People, Places, Propensities

People, places, propensities. Saints we must identify the traps tripping which dogs at our feet. Our adversary the devil knows our shortcomings and he will exploit our every weakness to wreck our homes, lives and even our witness, given the slightest chance. (εὐπερίστατος euperistatos) No, I didn’t play Risk with you, when did we play Risk? (εὐπερίστατος euperistatos) Every time we fail to identify our weaknesses. We read this as beset or hinders in this passage, while it literally means to skillfully surround, like being hemmed in. For some, this is the fear of answering God’s call to Children’s ministry. The fear of being hemmed in. Like Ole Mo, Samson, David, and Peter, Abe is flawed, however, that doesn’t detract from the biblical message. The whole of the scriptural cannon proclaims to the reader holiness and faithfulness unto the Lord, not the perfection of His followers, but that of a follower who can and will be propelled by grace through faith. 

Ephesians 2:8~For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—(NIV) When we identify our areas of weakness, no I did not say your spouse’s area or friend’s area, nor did I say teenager, or your parent’s area of weakness, I said yours. We must own our life, and know the shortcomings where sin ensues, ensnaring us in a tangled web that dogs us. When we identify we can confess and move towards the love, mercy, and grace of God. 

For example, without David’s sin, we wouldn’t have heard his heart-wrenching prayer in Psalm 51:1~(When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.) Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. (NIV) Abe is again entangling himself in the weight of sin, for fear of man. Abe doesn’t have a Bible to turn to psalms and hear the powerful words of Psalm 118:6~The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? (NIV)

So Abe lies, and as a result, again falls into sin because he doesn’t recognize this area of weakness in his life. To eliminate the entangling weight of sin, we must identify areas of weakness, and register. Register the hurt (Genesis 20:3-7). When we get taken in by a sin that easily entangles our lives, God begins a course correction, to get us back on track. Our lives are purpose-filled and we are to live for His glory. We all approach the faith holding a couple of questions: Why should we glorify God? By seeing God for who He truly is. Revelation 4:11~Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will, they exist and were created. (ESV) The second question many of us have pondered is: How can I glorify God with my ordinary life? Christ Jesus answers this in John 15:8~When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. (NLT) 



Identity

Do you know your own weaknesses? As believers, we need to Identify Areas of Weakness (Genesis 20:1-2). After the angelic onslaught of a once vibrant sin-filled community called Sodom has been laid waste, Abe takes his leave from the towering trees of Mamre (Genesis 18:1) and travels southerly Genesis 20:1~From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar. (ESV) A powerful king joins the scene Abimelech, and Abe again fears losing his wife, Sarah. It causes Abe to repeat a sin. Do I have any repeat offenders? Anyone bound by the three strikes rule? You may remember a time when in life there was a famine, and you moved without God’s approval, trying to help the Lord, you knew He was busy, only to find one’s self knee deep in some deep…, well you get the picture. This is Genesis 12:12-13~and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake. (ESV)

So, Abimelech sends for Sarah and takes her Genesis 20:2~And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. (ESV) Grasp that this post-menopausal hottie, i.e. Sarah 90 years plus some days has drawn the eye of Abimelech whose desire is certainly more than a mere look see. How in the world could Abe do this again, especially after God had just told him about this time next year, you’ll have a son. Genesis 18:10~The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. (ESV) Part of the answer is found in our propensity, a natural inclination towards. Yes, we all have certain sins to which we’re especially susceptible. Hebrews 12:1~Surrounded then as we are by these serried ranks of witnesses, let us strip off everything that hinders (εὐπερίστατος euperistatos) us, as well as the sin which dogs our feet, and let us run the race that we have to run with patience, (JBP)



The Weight of Sin

Wouldn’t it be great, that at the moment of our first confession of Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we became perfect Christians, no more flaws, errant thoughts or comments, our actions faultlessly aligned and properly reposed, never sinning again. But wait that is me, I mean us, right. We live right, act right, heck, we are right, just ask my spouse. Well, I will text you the right time to ask her. Perhaps you remember a Monday night when Don Meredith responded to Howard Cosell of nuts and Christmas, could be you still remember your 1928 Literacy lesson reading a Chapter of Ifs. All harken back to Gottfried August Bürger (1747-1794) who originally said: Are you there, my old fox, with your ifs and your ans? But I need not remind you, they’re not pots and pans, else tinkers would starve, (as I learnt from my nurse;) still the answer shall pass, for it might have been worse. Only when if’s and buts are dollars and cents will we all be wealthy men. 

This old sod has seen only one who’s perfect, complete, lacking nothing. His name is Jesus Christ, His premise has come no matter your state, His promise is rest. Matthew 11:28~Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (NIV) Spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ this promise revealed was later unpacked by Paul who wrote to remind all Biblical readers in Philippians 1:6~There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. (MSG) Perfection is our aim, better today is our strive, hope for tomorrow is our promise of a bright future given in Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:8~If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (NIV) 

What is instantaneous for every believer at conversion is a complete work wrought in our lives through Jesus Christ when we repent, which is to turn from our sins and trust in Christ Jesus our Savior. However, this only the beginning of a journey through life and faith. Where believers are to grow spiritually as they mature in their faith. This is the spiritual process of sanctification. Though it seems more gradual for some than others. As great Bible preachers have for eons reminded their parishioners: It took just one day to get Israel out of Egypt, but it took God forty years to get Egypt out of Israel. It only takes God a second to save us, but a lifetime to mold us into His image. In Genesis 20, we discover that we never grow too old to sin. If you get discouraged because we are not a perfect believer, even after years of dutiful trying, then join me as we consider again the Life of Abe and the Weight of Sin: Identify, Register, Beware.