Monday, June 24, 2019

2019.06.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 12:10-20

Questions for Littles: What happened in the land (Genesis 12:10)? What did Abram do? Why? Where was he in Genesis 12:11? To whom did Abram speak? What did he tell her that he knows? Whom did he think would see her (Genesis 12:12)? What did he think they would do to him? What did Abram ask Sarai to do (Genesis 12:13)? What did he hope would happen? Where did Abram arrive in Genesis 12:14? What did the Egyptians see? Which Egyptians saw her in Genesis 12:15? What did they think? Whom did they tell? What happened to her? How did Pharaoh treat Abram (Genesis 12:16)? Why? What did Abram end up possessing? What did Yahweh do to Pharaoh in Genesis 12:17? Because of whom? Of what does verse 17 remind us about Sarai? Whom did Pharaoh call in Genesis 12:18? What does Pharaoh ask him (Genesis 12:18-19)? What does Pharaoh tell Abram to do? What does Pharaoh command his men to do to Abram (Genesis 12:20)?    
Believers fail spectacularly. Based upon God’s promises and Abram’s response, he’s been the most promising offspring of the woman so far. Based upon what Galatians 3 tells us about Abraham as a model of faith, we’ve been set up to expect him to be a hero. But here he is doubting God’s ability to take care of him, leaving the promised land, trusting himself to save his own life when he hadn’t trusted God, leading his wife into lying, and getting lectured by the Egyptian dictator poster boy for wicked men.

In light of all of that, there is something stunningly missing from the text. Any outright criticism of Abram. Amazingly, there are commentators who think that this means that maybe Abram wasn’t wrong to go to Egypt—or even to mastermind the sister-lie. But to miss the greatness of his stumbling is to miss the point of the passage: the “greaterness” of God’s grace!

Look at what God is doing, while the human hero is falling flat on his face. “He treated Abram well for her sake. He had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female servants, female donkeys, and camels… Yahweh plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues… So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they sent him away, with his wife and all that he had.”

God plagues Pharaoh with great plagues and gets Pharaoh to load His people up with the prosperity of Egypt and send them away. Sound familiar? Yes, Abram’s faith is a template for ours, but it is God Himself who is the star of this text, of the whole Bible, and indeed of all history and redemption.

Closer to home, God is the star of your life. He is on record as treating believers according to the worthiness of Christ, not the consistency of their faith. Those who believe in Christ like Abraham believed also stumble spectacularly like Abram stumbled. But this is the nature of grace. In God’s willingness to bless, He has provided Christ, and in His ability to bless He rules and overrules all things for our good. Does this excuse stumbling? Absolutely not! That response is exactly the opposite of repentance and faith. But what it does for the one who stumbles in his repenting and stumbles in his believing is to take his focus off of his stumbling and redirect it back to his gracious God. Dear stumbling believer, let this passage redirect your focus to the God whose grace is for stumbling believers!
How have you stumbled spectacularly? How are you able to keep repenting and believing?
Suggested Songs: ARP182 “Revive Us” or TPH435 “Not What My Hands Have Done”

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