Slight Change in Plans Genesis 16 part 2

When we attempt to assist God in the execution of his plan, we often make a mess out of what was clear, concise and beautiful.  Abram fathered Ishmael, the beginning of the lineage of the Arab nation.  Even at conception, God told Hagaar that her son and his lineage would always be in contention with those around him.  Had Abram waited on God, the face of the Middle East would look amazingly different.  The greatest news is that despite Abram’s help, God continued to work his plan in the life of Abram and his family.  He still works that way today.

When life seems insurmountable and we attempt to assist God in completing his plan, we too can make a mess of things.  The enemy then laughs and attempts to deceive us and tell us we are done, over and finished.  Then God steps in, and as any father, he scoops us up and reminds us he is with us.  While we have changed the dynamic, he reminds us through his word and prayer that his plan will be completed in our lives.  If we trust him, it will be an amazing journey, otherwise it could be extremely difficult. As in all things, our willingness to submit to his leadership will allow him to free us from the sin and entanglements that try to overcome us.  Help me Lord, to submit to your leadership and accept the plan you have for me.

God Bless You

11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:

“You are now pregnant
and you will give birth to a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
for the Lord has heard of your misery.
12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;
his hand will be against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
toward all his brothers. ”

13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me, ” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” 14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.

15 So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

No Help Necessary–Genesis 16 part 1

We sometimes worry that God will be unable to provide what he has promised.  When that happens, we take it upon ourselves to help God out.  That never ends well.  Abram’s wife decided in her guilt and frustration to help God out by giving her slave to Abram as a wife.  There seems to be no prayer, no seeking God on the issue, just a choice to Get Abram an heir.  The results were not good.  Immediately after the child was conceived, the regret and bitterness set in.  Sarai’s “assistance” did not provide what God wanted, it did not alleviate her guilt and it made her slave arrogant and mean.

When we work to help God out, we have the same results.  Our best efforts, more often than not, make it harder for God to work his plan.  We have to fully rely upon God to achieve that which he planned for our lives.  When we do, we gain patience and maturity as well as the blessing he longs to provide.  If we would simply allow him to be God, he will prove again that his way will bless us.  Help me, Lord to rely upon you.

God Bless You

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.” 6 “Your slave is in your hands, ” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.

Cut the Bull–Covenants! Genesis 15 part 2

America is a litigious  society.  But, Back in Abram’s Day the contract process was a little different.  To enter a covenant, the parties  killed a cow cut it in half and walked among the parts.  The ceremony was done to let the parties know that failure to keep the covenant would mean the same thing would be done to the party that broke covenant.  Legal fees were less but the consequence was a bit more severe! God entered a covenant with Abram.  He wanted Abram to know how serious he was.  The great news is—As usual, God kept his word.

 

God makes promises sparingly, but keeps them consistently.  When we become like him, we too need to focus on making a limited number of promises, but always treat them with the importance that God does.  He loves us and promises us abundant life here and eternity with him.  He only asks for us to trust and follow him.  If we choose to follow him, then we see his wonder in our lives.  Help me Lord to honor our covenant and see your promises today

God Bless You

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”

9 So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon. ”

10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. 11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.

12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13 Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”

17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi[e] of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates — 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”

Abram Believed-Genesis 15 part 1

Abram Believed—The bottom line Abram walked hundreds of miles, he faced kings, war, famine and family discord.  None of that was counted to him as righteousness.  He simply believed God.  Now, clearly, Abram had no heir, no home and no tangible evidence of God’s provision.  What Abram had was God.  His willingness to continue to operate and follow even without the physical evidence is what thrilled the Lord.

In our lives, all the stuff we do, all the hours in church, all the times we behave are not what God counts.  He counts our trust, our submission and our faith in the things unseen.  Emotionally, we have Good days and bad—but if we believe, then we see his provision and promise in our lives.  Help me, Lord, to have faith and please count it as righteousness.

God Bless You

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. ”

2 But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus? ” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

4 Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir. ” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars —if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Genesis 14 part 3–God’s Economy

What a clear picture of devotion.  Abram and his men defeated the enemy and saved Lot, his family and many people from Sodom and Gomorrah.  On the Journey home, they met Melchizedek, King of Salem and anointed Priest of God.  Abram gave a 10th of what he received to God as a thank you for God’s deliverance.  Immediately, he was met by the King of Sodom.  The King offered Abram all the loot that had been stolen—Abram refused to take any of it.  From a Business perspective, Abram was not so bright.  He took off and went to battle for a group he had no ties or loyalty to.  He won the battle and obtained vast treasure—then gave a potion away.  Finally he was offered a generous reward for his assistance and he refused it.  From a WORLD economy view—bad choice.  The key was that Abram was not controlled by the world economy.

We are similar.  We scrap and journey in this world.   We are faced each day with battles—many of which we have no interest in.  We are called to release the first fruit of our Labor to the Lord and we are called to remain separate from the entanglements of this world.  It is difficult to remain faithful and not try to take advantage of the world’s answers to the problems we face.  They are usually quick and attractive.  They also always have a hook that entangles us and usually draws us away from the Lord. 

Like Abram, we need to separate ourselves from the world system and rely on  God’s economy to deliver us.  As we do, we see peace and freedom in the midst of storm and chaos.  It is not easy, it is not always rewarding—BUT—it is always the right call. 

Help me, Lord to rely upon you and not upon the world’s economy.

God Bless You

 

18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.
20 And praise be to God Most High,
who delivered your enemies into your hand.”

Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.”

22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ 24 I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me—to Aner, Eshkol and Mamre. Let them have their share.”

Genesis 14 part 2–I told you so does not fit.

When we see others make choices that we know they will regret, we are not absolved from assisting them when they get into trouble.  “I Told You So” does not bring comfort nor does it really bring satisfaction in the lives of the ones we care about.  What does make a difference is our willingness to dive in and assist those that are hurting.  Abram saved Lot—and in the process saved many others.  He saved many folks that no knowledge of God.  He left the enemy vanquished and the victims amazed.

In our lives, we have the same opportunity.  We have to remain faithful and come along side even when it is inconvenient and when we feel the person has made a bad choice.  As we are faithful and gracious, there is no telling how many lives will be affected and how many folks can be saved.  That is God’s call. We simply muster our resources and fight the fight for our Lord.  When we do—the result will amaze and perplex the enemy and the world.  Help me, Lord to dive in and be ready to assist those that need you

God Bless You.

11 The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away. 12 They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom.

13 A man who had escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew. Now Abram was living near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite, a brother of Eshkol and Aner, all of whom were allied with Abram. 14 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. 15 During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.

17 After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).

 

This is not My Battle–Genesis 14 part 1

Unintended consequences…Lot just gets settled in and before he knows it he is a prisoner of War in a battle for which has no interest.  When Lot decided to take the easy way by going to the rich bottom lands, he thought he could remain unscathed and separate from the culture and consequences—he was wrong.

In today’s culture, we do the same thing.  As Christians, we think we can play in the current world culture without being touched by its paradigm.  Materialism, self absorption, instant gratification and entertainment standards are but a few of the areas that stand to take us captive.  When we play in those areas, it is almost a certainty we will be enslaved.

The best answer is to remain separate.  Don’t give the enemy a chance to entangle you.  Keep your eyes on Christ, your nose in the word and your knees on the floor.  Then you cannenjoy the peace God wants for you.

Help me Lord to remain separate from those things that could take me captive.

God Bless You

5 In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him went out and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim 6 and the Horites in the hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran near the desert. 7 Then they turned back and went to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and they conquered the whole territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who were living in Hazezon Tamar.

8 Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboyim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) marched out and drew up their battle lines in the Valley of Siddim 9 against Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goyim, Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar—four kings against five. 10 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. 11 The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away. 12 They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom.

God’s Promise/Timing Genesis 13 part 2

God’s promises are never broken.  He has the amazing record of keeping his word 100% of the time.  The critical thing to remember about God is that he does not work on our time schedule.  His promise to Abram was that his family would own the width and breadth of the land of Canaan.

Over the hundreds of years that followed, God truly kept his word.  A promise that is still obvious today.

In our daily walks, God promises us his provision and care if we submit and follow.  What that looks like, varies from person to person  and family to family.  But, God’s method and timing will look different than ours.  If we, like Abram, wait on the Lord—then we will see his hand of mercy and provision.

It may not be our timing, but it will always be to our benefit to follow him. As we do, we can be assured that he will always keep his word.  Our prayer is that we have the patience and faith to wait.

God Bless You

 

14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 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. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”

18 So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord.

 

Refuge-Genesis 13 part 1

The Eagles music band taught us “Every form of refuge has its price!” As Abram and Lot increased in wealth and prosperity, they no longer needed to travel together for protection.  In fact they were becoming at least an annoyance and at worst a threat to each other.  Abram in his wisdom told Lot to pick an area and he could have it.  Abram would then take what was the left overs.

Lot took an easy course—he took the rich bottom Lands.  Abram took the higher and more difficult area.  For Lot, prosperity was assured—but with it came the culture of Sin and defiance already prevalent in that area.  Abram, fresh off his failing to trust God in Egypt, knew God would protect and provide.  In the provision, God did not necessarily make life easy.  But, he did keep Abram safe and separate from the sin and idolatry that was the norm in the area.

In our walks, we also need to remember—Our choices for where and how we live greatly affect our lives.  Success and prosperity at the cost of Character can have a devastating end.  In our desire to provide for our family, we have to be sure we maintain our faith and our integrity.  Small compromises can erase years of great closeness with the Lord.  We have to have the same attitude as Joshua—Choose this day whom you will serve.  As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”

God Bless You

5 Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6 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. 7 And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.

8 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. 9 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.”

10 Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.

He Meant well–Genesis 12 part 2

He meant well, or did he? After Abram picked up at God’s direction and left his home.  He traveled in an unknown land and settled without any property rights.  All because he trusted God. 

 So then, he goes to Egypt, and decides God is not big enough to protect him and his wife.  So he tells his wife to tell a little white lie—say you are my sister! 

Soon after Sarai is drafted as  Pharaoh’s next wife and God who does love his kods intervenes and stops a tragedy.  The question is did Abram simply fear Pharaoh or was there also a profit motive???  How Come God was big enough to give him Canaan, but not big enough to protect his wife? None the less, God had to intervene and Abram lost any chance to lead Egypt toward God.  

We mean well so many times, we want to help God get his plan done in our lives.  We are fearful he will forget us.  We are saddened that we already feel abandoned or we simply are not ready to submit to what he has set before us. So we alter God’s plan with our own little tweaks.  When we do, most times we end up making a huge mess. The God either has to intervene or he has to watch us bear the consequence of our self-help.

Should Abram have stayed in Canaan? Should he simply have loved his wife and protected her and allowed God to be God? Then God would probably have still protected the chosen family and he would have been honored.

We either have to trust God or we don’t, no middle ground.  God does not need our assistance, he simply needs our surrender.  If we would spend the energy to follow that we spend to intercede we would adore his peace and his provision.  Better to be blessed than to be independent.  Help me Lord to follow you.

God Bless You

10 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. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.

17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 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!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.