Good morning!

Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


Praying for you, your family, your community, and the rest of the world.   Right now, the whole world is suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).   Let’s pray together to God, Our Ever-Loving Father, His mercy and protection on all, and God’s healing on those who are infected by the Coronavirus.   We all believe God’s grace and love rest on all who look upon Him every moment with faith in Him.  


The faithful love of the LORD never ends!

       His mercies never cease.

Great is his faithfulness;

       his mercies begin afresh each morning.

I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance;

       therefore, I will hope in him!”  (Lamentations 3:22-24)


We say God is love.  Have we truly experienced His love that is far beyond comparisons?   


One day, According to His goodwill, God came to Abraham, (at that time Abraham was called Abram, and God told Abraham,


 “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1b-3)


It was a completely unexpected blessing of God to Abraham, which was such a special blessing from God.  Of course, Abraham was neither qualified nor ready to receive such a greatest blessing from God.   Abraham was an ordinary man like us, but God came to Abraham.


By the way, the blessing from God was not just for Abraham and Abraham’s family, but also all.  God promised Abraham to make him a great nation and famous.   God also promised His protection on Abraham by God’s mighty hand.  God promised to bless those who would bless Abraham and curse those who would treat Abraham with contempt.  Why?  To fulfill His goodwill through Abraham.  In the end, all on earth would be blessed through Abraham. 


As the first action in faith, God asked Abraham to leave his native country, relatives, and father’s family.  God asked to take off all things that Abraham used to enjoy.  Then, God asked Abraham to go to the land that was not known to Abraham before.   What Abraham got was a promise.  Abraham had no idea about the land of Canaan, the promised land. 


Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.  (Hebrews 11:1)


Abraham believed what God promised in faith.  By the way, the faith itself is a gift of God.  In other words, God gave Abraham faith, and in the faith, Abraham believed God’s promise.  Therefore, God made Abraham believe in God’s promise.  It is a profound mystery of God, faith, and His blessings.  Our brain is too small to contain this profound mystery, and God’s infinite wisdom and unfathomable goodness.  Then how to respond to God?   Our response just should be thanksgiving to God for what God has done for us —  giving us faith, blessings, and a right to be His children.  No other god can give such a blessing to us.  This is the goodwill of God, Our Ever-Loving Father toward us.


Abraham believed God’s promise filled with the amazing blessings that nobody could have had even imagined before.  This is the reason why we call Abraham blessed, and him as the father of our faith.  Today we all know Abraham is the father of all believers ever lived on the earth.  The number of his descents in faith cannot be counted like the stars on a clear night sky.  Abraham saw God’s solemn promise displayed on the clear night sky, and he believed His promise and trusted Him without any doubts, which made God pleased.


Let’s summarize.  Abraham believed God’s promise in faith, and the faith came from God.  Abraham has virtually no credit for his faith because his faith was a gift from God.  However, the greatness of Abraham was that he, in fact, left his native country, his relatives, and his father’s family without knowing where he was actually going.  What he had was the promised God and God’s specific instruction — leaving his native country and families and follow God.  Then Abraham put God’s command into action by leaving his native country and his father’s family without questing God’s command.  Abraham obediently followed God!


In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’”  (Luke 17:10)


God also appeared to Abraham and restated God’s promise. Abraham, then, build an altar there and dedicated it to God, who had appeared to him.   After that, Abram traveled south and set up camp in the hill country, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar and dedicated it to God by calling His name.  That is, how Abraham worshiped God.  Wherever Abraham went, he built an altar, which was the manifestation of his faith.  Most importantly, it was the blessing of God that he could worship wherever he went.


Abraham faithfully lived a God-centered life, but a great famine struck the land of Canaan.  This forced Abraham to search for a way to survive. Abraham tried everything in the land of Canaan, but nothing was available.  It was devastating.  Abraham, then, heard that there was food in Egypt.  He wanted to stay in the land of Canaan because it was the land given by God.  He struggled and struggled whether he should leave the land of God’s promise, or he should go down to Egypt.


Abraham, although his relationship was short with God, believed His promise, and trusted Him.  However, under the severe famine,  there was no prospect of getting food for him to feed his family although he was in the promised land.  His heart was breaking.  He believed God’s promise and trusted Him, but the reality was telling a different story.  He really wanted to stay in the promised land, but the situation did not allow.  After a long struggle, he decided to leave the promised land.  It was a truly heartbreaking moment.  He came to the land while expecting God’s blessings as promised, but he was forced to leave the promised land.


The destination was Egypt, which was little known to Abraha.   He was just told that the Egyptians are hostile to outsiders, such as himself and his family.   Abraham knew his trip to Egypt was not welcome by the Egyptians, but he had to go down for food.  He called his family and told his decision.  His family including his wife could not believe what they were hearing.  However, what was told made sense.  All family members were slowly dying without food, and there was no sign of ending the server famine.  It was so obvious that they had to choose either starving to death by staying in the land of Canaan or going down to Egypt.  All of the family members were initially confused but soon they came to their senses.  Then they started packing up for the upcoming journey to Egypt.  They remembered Abraham’s voice filled with determination, which comforted them.  All weights were on Abraham’s should.  However, Abraham himself was still in the process of sorting out all implications of leaving the land of Canaan, which God promised to give him and his descendent.  One thing clear to Abraham’s mind was to come back to the promised land as soon as the situation improved.


Abraham’s feet were heavy, but he hid his feeling from his family.  He knew he was the one who could make the entire family keep going.  Abraham kept praying in his heart for God’s guidance and protection.  Whenever he had a chance, he alone approached God and prayed.  God also helped him so that he could continue his relationship with God in a difficult time.  God exactly knew what was needed for Abraham, which was prayer.  And what Abraham needed to develop was a deeper relationship with God.  Yes, God exactly knew what Abraham needed at the exact time and the exact place, and God guided Abraham.


Although Abraham believed God’s promise and trusted Him, he was like a baby just born who needs lots of care and love from parents.  His greatness was to put his faith into action by believing God’s promise by departing his native country and his father’s families.  Abraham also praised and worshiped God wherever he went.  God blessed Abraham, the new but truly trusting believer, and Abraham trusted God like a baby trusting its parents.  He also started accumulated wealth in the land of Canaan, even though he was not in his native country.  God’s protection and guidance were always with Abraham, and Abraham was getting prosper in the foreign land.  The server famine was the first true test of his faith.


The journey to Egypt was not easy.   People were getting frustrated as their journey was getting prolonged.  Some started complaining.  Some questioned why.  Some even doubted.  Some sharply criticized Abraham’s decision.  Abraham had to make a constant effort to make his family member one so that they could continue making their journey together.  The most critical challenge to Abraham was actually not coming from others but from himself.  His conviction about his decision of going down to Egypt in faith was constantly coming back to Abraham.  Additionally, he could not sure whether Egypt had enough food for this family and the Egyptians would share their food.  However, in faith, he led his family, and he continued trusting God while believing His promise and goodness.


But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)


As Abraham was going down to Egypt with his family, Abraham thought through all things, and he realized that he had nothing but God.  He left behind the promised land, but he was heading for the unknown land of Egypt.  His journey was not what he expected, but he believed God would be with him wherever he went.  As he approached the border of Egypt, he started to see strange-looking people.  They were Egyptians whom he only heard about.  They looked much taller and mightier than him.   He saw more and more Egyptians.  Yes, Abraham felt being overpowered by the tall and strong Egyptians that passed by.   


And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”  (Numbers 13:33)


Abraham looked around his family and his possessions.  None would attract the attention of Egyptians in his eyes.   However, when his eyes reached his own wife, he suddenly rediscovered one thing – his wife’s exceptional beauty.   What a blessing it was!  However, the exceptional beauty of his wife suddenly put him in fear. 


Then Abram said to his wife, Sarai,


“Look, you are a very beautiful woman. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife. Let’s kill him; then we can have her!’  So please tell them you are my sister. Then they will spare my life and treat me well because of their interest in you.” (Genesis 12:11b-13”)


And sure enough, when Abram arrived in Egypt, everyone noticed Abraham’s wife, Sarah’s beauty. When the palace officials saw her, they sang her praises to Pharaoh, their king, and Sarah was taken into his palace. Then Pharaoh gave Abram many gifts because of her—sheep, goats, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels. 


Abraham’s plan worked well, and his wife’s exception beauty got noticed by the Egyptians.  Pharaoh, the Egyptian king, took her into his palace and gave Abraham many gifts instead.  Abraham saved his life as he planned, but he lost his wife.  What a tragic moment!   All things that he received from Pharaoh could not be compared with his beloved wife.  Before the tall and mighty-looking Egyptians, Abraham only kept silent.


But that night, he cried out to God in prayer.  He poured out his pain to God, and God heard his prayer.  Did God hear Abraham’s prayer because he was honest before both God and men?  No.  He behaved optimistically, and cowardly lied to save himself even selling off his own wife.  He put himself before anybody else including his wife.  Then his failure and sin bit back Abraham, but the fact that Abraham was God’s beloved childe did not change at all.  Because Abraham was God’s beloved child, God heard Abraham’s prayer. It was not an ordinary prayer, but authentic with a contrite heart out of his heart pain.   Surely, God is always merciful to His children.  When His child cries out to God, God hears his child’s cry while paying His undivided attention.  God’s first concern is his child crying.  Asking whether his child did right or wrong is the second matter.


Are there any parents who first scold their own child who falls, huts, and bleeds?  No.  All parents comfort their children by embracing their children in their bosom and put a bandage on the scare to stop the bleeding. 


God touched Abraham’s heart in pain with His unfathomable love.  God did not ask why, but God put Abraham in His bosom.  Then God stood with Abraham and comforted.  


But the Lord sent terrible plagues upon Pharaoh and his household because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. (Genesis 12:17)


God was on the side of Abraham although he lied by putting himself before anyone else.  Yes, Abraham sinned.  Even so, God was with him.  God had been watching Abraham’s faithful heart throughout the journey to Egypt.  In faith, Abraham made a difficult decision to go down to Egypt for food.  In faith, he convinced his family.  In faith, he packed up all belongings.  In faith, he left with his family.  In faith, he overcame questions and doubts from both his own and his family members.   In faith, he persisted and completed his journey to Egypt.  In faith, he resisted his fear of Egyptians who talled and looked mightier than him.   In faith, we entered Egypt with his family.  


However, when he got into Egypt, great fear fell on him that he might lose his own life due to his exceptionally beautiful wife.  Once the fear of losing his own life found him, Abraham fell from his faith.  Then suddenly everything on earth looked much greater and bigger than they really were. This is one of the major reasons why those who are used to so faithful but quickly fall to sin.  Fear of the world does not mix well with faith in God.  Such fear can take away one’s faith so quickly that even the person ever noticed what happened, fear takes over the entirety of the believer.  What a sad story and a dire warning to every believer!   We, believers, should make every effort to make one careful step to get close to God.  Then we experience Him deeper every moment, and He became truer every moment by moment in our lives. 


However, fear of this world makes us, believers fall and fail.  Peter, who walked on the water in faith, sank quickly when he saw and started fearing the huge wave approaching him.  Abraham ended up failing like Peter.  However, we, all believers, should not be dismayed by falling and failing due to fear of this world. For Peter sinking into the deep water, Jesus starched out His merciful hand quicker than the speed of Peter’s sinking and grabbed Peter with His hand to prevent Peter from sinking further.  Then Jesus pulled out Peter from the deep water, and then took Peter into the boat to comfort Peter trembling out of the near-death experience of being drowned to death. 


What can we say then?  We all are equally weak and prone to fall and fail by sinning before both God and people, but the love of God is greater than all of these – the fearful world and our terrible sins.  Let’s see it together again.  What did the clever scheme of Abraham out of the earthly wisdom to Abram?   He lost his beloved wife.  Then here is the greatness of Abraham.  He cried out to God like a child who hurt by his own fall. 


he does not treat us as our sins deserve

       or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

       so great is his love for those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west,

       so far has he removed our transgressions from us.  (Psalm 103: 10-12)


But the LORD sent terrible plagues upon Pharaoh and his household because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.  Yes, God was on Abraham’s side, His beloved child. 


So Pharaoh summoned Abram and accused him sharply. “What have you done to me?” he demanded. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ and allow me to take her as my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and get out of here!”  Pharaoh ordered some of his men to escort them, and he sent Abram out of the country, along with his wife and all his possessions.


Abraham became a spectacle of the entire nation of Egypt. What a disgrace on Abraham!  All in the land of Egypt named Abraham one who sold his wife to save his own life. Abraham had to bear his disgrace.  It would have had been very difficult for Abraham to continue to stay in Egypt.  However, God helped Abraham.  God, who is the wisest, took care of all.  Pharaoh, who was in rage on Abraham, expelled Abraham from his country.  It was God’s mercy.


Pharaoh was also truly fearful of God, who sent terrible plagues upon him and his household.  In fear, he even could not give an order to his people to retrieve the lavish gift mistakenly given to Abraham.  Pharaoh initially thought that he got Sarah, and Abraham was fully compensated, but it was a huge mistake.  Pharaoh did not know God’s plan, and he acted according to his worldly wisdom, which was not of God.  God loves His own children, and God governs the universe for His own beloved children.  Are there any parents who spare the best from their own children and give out the best to others?   No.  God, who is the master of the universe, uses all that He owns for His beloved children.   Abraham was His beloved children, and so are we.


Yes, we fall and fail from our faith because our earthy wisdom takes over us due to our sudden fear of this world.  When we sinned due to our fall, we are truly shameful and sometimes devastated.  It is not rare that some of them, although they are believers, continued suffering and being trapped in their falls and sins while thinking there is no way to go back to God while thinking “How can I get His favor again by getting out of this depth?”   Then please say loudly, “No. I am His, and He unconditionally loves me because I am His beloved child.”   Any doubt of His love toward us is a lie planted by Satan, our enemy, in us without being noticed by us. 


Then what should we do?  We immediately come back to God and cry out for His mercy and forgiveness on our sins.  Then ask His grace of increasing our faith while eliminating any doubts in us.  The Palmist experienced, and shares with us:


As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master,

       as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress,

so our eyes look to the Lord our God,

       till he shows us his mercy. (Psalm 123:2)


Then let’s fix our eyes on Him, who busily moves His merciful and mighty hand for us.  The primary focus of our God is to have a loving relationship with us who trust Him under any circumstances.  Why does God so much want a loving relationship with us?  God is love, and we are His beloved children, the most precious among all His creation.  Therefore, sisters and brothers, continue fixing our eyes on Him and standing firm on the solid rock of faith without being swayed by doubts suddenly spouting in our hearts due to fear of this world.  Then let’s walk together in Him following the footsteps of Jesus Christ.  God, our True and Ever-Loving Father will take us in Him with His love under any circumstances.  Yes, any circumstances which include our own falls, failures, and our sinning.  Therefore, be confidently in faith in Him while telling again and again to our heart, “We are His beloved children!”



being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 1:6)

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