And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.…
It is an old saying that "It is lawful to learn from an enemy." The patriarch had sojourned in the world's kingdom, and had learned those solemn lessons which, as it too often happens, only a bitter experience can teach. He returned a sadder, but a wiser man. The believer who has fallen into the world's snares, or comes dangerously near to them, learns —
I. THAT IT IS NOT SAFE TO LEAVE THE PATHS MARKED OUT BY DIVINE PROVIDENCE.
1. While we are in the path of Providence, we may expect Divine direction.
2. When we leave the paths of Providence, we are thrown upon the resources of our own wisdom and strength, and can only expect failure.
3. Every step we take from the paths of Providence only increases the difficulty of returning.
II. THAT THE FRIENDSHIP OF THE WORLD INVOLVES DEEP SPIRITUAL LOSS. In Abraham's ease —
1. The delicacy of the moral principle was injured.
2. There was actual spiritual loss.
III. THAT THE SOUL'S SAFETY IS BEST SECURED BY REVISITING, IN LOVING MEMORY, THE SCENES WHERE GOD WAS FIRST FELT AND KNOWN.
1. He is aided by remembering the strength and fervour of his early faith and love.
2. Memory may become a means of grace. It is well for us to look backwards, as well as forwards by the anticipations of hope. What God has done for us in the past is a pledge of what He will do in the future, if we continue faithful to His grace. We may use memory to encourage hope.
IV. THERE MUST BE A FRESH CONSECRATION TO GOD. Abram went at once to Bethel, where at the beginning he had pitched his tent, and built an altar to God. There he "called on the name of the Lord." This implies a fresh consecration of himself, and points out the method by which we may recover our spiritual loss. Such a fresh consecration is necessary, for there are no other channels of spiritual blessing, but those by which it first flowed to us. There is no new way of restoration. We must come back to Him who first gave us our faith and made reconciliation. This renewed consecration of ourselves to God involves —
1. The acknowledgment of our sin. It was sin that made, at first, our reconciliation with God necessary, and fresh sin renews the obligation to seek His face.
2. The conviction that propitiation is necessary to obtain the favour of God.
3. The open profession of our faith.
(T. H. Leale.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.