Genesis 12:4-9; Genesis 13:1-4, Genesis 13:14, Genesis 13:18
There is a path to be found, and God alone can find it; so if we would find the path we must find God by being found by Him.
1. The Departure of Faith—Genesis 12:4. Abram “departed out of Haran,” the half-way place of compromise, and this was “as the Lord had spoken to Him.” Faith’s authority and action is always based upon what God says—Romans 10:17. Obedience is the act of faith. When we will what God wills, we show our faith.
2. The Destination of Faith—Genesis 12:5; “This land” (Genesis 12:7). “They went forth” to “Canaan,” and “into the land of Canaan they came,” and there “Jehovah appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land.” The land was God’s gift of earthly possession to Abram and his seed. God has given to faith “all spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). See how many blessings are mentioned in Ephesians 1, and “name them one by one.”
3. The Worship of Faith. Three times we read of Abram in connection with an altar, and in three different relations. First, when Jehovah gave Abram the land—Genesis 12:7; second, when he was restored after his backsliding into Egypt—Genesis 14:4; and third, as he progressed on his journey—Genesis 14:18. The altar, in its typical meaning, is worship founded on sacrifice. The Cross of Christ’s sacrifice is the basis of God’s giving—Romans 8:32, the plea for restoration—Hebrews 9:13-14, and the spur to progress in Christian life and service—2 Corinthians 5:14-16. The only place where we can worship God is in and at the Cross of Christ’s atoning sacrifice. We cannot worship Him if we are in the Egypt of the world and lack heart separation to Him. The altar and tent are not mentioned as long as Abram is in Egypt—see Genesis 12:9 to Genesis 13:4.
4. The Declension of Faith. Abram “went down into Egypt,” and when he had “come into Egypt” he compromised with Sarah, caused Pharaoh pain, told a lie about Sarah, and was sent away by the Egyptians—Genesis 12:10, Genesis 12:14, Genesis 12:17, Genesis 12:19, Genesis 12:20. When a child of God gets out of communion with the Lord, he will often do what a man of the world would scorn to do. Our faith will wane if we are not watchful, even as a plant will languish for want of attention. A musty room means the exclusion of light, sun, and air, and a declining faith will cause the whole spiritual life to be lacking in the warmth of love, the light of knowledge, and the air of the Spirit’s life-imparting grace.
5. The Vision of Faith—Genesis 13:14-16. The Lord told Abram to “look,” after he was separated from Lot. Lot was the man who looked on the plains of Jordan—Genesis 13:10, and soon was in Sodom. He followed the eyes of his inclination, but Abram followed the direction of the Lord. When we see things at the Lord’s bidding we always find a blessing; but when we look with the eyes of self-will we are courting a bane. To see the Lord is to see things in their true light—Hebrews 11:27. To see things truly there is a needs be for the heart to be clean, the hands right, the spirit possessed by Christ, and the soul dominated by the Spirit.
6. The Journey of Faith. There are seven stages in the journeyings of Abram.
- From the Ur of idolatry to the Haran of compromise—Genesis 11:31.
- From the Haran of compromise to the Canaan of blessing—Genesis 12:4, Genesis 12:5.
- From the Canaan of blessing and the “Moreh” of conflict to the Bethel of prayer—Genesis 12:6-8.
- From the Bethel of prayer to the “going and journeying” (margin) to “the south” of bordering on the Egypt of the world, and to the Egypt of straitening—Genesis 12:9-20.
- From the Egypt of backsliding to the Bethel of restoration—Genesis 13:1-4.
- From the Bethel of restoration to the Hebron of fellowship—Genesis 13:18.
7. The Advance of Faith. When the Haran of compromise is left, the Egypt of the world is abandoned, and Lot is cut off; then Abram is able to “look” with God into His purpose for him, and to “walk” through the land, and dwell with the Lord in the Hebron of fellowship—Genesis 13:14-18. Hindrances gone, faith advances. When faith advances in the ways of God, it enjoys His word and keeps on in fellowship with Him.