• Abraham - Learning to Wait

  • Press play to listen online:


Abraham lived in an ancient city called Ur. Nearly 4000 years ago, when God first appeared to Abraham, Ur was one of the most important cities in the world. It was a busy commercial center located in the country of Mesopotamia on the Persian Gulf and bordered by the Euphrates River.

The city covered about four square miles and had a population of about 300,000 people. History records, and archaeology confirms, that many of these people were highly educated. They were proficient in mathematics, astronomy, weaving and engraving. Furthermore they preserved their ideas by writing on clay tablets, which have been invaluable to archaeologists in reconstructing the social and religious life of these people.

Like the rest of the world, Ur was polytheistic. The people worshiped many gods, particularly nature gods. But in the center of Ur was a large worship center or temple called a ziggurat. It was here that the people worshiped their chief deity, a moon god called Nanna.

Abraham no doubt lived with his family outside of the city of Ur. Terah, Abraham's father, was a shepherd who had settled in the rich pasturelands surounding the city (1) .

The Lord's Purpose for Pain is that Suffering for God Enables us to Experience: 

The Sight giving Power of God in Job
2. The Song Giving Power of Suffering in Paul and Silas's Life
3. The Scripture Opening Power of Suffering in David's Life
4. The Purifying Power of Suffering in Joseph's Life
5. MOSES: The Satisfying Power of Suffering

And now this evening we begin ABRAHAM: The Faith Building Power of God (Gen 22)

o       Romans 4:13-25

o       Tests in his life:

o       Call = Faith awakened

o       Covenant = Faith Disciplined

o       Cross at Moriah = Faith Perfected

As we look at every day life in the 21st Century, B.C. that is, we find that it has not changed much. God's friend Abraham was faced with the same daily struggle each of us must endure. Let us examine each of the TEN SPECIFIC TRIALS he went through and learn a lesson for our lives from each.

INTEGRITY= FAITHFUL TO THE END (24-25:1-6)

The Tests of Abraham

1. SEPARATION Gen 12:1-9 [-]

o       He kept Lot; he wasted years in Haran 'parched'

o       John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (KJV)

2. SUFFICIENCY OF GOD Gen 12:10-18 [-]

o       He went to Egypt [place of worldliness, idolatry and a curse] instead of trusting the God who led him 600 miles across the desert; rationalizes

o       Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (KJV)

3. CONTENTMENT and HUMILITY Gen 13:1-18 [+]

o       Philippians 4:11-12 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (KJV)

o       James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (KJV)

THE NEED OF CONTENTMENT

People everywhere are looking for satisfaction and contentment. In the eighties it was believed contentment would come with living the good life. Contentment would come if you could afford a Rolex instead of a Timex, if you got into a BMW instead of a Honda. But people began to realize that contentment can't be found by acquiring more things. As a result, there seems to be a national turn among baby-boomers back to the simple life. At least that's the trend that Time magazine is noticing. The problem is that contentment can't be found in the simple life, either. Maybe that's what Americans will spend the nineties searching for. They will be looking for contentment in the simple life because they couldn't find it in the "good" life. But the problem is that contentment cannot be found without knowing the Shepherd. Jesus Christ is the door to contentment, and without Him you can't get there from here. Contentment is the byproduct of following the Shepherd. It is experiencing the inner-peace that only He can provide. It is knowing He will promote you at the right time. Contentment is the sense of satisfaction that comes to a husband and wife as they emulate the provision and care of the Shepherd to their own children. Contentment comes from serving Christ instead of money and from providing not only financially for your family, but emotionally, morally and spiritually. (2)

o       Finally, What can be the result of living by the Bible's definition of contentment? Let's look at just three:

o       If you are content, you can enjoy the present rather than being anxious about the future. Mt 6:25

o       If you are content, you can be liberated to truly enjoy the successes of others around you without envy. Ps 37:7

o       If you are content, you will be able to let the Lord build a true sense of thankfulness about everything. I TH5:18

o       CONTENTMENT avoids:

o       the desire for things more than God

o       the desire for pleasure more than godliness

o       the longing for more things than for Him who is to be all in all

o       the desire for what others have when they have more or better things or situations than we have and the constant thoughts about things over the spiritual world

4. LOVE FOR THIS WORLD/ PERSONAL TESTIMONY Gen 14;17-24 [+]

5. FAITH IN GOD Gen 15:1-21 [+]

6. PATIENT WAITING Gen 16:1-16 [-]

o       We are so quick to take matters into our own hands, making quick or snap decisions; trusting even those closest more than waiting on God; allowing our old habits to come back and guide us

7. OBEDIENT WALK/ COVENANT LOYALTY Gen 17:1-27 [+]

o       John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (KJV)

o       Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (KJV)

o       Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, (KJV)

o       Ephesians 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, (KJV)

o       Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor. (KJV)

o       Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (KJV)

o       Ephesians 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, (KJV)

8. INTERCESSION Gen 18:23-33 [+]

o       I Timothy 2:1-3 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; (KJV)  

9. TRUSTING GOD AS HIS PROTECTION Gen 20:1-18 [-] 

TRUST IN GOD 

Courage, Brother, do not stumble,
Though your path be dark as night;
There's a star to guide the humble,
Trust in God and do the right.

Let the road be rough and dreary,
And its end far out of sight,
Foot it bravely, strong or weary;
Trust in God and do the right.

Perish policy and cunning,
Perish all that fears the light;
Whether losing, whether winning
Trust in God and do the right.

Trust no party, sect or faction,
Trust no leaders in the fight;
But in every word and action
Trust in God and do the right.

Simple rule and safest guiding,
Inward peace and inward might,
Star upon our path abiding;
Trust in God and do the right.

Some will hate you, some will love you,
Some will flatter, some will slight;
Cease from man, and look above you,
Trust in God and do the right.

By Norman Macleod [This poem hung on the wall of Richard W. DeHann's office during his long RBC Ministry] 

10. FAITH/OBEDIENCE Gen 22:1-19 [+]

o       As FB Meyer said "Satan tempts to produce evil, God tests to produce good."

o       Romans 4:17-25 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, [even] God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (KJV) 

Thank You for saying No(3) 

Lord, day after day I've thanked You
For saying yes.
But when have I genuinely thanked You
For saying no?

Yet I shudder to think
Of the possible smears
The cumulative blots on my life
Had You not been sufficiently wise
To say an unalterable no.

So thank You for saying no
When my want list for things
Far exceeded my longing for You.
When I asked for a stone
Foolishly certain I asked for bread
Thank You for saying no
To my petulant "Just this time, Lord?"
Thank You for saying no
To senseless excuses
Selfish motives
Dangerous diversions.

Thank You for saying no
When temptations that enticed me
Would have bound me beyond escape.

Thank You for saying no
When I asked You to leave me alone.

Above all
Thank You for saying no
When in anguish I asked
"If I give You all else
May I keep this?"

Lord, my awe increases
When I see the wisdom
Of Your divine no.

1. PETER: The Self-sacrificing Power of God

o       Luke 14:26 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. (NKJV)

o       Revelation 2:4 "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. (NKJV)

2. PAUL: The Hoping Power of God

o       Romans 8:18-24 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected [it] in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only [that,] but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? (NKJV)

o       2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward [man] is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen [are] temporary, but the things which are not seen [are] eternal. (NKJV)

o       2 Corinthians 5:1-5 For we know that if our earthly house, [this] tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in [this] tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing [is] God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. (NKJV)


3. HANNAH: The Comforting Power of God

o       2 Corinthians 1:4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (NKJV)

o       Hebrews 2:18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. (NKJV)

o       Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (NKJV)

4. JOHN: The Humbling Power of God

o       2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (NKJV)

5. JAMES: The Enduring Power of God

o       James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (NKJV)

________________________

1. Gene Getz, Abraham (Chicago:Victor, ), p. 11.

2. Farrar, Better Homes and Jungles, p.189-90.

3. Ruth Calkin, Tell me again Lord (Wheaton:Tyndale, 1974), p. 124-25.

4. Gene Getz, Abraham (Chicago:Victor, ), p. 11.

5. Gene Getz, Abraham (Chicago:Victor, ), p. 11.

6. Farrar, Better Homes and Jungles, p.189-90.

7. Ruth Calkin, Tell me again Lord (Wheaton:Tyndale, 1974), p. 124-25.

8. From the Dobson Fathers tract.


tags: suf, 951231pm