Out of the Garden, part fourteen

Today I wanted to focus on something in the life of Abram, who eventually gets renamed to Abraham. As we meet him in the book of Genesis, God tells him to leave his home country and go somewhere new and that God’s going to do amazing things through Abram there. And Abram gathers up his wife, family members, servants, and all their livestock and they leave home.

Right away that tells you something powerful about Abram’s character. He’s obedient. God spoke, and Abram uprooted his entire life to obey. When you look at those who had massive impacts for the kingdom of God, it’s almost always the ones who drastically obeyed. The ones who truly left their old lives behind to follow God. It’s critical to take note of the character traits of people like Abram so we can emulate them and live similar lives. And we see the main one here. Even though God’s request meant changing EVERYTHING about his life, Abram did not hesitate to obey.

So they set out on this new journey, and as they get going God speaks to Abram again.  

Genesis 12:7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

There are a few things that really speak to me here. First is the fact that Abram worshiped at that moment by building an altar and sacrificing to the Lord based upon a promise alone. God hadn’t actually done anything for Abram yet. If I called you up and said “I’m going to give you a billion dollars soon” and then hung up, you’d be confused and highly skeptical. I doubt you’d go out back and make a statue in my honor based upon the words I spoke to you about a great gift I was going to give you. You would wait until after I delivered on my extravagant promise before you heaped praise and thanks upon me.

But Abram didn’t have to wait for the fulfillment of the promise to worship because he knew the one who made the promise. God doesn’t lie, and if He says He’s going to do something for you, He does it. So we see another important aspect of Abram’s character here that we most certainly want to emulate. Abram had a deep faith in God’s promises. He trusted God, and he didn’t need the fulfillment of the promise to worship because he knew that God always lives up to His word. The promise was enough.

Do we trust God that much? When He tells us not to fear, not to be anxious even when circumstances seem dire, when He tells us that He will guide us through the storms, do we trust Him enough to sit down and worship in that moment as if the fulfillment has already come? Do we see beyond the waves and worship Jesus upon the water, or are we too caught up worrying about the waves that we are in a constant state of sinking?

Abram and his crew do some more traveling, and something really cool happens. Check this out.

Genesis 13:3-4 From the Negev, they continued traveling by stages toward Bethel, and they pitched their tents between Bethel and Ai, where they had camped before. 4 This was the same place where Abram had built the altar, and there he worshiped the Lord again.

Look at what happened here. Because Abram marked the spot where God spoke to him, he was able to return there and worship again. Abram didn’t need a new victory when he came back through the area, because he had the reminder of his old victory right there in front of him. I’m so moved by this moment because some time has passed. There have been a few trials, a lot of travel, and let’s not forget, the original word that God spoke to Abram in this place still hasn’t been fulfilled. Yet when they return here, Abram worships again.

The fact that God had spoken in that place was reason enough to worship. Abram knew something powerful. He knew that today’s victories are tomorrow’s reasons to worship. God’s already done amazing things in our life and even if today holds no new miraculous moments there’s still more than enough reason to worship Him.

Isaiah 46:9 Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me.    

1 Chronicles 16:12 Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given,

Mark the promises of the Lord in your life. Make a record, keep a journal, write a blog, do something so that you won’t forget all that God’s said and all that He’s done. And remember, the promise itself is reason enough to worship. If He speaks it, He’ll fulfill it, and all we need to do is worship Him for His goodness and faithfulness.

One final point I want to make is this. When we make a record of God’s promises and deeds in our life, we not only help remind ourselves to worship Him, but we can help others to worship Him too. When other believers traveled through the land and found the altar that Abram had built, they knew this was a place of worship. Chances are they stopped and worshipped there too, simply because they knew this marker represented God’s faithful hand moving in another person’s life. Imagine your kids finding your notebook full of records of God’s moves in your life when they are a little older. Realizing how good that God was to their parent may move them to worship Him. Mark His movements for yourself, but don’t be at all surprised when your remembrances also move others to worship.
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I love all of you. I hope you had a wonderful week and that you’ve got a great weekend ahead of you. Find some time to get alone with God this weekend and worship Him for all the wonderful things He’s done and said to you over the course of your life.

If you need prayer or just need someone to talk to, please feel free to email me at anytime at freejenkins@gmail.com

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