If Abraham truly trusted God, his actions in Genesis chapter 12 would have looked very different. There would have been no reason for him to fear for his life, and tell lies to keep himself safe! It’s the same for us today. Do we trust Jesus to sustain us when the wells are dry?
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Transcript: Welcome to Five Minutes With Pastor Lutzer. I’m so glad that you joined us again today as we study the life of Abraham. We’ve titled the series “Strength for the Journey,” but more specifically today, I’m talking about trusting God when the wells are dry.
Chapter 12 of the book of Genesis, we read in verse 10 that after Abraham was in the land, there’s a famine in the land. And as we learned in the last episode, Abraham goes down to Egypt, he tells lies; he tells a lie about his wife. It ends very badly. And there is no altar in Egypt. There’s no worship of the living and the true God.
One of the lessons that we have to learn is this: that God can sustain us wherever He leads us. Now, I’m not saying that if you lose your job as a result of a pandemic, or for some other reason, that you shouldn’t move to some other place. But in the case of Abraham, he should have stayed in the land that God gave him; and God could have sustained him right there.
As a matter of fact, we have proof of that in the 26th chapter where his son Isaac—the Bible says that a famine comes to the land, and God says “Isaac, stay here and I’ll take care of you.” And Isaac actually has a crop that year. As a matter of fact, he re-digs some of the wells that the Philistines had closed and he is blessed. I don’t know where you are today, but if God has led you where you are, He can sustain you right there. Be encouraged. Abraham should have known that.
There’s another lesson; and that is, God does not leave us even when we leave Him. Now you read the story there in the twelfth chapter, and clearly Abraham crossed the border here. He went into Egypt. He left God behind, so to speak. And yet, God’s taking care of them. God sends a plague to Pharaoh and reveals the lie that Abraham told. And God does this for Abraham’s benefit, because He’s taking care of us, even at times when we leave Him. When we leave Him geographically, when we leave Him morally, God is able to care for us.
J.I. Packer, who is now with the Lord, who wrote many very wonderful things, said—and I hope that I can quote him rather accurately—he said that no matter when we—let me read it to you. “You are not strong enough to fall away while God is resolved to hold you.” Let me say that again: you are not strong enough to fall away while God is resolved to hold you.
Perhaps I’m talking to you today and you are backslidden. You’re not in fellowship with God, and you know better than the way you’re living. God still has an interest in you. He crosses boundaries geographically, spiritually; and He is still there for us in His mercy and grace, even as He was for Abraham, who sinned in a very terrible way.
But there’s another lesson we must learn, and that is that every famine is a test of our trust. Every famine is a test of our trust. It’s in verse 13, I think it is, that we read—Abraham, when he goes to Egypt, he says to Sarah, “Say that you are my sister because if not they will kill me.” Well, let’s just take a deep breath here. Let’s not hurry over this. What in the world is Abraham saying, “They’re gonna kill me?” He comes into the land, and God says, you’re going to have seed. You’re gonna become a great nation. And at this point he did not have any children. So if he had listened carefully to God’s promise, he would have known that there was no way that Pharaoh was going to kill him. He couldn’t. Because the purposes of God had to be fulfilled. So this was a test. And as we learned in the last episode, Abraham failed that test—and failed miserably.
Can we trust God in a famine? Well, the better we know Him the more we can trust Him, and the fact that He can sustain us. Let me tell you a story about some years ago; I arrived at O ‘Hare field here in Chicago, and I left the plane and was on my way to baggage claim. And all that I had was a bag that I was pulling. And I fell into step with a mother, and I want to describe her to you. She was holding a baby in one hand. She was pulling a suitcase with the other hand, and a little toddler was running around her feet trying to keep up. So I said to her, “Could I pull your—your suitcase for you?” She said, “No, no. I’ll do it.” And so I had to just watch her struggle. Now she was actually very wise. You don’t trust a man that you have never met. I could have taken that suitcase and pulled it, and had 10 steps ahead of her, and she’d have never seen me again. I understand that. But it dawned on me of how different this would have been if this woman had been a member of Moody Church. Perhaps she would have said, “Oh, Pastor Lutzer, I’ll pull my suitcase—you take the baby.”
You see my friend, the better we know Jesus, the more willing we are to give Him our suitcases and to walk with Him and to trust Him. If we don’t know Him, It’s very difficult to trust Him because we don’t really know who He is. We know perhaps by name, but not by experience.
My friend, when you’re going through a famine, when the wells are dry, remember to give Jesus your suitcase; and He’ll take you all the way to the finish line. Thanks so much for joining us; and today we’ve talked about Abraham. Next time, we’ll continue our study of Abraham’s life. But as for today, you just go with God.