“And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD.” Gen 13:14-18
Some people never explore the vastness of God’s ultimate blessing for their lives. As a result of this failure, they also fail to experience God’s best for them because they have not expanded their faith and their thinking to encompass it. I want to address what it means to explore your blessing.
This lesson is about those possibilities, but we must also deal with hindrances to exploring God’s blessing. Why are some people full of faith and seem to be able to envision what God desires to work in them, while there are others who struggle with the “minimum requirements?” Some are never able to move beyond what God requires to explore what God desires. As we go through this lesson together, I want to challenge you to allow the Holy Spirit to apply these things to your own life. I challenge you to open your heart so that the Lord can quicken these principles and allow these things to take root.
After we overcome the hindrances in our thinking, how do we begin to explore God’s possibilities with an attitude of expectation? This should not be an exercise of idle curiosity, but an exploring expedition of faith!
God’s Design - A Bridge-Builder
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Gen 12:1-3
God’s design for Abram was that he would become a bridge-builder. Abram would be the path over which God’s blessings could travel to reach others and they would travel to reach God.
Herein is a great truth. Rather than deal with each individual from “scratch,” or start from zero, God prefers to introduce him or her to godly people. God desires to use others to demonstrate the blessedness of knowing and walking with Him. Once a bridge-builder is developed, an unbeliever can be introduced to the life of blessing by introducing them to the bridge-builder. And thus souls are won into God’s kingdom in greater numbers and with greater proficiency.
How is the bridge-builder prepared? It is a three-step process involving separation, building up, and blessing. First comes separation.
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:” Gen 12:1
Separation - Note the words “from” and “unto.” Separation involves negative (from) and positive (unto). We must separate ourselves from that which influences away and contrary to what God desires to accomplish. We must separate ourselves unto that which God has designed to benefit our spiritual progress. Next there is building up.
“And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:” Gen 12:2
Building up - In Abram’s case this blessing included a great nation, great personal blessing, a great name, and an ability to bless others greatly. We must be separated from the world and unto that which God has specified for our lives in order for God to be able to do these things for us and with us. Notice that all these blessings are things that God promised to make happen in Abram. They are not things that Abram would possess only, but what Abram would become. God said, “Thou shalt be a blessing.” There is a vast difference between having and being. God wants to build us up that we might become a blessing that touches other lives. Then His blessing can flow through us to others.
“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Gen 12:3
Blessing - God in effect says that Abram would become His spiritual conduit to the world. How they reacted to Abram would determine how God would act toward them. If they accepted Abram’s ministry, they would be able to come over to the other side and experience God’s favor.
This was God’s design for Abram and it is His design for His Church. God wants to use each one of us in the same way He desired to use Abram. However, the same three-step process is still necessary. Can I say to you that many want to experience verses two and three without complying with verse one. But you have a part to play in this process. And this brings us to the first hindrance that folks have in exploring their blessing. They abandon the land of blessing in a time of spiritual dryness!
A Divided Heart
“And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.” Gen 12:10
Previously we saw that Abram allowed outside pressure to cause him to abandon God’s perfect will for his life. Even a temporary lapse can result in permanent consequences in your life.
There is no question if a famine will come; the question is about your ability to survive the famine in the Promised Land. Hard times will always come along to try you. No one who is ever used by God and receives God’s best in their life will achieve it without being tried. But I firmly believe that a famine in the Promised Land is better than a bumper crop in Egypt.
Again, a temporary lapse in your focus can result in permanent consequences in your life. God’s ultimate blessing for your life may be rendered unobtainable due to a temporary lapse of judgment in a time of famine. For example, many of our Christian young people venture out of God’s plan for their lives and into Egypt to claim a spouse. They say there is a famine in the Church and they need to marry an unbeliever. This is a serious mistake. This is an example of how a temporary lapse of judgment can result in a lifetime of missed opportunities.
I heard of a young lady like this just the other day. She had been raised in church and yet married outside the church. She said the guys she knew in the church were as bad as those in the world. A famine, I suppose. She reasoned that because her husband did eventually get saved, her indiscretion was all right. What this young lady is not able to see are all the missed opportunities because she failed to wait on God. She can’t see how that she has hindered God’s ability to use her in certain ways because she damaged her testimony. She can’t see that the very fact that she justifies her sin is proof of a divided heart. And this divided heart is evident in many other ways in her life. For one thing, a divided heart will prohibit her from exploring God’s blessing to the fullest.
Abram’s experience while in Egypt frustrated the move of God in his life. His wife picked up a young Egyptian servant girl named Hagar while in Egypt. Abram justified going into Egypt by saying to himself that he needed to “survive.” But he set a precedent for the “ends justifies the means” philosophy. This is the same philosophy that Sarah used when she offered Hagar to Abram for the purpose of reproduction. This is yet another example of a divided heart. A divided heart believes that the ends justify the means. This philosophy does not originate in the heart of faith, but from the world of unbelief.
What did Abram have to do to overcome this temporary lapse before he could explore God’s best for his life? He had to return to the altar and offer sacrifice for his sin.
“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; Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.” Gen 13:3-4
Abram had to place Egypt and his experience in Egypt there on the altar. He had to go back to the place of sacrifice and call on the name of the Lord. His experience in Egypt hindered his faith and continued to be a hindrance for years. Let me give you the evidence that the “ends-justifies-the-means” philosophy points to in order to justify a divided heart. “And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold” (Gen 13:2). Some of that wealth was acquired in Egypt. The divided heart philosophy reasons that anything that enriches self must be good and therefore a good decision.
A Failure to Separate
“And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.” Gen 13:14-15
The next hindrance to exploring God’s blessing is the failure to fully obey the Lord through separation. God had told Abram to separate himself from his kindred (Gen 12:1). Abram took Lot with him when he finally obeyed the call to follow the Lord. Abram’s continued close association with Lot was not only a source of friction while they were together (Gen 13:5-13), but it became a source of unneeded conflict between Abram and the locals later on (Gen 14).
Lot is the perfect picture of a carnal Christian. He lives in the Promised Land but has never received a vision of what God desires. He is unwilling to make the sacrifices that are required to truly worship the Lord. He will tag along and try to be there when Abram is blessed, but will do nothing on his own to find the source of all blessing.
A failure to separate ourselves to the extent that God desires hinders His ability to show us His plan for our lives. As long as Abram and Lot were running buddies, God could not speak to Abram about exploring his blessing. Why not? Because the promise was not given to Lot, and Abram was too close to Lot. Spiritually Lot was headed in a completely different direction. God knows that men confuse material blessing with spiritual blessing. The Lord refused to allow this mistake to continue with Lot and Abram.
Consider that these two hindrances, a divided heart and a failure to separate, were both in areas of Abram’s primary responsibility. Abrams was to cling to God’s blessing even in times of famine. Abram was to separate himself from and unto. Until these two deficiencies were corrected in Abram’s life, God was not at liberty to invite him to explore his blessing. You can’t explore God’s best for your life while you live in Egypt. Not only must you get yourself out of Egypt, you must get Egypt out of your heart. This only happens at an altar. You must go back to the old altar and call on the name of the Lord. Also you can’t explore God’s best for your life while you are running buddies with those that God said to separate yourself from.
Exploring Your Blessing
“Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:” Gen 13:14
Now this is the part we all love. We want to hurry up and get to the place that talks about exploring the blessing. But even here, the Lord interjects reality. God insists on placing a reality check into our exploration of His blessing. God said, “from the place where thou art.” Exploring God’s best for our lives must begin from a certain position. That position is a position of submission to His perfect will, even if we don’t always understand it. Abram was not invited to explore his blessing until he returned from Egypt and offered sacrifice and until he separated from Lot.
Where are you to go as you explore God’s best for you? You begin from a place of perfect submission. You proceed from there in all four directions as far as your eyes can see. “Lift up now thine eyes,” and see the wonderful things that God is preparing for you! They stretch before you as far as the eyes of faith can perceive.
What about your future?
“For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.” Gen 13:15-16
The seed God will give you will share your blessing. It doesn’t matter if you have not seen any spiritual seed yet; Abram hadn’t seen his yet either. You must perceive the promise with spiritual eyes before your natural eyes can see the result of your faith.
Now Abram is told to start walking.
“Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.” Gen 13:17
Before we arise and walk, we must lift up our eyes. In other words, before we can begin to put God’s promise under our feet and claim it, we must be able to perceive it by the eyes of faith. Also know that as our feet carry us, our horizons expand and we are able to perceive more of God’s promise.
The vastness of God’s blessing is seldom explored. The Lord would like to invite us to explore His design of blessing for our lives. But first, we must rid ourselves of the things that hinder the Lord’s ability to expose us to His blessing.
From a position of full submission to His Plan, we are invited to explore what the Lord has set before us. His blessings stretch out before us as far as the eye can see. As we walk and put more of God’s blessing under our claim, our horizon of vision expands and we perceive more of His Plan for us by faith.
Ultimately, God wants to build us up and make us to become a blessing. When this happens, the Lord is able to draw others to Himself through us.
© 2008 Nevin Bass. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced for the purpose of resale without written permission.