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Led By Our Fathers

June 15, 2014

Gen 11:27-12:9

“Led By Our Fathers”

 

Opening Scripture and Welcome     Matthew 28:16-20  

 

*Call To Worship                                                               Psalm 8 

 

Children’s Sermon                                                                    “Three In One”

Divide kids into groups of three.  Have them link arms.  If there is extra, grab adults.

 

Give them tasks to do.  They must move together as one.  After you perform the action just stay put for the next direction.

            Go shake someone’s hand

            Give someone a hug

            Go say good morning to someone

 

When your arms are linked can you really go off and do whatever you want?  You’re connected and you all do the same thing.  You all move in the same direction.

 

Today is Trinity Sunday when the church remembers that God is three persons.  The word “trinity” is made up of two words:  “tri” (like tricycle) and “unity” meaning one.  Three in one. 

 

Who can name for me the three persons of the Trinity.  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  If you read your Bible you will discover that Jesus often told his disciples that he didn’t do anything the Father didn’t want him to do and that the Holy Spirit came from them both to do what they wanted the Holy Spirit to do.  All together.  Like you with your linked arms. 

 

And you know what the best part of the trinity is?  Each person, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, loves you and is with you.

 

Let’s pray and thank God for this great love.

 

 

Intro:  After the account of the Tower of Babel, Gen 11 proceeds to give us the genealogy of Noah’s son Shem all the way through Abram.  So if we look at this and do the math, we see that Abram comes nine generations after Noah.  Some history in the world and in the family has accumulated during these generations.

One important thing to note:  No one was worshiping God alone.  Idol worship was everywhere.  God, watched and waited while the world he had created, destroyed and recreated went its way mindless of His gift of life, mindless of the relationship he desired to have with them.  A Father who had been abandoned by his children.  And for this period of time, after driving them apart at Babel, God was silent.  For nine generations he did not speak or intervene in the ways of humanity, the creatures he had created.

 

We’ll pick up the story with Abram’s father, Terah.

 

11:27-32

Now these are the descendants of Terah.

Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran;

            and Haran was the father of Lot. Okay. 

We have three brothers and one nephew.  Stay with me, this family tree is a little messy.

           

            Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his birth,

                         in Ur of the Chaldeans.

            Abram and Nahor took wives;

                        the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and

                        the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah.

                        She was the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and Iscah.

So, Nahor married his deceased brother’s daughter.  It is believed that this was a way to protect the women and the family.  If we saw it today in Bradford County we may be a little more disturbed by the arrangement, but at this time in history and throughout the OT, widowed wives and their families were taken care of by brothers – for good or ill.

 

            Now Sarai was barren; she had no child.

Moses wants us to know that Sarai is unable to have children.  This is key in the story of the people of God because we will see that God can do what is humanly impossible and chooses to act in our lives in miraculous ways.

I’m going to take a little side trip here and reflect on what I’ve been reading in my devotions this week in conjunction with what our friends Jodi and David Taualofai challenged me with when they were here.  So let me include you in on this challenge.  Have we given up asking God for miracles because we assume ourselves to be self-sufficient enough to accomplish all things by ourselves?  Has it not become so easy for us to get, to fix, to have, that we have ceased to rely on God to meet our needs? 

 

God longs for our dependence on Him so that He can do for us more than we can ask or imagine.  It is a discipline we have to learn and practice over and over again, but when we do, it gives God great pleasure to act in our lives.  Personally, my big challenge from Jodi was to pray for college for my kids to be paid for.  So as we begin the application for a second loan for a second year and sign a lease on an apartment, I am doing so dependent and expectant that God will provide.  Maybe not on this end, but who knows what God can do between now and when those loans come due.  You may scoff, “Yeah, right.”  Because we have been trained to rely on what we can see and what we can touch and what we can manage on our own.  But here’s a true story:  God doesn’t want us to manage on our own.  God wants to give to us.  God wants to be deeply involved in all of our endeavors.

 

Remember that Sarai, the wife of Abraham was barren and as we journey through their story in the months to come, watch how they get in the way of God by trying to handle things on their own, and how God is so prepared to care for them if they would just trust him.

 

Back to the passage.

 

Terah took his son Abram and

            his grandson Lot son of Haran, and

            his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife,

                        and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans

                        to go into the land of Canaan;

                                    but when they came to Haran, they settled there.

The days of Terah were two hundred five years; and Terah died in Haran.

 

We have just a few verses to get to know Terah, the father of Abraham.

  • He was a man who had experienced loss as his middle son had pre-deceased him. 
  • The commentators tell us that he was a man given to worshipping many gods. 
  • He was a man who was prepared to move when it was necessary. But while it seems that Terah was the one who set the pace and chose the direction, we find out, in the next verse we read, that it was actually a move based on God’s call to Abram.  Terah, the patriarch took his family out from the Chaldeans, but it was in response to God’s call on Abram’s life.

 

Now the following question could be asked of all parents, but since it’s Father’s Day . . . Dad’s how often have you done something for your kids benefit?  Whether it’s getting out of your recliner to go outside and play, or driving your kid to a practice that shoots your whole day but gets them where they need to be.  Terah led the family because the call his son received from God.

 

We’ve been thinking about this in our house.  God called Barry to Wyalusing 18 years ago.  Obviously it was about him the patriarch, right?  But when we look at what has happened since – we know that God had bigger plans than Barry being in his church.  We think of the opportunities our children have had to develop their talents and skills, and I think about how I ended up here.  God calls fathers to lead.  I’m glad we followed!

 

Terah died at 375 years of age.  But he had led his family for those years.

 

Okay, in all of those nine generations, there is no recording of God speaking to anyone.  Not since Noah had God approached humankind for a conversation.  What Moses wrote for us is quite abrupt in it’s beginning. God just up and tells him to leave! And as I mentioned before, it appears that Moses is writing a little bit out of sequence here as it is likely that this conversation between Abram and God happened prior to their leaving the Chaldeans.

 

 

 

 

12:1-3

Now the Lord said to Abram,

            “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house

                   to the land that I will show you.

            I will make of you a great nation, and

            I will bless you, and make your name great,

                        so that you will be a blessing.

            I will bless those who bless you,

                        and the one who curses you

            I will curse;

            and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Do you remember that Sunday School song, “Father Abraham”?  This is where it comes from!

 

Will you look at all the things God promises he will do for Abraham? I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

Now wait a minute.  Why Abraham?  Because the commentators point out that Abraham was a product of his culture.  He would have worshipped all the gods of his father Terah.  What made him stand out to God out of all the people on the earth?  It wasn’t because he was perfect and had it all together.  It wasn’t because he always trusted God.  He was not better qualified on the outside, but there was something in his heart and spirit that enabled him to hear God and follow God when God spoke.  And Abraham was found to be faithful and obedient, even if not perfectly so.

 

Hey there!  You Father’s, you leaders of families.  Do you feel underequipped for the job?  Well, you probably are!  If you let God lead and you make it your aim to live in fellowship with God and obedience to God, you will get your family where they need to go.

 

And let me say a word to those of you who, like me, have not had the blessing of a faithful father.  God will redeem/is redeeming your situation.  YOU follow God and live in obedience to him.  It doesn’t matter what the situation looks like from where you’re standing now.  There is a Father who is guiding you, who is seeing your particular situation and longing to lead you where you need to go.  I speak form experience of allowing God to Father me.  He has always proven himself faithful no matter what the journey may look like at any given moment.

 

12:4-9

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.

Abram took his wife Sarai and

            his brother’s son Lot, and

            all the possessions that they had gathered, and

            the persons whom they had acquired in Haran;

                        and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan.

                       

When they had come to the land of Canaan,

            Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem,

            to the oak of Moreh.

            At that time the Canaanites were in the land.

Then the Lord appeared to Abram, and said,

            “To your offspring I will give this land.”

                        So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

 

From there he moved on to the hill country on the east of Bethel,

            and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east;

            and there he built an altar to the Lord and invoked the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed on by stages toward the Negeb.

 

The adventures of Abram are just beginning!  Some of them are familiar to us from Sunday School and perhaps we will learn some new things as his story unravels. 

 

Concl.  What adventures does God have in store for you?  Father’s, how is God calling you to lead your family so that you are open to receiving all that God has promised for you?  And all the rest of us – God is Father to us all and is calling each of us to hear his voice and live in fellowship and obedience.  The best gift you can give God this Father’s Day is to call him “Abba” or whatever best term of endearment you can muster and then live into that relationship, dependent upon Him to be to You all that your heart and soul require.