Abraham, back to God's altar, discover the place of your last altar, Genesis 13:1-4, gentel rebuke, God terminates his lesson, no longer troubled by famine, outside God's will, pathway of faith, Philippians 4:19, spiritual journey, spiritually weak, stand up for morality, wasted faith, wealth
It was time for Abraham’s lesson in Egypt to end. Fortunately, God terminated this painful lesson of Egypt in Abraham’s life. At the deepest moment of his agony, crushed with humiliation and sick at heart, Abraham exited Egypt. Yes he had more wealth than ever before, but His spiritual life was in shambles. Now God led Abraham back to “the place” where his spiritual journey began.
So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him into the Negev. Now Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. And he journeyed on from the Negev as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first; and there Abram called on the name of the Lord. (Genesis 13:1-4 RSV)
Please note – God wants us all to be corrected via kindness, gentleness, goodness, and love. God doesn’t want you to experience sickness, brokenness, danger or other physical loss. God always corrects us privately first. God always approaches with the gentle rebuke of His word. It is only after we have neglected responding to His gentle rebukes that God allows something more drastic to speak to us.
I am sure God never wanted Abraham to undergo being rebuked by Pharaoh. How embarrassing it is when the world corrects God’s people. Like Abraham, we are to leave Egypt blessed, not broke, busted, and disgusted.
Like Pharaoh, we are to listen when God speaks and stand up for morality even when God’s man doesn’t. Pharaoh was blessed too! Why? Because those who blessed Abraham would be blessed as well.
Thankfully, Abraham did leave Egypt. This was his obedience. As soon as Abraham was back in the land, it didn’t take long until he discovered God’s altar once again. As long as Abraham stayed in Egypt he and his family would have been spiritually weak. Why? Because Egypt was not the land of God’s promise.
Any place not of God’s promise will only deplete you. There was no altar in Egypt, no place of worship, no cleansing, or fellowship. Yes, Abraham could have built an altar, but it would not have been an altar of promise. Time spent in Egypt (outside of God’s will) was wasted time!
Abraham had to come right back to where he was when he took the detour down to Egypt. He had material gain to show for the time in Egypt, but nothing but barrenness and weakness spiritually.
The same is true of you. When you forsake the pathway of faith, when you refuse to walk in fellowship with God, when you depend upon the resources of the world to satisfy the empty hunger of the heart… these are wasted years! They may be literal years. I know Christians who have lived almost all their lives in Egypt and all they have to show for it is a barren, wasted, empty, boring existence.
The moment you turn around and head back to the place of your obedience you start growing again. The place you return to is that last place you had true fellowship with God. This place is where you built your last altar. People ask me, “What should I do now?” — Simply do what you were doing before you became sidetracked by choosing Egypt.
When Abraham finally returned home, what did he find? There was no mention of famine when he returned. I think the famine was still a reality. Remember, Abraham was driven out of Egypt. Since Abraham was not ready to leave Egypt by his own choice, this would indicate the famine was still raging in Canaan. Also, the quarrel which developed with Lot’s herdsmen over the pasture land suggests there was still a severe shortage of feed.
Though the famine still continued, Abraham was no longer troubled by it. Why not? Because, when he reached the land, the first thing he did was to call on the name of the Lord! This was what he should have done and could have done when the famine first struck.
When Abraham called on the name of the Lord he discovered the resources of God. He discovered that God was able to meet his needs despite the famine, the trial, or the circumstances.
Just as Paul proclaimed, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:19).