Wandering Without a HomePastor Alisa Lasater Wailoo, March 12, 2017
Part of the God's Dwelling Place series, preached at a Sunday Morning service
"Abraham then moved on to the hills … and pitched his tent. There he built an altar to the LORD.” Genesis 12:8
As we journey through Lent, we move from the Garden, God’s first home with Adam and Eve, to the wilderness with Abraham.
Oh I love this image of Father Abraham wandering in the wilderness, pitching his tent for the night. Did you know that the term “Hebrew” likely comes from the word ABHAR, “to pass over,” hence EBHER, in the sense of a "sojourner" or "passer through" as distinct from a "settler" in the land? And this applies to the condition of Abraham (Hebrews 11:13). Some even say that Hebrew means the equivalent of bedouin, a wandering people.
Interesting, isn’t? The first people God calls His/Her own are a people without a home, traveling from one place to another. And yet, as Abraham finds himself in a new place each night, he pitches his tent and then makes an altar. In other words, although his surroundings have altered, the altar reminds him that God’s promises remain the same.
Do you feel like your "surroundings" have shifted or been altered recently? Do you feel like you or we as a people are wandering? It is in that sparse place that God makes great promises. Read about the promises God makes with Abraham in Genesis 12:1-8 and this week's Psalm - Psalm 121. Then, listen to this sermon as we wrestle with what “God will provide” really means, especially in the wilderness as well as what trust can look like in a deserted place.
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A Song of Ascents.
121:1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore. (ESV)
12:1 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. 2 And 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. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4 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. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, 6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 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. 8 From there he moved 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 called upon the name of the Lord. 9 And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb. (ESV)
3:1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
make his paths straight.’”
4 Now John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. (ESV)