Genesis 12, Nehemiah 1, and Psalm 11

Today’s scheduled readings are Genesis 12, Nehemiah 1, and Psalm 11.

This devotional is about Genesis 12.

Every large nation, every big, extended family, every large church or institution or corporation once started out as something small. Even if it scaled up quickly, it began with the idea and ambition of one person or a small group of people.

God promised Abram that he would become “a great nation” (v. 2) when all he had was his wife and nephew. In faith, Abraham believed God’s promises and rearranged his life to be obedient.

That’s verses 1-9. In verse 10 and following, however, Abram acted in fear rather than faith. He instructed his wife to deceive, putting her in jeopardy so that he could protect himself. It was quite a departure from the venture of faith we read about in verses 1-9.

Although Abram was inconsistent in his faith, God was faithful. Because of his promises, God acted supernaturally to extricate Abram and Sarai from the problem that Abram’s unbelief created.

Isn’t it amazing how good God is? He calls us to trust him and is patient with us when our trust in him buckles a little in the knees. If you are the kind of Christian who is always wondering if God still accepts you, let this passage encourage you. None of us is always completely obedient to God at all times. Far from it, actually. It is not our faithfulness that matters; it is the object of our faith. If your faith is in yourself–your consistency, your obedience, your morality, your dependability, or whatever, that will do you know good because you can never be perfect.

If your faith is in God, however, he won’t abandon you when you fail. His character, his promise, and the righteousness of his son applied to us is all that we will ever need.

Why Bad Ideas Resonate With You

Tuning fork in sound therapy

Why do bad ideas seems so attractive to us? Why do sinful choices seem so attractive in the moment of temptation?

The answer: You are a sinner. Therefore, you personal character is warped in a sinful direction. The external temptation to sin strikes a resonant chord with your soul. It gives you a chance to do something you want to do already.

All of this is taught in James 1:14-15. Verse 14 says, “each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.” Verse 15 says that sin is a process but, one the process starts, it has an inevitability about it.

Sin is like pregnancy, according to verse 15. It only takes a moment and just a little bit of sperm to start the process. But once sperm & egg unite, a chain of events unfolds that takes unusual invention to stop.

One aspect of growing in Christ is reducing the sin in your life. The Bible talks about putting sin to death (Rom 8:13, Col 3:5). But in James 1, it also talks about not letting sin deceive you and conceive in you in the first place.

The deceptive power of sin is a lie. The resonates with you because you are a sinner but, as a lie, it promises pleasure, or power without telling you the cost. James 1:16 says, “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.” The next few verses tell us that God is the source of good promises that pay off well, not sin.

To grow in your faith and to become holy like God is, you must believe God’s promises in the moment of temptation. You have to choose against your sin nature and its urging within you to believe the lies of temptation.

In other words, you have to put your faith in the promises of God’s word instead of the deceptive promises of sin.