How can we stand strong at a time of intense spiritual warfare? How are you and I to be the salt of the earth that Jesus said His disciples would be, making impact in the woke, cancel culture of our world?
Interestingly, powerful impacts on the world have often been preceded by periods of isolation and separation. For example …
Joseph was separated from the world when he was enslaved and imprisoned for over 13 years before he was then sent into the world as Egypt’s prime minister. As a result, his own family, as well as all of Egypt and the rest of the world, benefited during years of famine and hardship.
Moses was separated from the world on the back side of the desert for 40 years before being sent into the world as the deliverer of the Hebrew children. As a result, an entire nation was set free from slavery and molded into the people of God.
Elijah was separated from the world for three years beside the brook Cherith, then at the widow’s home
in Zarephath, before being sent into the world to confront King Ahab and the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel. As a result, Israel, the northern kingdom, witnessed an unprecedented display of God’s power.
Jesus Himself was separated from the world for 30 years as a carpenter in Nazareth before being sent into the world for public ministry. The result was the redemption of the human race, forgiveness of sin, and Heaven opened for you and me.
This pattern also seems to be illustrated in the life of Abraham.
Read Genesis 12:1-15:1.
I. SEPARATED TO RECEIVE GOD’S PERSPECTIVE
A. Through Worship
- What pattern did Abraham establish early in his life of faith? Give phrases from Genesis 12:7-8; 13:4.
- How do the following verses confirm the necessity of this pattern for our lives if we are to have God’s perspective? 1 Chronicles 16:11, 34-35; 2 Chronicles 18:3-4; Psalm 119:45-47.
- How does the Bible describe those who do not seek God? Read Psalm 10:4; 14:1-4.
- How will you and I have God’s perspective on our world situation if we don’t spend time with Him? Will you choose now every day to spend time with God in personal worship, prayer and Bible reading?
B. Through Watching
As Abraham spent time with the Lord, he also watched the world.
- Describe Abraham’s lifestyle, including the physical setting, at the end of Genesis 13.
- What did Abraham see happening in the world around him in Genesis 14:1-12?
- What are some practical ways that you and I can watch what’s happening in our world?
- What does God tell the Prophet Habakkuk in Habakkuk 1:5? How did the prophet respond in Habakkuk 2:1?
- When Jesus answered His disciples’ questions about the end of the age, what did He tell them to do? See Matthew 24:42-44.
- What do you think it means to watch?
- Give the phrase that describes the Apostle John’s seclusion in Revelation 1:9.
- Give phrases from the following verses that indicate that while John was isolated on Patmos, he watched with an attitude of worship: Revelation 1:17; 4:1; 5:1, 6, 11; 21:1-4.
- If you are in “seclusion,” how are you spending your time?
- How would your perspective change if you watched the world while worshipping and spending time with God?
II. SENT OUT IN GOD’S POWER
A. By Recognizing His Call
- What did God use to call Abraham out of seclusion and into active involvement? See Genesis 14:12-14. Reflect on John 3:16.
- How was his involvement a godly response?
- In what way have problems in our world affected you or a loved one personally?
- Could God be using these personal problems to send you out to get involved in a particular issue?
- How was Nehemiah called and sent out in a similar way, in Nehemiah 1:1-2:6?
- Will you ask God to open your eyes and heart to recognize His call?
B. To Rescue the Captives
- How did Abraham respond to the news of his nephew’s capture by the enemy, in Genesis 14:14-17?
- Who is the enemy of the child of God? Write a description of him from these verses: 1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:11-12; Luke 8:12; John 8:44; Revelation 2:10; 12:9; 20:10.
- What are some of the things the enemy uses to hold people captive?
- What loved one of yours has been taken captive by the enemy? How have you responded?
- What human resources did Abraham have to fight the enemy, and do you think they were adequate? Give phrases from Genesis 14:13-14.
- What are your human resources? Are they adequate? See John 15:5.
- What are your supernatural resources? See Ephesians 6:17-20; 2 Corinthians 10:3-4; John 8:32.
- What encouragement do you receive from these verses: Zechariah 4:6; 1 Samuel 17:45-47; 1 John 4:4; 2 Chronicles 20:15; 1 John 5:5; 2 Corinthians 10:3-4.
- Using a map, estimate how far Abraham went in pursuit of the captives, from Hebron to Hobah, north of Damascus. Describe the effort required for such a pursuit.
- What was the result, in Genesis 14:16?
- Who benefited as a result of Abraham’s willingness to go into the world when sent out? See Genesis 14:16-24.
- How far did Jesus go in pursuit of those held captive by the enemy? See Philippians 2:6-11. What was the result? See Ephesians 1:7; Revelation 5:9-10.
- How far are you willing to go to pursue the enemy and set the captives free? Compare your effort to those of the Christians in Acts 12:5-17 and Colossians 4:2, 12.
- Who will benefit from your obedience to His command to go into all the world? Read Mark 16:15-16.
What would be the effect on our world if, instead of reacting to our circumstances by complaining, wringing our hands, blaming and criticizing others, you and I separated ourselves to God in worship while we watched the world around us? And then, as we gained God’s perspective and recognized His call to get involved, we relied not on programs or techniques, but on His power as we pursued those who are being held captive by the enemy? Think about it … ©2022 Anne Graham Lotz
This article is adapted from a study originally published in April 2014.
Anne Graham Lotz has proclaimed God’s Word worldwide for more than 40 years. Her newest book, which she co-authored with her daughter Rachel-Ruth Lotz Wright, is “Jesus Followers: Real-Life Lessons for Igniting Faith in the Next Generation.” It is available from major booksellers online.