spiritually destructive power of famine in your life?
By the way, sorry I missed yesterday, Friday, January 6, 2017. Though I am on vacation, the devotions that inspire this blog are something I do not take a break from. (This would be like taking a break from breathing for me. And devotions on vacation are always amazing and sweet, because they are leisurely times I get to spend with God.) But sometimes things get busy… especially with two kids on vacation. You get it, I’m sure. I do, however, want to do my best to stay regular and daily with postings throughout the year… and really always. Thanks!
A few other notes…
- You’ll want to catch Dr. Martin Sanders of Global Leadership preaching at the Goodwill Church Montgomery site tomorrow (Sunday, January 8, 2017). God has used him in leadership training and mentoring in something like 90 countries. He’s the head of the Doctoral Program at Alliance Theological Seminary. He taught me how to preach expository sermons back in the late 90’s! He is remarkably gifted and I’ve watched the Holy Spirit use him especially for breakthrough and healing in people’s lives.
- The 1/7/17 Disney Half-Marathon today got cancelled due to lightning! They are refunding something like 30,000 runners. Can you imagine the cost? But it’s no cost at all compared to the safety and welfare of one human being. Considering this with the latest shootings at a Florida airport (nothing we were near), we see how very much every single person matters. Abram/Abraham was a single person. God is all about each one of us. He is intimately tied up in our lives. He cares, not just in concept, but He really cares. This may be the first blessing for Abram… and for us. In Genesis, as we read it, it’s like He’s saying, “Yes, I am the mighty Creator of Everything, but I also wonder how you are doing. Will you come to me for life? I made you for myself. I sent Christ to reopen the door to Me you shut with your sins. Sure, I’m so kind that I may even allow you to walk away and back into your sin for a season, and/or to even successfully “conquer and build” as my enemies, but not forever. Come home!”