“And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. And he went on his journeys from the south even to Beth–el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth–el and Ai; Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord.”
Abraham was abundantly blessed by God, but the moment the famine hit the land, he turned his focus away from God and towards Egypt. How typical is this for us all? It is easy for us all to trust and obey God in a time of abundance, but how quickly we stop trusting in the Lord during a time of famine. We trust God in the surplus, but we blame God in the subtraction. The Lord calls us to a life of separation, trust, and obedience into the Will of God through the Holy Spirit. The moment we try to manage our own affairs and attempt to force our will onto God’s Will by resorting to our flesh, a slow and steady backslide begins. We begin to wonder from the narrow way. Through Abraham, we are presented with 4 great truths of faith receding as a result of backsliding and faith reviving through God’s Grace.
1. Abraham went up out of Egypt
Abraham stopped looking to the Promises of God and began looking towards the worldliness of Egypt. Self-will brought him down into Egypt (Genesis 12:10), but Grace brought Abraham up out of Egypt. As a Believer, we should never grow weary towards the Promises of God. The moment we step away from the divinely marked path, we begin to backslide and fend for ourselves in ways that are opposed to God and His Word. When we realize where we are is not where God wants us, the Lord’s Faithfulness and Grace will direct us back into His Perfect Will through the Holy Spirit. Faith is about wholly trusting in God’s Will and Guidance in every detail of our lives whether in a famine or in abundance. It is better to be a Blessing in the Fellowship of God during a famine than to be a curse in the bountiful land of Egypt. The world will bring you down, but God wishes to lift you up.
2. Abraham was very rich
The Blessings of God do not make up for a lapse in Faith. The closer Abraham was to the Altar of God, the greater the Blessing and Revelations were from God. The further Abraham went into Egypt, the further he got away from the Blessings of God. Notice Abraham received nothing from God while in Egypt. Faith is not about what we get from God. Faith is about what God has already done for us through Jesus Christ and what He wishes to do through us. His Blessings will be upon us if our Faith is in Him and Him alone.
3. Abraham went back to Bethel where his tent had been at the beginning
Abraham went back to the House of God (Bethel) as a worshipper of God and a stranger to the world (the tent). God’s Faithfulness did not cast-off Abraham for good and left him in Egypt to fend for himself. The Lord dealt with him where he was to bring Him back to the place where God wished to meet with once again. Like Abraham, we need to place ourselves in a Spirit-filled atmosphere to be in a position where we can experience the Presence of God.
4. Unto the place of the altar
Abraham came back to the Altar of God, doubtless with tears and shame, and called upon the Name of the Lord. His backsliding was forgiven, his soul restored, and he resumed his life as a worshipper of God. The Altar and the Sacrifice represent the Lord Jesus Christ and the price He would pay on the Cross in order to redeem humanity. Until the Believer comes back to the Cross, true Restoration cannot be found.
The Bible says in Hosea 14:4, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely.” Let Abraham be an example for us today. As God restored Abraham, He will restore us if we get sidetracked. As Abraham returned to the Altar, let us return to the Cross of Jesus Christ where renewal and rededication are possible. If God sees us returning to His Chosen Altar, He will meet us there with the Blessings of His Unending Love, Mercy, and Grace.