Sunday 24th May, 10.30 am Order of Service

WELCOME

HYMN SOF 386 Master speak, Thy servant heareth

1

Master, speak! Thy servant heareth,

Waiting for thy gracious word,

Longing for thy voice that cheereth;

Master, let it now be heard.

I am listening, Lord, for thee;

What hast thou to say to me?

2

Speak to me by name, O master,

Let me know it is to me;

Speak, that I may follow faster,

With a step more firm and free,

Where the shepherd leads the flock

In the shadow of the rock.

3

Master, speak! Though least and lowest,

Let me not unheard depart;

Master, speak! For O thou knowest

All the yearning of my heart,

Knowest all its truest need;

Speak, and make me blest indeed.

4

Master, speak! and make me ready,

When thy voice is truly heard,

With obedience glad and steady

Still to follow every word.

I am listening, Lord, for thee;

Master, speak! O speak to me!

PRAYER

READING – GENESIS 12:10 – 13:2

Abram in Egypt

10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”

14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.

17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai.

18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me?” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.

Abram and Lot Separate

13 So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. 2 Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.

SERMONGoing Too Far

Last week we were surprised to find that Abram stopped short of obedience to God. He was prepared to go 600 miles for God – to Harran – but not the whole way to Canaan.

This week we see that he went from stopping short go going too far. Isn’t that often the way? Sometimes WE swing from stopping short to the opposite extreme – we become fanatical – and go far beyond what God has commanded – far beyond what God wants.

The Christian life is always a balancing act between lagging behind God and His guidance and racing ahead of God and going into new territory without His protecting, hand of guidance.

Note: God had NOT commanded Abram to go to Egypt – so he should not have gone! But, God can bring about his promise, despite human failures.

The account of Abram’s sojourn in Egypt parallels in many respects the account of God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt (Ge 41-Ex 12).

Strangely, Egypt is not universally condemned as a bad place in the Scriptures. In fact we read:

Dt 23:7

Do not abhor an Egyptian, because you lived as an alien in his country.

Is.19: The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people,

You might say that it is better to be immoral than to die – but IS IT? Is it not better to say with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Dan 3:17,18)

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.

By chapter 13 vs 2 Abraham has acquired not only huge flocks, but also silver and gold – probably by trading. Some would see this as a sign of God’s approval – leaving Egypt laden with all sorts of wealth. But the acquisition of wealth is not necessarily a sign that God is with you.

Heb 11:6 – without faith we cannot please GodRom 14:23 whatever is not of faith is sin.

God had promised to bless the people of earth through Abram (Gen 12:1-3) – but what happened as a result of Abram’s disobedience was that the Egyptians were cursed instead of being blessed.

Yet even in the midst of disobedience and cowardice, we see Abram being blessed by God and that is a startling testimony to God’s patience and grace towards sinners like ourselves. 2 Tim 2:13 – though we are unfaithful, he is faithful. Psalm 103:13 He takes pity upon his children.

PRAYER

HYMN – Ascribe greatness to our God the Rock

Ascribe greatness to our God, the rock,

his work is perfect and all his ways are just.

Ascribe greatness to our God, the rock,

his work is perfect and all his ways are just.

A God of faithfulness and without injustice,

good and upright is he.

A God of faithfulness and without injustice,

good and upright is he.

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