2 Corinthians 7
“From there [Abram] went on towards the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east.” —Genesis 12:8
When Abram settled in the land of Canaan, it is interesting that he chose to dwell between Bethel, meaning “House of God,” and Ai, meaning “Heap of Ruin.” This is symbolic of the Christian life. For the believer, we dwell in the space between the promises of God, the hope of eternal life and what we look forward to in eternity with Him, and the heap of ruin, the sinful nature and the ways of this world.
Genesis 12:10 tells us, “Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.” When there was a famine, Abram left for Egypt, even though a few verses earlier Abram received the reaffirmation of God’s promise, “To your offspring I will give this land” (Genesis 12:7). Abram responded previously by building an altar to worship the LORD—El Shaddai, the God who will take care of everything. Then how is it that when a famine struck, Abram left where God had called him to build his life?
Abram began to rely on his own resources to manage his life. As he and his wife, Sarai, were about to enter Egypt, he told her to lie to the Egyptians, saying that she was his sister. Although this was partially true because Sarai was Abram’s half-sister, that is beside the point. In doing all this, not only had Abram stepped out of God’s promised land for him, doubting God’s ability to provide for him during the famine, but fear had settled into Abram’s heart. Neither did Abram’s time in Egypt last, for when his lie about Sarai became exposed, Pharoah—by God’s mercy—merely commanded that Abram leave with his wife and everything that belonged to him.
Some of us, like Abram, may have taken a wrong turn, going into the land of Egypt, bending the truth and taking things into our own hands. Yet, it is never too late to come home. Abram went back “to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier…There Abram called on the name of the LORD” (Genesis 13:3-4). From the turn of events, Abram returned to where he started.
God does not waste our failures. While they are sometimes the most painful experiences, they are also the greatest teachers and lessons we have in working out the Christian life. There will be times, regrettably, when we go our own way, but God remains El Shaddai, the God who takes care of everything, so that when we return, just as the father welcomed back the prodigal son, God also welcomes us.
PRAYER: God Almighty, thank You for welcoming me back even when I have wandered away from You and relied on my own resources. You alone are everything I need.