Abraham: Following In The Footsteps Of Faith – Sermon #4
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE ROAD BACK TO CANAAN
Genesis 13:1-4 (NKJV)
Abram Inherits Canaan
1 Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South.
2 Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.
3 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,
4 to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the Lord.
In Genesis 12:10-20, Abram is seen leaving from Canaan (The Promised Land) during a time of famine to go to Egypt (a picture of the world). We are told that to get to Egypt from Canaan, Abram had to go “down”, Gen 12:10. Anytime a believer leaves the place where God has placed them, they are on a downward path.
This is seen in the actions of Abram while in Egypt. He lied about Sarai, Gen 12:12, 18; He encouraged her to commit the same sin, 12:12; He became self-centered, 12:14; He created the potential for others to fall into sin, 12:14-15; He left Egypt worse than he found it, 12:17; He ruined his testimony in the eyes of the Egyptians, Gen 12:19-20. To say the least, Abram’s little trip to Egypt was a disaster!
However, I am glad to report to you that no failure need be permanent in the walk of faith! Verse one of our text tells us that Abram “went up out of Egypt.” While he had taken a downward path to get into Egypt, he took an upward path to remove himself from that place. It is the steps Abram took to get back to Canaan that interest me this evening.
Because it is possible for the wayward saint to return to the place of blessing, but there are certain requirements that must be met by the returning saint. In chapter 12, we looked at The Truth About The Path To Egypt.
Tonight, I want to share with you The Truth About The Road Back To Canaan.
I. V. 1-2 IT INVOLVES REMOVING
A. He Removed His Person From Egypt – Abram separated himself from Egypt. He placed distance between himself and that place.
(Note: Separation is a requirement for those who wish to walk in God’s blessing and power, 2 Cor. 6:17, Heb. 12:1.)
(Note: Considering the anger of Pharaoh, it was pure grace that Abram was allowed to leave Egypt at all, 12:18-20! So it is with the wayward saint. If God gave us what we deserved, He would slay us in our sins. He does chasten, Heb. 12:6-12. But, thank God, He always deals with us in love and grace.)
B. He Removed His Possessions From Egypt – He did not allow anything he owned to be left at the disposal of that evil system. He took his resources with him when he returned to the place of blessing.
(Note: Too many Christians like to talk about living for the Lord, but they spend more of their resources on worldly pleasures than they commit to the control of the Lord and His work. I would just remind you that the Lord blesses us in direct proportion to our giving, Mal. 3:8-10; Luke 6:38.)
C. He Removed His Potential From Egypt – He took Sarai with him when he left Egypt. She held within her the key to the promises of God. He knew God wanted to grow this family in Canaan and not in Egypt. Canaan was the place where God had promised to meet with them and to bless them.
(Note: The Lord wants more than our persons and our resources, He also wants our entire futures placed at His disposal, Rom. 12:1-2.)
II. V. 3-4 IT INVOLVES RETURNING
A. To The Place Of God’s Worship – He left Egypt and made his way back to Bethel, “The House Of God”, and the “place of the altar”, v. 4. When Abram was in Egypt, there were no altars, there was no praying, and there was no word from the Lord.
(Note: The child of God will never be fulfilled until he or she returns to a place where God can be encountered.)
B. To The Place Of God’s Working – Abram returned to the place where God had previously worked in his life. The Lord will always be found in the place where we left Him.
(Note: Many of the Lord’s people need to return to their altars and to the place where they walked away from God. He is waiting to meet you and bless you again!)
C. To The Place Of God’s Will – Abram returned to the place where God sent him. Canaan represented the perfect will of God for Abram. (Note: The place where God can bless you the most is the place where God places you! He’ll give you a lot of rope, but in the end, if you want His blessings on your life, you must be in that place near Him. Ill. Moses – Ex. 33:21)
III. V. 3-4 IT INVOLVES REVIVING
A. He Revived His Devotion To God – Abram came back to the place of the altar. There seems to be a renewal of the desire to be in God’s presence. He came back to the altar!
(Note: There is something fundamentally wrong when a believer possesses a lack of a desire to worship the Lord. This is true both privately or publicly. God would have us be in a state of mind where His worship is a priority in our lives, John 4:23-24; Heb. 10:25.)
(Note: We have forgotten what the altar is for in the church! It is a place of sacrifice; of seeking the Lord; of repentance; of surrender; of thanksgiving; of forgiveness, both given and received; of supplication; of praise and worship! May the Lord help us to remember the way there and how to use the altar for His glory!)
B. He Revived His Dependence On God – Abram “Called on the name of the LORD…” Abram is now through with Egypt and he does what he should have done in the first place, Gen. 12:10, he relies on the Lord. (Note: Instead of looking here and there for the help we need, the Lord would have us walk in total dependence upon Him. He desires our faith and will honor genuine faith by His provisions, Matt. 6:25-34.)
C. He Revived His Dedication To God – Whatever happened in the heart of Abram that caused him to walk away in the first place has been dealt with. The phrases “at the beginning” and “at the first” suggest that Abram has experienced a renewal of his “first love”.
(Note: What happened in this man’s life is what needs to take place in the lives of many of God’s children this evening! So many have allowed the flames of love to become mere embers. We need a revival! We need to fall in love with Jesus all over again! Ill. Rev. 2:1-7)
(Note: Days spent out of fellowship with God are “wood, hay, and stubble”. They are wasted and can never be redeemed!)
I wonder how many would have to admit that they are more “down” than “up” in their walk with the Lord? When we are in that down place spiritually, the Lord cannot bless and use us like He desires to. We need to take the same steps that Abram took and come back up again.
I don’t know where you are spiritually this evening, but I know that if you need to come before the Lord to seek His forgiveness, to love Him, to thank Him, to pray for a lost loved one, or for any reason at all, He will gladly meet you here if you will come. May we determine in our hearts that Egypt is no place for us to dwell and that we are going back to Canaan, whatever the cost!