NOTE: The first portion of the teaching was not recorded. Below is a synopsis of what was missed!
Abraham had just arrived at the place of promise - but then the season changes (no rain, famine).
Even though he’s exactly where he sensed God leading him, Abraham leaves so that his family doesn’t starve and die.
Before he even crosses into Egypt, he leans into his own cunning rather than God’s call to him. (and he does it again in Ch 20! and his son Isaac does the same thing!)
But Imagine with Abraham and Sarah and their kids in these circumstances.
They’re called to move to a place where they will experience and receive the overflow of God’s blessing, they’ll be the starting point of a shockwave of God’s abundance that will ripple throughout the earth. But when they get to that place, it’s already filled with people. It wasn’t some vacant paradise waiting for their arrival. It was an inhabited land. They didn’t discover something new, they just migrated to a well-trodden, and well-used place.
So they kept on moving, in trust and in worship.
Eventually they find a place to settle down, toward the hills east of Bethel. Probably not the best piece of land for grazing or for farming. Probably not the most strategic spot for a settlement. But a place out of the way, a place they could call home. Even though it wasn’t the place they expected it to be, they arrived and settled into the place of promise, and then a famine hits. What do you think they felt at this moment?
Lost hope? anger? fear? regret? abandonment? stupidity?
We can heap on all kinds of criticism and name-calling about what Abraham does next, but this whole scenario - there’s something extraordinarily human about these twists and turns for Abraham and Sarah, and it’s the stuff that makes story and calling incomplete without an understanding of journey.
What begins with clarity will, inevitably, move into shadow and fog.
What once was known and celebrated with joy becomes marked with pain and confusion.
You realize that the map that got you to this particular place ends. That your compass is broken. That the words of wisdom you heard or the song-like sayings you memorized no longer provide the comfort and direction they once did.