BACK TO THE HOUSE OF GOD
Genesis 12:1 – 13:4
God called Abraham from paganism to become a son of God. God chose this man to be the father of the nation of Israel.
Many times the believer lives his life in a self-centered way thinking only of himself. Our life has a greater purpose than to live for oneself. It is to glorify our God.
Abraham was chosen by God to engender a new nation, a people only for the Lord. He was like us in that he was blind to God’s purpose, and thus, disobedient.
Bethel was a place of worship where he met with God. At times, Abraham left doing God’s will and had to return to Bethel where he had left God.
I. ARRIVING AT BETHEL.
A. Abraham builds an Alter there, Gen. 12:8: “And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.”
1. This was a place of worship.
2. Later at this same place, Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, came to know God.
B. Abraham calls on the name of the LORD.
1. Bethel was a place to meet with God. Abraham did not understand the work that God had given him to do, but he was willing.
2. Later, under the pressures of life, Bethel became a place of refuge from his difficulties.
3. Bethel (the house of God) was the place where Abraham found strength to continue with the work that God had given him.
a. Prayer was made there.
b. Communion was enjoyed there.
c. Understanding was found there.
II. LEAVING THE HOUSE OF GOD.
A. When things became difficult, Genesis 12:9-10.
1. A great famine in the land, v. 10.
a. America has a great famine of the Word of God today.
b. Life is more difficult for this.
1) Crime is greater
2) Drug and alcohol use is epidemic.
2. Running from the problem does no good.
a. Abraham fled to Egypt.
b. He lied about his wife.
3. He is forced to leave Egypt because of his conduct.
B. The Grace of God is manifest in Abraham’s life, Genesis 13:2, “And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.”
1. Even in disobedience God blessed Abraham.
2. However, this was in order to fulfill God will in his life.
III. RETURNING TO THE HOUSE OF GOD.
A. After being forced out of Egypt, Abraham returns to Bethel. Genesis 13:3-4, “And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; 4Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.”
1. At times the believer strays away from the LORD, but it is always a blessing to return.
a. Communion is restored, 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
b. Peace with God returns.
2. To remain away from God only brings more problems…
a. To those close to you because you are a disobedient son of God.
b. To you yourself because you are losing the rewards that God wants to give you.
B. Abraham became one of most important men in the history of the world.
1. He believed God, Genesis 15:6, “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”
2. He became the friend of God, James 2:23, “And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”
CONCLUSIONComing back to the house of God always pays dividends. God blessed Abraham greatly when he obeyed God. He suffered the consequences when he disobeyed. Ultimately, he realized that obedience to God was easier than going against the Lord. He came back to Bethel (the house of God).