The High Cost Of Letting Down
A daily devotion for June 4th
1 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.
3 From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier 4 and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the LORD.
From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier... (Genesis 13:3)
As soon as Abram is back in the land, there is the tent and the altar again. There is no tent or altar in Egypt. That is, there is no pilgrim character, no place of worship or cleansing, and no fellowship in Egypt. But even back in the land, Abram must return to the place where he made an altar at the first, and there Abram calls upon the name of the Lord. In other words, time spent in Egypt is wasted time! There was no growth in grace in that land. He had to come right back to where he was when he went down to Egypt. He had material gain to show for the time in Egypt, but nothing but barrenness and weakness spiritually.
Have you discovered how true this is? When you forsake the pathway of faith, when you refuse to walk in fellowship with God, when you depend upon the resources of the world to satisfy the empty hunger of the heart, these are wasted years! They may literally be years. I know of those who have lived almost all their Christian lives in Egypt, and all they have to show for it is a barren, wasted, empty, boring existence.
When Abram at last returned, what did he find? There is no mention of famine when he returns, but I think the famine is still going on. Remember, Abram was driven out of Egypt. He was not yet ready to leave it of his own choice, and this would indicate the famine was still raging in Canaan. Also, the quarrel that soon developed with Lot's herdsmen over the pastureland suggests there was still a severe shortage of feed. But though the famine still continues, Abram is no longer troubled about it. Why not? Because, when he reached the land, the first thing he did was to call on the name of the Lord! This is what he should and could have done when the famine first struck.
The name of the Lord stands for all the resources of God. When we cash a check, we are calling on the name of the person who signed the check. When Abram calls on the name of the Lord, he is discovering the resources of God. He discovers that God is able to meet his needs despite the famine, the trial, or the circumstances. Just as Paul proclaims,
My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
May I, like Abram, learn that in Egypt there is nothing but heartache and sorrow and danger for me and my loved ones, but in You is all I need to meet my deepest cry.
Life Application: In times of testing and trial it can be difficult to hang onto God. Have we discovered that calling on Him is far better than paying the high cost of other kinds of relief?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.