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Living by Faith (Vol 30) - Abraham: God is Our Source - 01

Sunday English Service - 10 MAR 19


Hebrews chapter 11. As you know, we've been studying from Hebrews chapter 11 about the life of faith, living by faith. Hebrews chapter 11 gives us a great list of faith heroes. And right now, we're studying about Abraham and chapter 11, where many heroes of faith are mentioned, Abraham seems to be the most prominent one. Many verses are devoted to talking about him. From verse 8 all the way to verse 19 it's all about Abraham. He’s the father of all those who believe, he’s our forerunner, and the New Testament, not only the book of Hebrews, the book of Romans, Galatians and many other places, even Jesus Himself used Abraham and taught so many things through Abraham. And there is much to learn through Abraham.

And I showed you a couple of weeks ago how Abraham's life is seen in four parts in the book of Hebrews chapter 11. The first part is the call of Abraham and we talked about it elaborately. God comes to this man who lived in a world that was lost in idolatry, lost in a darkness and ignorance of God, God comes to him and visits him. Stephen in the book of Acts talking to his persecutors while preaching he says, “The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia.” So, he believes that the God of glory, the true and living God appeared to their forefather Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia in ignorance, in living in that situation of darkness spiritually.

And F. B. Meyer, a great preacher who lived during the time that Spurgeon also lived and preached in London, F. B. Meyer is another preacher who really drew great crowds of people because of his great preaching. He has written about Abraham, the story of Abraham. And he says, not only presenting the biblical facts about Abraham, he goes to extra biblical sources and talks about some of the Jewish traditions that were there among the Jewish people about their forefather Abraham. Some of the talks that go on traditionally and that have been recorded about where he grew up and how his life was from childhood and so on. He says, if those things were true, Abraham, from his very young age, had many questions about idolatry, many questions about the true and living God. He was doubting the way that his forefathers worshiped and had many questions about it, was not satisfied with it and was not willing to worship in the way that they were worshiping.

So, he was already in his heart being led and guided by God, prompted by God. Something was happening to him through the Holy Spirit's work, that God was doing something in his heart to draw him away from the darkness and ignorance to the knowledge of the living God. And in that situation only, one day God appears to him. Maybe he appeared to him like he appeared to Moses and to other men of God. God somehow appears to him and talks to him and calls him saying, “You come, leave your father's house, leave your country, come to the land that I will show you and I will bless you, make your name great, make you a great nation. I’ll bless those who bless you, curse those who curse you. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” And it was not just that one appearance that made the difference. F. B. Meyer says, God's been dealing with him for a long time in his heart. There have been doubts, questions, pondering about God, and finally it resulted in God appearing to him and he was more than willing and ready to leave. “This is what the Jewish people believed by way of tradition,” he says. And it could be true and there is nothing in the Bible that says anything against it anyway.

So, it's very interesting how God calls Abraham and God calls many people even today like that. Even today when you look at people. It is not just a one-day thing. Conversion does not happen just simply like that. People talk about conversion as a cheap experience, that somebody just gave some milk powder or wheat or something like that and converted. True conversion happens because God is working in the heart of people. Sometimes even while they were in their childhood, my grandmother was a 12-year-old girl when she came to Christ. And she forsook everything and followed Christ literally like Abraham. And because God deals with these people, you don't know what is happening in their hearts. I don't even have the full account of what was happening in her heart. It's amazing how God chooses people, reaches people in various situation and pulls them out of it, reveals himself to them and they respond gloriously. And Abraham was one such person.

So, that's first part of his life. That's the experience of conversion, you may say. And many of us have gone through that. Nobody converted you. God drew you to Himself. God convinced you. God revealed Himself to you. God spoke to you through so many means. And God literally, like He appeared to Abraham, has appeared to you in many ways through His Word, through some preaching, through the Holy Spirit has drawn you to Himself so you began to believe in Jesus. Just like Abraham forsook his people and his country and followed Him, you have forsaken your former life, former lifestyle, former beliefs and all that and have began to follow Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. So, the first stage of Abraham's faith is something that most of us today have experienced and we all know something about that. But that's only the first stage. That's probably a glorious stage but there's more to come.

The second stage of Abraham's faith is that he goes and lives in that land and faces many challenges. One of the challenges he faces is the famine that was in the land when he goes to the land that God said He'll show him. Goes to the land of Canaan, because God has showed him, he didn't even know that it was there that God was taking him. God didn't even tell him the name of the place where he was going to take him. He said, “Go to the place where I'll show.” Didn't even mention it's going to be Canaan. But then he found out after God took him and placed him there, he found out that it was Canaan. And there was a great famine in those days when Abraham went there.

Now, God is wanting to teach him another lesson. One of the things that God wanted to teach him was that God is the supplier of our needs. That God is our source. That is what I want to talk about today. One of the great faith lessons that we have to learn is that God is our source. That is the subject matter today. And I want to talk about how Abraham in his life learned this very important faith lesson that God is our source. I don't know if you've learned it or not. There came a time in my life when I did not know that God was my source because I grew up in a family where they provided everything for me. Whatever I needed they provided. Every day I'll go and ask my mother for some money. When I went to college, she gave me the money to go to college, to eat, and to spend, and so on. So, I had no problem. I never had to worry about money or think about money because somehow, they provided it for me. But when I went outside of the country to study there, I was able to take only $8 with me. Back in those days, you cannot send any money also. The laws were like that. Landed up there and I spent the last penny from my $8 and I didn't even have money to put in the washing machine to wash my clothes. I came to a point when I had to find out this great truth that God is the source.

I've been thinking that my father is my source, that my mother is my source. And I've been getting everything that I wanted from them. That is one age. But now I got to have an experience from God that God is my source. And I tell you, I quickly learned to trust in God because God had to become my source. I went and cried in the chapel one day I remember. I had not even one cent in my hand. I didn't know what to do, and who to ask and what to do. I never asked anybody for anything. And I am not a person like that. So, I went and cried before God in the middle of the night, sitting in the chapel and prayed to God and said, “God, you got to do something about it. I trust You.” And I tell you something, amazing things happen. One of these days I’m going to write a book telling the stories of how God supplied my needs.

So, this is one of life's most important experiences that you need to find out that God is your source. Now, I've not read the verse, but I'm coming there. God is our source. Everybody say God is our source. Now, a lot of people confuse the source with the means. There is something called the means and there is something called the source. Your work is the means, your knowledge which helps you to make the money, earn and so on and meet your family's needs and so on, that is your means. Your profession, your business is the means. Don't mistake it for source. Your source is God. Sometimes something goes wrong with the means. Hello. Have you ever lost a job? Have you ever had trouble with your business and you had to shut it down or things went down in a bad way and you had to take some time to get out of the mess and reorganize your life financially and so on? We've all gone through something like that, challenges in our financial life, troubles and problems, debts and things like that. And we have faced problems like that. We have faced problems with our means. I want to tell you that the source is God and He has no problem.

He's not looking at the GDP numbers. Hello. God is not worried that GDP has gone below seven. God is not looking at which way the arrow is going, up or down. He's always up and He says, “You will always be up.” He says, “You will be at the top and not the bottom.” He says, “You will be above and not beneath.” So, God is the source, He’s a reliable source. Source never dries up, source never fails, source is God. Therefore, He has no financial problems, He has no difficulties. Everything is fine with Him. Means is messed up sometimes. Some people mess it up also but source, He's the source. Everybody say God is my source.

When you feel that the means through which you were earning is exhausted now and is gone, I want to tell you, when you think there is no more means, there is thousand other means that God has in His mind. God is an amazing God. He can supply your needs so many ways. He will come up with so many ideas, the wildest ideas. Some things that you've never imagined, never even thought of God can do it. And that's the story that I'm going to look at today. So, that is the second stage of Abraham's life.

Faith is in various stages. First stage is the conversion stage, where he trusted in God's promises, left everything and came and followed God. But the second stage is learning that God is the supplier of all our needs and God is our source. And Abraham learns that in a very wonderful way. Let me read to you Hebrews chapter 11 verse 8 to 10. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. That's the first stage. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. He dwelt in the land of promise. The land of promise, just because there was the land of promise, it doesn't mean there was no problem in it. There were many challenges, many problems, and that's what I want to talk about today. There were many challenges in the land of promise, God's promised land. There he goes and there is a famine there. And in the midst of the famine he does something. He goes to Egypt to solve his famine problem.

Now, when we sit here and hear a message like this and say, “What's wrong with going to Egypt? Everything dries up where you are, go someplace where there is some source, some resources available, where you can get a job, where you can find something. There's nothing wrong with that.” Yeah, I understand that. There's nothing wrong with that. But with Abraham, there was something wrong. He went to Egypt and going to Egypt, in our mind is nothing bad. But according to the Bible, the Bible interprets Egypt in this way, please turn with me to Isaiah chapter 31. Look at how the Bible talks about Egypt. If you went to Egypt according to the Bible, this is what you're doing. Let me read it to you. 31 of Isaiah verse 1. If you went to Egypt, Bible says you were doing this. Listen to this. Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are very strong, but who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the Lord.

So, you need to look at things biblically. We’re talking biblical language here. According to the Bible, going to Egypt is a very bad thing. Yeah, to a couple of people God said, “Go down to Egypt.” For example, to Jacob. You remember when he was old, he thought his son Joseph was dead. But Joseph had gone to Egypt, and through a set of circumstances and ended up as the person next to the king himself in a very high position, and Jacob's sons during famine went down to Egypt to buy some grain. And there they meet Joseph and they come back and tell the father. The father thought that all this time that Joseph was dead. They come back and tell him that he's in a very good position and that Joseph wants him there, that he can take him there and keep him like a royalty there in Egypt, because he's in such a position.

So, they call him to come to Egypt. But he's thinking whether he should go or not. Maybe Abraham has taught his children, “Don't go down to Egypt. I made the mistake of going down to Egypt. I thought of Egypt as my source. I thought that my God cannot supply my needs. I took my eyes off of God and I put it on Egypt.” That is how Egypt was interpreted in those days. If you went to Egypt, the Bible says, woe to you if you went to Egypt. Why? Because those who went to Egypt went there because they relied on the horses, because they relied on the chariots, because there are many chariots, there are many horses there. And because the horsemen there were very strong. There is military power. It is a super power. They will give the protection and we can trust in them. In other words, they're not trusting in God, they're trusting in human resources. They're not putting their eyes on God as their source but they're putting on things of the world as their source of protection and provision. That is how Bible sees Egypt except for one or two times where God Himself tells them to go to Egypt.

So, Jacob was thinking whether he should go to Egypt because his grandfather had a bad experience. Must have shared with the children, “I went down to Egypt, I didn't trust in God. Landed in big trouble. I risked a whole lot of things. So, trust in God. Don't run here and there. God can meet your need.” They must have learned it from him. So, Jacob is thinking whether he should go or not. And God speaks to him and says, “Go. Go, and I will bring you back after some time. Go and be there in Egypt,” He says.

Another instance you have is in the New Testament when Jesus was born. You remember? The wise men come to see him and they meet a King Herod, the king of the Jews at that time and tell him that, “We hear that someone who’s the King of the Jews is born. And we have come to worship Him. And we want to find out where He is.” So, Herod tells them, “When you find you please inform me also.” But this guy is a politician. He's afraid of losing his seat and his power. And so, he was waiting for them to come back and inform where the child was. And after these men had gone and worshipped Jesus and seen Jesus, God spoke to them in a dream not to go back to Herod and inform him where the child was. So, they returned through another way. And Herod was mad. He ordered all male children below two years of age to be killed because he didn't want any competitor to come up. Because he heard a king of the Jews was born and he didn't want anybody else. He wants only him and his clan to be the kings.

And so, he ordered everyone to be killed. But God arranged in the meanwhile, long before he ordered, God had arranged with Joseph, told him, “Take your child, take your wife, Mary, go to Egypt, and be there until I tell you to come back.” And so, God there tells them to go to Egypt. But otherwise, going to Egypt in the Bible means that you are looking at man for help, you are looking at the world for help, you're taking your eyes away from God, you're putting on other things, and that is wrong. Woe to you, the Bible says, if you take your eyes off of God, and put your eyes on Egypt because of their horses, because of that chariots, because the men are strong there, because they got a mighty army, that they will protect you. If God will not protect you nobody can protect you. Trust in God is the message. Going down to Egypt is a bad sign that a man is not trusting in God.

So, you can understand now why going to Egypt was a problem for Abraham. He went to Egypt. I'm sure what happened is this. When you hear this you say, “What? Abraham is very disappointing.” We are all ready to throw stones at him because he didn't trust in God and he went to Egypt. But before you throw any stones at him, just look at how much he believed God already. Abraham had faith. It's not that he didn't have faith, but he just did not have faith in the fact that God can be his source financially. He had faith for other things. He left everything and came. Look at all the things that he had done already by faith. His wife was barren. She was 60 years old. He was 70 years old when God came and spoke to him and promised him saying, “I'll make you a great nation.” He didn't even have a child. She was passed the childbearing age. God comes and speaks to him. His concern and his worry in those days was that he did not have a male child to be his heir. But he was ready to believe God. This God has told him that, “I'll make you a great nation.” So, he believes. It's not that he didn't have faith.

And another thing he has done was, he didn’t even ask God where He was taking him. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:8 that he went not knowing where he was going. God did not even tell him the name of the country He was taking him to. He left without even asking God, “Where?” Would you go? So, you can't blame Abraham just like that. Abraham had a lot of faith. He had faith to leave his country and go to a place that is totally unknown, didn't even care to ask God where he was going.

Thirdly, he left his people. Would you leave your people, your native place and the surroundings with which you are comfortable and go? When he left, literally, he just left with his father, himself, his wife and his brother's son, and rest of them were servants. Four people mainly and then their servants. And on the way they stayed in Haran and the father died. Now, it's been reduced to three. But he believed God. He was willing to be separated from his native place, from the comfortable surroundings where everything is guaranteed, the people know him and so on. He was willing to take the risk. So, his wife was barren but he heard God's promise, he believed. He was leaving his people and going to the place not even knowing where he was going. The destination was unknown and he didn't mind that.

On the way, the little company that started out got diminished because Terah the father died, but he didn't mind, he kept on going. And when he went to Canaan, he found no home, he owned nothing there. He lived in tents. Only land that he bought there was the land to bury his wife. God said, “I'll give your descendants this land.” So, he was like a temporary dweller there. Why would you leave a place that was permanent and you were rooted there, and grew up there, born there and go to a place and live in a temporary manner? Why would you do that? And Abraham was willing to do that. You can't say that he didn't have faith.

And when he landed up there in Canaan, there were Canaanites there. Now, that's bad news. They were also idolaters and so on, just like where he came from. But these were worse people. These were violent people. Canaanites, if you read their history, they’re one of the most violent people on earth at that time. And he must have asked the question, “Why did God pick me up from where I am to bring me here? This is worse than where I was. You’re supposed to take a person from one place to another because it's better. Why did God bring me here?” He could have backed off. He could have returned. But he never did. He was willing to stay there in the midst of the violent people called the Canaanites and risk his life there because God called him. So, all this I said because I wanted to show you that Abraham had faith. You can't just think that Abraham didn't have any faith at all. He has done so much by faith.

But then another thing. Already I told you six things in which Abraham believed God, showed his faith, but something happened next. The seventh thing happened. That is the famine. This was too much. I’m sure his servants came and told him, “There's only food for next four days. We're running empty. Four days and no more, no food.” And then they came and told him, “Two days and no more.” Then only he said probably, “Pack up. We’re going because I believed in this God for everything. He said He'll give me a child, I believed Him, I came. He said, ‘Leave everything and come.’ I left everything and came. He said, ‘Stay in Canaan even though it's a difficult place.’ I stayed because I believe in God. But without food what can I do? I got to go to a place where I can get food, otherwise I'll die.” So, he goes to Egypt.

Now, we can identify with Abraham at this point. Now, our heart says, “Yeah, that's reasonable. The guy believed in God. He believed in God regarding so many things and I can't blame him for going to Egypt because I’d have done the same thing because I believe God. But there is no food. I got to go somewhere where there is food.” But really, if you think about it, we all think like that. We just have to resort to our solutions that we have for our problems. But really what Abraham should have done when they told him there’s food only for two days, he should have said, “Don't worry. God will supply all our needs. God will see to it.” And then, he would have seen God miraculously provide everything for him. That's what he should have done.

Later on, in his life, remember when he took his son to sacrifice him because God told him to go and sacrifice his son? That time he’s very well-grown in faith. I mean, he’s reached great heights in faith. He’s willing to offer his son as sacrifice. People are asking him, “Where is the lamb for sacrifice? You got the knife, you got the wood, you got everything that is needed for offering and sacrifice but where is the lamb?” And you know what his answer was? “The Lord will see to it.” The Lord will provide. Did the Lord provide? Yeah. There was a ram caught in the thicket that has gone there before Abraham, waiting for him. God arranged everything. He said, “The Lord will provide.” In fact, he believed that God won't kill his son. He’s got some arrangement made already. He believed God totally. He believed that God will supply. That is where he named that altar where he offered the ram as sacrifice. He named that place Jehovah Jireh. You know what that means? It means, a God who gets ready to meet our needs before the need arises. His revelation has gone advanced now. He knew that God meets needs but he now knows that God is one who doesn't just meet needs, He meets needs amazingly, wonderfully. He gets ready to meet our needs even before our need arises.

Before Abraham went, the ram was there waiting. What perfect timing. God simply says, “Just look over there. There's a ram there, offer it as sacrifice.” And he said, “My God, you're the greatest supplier. On top of a hill where there is nothing, you provide a ram.” Most amazing supplier of needs. And he named the place Jehovah Jireh. But at this time, when he was going through this financial issue, he didn't have faith that God will meet his needs. Financially, he’s not had experience of God supplying his financial needs. See, this is something we all have to learn to overcome our famines in our day, our difficulties in our day. It’s a very important lesson in life. Every one of us here, your children have to learn, every one individually in their lives have to see God at work providing, giving us a breakthrough, doing miracles for us financially. That will change your life completely. It will change your outlook.

So, Abraham decided to go to Egypt because he didn't know how to believe God for finances. He didn't know how to believe God to overcome famine. Does God save us from famine? Does God meet our needs so that we’ll have food and not die? Will God save us from these natural calamities? Abraham has had no experience with that. He’s just learning about God. He knows God saves. He knows that He's a good God. He knows that God has promised him. He has left everything and come for God, but he doesn't know how well God supplies his needs. Now, he goes to Egypt.

Now, I want you to learn this lesson of faith. You see how unbelief creeps in. The man believes in God, he has faith. But now, unbelief has crept in. Just like there are steps of faith. Steps of faith are always ordered in an upward direction. Notice these steps going up, you have to climb up. Steps of faith are like that. Each step gets harder and you go higher. There is some pain. There is some hardship there climbing. But once you climb you are up there on top. That's how faith works. And the steps of unbelief also are there. You know what steps of unbelief are? That's the way you go down in life. Instead of going up in life, you go down in life. What are the steps of unbelief? I'll show you very simply, you'll understand faith. And you'll see how Abraham, a man who believed God in so many things, entertained unbelief. How unbelief came into him.

The first sign of unbelief is looking at circumstances instead of looking at God. When a person is in a state of unbelief, the very first thing that has happened to him is that he's taken his eyes from God and put it on his problem. Now, you might say, “Well, should I not look at my problem? My problem is real. You want me to deny the reality? You want me to live in denial? Do you want me to deny that I have a problem?” No, no, no, we're not teaching that kind of stuff. We're not telling you to deny that you have a problem. We know that you have a problem. You know that you have a problem. But we are saying that you're looking at your problems in a wrong way. The right way to look at your problems for a man of faith, is to look at them in the light of God's promises and in the light of how great God is, how good God is, how mighty God is, how that with God all things are possible. In light of that, you need to look at your problems.

I’ve often given this example of one-rupee coin. We still have one-rupee coin, don't we? I don't even know if we have because one rupee is of no use today. If you give it to somebody, they just look at you like that. But take a one-rupee coin, you put it in the palm of your hand and you look at it like this, you will see just one rupee. You will not even see your hand because you're holding it so close. You’re magnifying it bigger than what it really is. One-rupee coin is not the whole world but if you bring it this close, that becomes your whole world. But if you put it like this and look at it like this, you can see the whole hall, everybody sitting here is in view. You get the bigger picture. Then you get the coin also in your sight, but it's in size. You're looking at it in the size that you ought to look at it.

Many people look at problems this way. All they can see is their problems. They've been meditating on their problems, looking at the problems, thinking about their problems, talking about the problems. Problem, problem, problem. They never talk about God. They never talk about how good God is, how merciful God is, how great God is, how that nothing is impossible with God. All of these things do not come into their conversation at all. Their conversation is only about their problems. You're not looking at the problems in light of God's glory, God's greatness, God's promises, God's goodness, God's ability. You're not bringing that at all. You're not looking at that and then looking at your problem in light of that. That is how faith looks at problems.

See, the good example is Peter walking on water. How did he walk on water? They were in the sea in the boat, they were already afraid and Jesus comes walking. And they were more afraid now He's walking. But Peter behaved strangely. He says, “Lord, if it’s you, let me get out and come to you.” And strangely Jesus says, “Come.” Was the wind blowing? Yeah. They were afraid. Was the sea raging, the waves rising? Yeah, sure. Situation hasn't changed but Jesus is there. Why was Peter able to get down and walk on water because now he has forgotten about the situation, he’s looking at Jesus, the miracle worker, the one who created the heaven and earth, the one who can order the sea to be quiet and it will become quiet, the one who can order the wind and the wave to seas raging and they will cease. His focus is upon Jesus. He looks at Jesus and he's forgotten what the sea was doing. That is why he walked.

Jesus was big in his eyes. Jesus’s power and His ability to save him, protect him and keep him above the waters was big in his mind. He didn't mind about the sea raging, he went and walked. All the time the wind is blowing, the sea is raging, he is walking because Jesus showed him that He had the power and authority over even the sea. He was walking on it. It was under his feet. And Peter saw it and said, “My God, it's under His feet.” And He says, “Come.” If He says, “Come,” then He can make me walk also, then He can keep me walking on water. I can put my problem, the thing that caused fear in me, I can put it under my feet and walk over it. He walked because he thought of Jesus as big and the problem with the sea, the raging wind and the wave, as something very insignificant and small. That's why he walked.

Why did he start drowning? The whole thing reversed all of a sudden. He was walking all right, he walked. Why did he drown? Now, he's looking at the sea. He’s not looking at Jesus, he forgot Jesus. I'm sure the guys helped him with that, the guys in the boat. Said, “Peter, did you see the wave? One tsunami wave is coming here? It’s going to eat you up. You're a dead man. We told you not to get down and you got down and you're finished, man, you're going to be a dead man. Get in here.” Something like that must have happened that caused him to focus on the problem than on Jesus. Jesus was still there. Jesus was still walking, but his focus has shifted. Now, he thinks the wind of the wave is big. And Jesus is out of focus. See, this is what unbelief is all about.

Unbelief is focusing on problems. That is how unbelief starts. The moment you focus on your problems and not focus on the goodness of the Lord, you got a problem, my friend. In church, if you notice, I never talk about your problem, I talk about God. You're already talking about your problem. Why would you want me to talk about your problem? One person said, “Brother, such a big problem you treat it as nothing.” Yeah, in front of Jesus it's nothing. I'm going to exalt Jesus, glorify Jesus, magnify Jesus. And in light of that only, I can talk about your problem. I cannot magnify your problem. I cannot glorify your problem. I cannot talk about it as big. In light of him only, I can talk about the problem. Church is a place like that. Therefore, why do you come to church? It helps you focus on who God is, the goodness of God, the mercy of God, the love of God, the greatness of God, His word, His truthfulness, His faithfulness, how mighty He is, how all things are possible for Him.

Is that what the preaching is doing to you? When you come to church, your focus shifts. You've been thinking about your problem when you came in but once the song starts and ministry starts here, and once the preaching starts, your focus is on God, and God's goodness, and greatness and how wonderful God is. That is good for you, my friend. We all need it. It is good. That's the same problem with the 12 spies that went in to Jericho to spy the land. Remember? Moses sent the spies. And they came back and 10 of them were giving evil report. What was their evil report about? They said there are Anakites in the land, they’re giants. The guys are too big. They’ll eat us up. We are like grasshoppers. They are like giants. The wall is too big. The army is mighty. They got horses and chariots. It's a promised land but you got problem there.”

Look at the focus. Look at their words. If you read Numbers 13, and read what they said, their words focused totally on the size of the wall, size of the people, the bigness of the problem, the greatness of the problem, focus is entirely on that. Already half a dozen times, God has said, “I have given you this land.” Why the focus is not there? Moses has been preaching about it that, “God has given us this land, it's ours, man, it's ours.” That's the preaching. Moses was that kind of preacher. “It's ours. We're going there. We’re going to occupy it.” But they're not having that in mind. They were focusing on the problem. That is why they never entered because they discouraged all the other people. Thousands of people started weeping, crying because of what these people came and reported. Hello. Are you there?

Someone asked the Christian how he was doing, the man replied, “Not too badly under the circumstances.” And the question I replied back and said, “What are you doing under the circumstances? A Christian is supposed to be on top of the circumstances.” It's a perspective. It’s a problem with our outlook, it’s the problem with how we think about the problems. The problem is not the problem, the problem is the way we view our problems. And faith changes our perspective. Faith says, “Our God is great. He is mighty. He is all able. There is nothing impossible with God.” And then automatically, that means the problem has to obey our God, has to obey His word, has to come under control. Are you there? So, unbelief starts with focus on the circumstances.

Secondly, lack of worship. This is stated here, indirectly suggested here. Why I say that? because in Genesis chapter 12, where the story of Abraham going into the land and finding the famine is there, if you read verse 7 and 8, you find that Abraham goes in there, puts a tent. Another thing he does along with the tent is he builds an altar to worship. Wherever he went and stayed, there was a tent which was temporary, he can take it and go anywhere, but there is an altar that he can leave there. There was a tent and an altar. Tent was temporary, altar was permanent. That also signified something. What did it signify? That everything in this world as it is, is temporary but our relationship with God, which the altar represented, is permanent.

See, God was moving Abraham to teach faith to people. Everything we enjoy. Abraham was very rich, he enjoyed everything. But he understood one thing, that's why I showed you last week what kind of a pilgrim he was. He was not the kind of pilgrim that Christian people today think a pilgrim is. The Tamil word is pardesi. They've taken that to the extreme and they said, “Pardesi is a beggar, he has nothing you know. That is what a man of God should be. Like Abraham, a pardesi. He wears nothing, who owns nothing, who has nothing.” That is not the picture. Abraham was a pardesi. According to the Tamil Bible, he was a pardesi but he was the richest pardesi.

I can be like that kind of pardesi. I don't mind that kind of pardesi. He had everything. Then why was he called a pardesi? Because he understood that nothing is permanent. It is all for his enjoyment, it is all for his use, he must take every resource that God has given him and use it for God's glory, make use of it for whatever God wants him to do. But his relationship with God is the only thing that is permanent in life. He understood that. If you and I understand that, then we are living the right kind of life. But they told us you had to be pardesi, you have nothing and we got diverted into that.

He built an altar. That altar is very important. When he goes into Egypt, if you read from chapter 12 in Genesis verse 10 onwards all the way to the end of the chapter, the story of him going to Egypt is there. When he goes into Egypt, you never read about the altar. He lived there for some time but it seemed like he never built an altar there. After he came back, he went to other places. It says he built an altar wherever he went. Everywhere he went people saw that there is a living God, and he never failed to show forth God's glory. He worshiped Him in front of others. He spoke about Him. People knew that there is a God of Abraham, that Abraham worships, that he’s brought another God into their place, and he's worshiping Him. He was always testifying about God and leaving a testimony of God behind. He left an imprint. Wherever he lived, there was an altar.

But in Egypt, no altar is spoken of. So, I'd say to you, it is indirectly suggested that when you operate in unbelief, one of the clearer signs that happens is that you stop worshiping God in the way you ought to worship. When you take your eyes off of on God, and put your trust on other things, worship suffers. Worship is not delightful anymore. You don't go with eagerness to worship. You don't go with longing to worship. You don't find worship as a thrilling experience and a wonderful time to be spent with God. You go there, maybe because of compulsion. Somebody told me, “I told my husband, I'm going to start the car and get in and go. If you don't get in, you don't have a wife.” Then he came and got in, it seems. What a sad thing that a husband had to be dragged to the church like that. And when he comes here, he just keeps looking at the watch, “Got to go, got to go,” because he's got more important things, contact this person, go see this person, see that person. They're going to help him. That person is going to open door for him. This person is going to make things possible for him. Oh, everybody but God. No worship. He goes into Egypt and worship suffers. It’s a very clear sign. It's a litmus test of where we are. The vitality of our spiritual life can be tested in that way. What do we feel about worship, going to worship, going to hear the word of God? Are we eager? Are we hungry? We can't wait to get more. We are thirsty for God. That's a good sign, my friend. That means your eyes are upon God.

Another thing, another sign is that a person has confidence in his own strength and his own power and his own ability to make things happen now. Because God is not there in the picture, he devises his own ideas. In that story from 10th verse to 20th verse in chapter 12 of Genesis, if you read it, I didn't read it but I think you know the story. Before he entered Egypt, he uses his brain a lot because now God is forgotten. He's only got his brain. So, look how his brain works. He tells his wife, “Look, I know you're very beautiful but there's a problem with being beautiful. When you go there, they’re going to take you and kill me. So, please tell them that you're my sister, so that we may find favor. Who knows? Some doors may open. Because you say you're my sister.” The writers who write based on the culture and so on they say that if you went in to Egypt and got this lady with you, and if they found that she's very beautiful, they’d negotiate with you, they’ll talk with you and they'll offer you all kinds of things so that they can take her as the wife. So, Abraham thought that's what is going to happen.

So, he used his brain and thought about it. He’s very smart, “Let's do that. While we are negotiating, hopefully the famine will end. We will spend a few days negotiating and when it ends, we’ll come back and everything will be all right. Let's make use of the negotiating time. But lo and behold, he went there, there was no negotiation. They go and tell the king, “There's a beautiful lady in town,” and the king said, “Bring her over here.” Finished. That’s it. They took and then only the shock of his life he lost his wife. He thought he was so smart that he can work with this negotiation idea and keep his wife with him and talk to them and find favor and get some favors from them. But it did not work out because it is just human brain, there is no God's grace. He couldn't believe that God will protect his wife.

What a strange thing? He should have thought about it. He said, “God has called me. He has a purpose for me. In me, all the families of the earth will be blessed. So, there's a great future.” Savior is going to come through him. That is how all the families of the earth will be blessed. So, “There's a great future and this king is not going to be able to take away my future. God will protect me.” He should have looked at his wife and said, “Don't worry, because you're beautiful, no man will ever lay his hands on you because I am a God-called man. You are under God's protection. No evil will come upon you. God will protect us. God will provide.” He should have said, “God will provide for us,” and stayed over there. When he came to Egypt, he should have told his wife, “Don't worry, God will protect us. God is with us. God is mightier than Pharaoh.” He just lost it. He’s now focusing only on himself, his power, his smartness, his planning ability. That's all he trusts in.

And then that gives way to sin, when you use your own brain. Now, he's lying. He lies, tells his wife to lie. I'm sure he told all his servants to lie also because they have to speak in unison with him. So, the whole gang had to lie for him. Everybody had to lie. Lot had to lie. Everybody had to lie. “That's his sister.” And finally, he almost made Pharaoh sin. The good news is that, God sent a plague it seems. Read the verses there. God sent a plague in Pharaoh's house. So, Pharaoh was bedridden. Otherwise the guy would have taken her as wife. The whole thing would have been over. Pharaoh was sick overnight. You better be glad he was sick. God told him, “You’re taking another man's wife. Better send her away.” And next day morning he got up and sent her away. Meanwhile, he was sick so he couldn't do any damage to her. So, human wisdom many times lands us in sin, lands us problem.

When we don't trust in God, God's grace, God's goodness, God's favor upon our lives and we only got our brain to help us, I'll tell you, it lands us in many problems. That's why you need to be a person very close to God. Trust God, believe in God, that God will meet your needs, that God will protect you, that God will be with you. Everything is going to be all right. If that kind of assurance is not there, simply going to church and coming is not going to help. When situations come, this is the thing that puts you over and gives you victory over everything.

So, I've been telling about the steps of unbelief. The first was looking at circumstances. Second, lack of worship. Third is rise in self-confidence instead of confidence in God and His promises and His goodness. Fourth is more sin. Fifth is great loss. This leads to great loss. Look at all that he has lost. F. B. Meyer, once again, he writes a lot about Abraham. He says this, “The world may treat us well. But that will be a poor compensation for our losses. There is no altar in Egypt, no fellowship with God, no new promises but a desolated home, and a wretched sense of wrong. When the prodigal leaves his father's house, though he may win a brief spell of forbidden pleasure, yet he loses all that makes life worth living and brings himself down to the level of the swine. In such a case there is no resource save to retrace the way that we have come, to do the first works and like Abraham to go out of Egypt to the place of the altar where we were at first.”

Then he says something very significant about the loss. What you lose by going to the world, lose by trusting in the world. He says something very significant that was very touching. He says, “The worst of all things, the great losses would have been, luckily and fortunately, God intervened and therefore it did not happen. The worst loss would have been, if things went the way it went, he would have endangered the promised seed.” Think about that. Abraham was to be the forefather of Jesus. Through him Isaac must be born through Sarah, and through him Jesus is going to come, and through him salvation is going to come, through him all the families of the earth were going to be blessed. That's the thing that God has planned. Now, he's gone and left his wife in Pharaoh's house. Everything could have gone wrong. She might be bearing children for Pharaoh. Thank God, God intervened, sent a plague and stopped everything, halted everything. Oh, God is so wonderful. God is so amazing.

In the midst of all our failure to believe how gracious God is, he risked the whole future of our redemption. Entire future of our redemption would have been lost. Then finally, the king rebukes him. There is humiliation. He calls him in the morning and says, “Why did you lie to me? I would have sinned. You've done a great thing wrong to me and my country and my people. Look at what has happened to my house. We're all sick. We're all bedridden. Why did you do that?” So, there's rebuke, humiliation and everything. But then, look at what God did. The man sends him away. In chapter 12 the last verse says, So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they sent him away. Now listen. With his wife and all that he had. 

That is very important because in a previous verse, in verse 16, it says that the Pharaoh gave him sheep, ox and male donkeys, male and female servants, male and female donkeys and camels and so on. The king gives a lot. But Pharaoh is not a giving fellow. He is not like a nice Christian guy, “I want to give you something.” No. He's a guy that collects from everybody. All these vassals, the states, small groups of people that existed around Egypt, he will collect on a yearly basis from them gold and silver to provide protection for them from their enemies. He's used to collecting not giving. He will take from everybody not give. Pharaoh’s a difficult guy. God made that Pharaoh to give. God is showing Abraham, “Look Abraham, I can supply your needs. I can even take an evil Pharaoh and make him give,” because He's a God who brings water out of a rock. It’s a rock but it brought forth water. He's a God that can bring manna from heaven. He can do great, amazing things. He can supply needs like you've never seen before.

Have you ever seen a raven bring food to somebody? Not in India, I've never heard. They only come through your window and pick up your meat and run away. I remember when I was a school boy, I was having something in hand, eating something outside the school. A crow came and snatched it from my hand and went. Just snatched it out of my hand like that. They never give. They always take, snatch. But God converted a crow. The crow went into the king's house because there was famine there in Elijah's days and only king's house had food. Went in there and picked up the best bread and nice steak and brought it to the man of God and gave it to him. What a nice crow.

There are many crows that God will bring your way. Many ravens that have never given and you can get nothing from them, they will start giving because God moves upon their heart to give. They will open the door for you. They will make things happen. You think these people are very difficult and there were nobody gives and nobody does anything. I'll tell you, my friend, some people think, “World is very bad, brother. Nobody is good and nobody wants to give anything. Nobody wants to give a chance.” See, that's a bad talk. That is not faith talk. The way I look at it, God will take the person with the evil heart and melt his heart and make him open the door, make him give like never before. Don't be calling this world just evil world. In this evil world, God wants to show you His grace and His power to supply your needs. Wherever you are working, whatever you're doing, believe that God will move upon the hardest people and make their heart softest towards you so that they begin to open up opportunities for you and bless you. They become the means of blessings.

God is a wonderful God who has so many means and He can create means. He is a God who makes a way in the wilderness. Hello. Makes a way in the wilderness. Are you going through the wilderness? Look to God. If you put your faith on Egypt, repent today. If you look to this and that and hoped on this and that, repent today. Turn to God and say, “Lord, I've done something wrong. I have put my faith on this and that. I will not. I will put my faith in You. I will look to You. You open doors for me. You make things happen for me. You bless the work of my hands. You cause me to prosper so that your purpose can be fulfilled in my life and through my life.” And I tell you, you will experience God's amazing supply in your life. You will find that God is your source.

Let’s all stand together.

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