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Counting Stars in an Empty Sky (Part 3)

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef
The Truth Network Radio
September 4, 2019 1:00 am

Counting Stars in an Empty Sky (Part 3)

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef

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From Watergate all the way to Monica Lewinsky scandal from all the other public scandals by public officials. You remember how it is not the lien but is the cover-up of the flying that got them into deeper trouble while the Bible exhorts us again and again and again that the confession of sin brings about God's healing and God's forgiveness and God's restoration. The covering up of sin, the rationalizing of sin or blaming others for our sin always causes deeper pain, but perhaps it is no more powerful example of this than the life of the great patriarch Abraham. We have begun a series of messages counting stars when you see none because that's exactly the promise of God to Abraham's and start counting the stars when he was 75 and Sarah 65 and they had no children whatsoever.

We saw the sevenfold blessing, the sevenfold promise that God made to Abraham in the first part of chapter 12 of the book of Genesis, we saw on the strength of these promises on the strength of the sevenfold blessing Abraham left of Chaldeans with all of its dear and near to him. Then in the last message we saw Abraham diversion to harangue. We saw that a pilgrim is someone who leaves home but he's going to another home. He has a name.

He has a purpose. Here's a goal to reach.

But as drifter is the one who leaves home and he doesn't know where he's going or where she's going and nothing more heartbreaking than watching a pilgrim becoming a spiritual drifter. It's heartbreaking and this is not pointing a finger at the great patriarch. Trust me, trust me when I tell you that is not the case. In my case at least for I know experientially how dreadful it is how painful it is those temporary detours from being a pilgrim becoming a spiritual drifter now wanted to turn with me please to Genesis chapter 12 beginning at verse 10 to 20 throughout the Scripture we see that Egypt is a symbol of going away from God throughout the Scripture you see that Egypt is a symbol of trusting in human ingenuity and trusting in human resources and trusting in ourselves. Egypt is always synonymous with lack of faith and living by sight and not by faith in the book of Isaiah chapter 31 verse one world to those who go down to Egypt is nothing to do with being geographical location worldview who go down to Egypt for help instead of looking to the Lord and I think everyone of us, everyone. If we're honest with ourselves we know a time when we placed our faith in people who deeply wounded us. We know a time when we placed our faith in somebody else. They let us down. We know that when we placed our faith in ourselves and we would deeply disappointed. I don't know about you but I know I can identify with Abraham, when he went from a pilgrim for drifter here is what often happens when you develop this dependence on Egypt.

Whatever your Egypt may be your proverbial Egypt are very different from the person next to you is what happens instead of trusting in the Lord your trust in your Egypt whether your Egypt is your statement of net worth whether your Egypt is your financial portfolio whether your Egypt is some assets or some people. Whatever your Egypt may be, you gonna find that the moment you began to place that faith in the trust and whatever it may be you.

Intimacy with God goes by the wayside. Your personal affection toward God and toward God's people becomes cold and icy your walk with the Lord becomes formal and distant is just like Voltaire said what are talking about the relationship with God, he said would bow, but we do not talk that is a formality that will take place.

Be very careful. Be very careful often when we are in this proverbial Egypt. We rationalize things in our head. We really do.

We might not verbalize them. What were rationalizing in our head. I sure want to obey God, but I have needs and I've got to meet those needs. I need those needs to be met while I sought God with all my heart to get me out of this terrible situation but he didn't. I'm going to lean on my natural instincts. I'm going to lean on my resources on the lien on my intellect up, I'm going to lean on my own ingenuity. You might not verbalize it, but that's how you think that's how you operate.

After all, God gave me a mind of going to use it. Beloved, I want to tell you something when more than 50% of the population is totally and utterly dependent on a government handout. We have no reason to trust in the Lord with trusting the government. The government has become our God and we need to repent of that now I don't want to knock politicians. I really don't. That's not something I do very easily, but but that because I feel sorry for him. I think most of them are doing the job of two people, Laurel and Hardy recently I read about Christopher Columbus of how he would've made a great politician and the reason for that is that he left and he did know where he was going and when he got there he did know what he was and then when he went back he did not know what had been and he did it all in somebody else's money. Abraham knew it was going away from Bethel. It was going away from Canaan. It was going away from trusting in the Lord who personally appeared to him who personally made promises to him when he gave in these promises on the strength of these promises he left what is near and dear in the of Chaldeans, and went to a land that he did not know where because God said not only am going to show it to you. He said omelette going on that you possess it, and their descendents will possess. But before I get carried away what I wanted to share with you six things that can draw you away from the trusting in the Lord and trusting in your resources.

The things that lead you away from living by faith and begin to live by sight. These are the six things that gonna take you to a proverbial Egypt away from Bethel. You ready not pray to God that if you identify with any one of those six steps wherever you might be whatever you are are pray to God that you realize that is never too late that God longs for you to come back to the very heart of worship that God is longing for you to come back to him. Here we go. The first thing when you begin to use only human logic you notice I said only because nothing wrong with human logic, but you cannot only use human logic if used only human logic you going to get into trouble because human logic can show you the reality of your situation and ethnic nothing wrong with that.

After all, Abraham realize that he is in a land of famine is in Canaan is a famine and he realized that the Canaanites are in the same fixed values in he realized that this Canaanites, I'm not about to go out and help a stranger and provide them with food. Then trouble themselves. So Abraham's first step on this downward slope was that he did not go to the God who appeared to him.

The God who made the sevenfold promises, the God whom he trusted enough to leave home and that of Chaldeans, and to go somewhere. We did not know what is going. He did not seek the God's resources. He did not seek that God's provisions and power and strength, and he used only human logic is what happens when you use only human logic at the time of your difficult circumstances you're looking at their circumstances either circle or square you only seeing the circumstances, you are not able to see the whole picture and that's why use of human logic alone is going to get you into trouble because using human logic might let you see your circumstances and the reality. But the big picture is going to reveal to you the God of your circumstances and that the God of your circumstances is bigger than your circumstances. Amen. You remember when the spies hundreds of years after Abraham was sent to spy the promised land in the 12 of them go there and the 12 come back and there were divided 10 against 210 said, there are giants in the land and we look like grasshoppers and they began to doubt the promises of God, only to Joshua and Caleb and that's rather privileged to go there into the promised land. They said yes they might be Giants. Yes, when I look like grasshoppers. As far as our concern, but we have a greater God we have a mighty God we know that God promised us less contacted wonder how many of us have looked at the mountains of difficulties in our lives and see ourselves as grasshopper and failed to see the God of circumstances dear Moody wonton master pastor is and how you're doing and the pastor said not too bad.

Under the circumstances.

Dear Moody said what are you doing under what are you doing under there, using only human logic and not seeing the whole picture is the first step that will begin to take you away from the God of power and might, secondly ceasing to worship and I must talk about singing on Sunday morning worship includes personal worship. Personal worship includes offering sacrifices unto the Lord. Worship includes self giving to God.

Worship includes the place of meeting with God on the regular basis on intimate basis and when Abraham left Bethel, which means the house of God, where he has built an altar.

He went to Egypt and we see no evidence of him building an altar in Egypt and he did not come back to the heart of worship until he left Egypt and humiliation. We have no record of him worshiping God in Egypt, only coming up with this cockamamie scheme and ceasing to trust in God using human logic and failing to see the whole picture and the God of circumstances is going to take you to the second step in worship will become boring worship will become a chore worship and spending time it becomes a drudgery albeit happen slowly at happens gradually and begins by that first step. Spurgeon, the great preacher of yesteryear brought the following is a biblical truth is like the pinnacle of a steep, slippery mountain one step away and you find yourself in the download grade beloved, wherever you are right now. Only you and God know where you are wherever you are, you can come back and trust God. Again, you can come back to the heart of worship that are some people who think that the they can go to church for one hour maybe an hour and 1/2. If you stretch it is two hours or and they think that one hour a week or two hours a week is going to give them victory the whole week. Don't fool yourself, please.

Because the world is too powerful and the devil is too conniving for you to just put out now with God each week. First, using human logic only and not seeing the whole picture. Secondly, worship, personal worship goes by the wayside.

Which is self-sufficiency.

You look at your accomplishments you look at your accumulations and you not necessarily verbalize what I'm going to say but you think up inside man I'm good. I really a blog.

What I did. Thank God, yes.

You give him lipservice, but then you go back is and must be clever must be wise. I must be really really good look what I came from report.

I am now. I got myself here.

Others may be falling and stumbling but I am self-sufficient. I am financially independent.

I don't owe anybody anything, Abraham probably thought to himself, these dumb Egyptians.

Now don't take that personally commit these dumb it will let you know I can out negotiate her. Sarah was not only my most important asset. She is a beautiful woman, a feral ever finds out that Sarah is my wife is going to kill me. In answer to the concubines is so I got the scheme I got a self-sufficient plan. What is Abraham doing listen to me. He not only did not trust God to provide for him in the time of the famine in Canaan did not trust God to protect them from Pharaoh. He forgot the promise of God counting stars.

What you cannot see any. That is the promise of God, and you want to say hey a man didn't God say that you should be counting the stars because he's going to give your descendents as many as the stars in the sky didn't God say I give the land of Canaan to your descendents. Didn't God say we had that was then. But that's now and so he takes matters into his own hand and concocted scheme was Sarah question what was Abraham's number one concern his wife's husband is his number one concern.

Look at verses 11, 12 and 13.

I have no doubt in my mind that Abraham probably did not think he was lying, what lease is not a black lights, a white lie.

It's 1/2 lies. Not quite a full lie because in Genesis 20 verses 11 and 12 says that she's half-sister says what is really a half-life it's a white lie recommended that this kind of thing and he probably reasoned in his head is at zero. Amen well. By this I really mean well I need to survive. I can out negotiate these Egyptians I can drag this negotiation long enough until I leave Egypt and it backfired not beloved a lie is a lie is a lie in his what God does. He does not wink at lie. He might not take you up on a torch you see the consequences. The next day of the next month or next year, but God never winks at sin.

He does not he forgives sins but he doesn't wink at sin using human ingenuity and human logic and not seeing the whole picture. Stopping to worship personal worship becoming self-sufficient. Fourthly, unconfessed sin will always lead to more sin not less, and that will always happen when you cease to be a pilgrim and you become a spiritual drifter always happen God had to supernaturally intervene to protect Sarah's honor God had to insert himself supernaturally to protect the promise that he made to Abraham of counting stars even when he can see in Matilda something about sin.

There is a world of difference between sinning and immediately reprinting of your sin and confessing and turning to the Lord and sinning and staying in sin is a world of difference between the two because sin always always always adds to itself. It's like a snowball rolling down the hill. It gets bigger and bigger and bigger as it rolls down the hill. But remember, this sin is always bigger and stronger than you are, but it is not bigger and stronger than the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on Calvary and that is why only the blood of Jesus Christ is the cure all of our sin. The fifth step in this downward direction is a terrible loss terrible loss Abraham scheme turned into a disaster. Abraham thought that Sarah was his meal ticket, but alas Abraham thought that he could stretch the negotiation with Pharaoh until he leaves. But it backfired and I just wanted to imagine Abraham at that moment of absolute shock and absolute horror and absolute terror in his heart pounding inside of him as they came and snatched Sarah away from his household and took her to fair beloved, listen to me. There might be another warning and lost warning to some of you whenever we choose convenience instead of obedience will lose everything and would do something very, very precious. Someone said that the world might entreat us well but that support compensation for all losses does not alter in Egypt is no fellowship with God in Egypt is no new promise in Egypt only the selection of his household. Remember when the prodigal son in Luke chapter 15 left home when he left home. He said give me and then when he lost everything he come back to his father and he said make me make me whether you lost everything you got everything. It doesn't matter, just like make me safe with me, make me the downward slope begins with leaving God out of the picture and using only human logic and stopping worship becoming self-sufficient which lead to an avalanche of sin and experiencing humongous loss and finally and sexily unconfessed sin brings about rebuke and humiliation. The greatest blessing in the Christian faith.

The greatest blessing is that God does not let go of his children. Did you get that he never will it go of you when he adopts you and gives you his last name.

You are held in the very palms of his hands. Jesus said those whom the father gives me I lose none you're a child of God, you will not be lost. Even if you try, even if others try in the world try. Satan tries you can never be lost and I'm so grateful to the Lord for this. I am so grateful that he pulled me by the back of my neck and even now if you go to the place is what I have been you will see the mark of the heels of my feet in the sand as he dragged me back to himself. This is my beloved friends is the greatest news of all, that some people might not see it that way because sometimes God does this by revealing exposing our sin. Sometimes we get tribute by sin. Sometimes our sin to bring about deep humiliation as it happened, Abraham. But that's not bad news. That's good news because from eyes of eternity.

He is saving his saving of soul. Here we see a pagan Pharaoh pagan Pharaoh rebuking and straightening out the friend of God. Think about this thing about this Pharaoh said what have you done why did you not tell me that she is your wife. What did you tell me that she's your sister, they can get out of here. It was a greatly subdued, humiliated and but more importantly was Abraham who departed from Egypt and back to Canaan might not be very pretty. A pretty sight. But sin is never pretty is never pretty, even if society approves that are you with me. The good news is this Abraham is now back to Bethel worshiping again.

Someone said that had Abraham stayed in Canaan during the time of famine. No doubt he would've suffered, but his faith would have grown in leaps and bounds out of seeing the hand of God working in a way he could never have dreamed of what I've seen the supernatural, miraculous provision of God. Thus, the famine that took him away from God would have been the instrument of God for his spiritual growth. Beloved, I'm gonna tell you this, as I conclude, what is my testimony when I was in my early days of walking with the Lord, a young Christian and out facing insurmountable circumstances tough times and difficulties. My cries of always been to the Lord.

Get me out of this heart what's happening to me Lord, do you care what happens to this your chart.

Have you abandoned me now, after few decades of walking with the Lord when I face insurmountable difficulties. My prayers Lord, I know this is another opportunity for me to trust you Lord. This is another opportunity for me to watch your mighty hand at work. Lord, please use this opportunity to teach me to grow only and yes I know your blessed in the process. Abraham discovered the hard way that it takes more grace to stay in Canaan than to run away from King because God loves us and he loves to rearrange our steps of faith to take us upward and onward. Can you say that with our board and on regardless of where your I believe with all my heart, on the authority of God's word is never too late to come back to the heart of worship. Thanks for listening to this message from Dr. Michael.

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