Sunday, April 10, 2005

God Loves Me No Matter What

Intro: One of the exercises that we do with the Girl Scouts as part of the God and Country Award is called “God Loves Me No Matter What!”

  1. You probably remember it. The girls and their mentors contribute items that might influence God's love.

    1. I love my brother

    2. I feed the dog

    3. I kick the dog

    4. I kick my brother

    It is an exercise that any of us can do when we need to be reminded of God's love.

  2. God may love us – no matter what

  3. But he does not always love what we do

    1. I expect he did not like it when I kicked my dog

    2. I expect he did not like it when I kicked my sister

  4. But it is true of not only us – but true of many of those whose lives are recorded in scripture.

Read Genesis 12:10-20


Tran. There were two major families in Genesis 1-11 that we have not looked at:

  1. Adam and Eve and their immediate family

  2. There was Noah and his family

  3. Then there was the incident at the Tower of Babel

All of these would be worth spending some time on – they set the stage for the men and women that form the basis of the remainder of Genesis. But for now, our attention is focused on Abraham and Sarah – who have just been introduced to the Palestine – but they move on to Egypt because of the famine.

T.S. The passage that we are looking at today can be thought of as a three act play.

  1. Act I: Abraham and Sarah

    1. You would think it might be a wonderful day for Abraham. After all, God had him look around and promised him everything he could see.

    2. God had made it clear that Abraham was special – he was God's man in God's time. Here was a man that knows God's love in a special way.

    3. But apparently, he didn't get it. He continues traveling south into the desert and, not surprisingly, he finds a desert. And he has to respond to the famine that he found there.

(Ill.) Unless we lived through the depression, most of us have no concept of what the lack of food might feel like. But those who knew their heritage, understood what famine was about. Scripture records 13 different famines – during the 2000 years from the time of Abraham to the time of Jesus Christ.

(Appl.) But there are times when we go through spiritual famines. Times when God seems so far away, so distant that it seems like we are forgotten. It leaves us hungering and thirsting for some good word from God.
* God's word seems dry and tasteless
* Church becomes meaningless
* We find being with other Christians difficult
I don't know if you are experiencing a spiritual famine today – but the time will most likely come when you do have to face it.

(Ill.) But Abraham's famine is not primarily a spiritual famine – it is the first of the 13 famines mentioned in scripture.

    1. Whether it is real famine or a spiritual famine, we need to focus our attention on God. Abraham forgot to do so.

  1. Act #2: Abraham and the Egyptians

    1. I am not bothered by the fact that Abraham and his wife gave thought to telling a lie to the Egyptians. After all Jesus was tempted – temptation is not a sin.

    2. But when the ran from God's promised land to Egypt because of the famine and began to tell this lie they had cooked up, I am truly bothered.

    3. But it is not just the lie that bothers me. In telling this lie Abraham has really offended three key people in his life:

  • First, Abraham is disrespectful of God – God has just shown him the promised land. Yet Abraham does not have enough faith to know that God will see him through the current crisis.

  • Second, Abraham is disrespectful of his wife – I Peter 3:7 reads, “Husbands, in the same way be considerate your wives and treat them with respect.” You have heard of the three “R”s. But someone has said that respect to a woman is summed up in the three “T”s: Time, Talk, and Touch. When Abraham told his lie, he essentially gave up the right to offer all three to his wife.

  • Finally, Abraham is disrespectful of himself – I am sure that when he first concocted this lie, Abraham never thought we would be sitting her discussing his choices 4000 years later. But we are. The founder of the Jewish race never expected that the small choices he made in his life reflect his character. But yet it is part of the picture we have of Abraham.

  1. Act #3: Abraham and Pharoah

    1. Abraham's wife was beautiful. Abraham was about 75 years old at this point and his wife was 65 – and scripture tells us that she was beautiful.

(Ill.) I thought that was neat – scripture calling a 65 year old woman beautiful. At least until I found that the same word is used to describe David in I Samuel. Well, okay, maybe that was okay – there is some connection between a man being handsome and a beautiful woman. But then I read a bit further and Genesis uses the same word to describe a cow.

Beauty is not something that is merely on the outside – it is something that goes beyond what we see. Sarah's “dignity, bearing, and countenance” as well as her appearance all contributed to her beauty.

    1. And of course her beauty did attract Pharoah's attention. Too much attention.

    2. But in spite of Abraham's lie, God was still at work.

    3. God was, of course watching Abraham – his wealth and possessions increased.

(Ill.) Someone once said, “Nothing exists from whose nature some effect does not follow.”i

    1. And such was the case here. I wonder if Abraham ever used that modern argument - “Its okay as long as no body is hurt.” But there are times when we cross the line, convinced that nobody will be hurt, but somebody gets hurt. It happened in Egypt. There were consequences for Abraham's sin – not to Abraham, but to the world in which he found himself.

Conclusion: And in the middle of all of this, Abraham continued to experience and enjoy God's love.

  1. God's love is not dependent on our behavior.

  2. God's love is not dependent on anything

  3. He loves us.

  4. Our task is to live close to him

  5. Our task is allow his spirit to fill us

iMerriam-Webster, I. (1992). The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Quotations. Electronic Edition. Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster.

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