Sunday, September 11, 2016

Abram Restored

1 Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South. Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the Lord.
Genesis 13:1-4, NKJV

Abram Restored

As the 13th chapter of Genesis opens, we find Abram restored in God's favor. Abram, Sarai, Lot, and all who were with them returned to Bethel, the place where his tent had been at the beginning. Bethel means "house of God." Even in the meaning of the name, we see the significance of Abram returning to the land of Canaan where God had directed him. God had never ordered him to go to the land of Egypt. God could certainly have protected and cared for Abram even in the severest of famines if he had remained in Canaan.

We are told in verse 2,  Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. There are some very good lessons to learn from God's care of Abram. First, however, let us ask the obvious question, "If we obey God will He make us rich in the things of this world like He did for Abram?" You know that is a popular misconception taught among God's people today. It may be true that God will bless us abundantly with great riches, but it may also be true that He will not. Does that mean that the rich are more faithful to God? Unfortunately, often the opposite is true.

I love these verses from Proverbs 30. Agur expressed his desire this way:
Two things I request of You
(Deprive me not before I die):
Remove falsehood and lies far from me;
Give me neither poverty nor riches—
Feed me with the food allotted to me;
Lest I be full and deny You,
And say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or lest I be poor and steal,
And profane the name of my God.

God, in His great providence, gives us what we need so that we will grow and become more and more like Him. It is not earthly riches we should desire. Rather, let us desire spiritual riches, that we may live our entire lives totally leaning on and dependent upon God's care and continuance in our lives.

Second, let us note that as Abram grew in faith--especially through trials such as he just experienced--he came to understand his great dependence upon God. We know that as his life continued with some very severe trials, he grew in his faith and trust in God. As a matter of fact, God lifts him up before us in Hebrews 11 as one of the great men of faith. Never did Abram depend upon his riches, but rather, his dependence rested upon God.

The great lesson for us today is to go to God when we find that our feet have slipped from the path of obedience to God. As Abram returned to Bethel and there built an altar to the Lord, may we return from our wayward paths and continue on our journey of faith and hope by following the path God has chosen for us. Let us not fear the things or people of this world, but let us valiantly go forth in the strength and power of God.

Here we are, thousands of years later, still seeing God's great hand of protection upon His people. May we bypass the temptations to immerse ourselves in the things of this world and choose, instead, to live in faithfulness to this God we love.

As we continue to delve into the lives of Abram and Sarai, may God richly encourage and bless us. Just as He worked in their lives so very long ago, so does God continue to work in our lives today.

What an amazing God we serve!

God Bless You,



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