“Bouncebackability and Abraham”: Adventures in faith with Abraham class 3

Introduction

  • Abraham had ‘bouncebackability’
  • It is how Abram got from Gen 12 to Heb 11.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN IN NUMBER, AND INNUMERABLE AS THE SAND WHICH IS BY THE SEASHORE…. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, “IN ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE CALLED.” He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.” (Hebrews 11:8–19 NAS95)

  • An adventure not possible without setbacks
  • How we respond to setbacks says a lot about the health of our faith
  • Setbacks also provide opportunities for God to grow our faith
  • Through these we understand better who we are and who he is

Abraham’s Highs and Lows

Mistake 1

  • Gen 12 – calling / betrayal
  • God does not tell him to go to Egypt
  • Fear clouds his judgment
  • Self-preservation is his goal

Bounce 1

  • As a result he goes back to worship (Gen 13:1-4)
  • Handles Lot (Gen 13:5-13) and King of Sodom well (Gen 14:21-24)
    • Surrenders control
    • Embraces the courage to act and save Lot

Mistake 2

  • Gen 16 – Hagar
    • Takes matters in own hands
    • Impatience
    • Shows weakness akin to Genesis 3 – gives in to pressure from family
    • Causes problems we still dealing with

Bounce 2

  • Gen 16:16-17:1, 24, 18:10
  • Patience in faith
  • Obedient to call to higher commitment (circumcision)
  • Timing of promise now specific, v21

InterludeNot all challenges are our sins, but also disappointments regarding hopes and unanswered prayers

  • Gen 18-19 – ‘failure’ to rescue Sodom
    • Despite the most amazing QT imaginable!
    • How did he feel, Gen 19:27-28?
    • Relationship with God special, therefore Lot rescued, Gen 19:29

Mistake 3

  • Gen 20 – Abimelech (esp as a repeat of a previous mistake)
    • Giving in to fear
    • Forgets God’s promise of Gen 12:2-3 re blessing and cursing others

Bounce 3

  • Abe prays – goes to God for help with the consequences of his own sin, Gen 20:17-18
  • Gen 21 – Isaac – God holding on to Abraham
    • Miracle of grace occurs

Conclusion

  • Gen 22 – the high point comes when he is ready
    • Abraham’s greatest test is passed with flying colours
  • Illustrative of Israel’s history
    • But they did not ‘die’ in shalom, but exile
    • Lost sight of their specialness as people of God
    • Lost sight of the responsibility which came from that

“Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people” (Genesis 25:8 NAS95)

How can we die with shalom?

  • Not by being mistake-free!
  • What do you want to bounce back from?
  • Lockdown
    • Overeating
    • Overdrinking
    • Overspending
    • Overindulging in Netflicks
    • No time for God in prayer
    • Excessive anger at spouse, children
  • Shalom by deciding again and again to return to God
  • Shalom by repenting

How we can develop bouncebackable faith and die in the shalom of God?

  1. Go back to old places, Gen 13
  2. Create opportunity for God to speak and heal
  3. Meditate on promises: make a list

We have the Spirit – the Spirit of Abraham and the Spirit of bouncebackability

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God bless, Malcolm