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How to Distinguish Genuine "Blessings" from a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

posted 4 Oct 2010, 14:01 by Mpelembe   [ updated 24 Oct 2010, 06:18 ]

Genesis 12 is very appropriate for understanding today's
economic times.  Let's consider the background.  God told
Abram to leave his country of Haran and set out for the land
that God was giving him.

Abram arrived in Canaan, but a famine came.  He decided to
head to Egypt to live there until things improved.  Abram
was afraid that the Egyptians would kill him and take his
wife, Sarai, for themselves.  So Abram talked Sarai into
convincing the Egyptians that she was his sister.

As anticipated, the Pharaoh's officials were intrigued by
Sarai's beauty.  They took her into Pharaoh's palace.  As
Sarai's "brother," everyone treated Abram well and gave him
many gifts.

Let's look at this scenario a little deeper to see how it
can help us deal with this economy.

Abram didn't trust in God's provision

Abram had just left Haran to move to Canaan right before the
famine came.  Yet, it is interesting that Abram left the land
God gave him to go to Egypt, hoping to escape the famine.  It
doesn't appear that Abram gave God a chance to prove His
ability to provide for Abram and his family.

Why would God send Abram to a new land only to allow him to
die of starvation?  He wouldn't.  God reminds us in Matthew
6:31-32, "So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or
'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'  For the
pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father
knows that you need them." (NIV)

In our own lives, we, too, should be careful about leaving
the places where God sends us.  He brings us to these places
for a reason.  If we move out of these places, we might miss
the blessings God has lined up for us.  God knows what we
need.  We don't have to go anywhere to find it.

Abram's "blessings" weren't genuine

Abram did receive gifts, but those were definitely not
blessings from God.

Consider the story of the widow's oil in 2 Kings 4:1-7.
While the widow only had a little oil left, once God's
blessings were added to her oil and her faith, that small
amount of oil filled every jar they could find.  There was
enough oil to pay off the family's debts, and still have
enough to live on.

Blessings cannot come from lies.  Anything that God wants us
to have will come without us having to tweak the truth.

Abram's dishonesty cost him dearly

Pharaoh did give Abram tons of gifts, but at what price?
Psalm 15:5 suggests, "Keep your word even when it costs you,
make an honest living, never take a bribe.  You'll never get
blacklisted if you live like this."  (The Message Bible)

Abram will never know what would have happened if he would
have been honest with the Egyptians about his relationship
with Sarai.  Instead, his lie caused them to be separated.
Also, Sarai was put in a very awkward position in the
Pharaoh's palace.  Proverbs 15:27 makes it clear: "A greedy
man brings trouble to his family." (NIV)  Our whole family
suffers when we are dishonest.

What's worse, it weakens our relationship with our Father.
Deuteronomy 25:16 says, "For the LORD your God detests
anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly."
 (NIV)  We should be striving for righteousness rather than
causing God to look at us with disgust.

In today's economy, we can look at the results of the vast
number of dishonest loan applications that were processed
several years ago.  How many families are suffering behind
our greed?  Proverbs 28:18 says, "He whose walk is blameless
is kept safe, but he whose ways are perverse will suddenly
fall." (NIV)

The things we've experienced over the last few years have
given us the opportunity to learn a serious life lesson.  As
we move forward, let's choose to be more responsible with our
finances so that we and our families do not have to
experience such tragedies again.

Let's aim for the life described in Proverbs 10:9: "Honesty
lives confident and carefree."  (The Message Bible)
Wouldn't that be awesome?

About the Author:

Ozeme J. Bonnette is a financial coach, speaker, and the
author of Get What Belongs to You: A Christian Guide to
Managing Your Finances. After working for a top financial
services firm, she shifted her focus to teaching and
speaking to groups and organizations working to increase
financial literacy in the U.S. She earned 3 Bachelor's
degrees at Fresno State and an MBA at UCLA's Anderson
School. Find her at .