Genesis and Leadership #2
Moments of Truth
13 June 2021
Good morning and welcome to “Moments of Truth”, a weekly broadcast brought to you by the brethren of the Pekin church of Christ located at the corner of First Street and Karnes Court in Pekin, Indiana.
Each week, we endeavor to present a portion of God’s Word to help you to “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). This morning I am joined by my good brother in Christ, Damon Torres. He will be doing all of our Scripture reading for us this morning. We also cordially invite you to come and study God’s Word with us. We have Bible Classes for all ages! They begin at 9:45 and are followed by our 10:30 AM Worship and 5 PM Worship. All are invited to come and worship with us. We continue to utilize our Facebook “Live-Stream” capability for all our services. Don’t forget about our daily “Bible Point to Ponder” which is also “Live Streaming” on our Facebook Page at 9 AM Monday through Friday. We hope you will be able to take advantage of all these opportunities to study more of God’s Word.
As well we would also like to ask that you do all you can to remain righteous before God so that your prayers will be heard and answered. James tells us in James 5:16, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
And when you pray, we ask that you remember to pray for all men as Paul instructed in 1 Timothy 2:1-2, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”
If you have any questions concerning today’s lesson or would like a transcript, please give us a call at 812-967-3437 or 812-896-6613. You can also contact us through our web site at www.pekinchurchofchrist.com. We’d also like to offer you a Home Bible study at your convenience as well as a free Bible correspondence course. Our desire is to help you with your walk with God.
Last week we began a journey through the entire Bible to help us see the entire Bible is designed to help the Christian to lead. Beginning with the Book of Genesis we see the fact that the Bible is the book on leadership and It All Began with God the Ultimate Leader! So today we continue our journey through the book of Genesis in the Bible, and we examine: Leadership During the Time of Abraham.
At first glance the incident at the Tower of Babel looks like an angry God bent on punishing the people for disobedience. But it was much more than that; actually, God was implementing a plan called “divide and conquer.” In Genesis 11, the Lord divided the people into many language groups. In Genesis 12, He chose one of those groups and made a covenant with one of their members. God spoke to Abram and promised to bless him, and through him to bless the entire human race. Because of that covenant, Abram became the father of the Hebrew nation. Listen to Genesis 12:1-7, “Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." 4 So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of
Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. 6 Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land. 7 Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.”
It is important to observe how God proposed His plan. He told Abram that He would bless him, along with his cattle, land, family, and name. God spoke to Abram heart to heart, revealing to him the blessings he would enjoy through the covenant. And Abram was no dummy: He took God up on the proposed deal.
While Abram might have chosen to obey God simply because He is God, the Lord made the effort to connect with Abram first. He touched Abram’s heart before asking for his hand.
As we’ve shown thus far, the Bible is the book on leadership. Another important aspect to learn concerning leadership is Vision. Abraham, teaches us this throughout Genesis 12:1 through Genesis 22:4, for Abraham Seizes what he sees. Whole followers may obsess on the challenges immediately before them, leaders see the future from a distance. They dream dreams not only about what can happen now, but also about what could happen in the next year, the next decade, even the next generation.
When God told Abraham to leave the comfort of his home in Haran, his relatives, and everything familiar, so that he might start fresh in another land (Gen. 12), Abraham caught a vision. God gave Abraham the hope of fathering a great nation; in fact, God said he would become the father of many nations! Abraham felt compelled to follow this great vision, even when he had nothing else to rely on.
When we observe Abraham in Genesis 12-22, we can learn the criteria for a God-given vision. A vision must:
1. Begin with God’s priorities. Look at Genesis 12:1-2, “Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.” God initiated the vision, not Abraham. When leaders start with God’s vision, they can more easily maintain direction and keep their motives pure.
2. Connect with the leader’s identity. When we turn over to Genesis 15:2-4 we read, “But Abram said, "Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" 3 Then Abram said, "Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!" 4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir." The vision Abraham received fit him and Sarah exactly; it matched the needs and desires of this barren couple. Even better, its fulfillment would serve others.
3. Include others. Going back to Genesis 12:2-3 we read, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." A vision from God always involves and blesses others. The Lord told Abraham he would be blessed in order to bless many nations, which is precisely what happened through the birth of Christ many generations later.
4. Be bigger than the leader. When we turn over to Genesis 17:1-8 we read, “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. 2 "And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and
will multiply you exceedingly." 3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 4 "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5 "No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 "I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. 8 "Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." While Abraham wanted to father an heir, God wanted him to father nations. That hope went far beyond Abraham’s wildest dreams (and his own capabilities for that matter). Such a vision would take more than a lifetime to fulfill.
5. Connect with the leader’s deepest convictions. When we read Genesis 18:9-12 we see this, “Then they said to him, "Where is Sarah your wife?" So he said, "Here, in the tent." 10 And He said, "I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son." (Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.) 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. 12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, "After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?" The vision that captured Abraham’s heart mirrored his strongest values, including his desire for family and land.
6. Be tangible and easily communicated. Looking back and Genesis 15:5 we see, “Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to
him, "So shall your descendants be." God gave Abraham a tangible picture of the vision: Look at the sands on the shore, He said, and at the stars in the sky. These objects served as visual aids to help Abraham embrace and fulfill the vision.
7. Have eternal value. Looking forward to Genesis 17:19, 20 we see this, “Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. 20 "And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.” Abraham’s vision went far beyond his life on earth and included more than wealth and fame. His vision would affect the eternal destiny of millions.
There you have it, 7 lessons we learn from Abraham concerning the leadership trait of a God-given vision. A vision must: Begin with God’s Priorities; Connect with the leader’s identity; Include others; Be bigger than the leader; Connect with the leader’s deepest convictions; Be tangible and easily communicated; and Have eternal value.
The importance of this type of vision cannot be understated. It must be emphasized. We as Christians need to seek to do God’s will and therefore, we must obtain a God-given vision. We do that by growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18).
You know there is another aspect of leadership we learn from Abraham, and that is Abraham, Went the Distance! When Jews in New Testament days spoke of their heritage and spiritual legacy, they claimed Abraham as their father (John 8:33, 39). Why did they give him the title “father,” a term of respect synonymous with leadership? Because Abraham went the distance.
In Genesis 11:31 we read this, “And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram's wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there.” This tells us that Abraham’s father, Terah, set out for Canaan from Ur of the Chaldeans long before Abraham made a similar trip. But for some reason, Terah stopped in Haran and never continued his journey. Did Terah receive an original call from God to move to the Promised Land – but neglect to follow through? We’ll never know.
We do know that Abraham never made such a mistake. Although he made other leadership errors, Abraham always seemed to follow through on his commitments. When God called him to depart to an unknown land, he went the distance. When enemies abducted Lot and his goods, Abraham pursued the kidnappers and subdued them (Gen. 14:14-16). When commanded to circumcise the males of his household, Abraham did it “that very same day” (Gen. 17:23). And when God asked Abraham to take his beloved son Isaac to Mount Moriah and sacrifice him there, Abraham followed through to the last detail. Only a last second angelic intervention spared the young man’s life (22:1-19). This is a story that we need to read to truly see Abraham and his leadership in action, Genesis 22:1-19, “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." 2 Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the
donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you." 6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." Then he said, "Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" 8 And Abraham said, "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering." So the two of them went together. 9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" So he said, "Here I am." 12 And He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me." 13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, "In the Mount of The LORD it shall be provided." 15 Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son - 17 "blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice." 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose
and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.” Watching Abraham in this story, should really hit us in the heart. There are a lot of things we can see in Abraham’s leadership through this story, especially his obedience to God. We also get to see his leadership of his son. For we don’t see any argument between Abraham and Issac when Isaac was bound as the sacrifice. The story should bring to mind the fact that God Himself offered His only Begotten Son, Jesus as the Perfect Sacrifice for all of mankind! It is No wonder God, the Ultimate Leader, called Abraham “My friend” in Isaiah 41:8. AS Christians, Servant Leaders, are we willing to go the distance? That’s a question each one of us needs to answer, considering our relationship with God. The question follows with, “Am I a friend of God?”
Turning our attention to Genesis 13:7-15 we learn yet another aspect of leadership from Abraham. This is the idea what is John Maxwell calls the “Law of Addition.” We get to see Abraham take the “High Road.” To make this happen, “And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land. 8 So Abram said to Lot, "Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. 9 "Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left." 10 And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. 12 Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. 13 But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against
the LORD. 14 And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: "Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are-northward, southward, eastward, and westward; 15 "for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.” AS you can see, Abraham and Lot had reached an impasse. Both had so many possessions that a conflict arose among their herdsmen (Gen. 13:7). There wasn’t enough space for all of them to remain in the same area. It would have been easy for both of these men to be overtaken with greed, and it would have been even easier for Abraham to insist on getting his own way. After all, he was the one who started the journey with God; Lot was invited later.
Abraham, however, practiced the Law of Addition by serving his nephew. He allowed Lot to choose which piece of land he wanted. Abraham would take whichever real estate Lot didn’t take. Abraham served generously and sacrificially, giving up what could have been his for the sake of someone else. Abraham could do this because: (1) He valued his relationships more than his possessions (v. 8); (2) He recognized that he already had more land than he or Lot needed (v. 9); (3) He knew that God was in control and would do him justice in the end (vv. 12-15).
This is a great example of a leader taking the high road. Those who do this believe life is too short to keep score. These “high road” leaders realize that God is better at providing for them than they are for themselves. Lot’s decision took him to Sodom, a place where he and his family experienced a bitter life. Abraham heard from the Lord and received a bountiful promise.
So, for today’s study we learned three things concerning leadership from Abraham, who learned from the Ultimate Leader, God. We discussed Connection, which God built with Abraham before He tasked him with our next leadership trait, Vision. We discussed 7 observations we need to pay att
vision: Begin with God’s Priorities; Connect with the leader’s identity; Include others; Be bigger than the leader; Connect with the leader’s deepest convictions; Be tangible and easily communicated; and Have eternal value. Following these observations we moved on to “Going the Distance” for Abraham showed himself God’s “friend” in his willingness to sacrifice his “only begotten son” Isaac. Finally we learned about the “Law of Addition” and we saw Abraham take the “High Road” with his nephew Lot when a challenge arose between the herdsmen due to the great number of possessions Abraham and Lot had. Each one of these lessons we need to add to our “toolbelt” in our efforts to “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18).
Well, we come to another end of “Moments of Truth”, and we want to thank you for listening and studying God’s Word with us today. I also want to thank Damon for doing all of our Scripture reading. It is our hope that you have been encouraged and will continue your studies of God’s Holy Word and seek to grow in the Grace and Knowledge of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Next week we will pick up our study beginning in Genesis 16 and the story of Sarah.
Remember also, if you have any questions concerning today’s lesson or would like a transcript, please give us a call at 812-967-3437 or visit our website at www.pekinchurchofchrist.com. Please visit us on Facebook as well! Remember, we are providing our worship services “live streaming” on our Facebook page. The thing is, Scripture teaches in Acts 20:7, “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together…” Please recognize the importance of being with your brethren in worship. We all need to remember Hebrews 10:24, “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works…” Please hang on to and live by Paul’s words in Philippians 2:3-4, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem
others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Finally, we ask that you please remember, we want to help you with your walk with God.