One of the (many) things I love about the Bible is the unadulterated openness of the ungodliness of some of God’s most godly people. I really love it. It gives me hope. It also makes me appreciate the honesty of God as well as His patient love and affection. Some choose to see only His anger and frustration. Well, heck, if I had been the parent of these kids for several millennia…well, best not to go there.
Here’s another good example. Many of us know this part:
“The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.’”
And so, Abram did as God told him, which has earned him many accolades through the annuls of times as a man of great faith, which he was:
“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.”
I mean, really, we had gotten so far off the original mark from the Garden by this point in the story, there were very few (if any) that God was particularly talking with now, so this relationship was amazingly unique. Major kudos to Abram.
But then, the plot thickens…
“At that time a severe famine struck the land of Canaan, forcing Abram to go down to Egypt…”
It’s interesting to note that, whereas God specifically told Abram to go to Canaan (with all sorts of really cool promises for the future, dependent on Abram’s sacrificial obedience), God did NOT tell Abram to leave Canaan during the famine to go to Egypt.
Now, in my mind, Abram’s decision made total sense. God allowed a famine, I have all these mouths to feed (including livestock), and Canaan will be here when I get back, right?
Of course, as we read the rest of the story, we can see the debacle that Abram’s decision caused, with potential future political consequences, (not to mention a probable marital rift). Literally kicked out of Egypt, (by the grace of God), Abram takes his rather large contingent (and a possibly somewhat disgruntled wife) and heads back the way he came—to Canaan. Where he was supposed to be. And as he winds his way up the familiar path, he comes to a place he recognizes:
“This was the same place where Abram had built the altar, and there he worshiped the LORD again.”
Again. Oh, man, how I love that word! God is able to bring me back to SAME place where I left off, and worship Him AGAIN, and build what He had in mind before I decided to “help Him out just a little”. My well-meaning logical decisions to work around the obstacles rather than stay the course laid out by God Almighty cannot keep me out of the will of God if my heart is truly for Him. Now, there may be (probably will be) consequences: lost time, broken relationships, etc, but God is ABLE to get me back on course, back to where I went off course, and go from there.
Or as my pastor likes to say, “God is more powerful than my stupid.”
So…which alter is in your rear-view mirror?
Genesis 12:1-2,7,10; 13:4 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.