Abraham A Good Start

(Genesis 20: 1-13)

We saw though he had a good start there was still a lot of work to be done in his life. He stepped out in faith simply on God’s word. (A plus)Then when Abram came to this land that God had promised, because he was doing what God had told him to do, he probably didn’t expect to encounter such obstacles as famine or enemies. (A test)What we find with Abraham instead of following God and His plan, he relied on what he learned as a pagan idol worshipper. Do it yourself. (A failure)

Forsaking the path of faith, for whatever reason, always brings its own complications. There is no knowing how low a saint will sink when he is out of touch with God. 

Through the Gospels, you will find example after example where Jesus will put people in a position where they must choose. All of us here are going to make a choice today. Many of you including myself God has been intimately pursuing you. Some are becoming better.  Letting God strip away the things that camouflage themselves as good and Godly. Some seem to become bitter. Holding on with a tenacious spirit the desire to be right instead of righteous. To be heard instead of Holy. To be brash instead of broken. 

Still, we choose which way we want to go.

In our scripture today we find Abraham choosing.

  • The rerun. Unbelief 
    • (V2) don’t know for sure why he journeyed south but did. 
    • No matter how you cut it up, no matter how you justify it, the issue that arises in Abraham’s life still boils down to unbelief. Jesus had some hard words for the sin of unbelief, using what we spoke about last week.
      • (Mt 10:14-15) And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. (15) Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.
      • Unbelief is the foundation that all disobedience is built on.
    • The problem for us is the same as Abraham. We like what we see as the easy way. We don’t really want to trust God and wait and rely on Him.
      • We speculate and figure out all the different ways we can afford to carry on without faith. Here at church, at work, in our homes.
    • How many when it comes to our church finance have already thought; what if we cut this out, don’t have this, and do away with that?
      •  Then how many have done what God has already told us to do. Witness and live in such a way that God brings others in not that we cut things but actually add things?
      • You know why this is not appealing to some? You think we’re doing too much already because it is cutting into your world time, or making you feel guilty.
      • Many of us have been greatly impacted by the less is more movement found in our churches today. What I mean is many self-professing believers only want to invest and spend a minimum amount of time doing things with the church. Mainly because it interferes with their real life.  
    • When we fail to believe God it always brings confusion and despair.
      • (Pr 3:1-2) ¶ My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: (2) For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. 
      • I have used this on several occasions. When we believe God, He adds to us length of days. Time to get done what needs to get done, time to enjoy this life.
      • He also adds to us long life. Time on top of time to enjoy the blessings He gives.
      • But you have to trust Him and His word to get this.
    • In Abe’s life, the fear came from a false sense of righteous discernment, which generated unbelief.
      •  Look in verse (V11). Is this not the pot calling the kettle black? 
      • Here was Abraham lying or worse partial truth, and once again bringing his wife down with him and thinking this king and his subjects were acting ungodly.
      • Religious pride is what kept the leaders in Jesus’s day from seeing and receiving the blessing and it is the same today. 
    • (Pr 3:3-4) Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: (4) So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
      • You can only show mercy if you have received it. You can only share the truth if you know it.
  • The repeat. God’s plan of action.
    • Before God delivered fully on the promise of a son, He brought Abraham back to an issue he faced earlier on in his journeys. 
      • The first time this couple went south so did their testimony. It was the lack of trusting God that sent them and the lack of trusting God that got them in trouble with the Pharaoh.  
      • Now God was allowing him to be back in the same situation. 
      • A time to choose.
    • Seems often like many a believer comes to the point in their life they feel they can coast. They’ve taught, preached, studied, and led. They have sung, served, sacrificed, and suffered. 
      • For the believer, we cannot coast for one minute. We will have all of eternity to rest and relish the victories, but only this short life to work and win them.   
    • There are those here who God has dealt mercifully with you on areas of sin in your life. It might be in the area of pride, selfishness, lust, greed, etc. but you are still being hounded by the same ole thing.
      •  A time to choose.
      • God has so much more in store for you. Not that He hasn’t done and is doing far more than you deserve but like as was recorded of Jesus’ hometown folks. (Mt 13:58) And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Oswald Chambers said “ if we really believed that God meant what He said, just imagine what we would be like! Do I really dare to let God be to me all that He will be?

Are you here with some unfinished business?

  • Many of us have been raised or raised our own young’uns with the gathering of the body, the church is important unless it conflicts with what I want to do mentality.

Remembered!

Gen 8:1-

The world had gotten so bad that God said He had enough. Imagine, as merciful and patient as God is and He had enough?

Just like the commercial said, He washed that grey right out of His hair.

God continued to try and persuade His creation that He loved them. To repent and return. But they just hardened their heart and refused.

It is important for us to understand, to really grasp the truth here. God is not some deity with an overactive ego. He is not keeping creation from having a good time and making them boring. He is THE WATCH MAKER. He really knows what makes us tick!

He knows the lie we have substituted for the truth and the real outcome of it.

We are created to bring glory to Him. We do this by abiding in His truth. Living righteous and holy lives which actually brings real lasting joy and peace us. We really live instead of just survive.

Sadly, just like today, these folks chose to believe the lie that the good life, the fun life, can be found in serving self instead of the Savior.

When the door of the ark closed that day, instead of the long, grueling, painful, and drawn out path of destruction man had set his sight on. It all came in one swift moment.

When we come to chapter 8 we find a very exciting and precious verse. Verse 1.

(Ge 8:1a) ¶ And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark:…

  • Remembered.
    •  This is not suggesting that God forgot about Noah.
      • God does not forget about His children. 
    • To my knowledge there is only one thing God forgets. 
      • Our sins that are washed away by the blood of Jesus! (Jer 31:34 Heb 8:12 &17)
    • When the text tells us that God “remembered” Noah, it doesn’t mean that God had forgotten him.
      • It simply means that in the midst of the great flood, God stayed true to His promises. He promised to deliver Noah and his family and all those animals.
      • During the flood, with all its death and destruction, the Lord looked down on the earth and remembered to have mercy on eight people floating in a flooded world with all those animals.
    • God remembered Noah by His sovereignty.
      • (V1) by sending a wind.
      • (V2) by stopping the rain and the waters
    • Here is a great statement God is showing us here.
      • Nothing can stop Him from keeping His promise.
      • He rules the forces of nature.
    • God remembered Noah by His mercy.
      • God gave him a sign. (V11)
      • God never told Noah how long the flood would last. He sent this dove back with an olive shoot revealing new growth and dry land.
    • God remembered Noah personally.(V15)
      • Here, God speaks directly to him.
      • What a comfort that had to be.
      • Over a year afloat with all those animals and all that family.
      • To hear the voice of God was the surety that He had brought them through to a new day.

We are living in a day that seems like we are simply afloat. No direction. No place to land. It is easy for us to start allowing the waters of the world to trickle in and began to pool around us.

Although chapter 8 is primarily about God remembering Noah I cannot help but notice the character of the man God chose for this.

  • Faithful to the end.
    • In all the time that they were afloat there is no record of God speaking to Noah. 
      • Yet Noah had been faithful in caring for the animal’s day in and day out.
      • Been there for his wife his children.
    • I’m sure he was tired of being around those animals day and night.
      • We can’t even imagine the smells and the other aspects of living in the ark.
    • No doubt Noah was ready to see the family have a little bit of elbowroom.
      • It’s not easy to dwell with your sons and your daughters-in-law and your wife in close range for over a year.
      •  Talking about Cabin fever
    • Aint that our job
      • To live our life in faithful obedience.
      • Rather we feel like God is speaking to us our not?
      • Rather circumstances are great, good, or even bad?
  • Grateful to the end. (V20)
    • It is an awesome testimony to the devotion and love Noah had to his Lord God.
      • Noah was very aware that God did not have to save him nor his family.
    • The same opportunity God gave the rest of the world God gave Noah.
      •  Noah believed and responded.
    • He was eye witness to the fury and magnitude of the raging torrents of water.
      • He knew it was God’s hand that kept them afloat.
    • He was mindful of God’s provision for his family and that of the animals.
      • He was in awe of God’s mercy.
    • How do I know this?
      • Look in (v20) again
      • The first thing he did was give God credit and thanks.
    • He didn’t just say he believed he showed it.

     We have the tendency to forget God.  Do you know when we remember God?  We remember God when the chips are down.  We remember God when the bottom falls out.  We pray, Lord, help me.  Lord come quickly.  We will pray in King James English.  And then when God answers our prayer we will thank God and then we will forget God. 

            But not Noah.  The very first thing that he does when he gets out of the ark is to offer a sacrifice. 

            Now what would you do after you have been cooped up for over a year?  What would be the very first thing that you would do?

            Not Noah, the very first thing that he does is to offer a sacrifice to the Lord.  We forget to do that, don’t we?

            Remember the 10 lepers that cried out to Jesus, “Jesus, master have pity on us.”  And Jesus did and he healed them all.  A little time had  passed and only one of the lepers sought Jesus out to thank Him.  And Jesus response was, “Were not all then cleaned, where are the other nine. 

            And right now Jesus may be asking you, “Where is your attitude of gratitude?  Why don’t you remember me?  Why art you thankful?  Where are all the people that I blessed?  Where are all the people that have had their prayers answered by me. 

            We are so quick to call upon God when we need something, but so rarely do we give  God thanks for the mundane things of life. 

 It was an altar of obedience. With Noah the will of God was paramount. What is religion but obedience? — “the obedience of faith” — of which the entire simplicity constitutes its true perfection. Noah’s career in the new world began in the spirit of essential obedience. At the command, “Go forth,” the Ark is deserted; and, doubtless, in the spirit of faith the altar was erected.

2. It was an altar of gratitude and dedication. Noah was grateful to his Almighty Friend; and, as gratitude is a quality which loses its fragrance by delay, so he postponed every business and consideration to the thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.

3. It was an altar of propitiation. This is its most important feature. Worship and sacrifice are incorporated and identified from the beginning of the world. Man was always a sinner. He could never approach his Maker in any other character.

4. The altar of Noah was a family altar. He was the priest of his family. He required their presence before the throne of grace. He persuaded them to assist in praising God, and in making a covenant by sacrifice. A family altar is, transcendently and incalculably, a family blessing. With Noah, the worship of God was the first business he attended to. He lacked neither calls of necessity nor momentous cares; but he postponed all ether considerations to the service of God. Not like the majority amongst us, who fancy that they have too much to do to devote any time to religion. In the patriarch’s worship there was no trace of selfishness. Many think there is no worship like free worship, and are most willing to pray where they have little to pay. What a reproof may they find in Noah! The seventh part of his whole stock and substance he dedicated to God. He reasoned not about future wants, but made an instant and “a whole burnt offering” to his Maker. He did it because it was God’s appointment.

Our text contains an important message of hope. In the midst of judgment, God always remembers mercy. He remembers those who suffer and he keeps his eyes on them. Though they suffer long and often feel forgotten, the Almighty will not abandon them. As God remembered Noah, even so he will remember you and me. There is no trial so severe that it can separate us from the God who loves us.