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The first emigrant


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It seems that most of us on this forum have in some way or another experienced opposition from family and/or friends about our emigration to another country. Fortunately my family has always been very supportive and encouraged me, but I have also been questioned by someone whether I had God's blessing to emigrate to Australia. Others have been told that we have been put in Africa for a reason and that we should stay and help make it a better country. Well just last night I read this part in Genesis 12:1-2 and it just served as confirmation that emigration is not something that is "against God's will":

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.

I will make you a great nation;

I will bless you

And make your name great;

And you shall be a blessing.”

So if ever you get confronted again, here you have it, God Himself INSTRUCTED Abram to leave his country. In plain language.

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Springbok, the study of Abraham is really interesting. The passage you are referring to deals with the covenant God made with Abram (later Abraham). You will notice that God confirmed His covenant several times more with Abraham. (See Gen 13:14-15, Gen 15:1-21, Gen 16:21, Gen 17:1-8, Gen 18:10 and Gen 22:15-18).

God blessed Abraham because he approved of his character and faith. See what the New Testament says about Abraham’s faith. Look at Rom 4, Heb 11 and Gal 3. A lesson we can learn from these passages is: Faith that pleases God does not ask where (Heb 11:8), it does not ask when (Heb 11:9-10) and it does not as how (Heb 11:11).

Also it is interesting to note the long journey Abraham and his family went through before finally settling in Canaan. In the beginning Abraham was living with his father in Ur. From there they moved to Haran in Mesopotamia. This is where Abraham departs company with his father in Gen 12 (By the way, his father was named Terah and was a moon worshipper (Joshua 24:2). Terah was 145 years old when Abraham and his family moved away).

From there Abraham moved to Canaan and settled in an area between Bethel and Ai. However due to famine and drought it is written that he moved to Egypt. It is important here to note that no mention is made that Abraham consulted with God on this matter or trusted that God would provide for them during the famine.

We read further that in Egypt, he and his family accumulated worldly wealth. As you will see, this was not entirely though honest means. Their wealth was obtained through the generosity of Pharoh who had a liking for Sarai (later Sarah). Abrahams and Sarah told Pharoh that they were related (brother and sister) but did not disclose the fact that they were actually married. When Pharoh learned about their deceit and the curse that God placed upon him and his family, he expelled Abraham from Egypt.

From Egypt Abraham and his family moved to Negev and in Gen 13 we read that Abraham and his nephew, Lot, departed company where they had previously lived (between Bethel and Ai). It is here that Lot chooses and went to live in Sodom in the plane of Jordaan and Abraham went north to settle in Hebron.

It is essential to note however despite God’s covenant Abraham failed God on a number of occasions. For one, he did not trust that God would provide for his family during famine. He had after all received God’s blessing that he would provide for them. There is also no evidence that he had consulted with God on the matter on moving to Egypt. As you said, he was instructed to go to Canaan. Thirdly, he exploited his wife to gain protection form Pharoh and gain earthly possessions. Again, not relying or thrusting God on the promise that was given to him.

The consequences of Abraham’s failure were (1) Disgrace; they were expelled from Egypt, (2) A Godly-curse placed on Pharoh, (3) Hardship for Sarah and, (4) Disunity in his family.

The lesson that I take from this is that everyone has failures. - Even Abraham who was a ‘man of faith’ and who was much favored by God (Isn’t it good to know that God is able to look past our failures and is still able to fulfill his promise and bless us? He is a God of much mercy and grace!)

Also, it is important for us to: (1) Receive God’s promise for our lives, (2) Listen to His instruction, (3) Rely and trust God to fulfill His promise. Not everyone will receive instruction to immigrate. God may choose to keep you in South Africa. If that is His will, then that is where you should stay. God has work for you.

Edited by Sparrow
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Very interesting thread Springbok...and the Lord also called His Son to leave his home city when the king was wanting to kill all the babies...mary and joseph took Him to Egypt.

"If you are persecuted in one city flee to the next" that's what Jesus told his disciples, of course the context was persecution.

As sparrow mentions God has a purpose for each of our lives and we must seek Him so that we will know what his will is in every area and in the area of emigration- to stay or to go. If it is to go He will give us peace ('let the peace of God rule in your hearts') and if it is to stay he will do likewise or he could just close the door or he could leave the choice up to us to discern what is best.

I firmly believe He is leading me to push the doors to Aus to see if they will open. I'm trusting Him to make a way for us but if not will trust Him that He knows best.


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