Fellowship With God
Dr. Joe Temple

The Abrahamic Covenant

Will you open your Bibles, please, to the book of Genesis, chapter 12. We have discussed the first part of this 12th chapter, and now we want to continue our discussion of it and go into the 13th chapter.

We have mentioned to you that our study of the book of Genesis built around the life of a man. That means it is to be built around experience. That means that we should expect to see in the experiences of Abram a parallel to the experiences of our own lives, that we may profit by his mistakes and profit by his courage. Keep in mind, by way of review, that Abraham, known as Abram then, was an idolator in the land of Ur of the Chaldees. God spoke to him and told him to leave the land of Ur of the Chaldees and to go to a land He would show him. He told him He would do certain specific things for him if he would. The things He said He would do for him are contained in the first few verses of the 12th chapter. Those verses comprise what is commonly referred to as the Abrahamic Covenant, a covenant that God made with Abraham. When we studied the Abrahamic Covenant in detail, we discovered that it influenced not only Abram, but Abram's seed, all the nations of the world, and is binding upon even us today. I would like for us now to look at that Covenant again because it is basic to everything we are going to say about Abram:

Genesis 12:

1Now 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:
2And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

We pointed out to you when we considered this Covenant in detail that we accept every word of the Covenant in its primary, ordinary, literal meaning. We do not attempt to spiritualize it. We believe it means exactly what it says.

For example, the condition that God gave to Abram was to get out of the country where he was, from his kindred, from his father's house, unto a land that God would show him. We learned, and we will see it emphasized, that Abram did get out of the land where he was and did start toward the land that God would show him, but he did not leave his father's kindred, nor did he leave his father's house entirely.

Chronologically, the Abrahamic Covenant found in the first few verses of Genesis 12 should precede the 28th verse of the preceding chapter. You will notice that Genesis 12:1 begins with the phrase Now the LORD had said… When did He make this Covenant with Abram? He made it with Abram up there between verses 27 and 28.

Abraham did not go all the way to the land of Canaan by himself. He took with him his father and his nephew. We learn in the latter part of the 11th chapter that his father died in Haran. When this occurred, Abram started on a little bit farther toward the land. Since his nephew was not associated with him as closely as was his father, his nephew did not seem to be as great a hindrance at first. We are going to see that he proved to be a hindrance later on. We notice, as far as the Abrahamic Covenant is concerned, Abram partially fulfilled the condition, and eventually he fulfilled it completely.

God said, if you will notice verse 2 of the 12th chapter, that He would make of Abram a great nation. God was not able to do this until the 18th chapter, or I should say, was not even able to begin to do it because there was quite a period of time before Isaac, the son of Abraham, was born. You will notice that in that 2nd verse He said I will bless thee. We are going to see some of the blessings of God on him. And I will make thy name great. We who live in this age realize how great his name is . Abraham is revered by the Jews, he is revered by the Mohammedans, and he is revered by the Christians. His name is indeed great.

Then you will notice He said in verse 3, I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee. You will remember when we looked at this in detail that that promise of the Word is still being fulfilled. Individuals and nations who are kind to the Jews find the blessing of God in their lives. Individuals and nations who are unkind to the Jews find the chastening of God in their lives.

You will notice He said in the last part of verse 3: In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

We said that that, of course, was a prophecy concerning the Word of God, because the Book that I hold in my hand is a Jewish book. It also referred to the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom Abraham was the father.

According to this Abrahamic Covenant, we noticed in verse 4:

Genesis 12:

4So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him [You see, some of his house; he was supposed to leave his house behind.]: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

On to Sichem On the Plain of Moreh

Then you will notice verse 6:

Genesis 12:

6And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.

We attempted to point out to you that the names used in the Old Testament, names of people and places, are very significant. We may not be so particular in our day and time about the names we give to our children and the names we give to certain communities, but every name in the Bible is significant. You will remember we pointed out to you that the name Sichem in the 6th verse means shoulder , and the name Moreh means instruction . It seems from a spiritual standpoint that Abram in his journey should be in the place of Sichem, that is, the place of strength, and the plain of Moreh, the place of instruction, because he certainly needed some strong teaching of the Lord.

In verse 7 we find the Lord appearing unto Abram and reiterating the Abrahamic Covenant. What we find here is a repetition in detail of what we find in the first three verses of the 12th chapter:

Genesis 12:

7…Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.

Notice the altar. It is highly significant. It becomes a characteristic of Abram's life. When we begin the study of the life of Isaac, we will see that Isaac was the man of the well. Everywhere he went, he dug a well. Everywhere Abram went, he builded an altar. He builded an altar and called upon the name of the Lord.

It is significant to notice the location of this altar in verse 8:

Genesis 12:

8And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord.

We pointed out to you that Bethel means House of God , and Hai means Place of Ruin . If we were to look at these directions west and east from the standpoint of Abram, we would speak of before and behind. Before him was the House of God, (west), and behind him was a pile of ruin, (east), signifying the life from whence he came and the promise of the future ahead.

Abram now is in the place of blessing. He is in fellowship with the Lord. The future is before him, and great things could be expected. Alas, as we are going to see, the future was marred almost as soon as it was opened to him. As we think about that, we are reminded of our own experiences. So often we are in fellowship with the Lord. Everything looks as if it is going to be wonderful. We feel we will never be out of fellowship again. We feel that everything will be just as it ought to be. Then, suddenly, we realize we are out of fellowship, and we are in trouble. I wish that I could say to you that Abram remained in fellowship with the Lord, but I cannot say that because he did not. As I have pointed out to you before in our study in the book of Genesis, one of the reasons we know that the Bible is true is that it is a perfectly honest book. If I were writing a story and describing a hero, I would tell you only his good points. However, the Bible tells you the good and the bad.

A Faltering Abram

Here is Abram, a friend of God, doing some things so despicable that we feel ashamed of him as we read what he did. We will now look at the story, and then, as the Lord leads, make the application.

Will you notice the paragraph which begins with verse 9:

Genesis 12:

9And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.
10And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.
11And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon:
12Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.
13Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.
14And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.
15The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house.
16And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.
17And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife.
18And Pharaoh called Abram and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?
19Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.
20And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.

Genesis 13:

1And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.
2And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.
3And 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;
4Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord.
5And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.
6And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.
7And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.
8And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.
9Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.
10And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
11Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
12Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
13But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.
14And 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:
15For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
16And 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.
17Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.
18Then 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.

May be bow our heads in prayer, please.

Father, we have read Thy Word, and we acknowledge our need of Thee, asking that the Holy Spirit will indeed teach us Thy Word, that we may be able to understand the deep riches of this passage of Scripture. As Thou dost speak to our hearts, we pray that You will open our hearts to the truth that we may receive the Word of God. We pray in Jesus name and for His sake. Amen.

A Disobedient Abram: Down Into Egypt, Into Trouble, and Out of Fellowship

We have read the 12th and 13th chapters together. I do not know how far we will get in our discussion, perhaps all the way through. We have read these two passages of Scripture, this complete section, because what we have read all hinges on Abram's journey into Egypt. If Abram had not gone down into Egypt, there would not be the record contained in these two chapters. In Genesis 12:20 is the first time we find Egypt mentioned in the Bible. You will remember that I have referred to a principle of Bible study called the Law of First Mention: The way a place, or a person, or a thing is first mentioned in the Bible determines its meaning throughout the Word of God. If you are familiar with your Bibles, you know that the land of Egypt meant nothing but trouble for Israel. Spiritually speaking, the land of Egypt means nothing but trouble for Christians. That is an especially fitting interpretation when you remember that the word Egypt means trouble . That is the true meaning of the word…trouble. Abram went down into Egypt, and when he did, he got into trouble.

We have told you that there are many principles in the Word of God that were principles before they were written down. The fact that Egypt could cause trouble was a principle here in the 12th chapter of the book of Genesis, but it was not written down until Isaiah wrote it in the 31st chapter of the book that bears his name.

In Isaiah, chapter 31, if you would like to mark it in your Bibles, Isaiah said:

Isaiah 31:

1Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!

I think it would be well for us, in the light of our discussion, to notice the first and last statements of that verse. Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help,… but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD! For that was Abram's problem . God told Abram to go on into the Land of Promise. Instead, he went down into Egypt, the land of trouble. You say, “Well, you can't blame him. It says in the 10th verse that there was a very grievious famine in the land.” That is right, but Abram was to be a man of faith. He was to walk by faith, and if God says to the man of faith, “Go into the land,” and then a famine arises, is that any reason for him not to go into the land? Doesn't God know even before He gives the order what is going to happen? Didn't God know there would be a famine in the land of Canaan? Of course He did, and had Abram stayed in the land of Canaan, God would have taken care of him. How do I know that? You say that it does not say so here in the 12th chapter of the book of Genesis. That is right, but it does say so in the 37th Psalm. Psalms 37 is a Psalm of David's that, as far as interpretation is concerned, is addressed to the nation of Israel in relation to their abiding in the land that God gave them, the Land of Promise.

We will not take time to read the whole Psalm, but notice verses 3 and 4:

Psalms 37:

3Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
4Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

These are two wonderful verses, and the applications are many. Some of you have heard me tell of the spiritual application of these verses in my own life and how wonderfully God has blessed in them. Let us remember that as far as interpretation is concerned, this is a promise to the nation of Israel: If they trusted in the Lord, and if they dwelled in the land of Canaan, God would feed them. All in the world that was necessary was for Abram to stay in the Land of Promise, and because he did not stay there, but instead went down into the land of trouble, all kinds of sad things happened in his life. We would like for you to notice these with us. These things that happened to Abram are an illustration of what will happen to any of us when we get out of fellowship.

Fellowship is a term I have used repeatedly, and it may be that some of you are not familiar with what we mean when we speak of fellowship…being in fellowship or out of fellowship. We believe the Bible teaches that when a person comes to know the Lord Jesus Christ as his own personal Savior, he receives eternal life. That gift can never be forfeited. We believe that as he walks in the light that God gives him from the Word of God he is in fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. He is in fellowship with God. The Bible says if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin. Walking in the light is just another expression of being obedient to the Word, of doing what God wants us to do, of fulfilling the will of God in our lives.

The very moment we are disobedient to God (and all disobedience is sin), we are out of fellowship. We walk in darkness, as John says. If we walk in darkness and say we are in fellowship, we are lying. It is impossible to be in fellowship and walk in darkness at the same time. The very moment we recognize our sin, the very moment we recognize our act of disobedience, the very moment we confess it to the Lord, we are restored to fellowship. There are many Christians…will you notice what I say…many Christians who are out of fellowship. They do not know what is wrong with their lives. They do not know why they are miserable. They know that things are not going right, but they do not know why these bad things happen in their lives. It is because they are out of fellowship. We suggest to you that the very moment Abram went down into Egypt, he was out of fellowship.

Let me delve a little deeper and suggest that in verse 9 of this 12th chapter, when he started going down toward the south, he was out of fellowship. He was out of fellowship the very moment he entertained the idea of being disobedient to God and started on his journey toward the land of Egypt.

A Lying Abram

In verse 11:

Genesis 12:

11And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt…

He was not there yet. He was on his way. But I am sure you realize that every overt act of sin first begins in the heart and in the mind. It begins in the heart and in the mind before it becomes an action. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Abram decided to go to Egypt, and before he ever got there, he was out of fellowship. Because he was out of fellowship, he was tempted by the Devil, and he succumbed to the temptation to do a despicable thing…the most selfish, cowardly thing a man could possibly do. He said to his wife, Sarah (as she became known later), “You are a beautiful woman. When we go down into Egypt, and they see how beautiful you are, they will kill me so they can marry you.”

You see, the Egyptians were not by the farthest cry a Christian nation, but they had higher principles than some of us have today. They believed that if you wanted a man's wife, you had better kill him before you take her. Today people just take her, regardless. They had a little bit higher principles than even we have. And Abram said, “They will kill me as sure as the world, and I don't want to let that happen, so you act as if you are my sister.”

If you anticipate yourself a little bit and read the 20th chapter of the book of Genesis, you will find that Sarai was his step-sister. A lot of Bible scholars who do not want to recognize that a Friend of God, as Abram was called, could do a despicable thing like this, say, “Well, he really did not lie. She was his half-sister.” The 20th chapter of the book of Genesis says she was his half-sister, but let us face it. If you say something that is half-truth with the intent of deceiving, it becomes a lie. We might need to remember that. In this day when things are rather an uncertain color, we call it a white lie. We think that if we do not stand up and tell a point-blank lie, as we call it, it is not so bad. A little white lie now and then does not hurt anybody. Well, we want to remind you that if you tell the truth or a half-truth with the intent to deceive, as far as God is concerned, it is a lie! Abram lied! Imagine a Friend of God lying. He lied, and of all things, he lied about the relationship he had with his own wife! Then what happened?

You can read the story for yourself. The Egyptians did think she was beautiful, so beautiful in fact that she became the talk of the whole country. Word got to Pharaoh, and Pharaoh took her into his palace with the intent of marrying her. With that intent in mind, notice in verse 16:

Genesis 12:

16And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.

Will you let that sink in? Can you imagine a Christian, using a New Testament term for this Old Testament character, stooping so low as to lie, and not only to lie, but to expose the wife of his bosom to all kinds of danger? Can you imagine a thing like that? Well, you may as well recognize it because that is exactly what Abram did. It should be an indication to our hearts of how low we can go when we are out of fellowship with God. It should be an indication to our hearts that there is no limit to the things we will do when we are walking in the flesh and not in the spirit.

The 17th verse we will mention only in passing, but when we come to the 20th chapter, we will have more to say about it because it teaches a principle that we need to remember. God in his sovereign mercy and grace keeps sinners from sinning too much. He kept Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, from marrying Sarai and committing adultery by plaguing his house. When you get over to the 20th chapter, Abram did this same thing again. It was a good many years later and with a different king. This king was in a little closer contact with God than this earlier king, and God said to him, “I have kept you from sinning.”

Maybe we should pray for our unsaved loved ones that God will keep them from going too deep into sin. Maybe we ought to pray that way. It might be easier for them to come to God if they do not go too deeply into sin. God is able to keep them from going too deep into sin. That is exactly what we learn in verse 17:

Genesis 12:

17And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife.

Somewhere between verses 17 and 18, Pharaoh learned the reason for the plague:

Genesis 12:

18And Pharaoh called Abram and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?
19Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.

These verses of Scripture remind me of one of the saddest things that can occur to a Christian who is out of fellowship. It is that the Christian must bear the reproach of the unsaved. He must bear the reproach of the world. The world has far higher standards than we have for ourselves. When we permit ourselves to walk in darkness and not in light, we bring reproach not only upon ourselves but on the cause which we represent.

Up Out of Egypt With Materialistic Wealth

Abram was reproached by a Godless King, and now in the 13th chapter, Abram went up out of the land of Egypt. I do not want to make too much out of phrases and words, but isn't it significant that in the 10th verse of the 12th chapter he went down into Egypt, and in the 1st verse of the 13th chapter he went up out of Egypt? That is the trend that is followed throughout the Word of God: Men who are out of fellowship go down; men, if they get back into fellowship, must go up.

Will you notice verse 2:

Genesis 13:

2And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.

That is the second bad thing that happened to him while he was down in Egypt. The first bad thing that happened to him was the loss of his testimony through his lying in relation to his wife. The second bad thing that happened to him was that he got rich. This is the first time riches are mentioned in the Bible. The principle concerning riches was not written down until way over in the New Testament, in the First Epistle to Timothy, chapter 6, verse 10, where riches, if they are gotten in the manner in which Caesar got them, pierce men through with many fearsome and hurtful sorrows. Somebody says of an individual who is definitely out of fellowship with God, “He could not be out of fellowship! Look how the Lord has blessed him.” They mistake material prosperity for a sign of the blessing of God. I want to remind you that the Devil can make men rich! I want to remind you that when men choose the way of materialistic things, sometimes God permits them to be materialistically blessed, but the material with which they are blessed becomes a curse to them.

Abram came up out of the land of Egypt, rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. Those riches created the strife between Lot and Abram. May I remind you, before we get to the final separation of Abram and Lot, that God always accomplishes his purposes in our lives, but He will let us do it with as little expense or as great expense as we may desire. If Abram had left Lot in the land of Ur of the Chaldees, the expense would not have been great. Had he left Lot at Haran where he left his father Terah, the expense would not have been so great. Yet he wanted his way, and God let him have it, and the expense was high when God finally brought about the separation.

Back to Bethel and Fellowship Restored

You will notice in verse 3:

Genesis 13:

3And 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;
4Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord.

Are you thinking? Do you remember any mention of an altar while Abram was in Egypt? Do you remember any reference to Abram's calling on God while he was in Egypt? There is not one reference to an altar, and there is not one reference to Abram's calling on God while he was in Egypt. Why? It was because he was out of fellowship. Where did he get out of fellowship? It was back there at the place where he built the altar between Bethel and Hai when he decided to go down into Egypt. Where did he get back in fellowship? We are told in the 4th verse of the 13th chapter that it was where he built the altar at the beginning between Bethel and Hai.

We want to remind you that if you are out of fellowship, if you want to get back into fellowship, you will have to get back in the very same place where you got out. All the time in between is wasted time! You see, Abram was on a journey into the Land of Promise. He stopped at Bethel, and there at Bethel he got detoured down into Egypt. He could not go from Egypt on into the Land of Promise and make up for lost time. He had to retrace his steps, to go right back to Bethel where he was at the beginning and start out all over again. I wonder how much wasted time there is in our lives and in our experiences? I wonder. How many of us are going to have to go back to Bethel? You might underline that phrase in your Bible and ask God to give you grace when you get out of fellowship to go back to Bethel.

Separation From Lot

When Abram was in fellowship, he was not looking out for himself anymore. Out of fellowship, he was looking out for himself to the extent that he was willing even to sacrifice his wife on the altar of his own selfishness. Now he was back in fellowship, but there was dissension and strife between the herdsmen of Lot and the herdsmen of Abram. It got to the place where there was strife between Abram and Lot. What does the man in fellowship do? He goes to the man who is out of fellowship (verse8) and he says:

Genesis 13:

8And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.

Oh, don't you notice the difference? A few months ago he would not have done this because he was out of fellowship. Now he is back in fellowship, and he can go to Lot and say, “Lot, it is not worth it. Let us not have any bad feelings. Let us not have any fights.” “Well,” Lot said, “What are we going to do about it?” Abram, the man in fellowship, said, “The whole land is before us. You decide which way you want to go, and I will go the other way. If you want to go to the right, you go. If you want to go to the left, you go. I am not going to fuss with you about it. I am going to let you make the choice.” Only a person in fellowship with God could be that gracious.

You know the choice that Lot made. There are many spiritual lessons we can learn from the choice that Lot made, but we are going to skip over those lessons until we get farther on into the next chapter and find even more things that happened to Lot. We now want to continue our thinking about the restoration of fellowship with Abram.

The Abrahamic Covenant Repeated

Will you notice in verse 14:

Genesis 13:

14And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him…

Notice those two words, after that . Lot was gone now. It took a long time, but he was gone, and God said to Abram,

Genesis 13:

14…Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:
15For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.

This is a reiteration of the Abrahamic Covenant with this distinction: It is the first time that God has said He would give the land to Abram. Before this, He said He would give it to his seed. Now He says He is going to give it to Abram personally. Notice when the promise was given. It was given when he got right with the Lord, when he got back into fellowship.

Look at verse 17. God has given the promise, but God would have Abram appropriate the promise. He says to him in verse 17:

Genesis 13:

17Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.

Abram might have said, “You just said you would give it to me.” Then God might have said, “Yes, but I want you to appropriate it.” We sing the little chorus, Every promise in the book is mine, Every letter, every word, every line.

I have mentioned to you in the course of our discussions that there are 50,000 promises, 50,000 workable promises, in the Bible. Every one of them belongs to you, but I wonder, how many of them have you appropriated? How many of them have you stepped out on in faith? Abram walked up the length and breadth of the land, and every step he took, he said, “This land is mine.” Every step he took, he said, “It belongs to me.” I wish that we could appropriate the promises of God in that fashion. I wish we could step out on them and make them real. To many Christians, the promises are in the book. To a group not as large, they are in their hearts and in their minds because they have committed them to memory. To a group smaller still, they are in their lives because they have put them to the test and have found them to be true. They have become a part of the framework of their experience. How many of these promises are yours?

On to the Plain of Mamre In Hebron and Vigorous Fellowship

In closing, I would like for you to notice verse 18 with me:

Genesis 13:

18Then 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.

Let me read that verse to you again because it marks a milestone in the life of Abram:

Genesis 13:

18Then Abram removed his tent…

Where was his tent? It was back there at Bethel, at the place of the beginning of his Christian experience. He lost all that time in Egypt. He removed his tent from Bethel over to the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron. What do these words mean? Hebron means fellowship . You say, “Oh, I thought he was in fellowship as soon as he got back to Bethel.” He was, but there is a deeper lesson in the word Mamre . It is a word that is very familiar in our vocabulary today. The word Mamre means vigor . This is a suggestion that Abram at this time came into vigorous fellowship with the Lord. It was not just a latent fellowship. It was not just that he was on speaking terms with God. He was awaiting God's command!

I would suggest to you that if you are God's child, there are three stages of experience for you. First, you may be out of fellowship if you are God's child. Second, you may be just in fellowship, just barely under the line. Third, you may be enjoying vigorous fellowship with the Lord. I hope you are enjoying that vigorous fellowship, because that is the only place of real Christian joy.


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