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Going without knowing: Seduced by Sodom (Part 1)

Updated: Mar 15, 2023

So Abram left Egypt and traveled north into the Negev, along with his wife and Lot and all that they owned. 2 (Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold.) 3 From the Negev, they continued traveling by stages toward Bethel, and they pitched their tents between Bethel and Ai, where they had camped before. 4 This was the same place where Abram had built the altar, and there he worshiped the Lord again.-Genesis 13:1-4

Abraham’s journey from Egypt back to Caanan led him along some familiar paths. Abraham and his family traveled again by stages through the Negev all the way back to the last place Abraham had built an altar to the Lord between Bethel and Ai. When he arrived, it says that he worshipped the Lord there again.

Remember, the altar between Bethel and Ai represented Abraham’s faith in God even when he couldn’t hear His voice or see His promises coming to pass. It is fitting that he would return here. How grueling it must have been to slowly make your way back through the desert after things in Egypt did not go as planned. Although God delivered Abraham from Pharaoh, the return to Bethel was very likely bittersweet as Abraham had to face the fact that he had chosen Egypt rather than fully trusting God.

Coming home can be a wonderful experience, but it is bittersweet when the return is predicated on some sort of personal failure, mistake, or mishap. Abraham is unique in that he didn’t return to the last place he had heard from God, he returned to the last place he worshiped. So often, when we believe we missed God, we want to return to the last place we heard from Him. We want to get a fresh word or new direction. However, Abraham recognized that he didn’t need a new word. He had not yet reached the promise God had made him.

God doesn’t offer us a new promise, simply because we failed on the way to the one He originally gave us. Abraham didn’t return to Shechem for a fresh word. He returned to the altar between Bethel and Ai instead. He returned to the altar where he had worshiped the Lord just before facing the dryness of the Negev and his own personal failures in Egypt. He returned to the last place he remembered making God the focal point of his journey.

Truth is, you don’t need a fresh word from heaven. God’s word over you hasn’t changed. You need to return to the altar, repent, and worship the Lord. Whether it was Abraham’s experience in Egypt or his time around the altar, it had an obvious effect on his response to the situation that soon arose as he arrived back in Caanan.

Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church

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