On Sunday, Pastor Donnell talked again about the journey of Abram and Sarai and their back and forth experience in responding to God’s promises. Pastor Donnell pointed out in particular how God did not chastise Abram for lying to the pharaoh of Egypt about Sarai his wife. Instead, God was with Abram when he attacked the armies which had taken his nephew Lot captive. It was this victory which led to the mysterious meeting between Abram and the King of Salem, Melchizedek, and the offering of bread and wine. This week, we will be meditating on what this story tells us about the character of the God and help us in the process relate to God in our own walk with Him.
To do this, we will use a selected set of passages from chapters 12-14 of the book of Genesis. (You could read all three chapters; the point of the story would be the same.)
First, the initial and primary promise:
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1–3)
… and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. (Genesis 12:5b)
The challenge to wait on God to fulfill the promise:
Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.” (Genesis 12: 10-13)
So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? … Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had. (Genesis 12:18, 20)
When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people. (Genesis 14: 14-16)
God’s continued blessing:
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.
And praise be to God Most High,
who delivered your enemies into your hand.”
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. (Genesis 18-20)
When you have several minutes to pray, read the above Scripture passages slowly. The first time through, you might simply let the story sink in. Consider bold Abram’s response to God’s outlandish promise to him and then his subsequent fear and plan to deceive Pharoah. Then comes Abram’s rescue of Lot and God’s blessing of Abraham through a mysterious king. Finally, Abram acknowledges his dependence on God through his offering of a tenth of everything to the king of Salem.
It might be a bit much to try to put our own life into a similar context. We may not have received such a personal and wonderful promise from God and responded like Abram did. But we have our beliefs about how God relates to us and how He will care for us. Consider God’s position towards Abram, particular after Abram decides to go to Egypt and deceive Pharoah. What would you expect God to do? How will he treat Abram now?
Read the story again, focusing on God’s treatment of Abram. As questions or feelings come up as you read, share these with God.
Finally, read the story one more time, this time keeping yourself and your own life with God in mind as you read. What particular beliefs or promises do you count on from God? What has been your response when times got tough? How do you think God felt towards you during these times? How does this contrast with God’s treatment of Abram? Talk to God about the differences. Is God saying anything to you now about your relationship with Him? How does this make you feel? At a certain point, you might simply want to be quiet in God’s presence for a few minutes, opening your spirit to God and whatever He has for you.
When you are done, you might jot down anything of significance from your time of prayer.
Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.