Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from yourcountry and your kindred and your father’shouse to the land that I will show you. And Iwill make of you a great nation, and I willbless you and make your name great, so thatyou will be a blessing. I will bless those whobless you, and him who dishonors you I willcurse, and in you all the families of the earthshall be blessed."
So Abram went, as the LORD had told him,and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot hisbrother’s son, and all their possessions thatthey had gathered, and the people that they hadacquired in Haran, and they set out to go to theland of Canaan. When they came to the land ofCanaan, Abram passed through the land to theplace at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At thattime the Canaanites were in the land.
Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said,"To your offspring I will give this land." So hebuilt there an altar to the LORD, who hadappeared to him. From there he moved to thehill country on the east of Bethel and pitchedhis tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on theeast. And there he built an altar to the LORDand called upon the name of the LORD. Genesis 12:1-8 (ESV)
1. We choose our own solution, instead of trusting God.
After these things the word of the LORD cameto Abram in a vision: "Fear not, Abram, I amyour shield; your reward shall be very great.“But Abram said, "O Lord GOD, what will yougive me, for I continue childless, and the heirof my house is Eliezer of Damascus?“ AndAbram said, "Behold, you have given me nooffspring, and a member of my household willbe my heir.“ And behold, the word of theLORD came to him: "This man shall not beyour heir; your very own son shall be yourheir."
And he brought him outside and said, "Looktoward heaven, and number the stars, if youare able to number them." Then he said to him,"So shall your offspring be.“ And he believedthe LORD, and he counted it to him asrighteousness. Genesis 15:1-6 (ESV)
2. God clearly reveals the difference between the FRUIT of His blessing, and the curse that disobedience produces.
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him nochildren. She had a female Egyptian servantwhose name was Hagar. And Sarai said toAbram, "Behold now, the LORD hasprevented me from bearing children. Go in tomy servant; it may be that I shall obtainchildren by her." And Abram listened to thevoice of Sarai. Genesis 16:1-2 (ESV)
They set out from Rameses in the first month,on the fifteenth day of the first month. On theday after the Passover, the people of Israelwent out triumphantly in the sight of all theEgyptians, while the Egyptians were buryingall their firstborn, whom the LORD had struckdown among them. On their gods also theLORD executed judgments. Numbers 33:3-4 (ESV)
And because he loved your fathers and chosetheir offspring after them and brought you outof Egypt with his own presence, by his greatpower, driving out before you nations greaterand mightier than yourselves, to bring you in,to give you their land for an inheritance, as it isthis day, know therefore today, and lay it toyour heart, that the LORD is God in heavenabove and on the earth beneath; there is noother.
Therefore you shall keep his statutes and hiscommandments, which I command you today,that it may go well with you and with yourchildren after you, and that you may prolongyour days in the land that the LORD your Godis giving you for all time.“ Deuteronomy 4:37-40 (ESV)
"Take care lest you forget the LORD your Godby not keeping his commandments and hisrules and his statutes, which I command youtoday, lest, when you have eaten and are fulland have built good houses and live in them,and when your herds and flocks multiply andyour silver and gold is multiplied and all thatyou have is multiplied, then your heart belifted up, and you forget the LORD your God,who brought you out of the land of Egypt, outof the house of slavery,
who led you through the great and terrifyingwilderness, with its fiery serpents andscorpions and thirsty ground where there wasno water, who brought you water out of theflinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness withmanna that your fathers did not know, that hemight humble you and test you, to do you goodin the end. Beware lest you say in your heart,My power and the might of my hand havegotten me this wealth.
You shall remember the LORD your God, forit is he who gives you power to get wealth, thathe may confirm his covenant that he swore toyour fathers, as it is this day. And if you forgetthe LORD your God and go after other godsand serve them and worship them, I solemnlywarn you today that you shall surely perish.Like the nations that the LORD makes toperish before you, so shall you perish, becauseyou would not obey the voice of the LORDyour God. Deuteronomy 8:11-20 (ESV)
3. What does Ai & Bethel have to do with me, here, TODAY?
"Now therefore fear the LORD and serve himin sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away thegods that your fathers served beyond the Riverand in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it isevil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choosethis day whom you will serve, whether thegods your fathers served in the region beyondthe River, or the gods of the Amorites in whoseland you dwell. But as for me and my house,we will serve the LORD.“ Joshua 24:14-15 (ESV)