I think every one of us has dramatic experiences in our lives. And we think that that experience. Is going to be the Epiphany or the thing that will just kind of change us forever.
We have that experience.
But as life moves on sometimes right after the Epiphany we fall back into the normal routine of life and without realizing instead of that event. Being the life change that it could. We find ourselves just being who we always were.
Even though maybe we talk to other people and we said man this happened and it was like life-changing for me and I'm in the never going to be the same. Sometimes when those kinds of things happened in my life doll by Nancy something as a memorial to this thing that's going to change. I was looking in my house the other day and there's an object like that. I said never going to be the way I was before but life is changed. I'm falling back into that same team.
I like the fact that for a little bit of time now. We are going to hone in on one person's life in the Bible.
Someone that had an epiphany meeting with Godda kind of life changing meeting with God and I like the fact that we're going to see that God has people just like us in the Bible cuz I think that occasionally we go. I'm not at the Elijah level, you know, he is pretty special a pretty amazing. I'm not at that level but what is James's tells us James that tells us this Elijah was a man just like us Or or or we'll take a look at one of the Apostles and we'll go man. I could never be a Peter but then you read about the life of Peter in your like I'm so Peter see this reality.
All of our hope in all of our future and all of what we are experiencing now in our faith is tied to one man. The god had a meeting with you realize that It it's the man that we started discussing in chapter 12 of Genesis. It's Abraham and the promises of what God not would Abraham will do but that would God will do for through him. Have repercussions in all of life today this one man and his family shape all of spiritual life today if you realize that. It's okay. Here's a man who had this meeting with God and God promised him that he would make him a people and then he would give him a place and he says that through you what let's let's just read it again when God was reiterating it to him in jab Genesis chapter 12 verse 7. He says this then God appeared again to Abraham and said to your Offspring I will give this land, so he's promising a people and he's promising a place and if we go back to Genesis chapter 2 verses Genesis chapter 12 starting at vs23. He also says and I will bless you and I will bless all Nation through you. And we are experiencing that because when you go to the Book of Luke, you see that this whole genealogy for who Jesus is and who is family is goes right back to Abraham.
But Abraham was a man just like us. And today we're going to see kind of how he was a man just like us because when we pick up the story at the end of this suit says that he said so we built an altar to the Lord who appeared to him for their he moved on to the Hill Country of Bethel and pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and and i e n t i on the East and it says and there he built an altar to the Lord and call upon the name of the Lord and Abraham Journey Don going towards negative.
I like whether I was studying for this week. I came across a thought from David Jeremiah. I like to say that's my original thought but it's really his he says this life is not changed since the time of Abraham life is all about tents and altars. He says if we don't understand that today that this is just the 10th that this isn't our home that God is building our future home. And if we forget that this is just a tenth. We're in trouble. We're still intense just like Abraham and he says and the other thing that we see in Abraham's life is if we don't remember to go often to the altar we're in trouble. All of life is supposed to be about realizing we live in the tent and going to the altar. Going to the place where we can meet God.
But not all of life. Is that easy? Even though he's had this incredible meeting with God and I think of anyone of us thought if I had a meeting with God he talked to me and he promised me those things. You would change me forever.
When Abraham did go at the Canaan, but then all the sudden life happen verse 10. Now there was a famine in the land. So Abraham went down some of the Bible say sojourned to Egypt. For the famine was severe in the land, you know, one of the things that's a reality is that Abraham faces a hardship hardship is a real hardship. He was going to be hungry if you're hungry and you don't have food then you become angry, right? So he did what seemed logical even though God had promised him this land of Canaan. Abram faces this hardship Any moves to escape? the place that God given him You know what God. I know you made this promise to me, but I'm hungry. I have this need and so I'm going to move from where I am to Egypt to this other place now. I don't know if you start thinking about this but going to Egypt never turns out really well for any of God's children. There's usually a downside to Egypt.
But that's what he does. He goes down there because Abram is facing a hardship. And so he tries to escape and we are the same way. The first thing we don't think when we experiencing a hardship in our life is a wonder what God's up to that's not we should but that's not usually the first thing we think about we're going right you're married to go home and you complain to your wife. If you're at home, you tell your husband he gets there, you know, or or or vice versa. There is the sense that when we Face hardship in life, our first desire isn't going this is going to be
our first desire is to flee it, right. Let's go someplace where this is going to be an issue.
Jennifer Abrams Batman Egypt cuz he was facing a hardship, but as he was going to eat you. He started facing Danger. You got a frayed. This is when he was about to enter Egypt. He said to Sarah his wife. I want you to know that you are a beautiful woman and parents. I need your good looking. Which isn't bad because she's 65 at the time and she's a looker that's a good thing, you know. But are you saying that this might be an issue? So he says this he goes when the Egyptian Seaview they will say this is his wife then they will kill me, but they will let you live your killer good looks are going to get me killed.
You're the first thing that he experienced was Hunger hardship. The second thing you experienced Was Fear?
When we experience fear, there's a desire for self-preservation isn't there? We want to take care of ourselves. And so he says this to his wife say you are my sister that it may go well with me because of you. You are my trophy wife, but I just want you to be my trophy relative.
My life will be spared for your sake of this wasn't completely a lot by. Some people believe that either he married his half-sister or there's even a thing in the culture that when you become a part of the family not only room you are you're my wife and you're my sister, but it wasn't completely the truth was it? But sometimes that what we do sometimes all of a sudden in the middle of it when fear comes in self-preservation comes in and all of a sudden we do something. We put the promise of God in Jeopardy to do think about what's Happening Here. When God says I will make you a people you can't do that alone, you know need a wife. Indian serious I can okay. I'm not going to call you my wife now. I know what the promises but I'm afraid so I'm going to put God's promise of people in jeopardy
for myself sometimes God he asks us to do things in their hard things and without realizing it we know what the promises but we we put it in jeopardy. Because fear or some emotion gets in the way. Often times I'll talk to people who work or caught up in sending those sake this was the emotion that fed this and this is why and this is why I'm rationalizing that it was. Okay. Sometimes they will say crazy things like I believe God is giving me permission to send in this area because you have you ever heard people say that, you know, I think it was God's will for me to send. That is making sense when you say it out loud, but you know, they'll they'll fill in the particular sin that they're committing and they'll say that that's got too well. But it all comes out of an emotion in NC, even though Abraham has received this promise of people in this promise of place. He's still a man just like us sometimes hardship. And just the needs that we have that they they refocus us and sometimes the emotions that we have in that desire for self-preservation. It it it it affects us because you know, you could have just said you know what? Cuz it's pretty hard here. But you told us to come here. So I guess you're going to take care of us here. He starts doing what most of us do it's like I'm just getting used to this gardening. I'm just learning to trust you. So there certain times that the most important person to trust his trust me more.
I'm going to trust me. Cuz I tried to trust other people none of them are trustworthy, but I'm pretty trustworthy. And if you're going to find mess up, the only person affects his me, which is a lie to isn't it because it always affects other people. Do you ever get this in alone in that affect just us? I don't think so.
But it gets better.
so all of a sudden sometimes when we do the wrong thing. And we're in the wrong place. Things go, okay.
Until then we say in our minds. I guess it wasn't wrong that I did this because it seems like God is blessing me and I I have this this windfall going on that body says Abram entered Egypt the Egyptian saw that the woman was beautiful. So it wasn't just that he and I need a cataract surgery. She really was beautiful. And when the princes of pharaoh saw her they praised her to Faroe and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. So this was such a big deal. She must have been really attractive because all of a sudden it isn't just like guy Sorenson while she's gorgeous. And then then then also they start talking to you. See that woman.
Also some of those men were around. They said hey. Have you been out lately? I mean there's this Foreigner and came into town and his sister. Wow. I mean, do you want to have good-looking children? She would be the one to choose. You know. The DNA there's looking really good. And so I'll listen there is this idea? Okay, and so what happens in 4:16, it says and for her sake he dealt well with Abram and he had sheep and oxen and male donkeys and male servants and female servants and female donkeys and even camels. What is the sound like? When you think of old times and you probably think about what's going on in there? You know, this is a funny family story. Nancy's family was living in Africa and they were living in Ethiopia and they were good friends with a missionary. And so the missionary says I want you to go meet this chick and so they traveled and they met this Chief and then went into his home and my father-in-law was having a discussion with the chief and the of my father-in-law mentioned that he had a son and the chief looked at him and said, How many goats would you want for your son? To be my daughter, you know, it was a dowry. It wasn't doing you. So you just saying hey, you got a good looking wife. He was he was treating her like Abraham was the brother and the representative in the family and she was really good looking so she was worth even camels.
And it's going pretty well for him. You see here's the reality. The reality is sometimes by our choices.
Sometimes even when we make poor choices, and we're ready for God to punish. He doesn't punish right away. And so then we can get this idea. Well, I guess maybe maybe that didn't matter but think about what he's doing now, he is placing his wife the woman of the promise in somebody else's. marriage
and if they have relations there's a good chance of what's going to happen. All the sudden the child A promise is going to be half a g of chicken.
And he's going to be the stepson of Promise instead of the son of Rome has. You see sometimes we've got to go back and we got to say Okay God, what are your promises and how do they affect how I live today? And what I do today, and what's going on today?
Because how am I by my choices today? Am I somehow ship-wrecking your promises? How am I making it a little harder for you some of you in this room are carpenters and you know that if the guy before you wasn't very serious about how he did carpentry that the word remodel is not fun. Is it because you enter into all of his blessings to you?
Some of you work for places where you're a hard worker, but the person who works the other shift that could set you up really well so you can have a great shift is kind of lazy. So you experience the Jeopardy that they create for you?
See when we forget the promises of what God sing all this sudden we have this experience. But God knew what his promise was. Remember. He said four times. He said I will do this. You still asking Abraham to do something. You said this is what I want to do. But Abraham because of what's going on with himself emotionally and what's going on with himself in in his his desires and even the basic things like eating and and in his desire for self-preservation. He is immediately after the promise is given in chapter 12 is immediately putting that promise in jeopardy.
But that's a weeded. sometimes so what is God do?
But the Lord Afflicted Pharaoh in his in his house with great plagues because of Sarah Abraham's wife. You know, this is the downside to being at Egyptians. They get experience plague.
And all the sudden because of what God wanted to do. everybody face judgment because of Abraham's decisions
Remember I said you can't send long. Can you? So sometimes your choices don't just affect you but they affect everybody around you and some of you are struggling today not because of your own sin. But because you live in some of the consequences somebody else soon.
God exposes his foolishness in the next verse
So Faro can't call Abram and said what is this that you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say she is my sister. So I took her for my wife in the world were you doing for him?
What were you doing?
So this is what Pharaoh did now then here is your wife take her and go and Farrow gay men orders concerning them and they sent them away with his wife and all that he had. Just wanted to be done with it all and so he sent them even with the wealth that he probably didn't deserve.
Egyptian Egypt has done a pretty good job of financing a lot of things. Hear their financing the father of a great nation. At The Exodus. What do they do? They finance a great nation. That's how Israel was financed. Remember they gave all their wealth after the plagues there and that's how they financed a nation of millions of people. That's what they did. In the life of what God does.
So in the beginning of chapter 13 and Saturday today, it says so Adrian went up from Egypt. He and his wife and all that he had and lot with him into negative. Remember negative is where he was in Canaan before you got hungry remember that? Now Abraham was very rich in livestock and in silver and in gold.
Any journeyed four- far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning between Bethel and AI?
To the place where he made an altar at the first and their God called upon and their Abraham called upon the name of the Lord.
Here's the interesting thought.
We'll get there in just a second. interesting that when God corrected Abram he went back to the beginning of where he met God. I just think that that's really interesting. That's what repentance is repentance is saying, I'm no longer going to go my own way and I'm going back to where I was at the beginning. I think it's a beautiful picture.
But this isn't just about Abram isn't it? We're kind of this way, aren't we lit? Let's just take a look at some corollaries here.
Even though God has made great promises to us as his people is called as his children. We are at Centerra tents. We are a royal priesthood on and on I could list the many things we are we Face hardship. And hungers that can move us to escape.
Hardship comes instead of turning to God we go. What am I going to do when we run from? God second of all We Face Danger. in our fears can Motivators to scheme just like you schemed. Okay. Look, I don't know. Why and there's this whole long discussion in a lot of the literature that was reading about what was the reason that Abraham was so convinced that if you went to Egypt and he was married to a good-looking woman that they kill him, but there must have been some story in the paper or some kind of legend or something going on, but there are tum X fears real and imaginary. That send us to the edge of a cliff. And instead of saying you are my rock. I will stand on you instead of saying I will go to the mountains. Where does my help from my help comes from the Lord we go. I don't know what I'm going to do. I do and we start concocting a scheme that when people look on the outside of it and even if we spoke it out loud other people that go why do you thinking
What are you doing?
But we take what little knowledge we have in our head. and we do the self talk because of our fears and their anxiety and although all of these things and some of the the conclusions we come to or not
and sometimes we don't see in herself, but if somebody else is going through that. We think they're not I can remember when we were down in Florida. I was going through something and I call him my really good friend and I explained it all to them. And you goes Jim. I think you're a moron.
Because the schemes of what I was thinking that I could do when he heard them out loud. They made no sense.
But sometimes in our danger, we don't run to God we run from his promises. And we run from his place.
And we just try to figure out some way to do self preservation. Because we are so afraid.
God's word says that we're not supposed to trust our emotion. The emotions were tied up in the heart and it says the heart is deceitful Above All Things.
But sometimes are our little bit of wisdom is really nothing more than foolishness. Sometimes not only do we face that but we we face or experience undeserving windfalls and our greed can justify our compromise. And sometimes we get away with it.
It pains me to even in Christian circles. I will hear people give each other advice is for how to cheat on your taxes. Are you don't you don't need to claim that? Here's how you trying to get around that this is how you do this instead of just living it plainly we live it differently. I was really convicted and I love the story and in a book where a man was talking about how he went to buy a phone and the salesman was confused. We got a much better phone than he should have for much cheaper price and he was talking to his mentor about how good a deal was and how much money he was going to save every month and the guy asked him and he said the total was like $36.57 a month that he would save. And his mentor got really angry at him and he looked at him and says so your integrity is only worth $37.57.
It's silly things like getting too much change, but going back and say hey this isn't yours. This isn't my I'm going to give this back.
because our integrity is worth more than the extra quarter into Nichols we got
But sometimes things go. Okay, even when we're sitting so we think okay. Maybe it's okay that I send. They're still at Winfield. They're still blessing coming. Maybe I can just get away with it, but you can't.
God loves to use a clean vessel. Dirty vessel was harder for him to use.
But ultimately out of his love for us And I'm just concerned for us at some point the great God of heaven with all tenderness. And with complete lack of sarcasm.
Will expose our foolishness? And explain his judgment to us.
Because his promises are so important. And he wants us to be instrument of his promises.
His plan is so individualized. I know the plans that I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not harm you. In this world, you will have trouble hardship.
I have overcome the world.
And that's why.
we white Abraham need to return to the beginning. I think that's why and that's why I placed this here today.
Because God has created even in the life of the church. I cycle that always takes us back to the Cross. Doesn't it?
Communion was supposed to remind us again of the value of the Cross. See God always takes us back to the beginning and tells us the things that are most important.
I love you. I am your savior. I died for your sins. Some of you need to accept that message for the very first time today. You've you've been tap dancing around it. You've been in church, you've heard it said but you need to make your personal decision that you need a Saviour today. Because you're living by your emotions and your needs. And when you really think about the plans and it seems to be working, but I'm going to tell you the plans that don't line up with God do not work long-term.
And it's some point God will show you the Folly of that the foolishness of that and he's calling you sometime of you for the first time to the cross and I want to forgive your sins. I don't want to legislate your sins away. That's what the world is doing. That's what our nation is doing. Our nation is saying that's not a sin anymore. We changed the law. You can kill your baby until the day it's born that's the law of the land and if that baby comes out alive, you can still kill it. That's the law of the land. foolishness
every mother that has a baby knows that because the second that baby kicks and moves inside of you. Don't say well this fetus will eventually become a baby. No. Thinking about what you're going to name. You think you know how precious it is? You're dreaming about its life.
but hardship for some
fear and anxiety for others causes to do all kinds of things the compromise even the morals that we understand for ourselves for the sake of some form of self-preservation.
But God out of his love for each one of us holds up the mirror and says this is not good. Do you like what you see in the meteor? It's not pretty. You know better.
So for some of you today, it's the day of salvation.
But some of us are already in the face we was seve the promises.
Yep, when hardship comes we don't act like we've received the promises.
when our emotions take over we don't act like we're Children of the king.
And it seems like we're kind of being blessed. So maybe it's okay that I sit in some maybe it's okay that I'm not completely. Holy I guess you let me get away with that one guy high five.
It doesn't work that way. Jesus Christ said that we were supposed to be. Holy as he is Holy.
He is giving his righteousness to us so that we can learn to walk in righteousness.
And so he's calling us all back to the altar again. To the place where we once started. I hit the reset button on life. And live it better. And livid and repentance to him not because we've been caught it something. But because we are so overwhelmed with the gift of Mercy that is ours that we're praying that it will transform us forever.
So for some of you I encourage you.
Ask God to be your savior today.
Enter into the kingdom.
for the rest of us It's time to go back to the altar again. To let God take a look at Who We Are. to figure out how maybe hardship or beer
it's causing us to compromise. Instead of saying yes to the guy that made us. I'm going to ask for people to come up. So that we can have the elements for the communion. If you are a Believer today and you've asked Jesus Christ to be your personal savior, I encourage you to come to the table today. Even if it's today that you made that decision I encourage you to come today if that if you're not there yet.