Joseph was separated from the world when he was enslaved and imprisoned for more than 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, benefited during years of famine and hardship.
Moses was separated from the world on the backside 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, the entire Northern Kingdom of Israel witnessed an historic, 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 is clearly illustrated in the life of Abraham.
Read Genesis 12:1-15:1
Separated for God’s Perspective
- What pattern did Abraham establish early in his life of faith? List phrases from Genesis 12:7-8 and 13:4.
- How do the following verses confirm the necessity of this pattern for our lives if we are to have God’s perspective? See 1 Chronicles 16:11, 34-35; 2 Chronicles 18:3-4; Psalm 119:45-47; Proverbs 9:10, 28:5; Hebrews 11:6.
- How does the Bible describe those who do not seek God? Read Psalm 10:4 and 14:1-4.
- How can we understand God’s perspective if we don’t spend time with Him?
As Abraham spent time with the Lord, he also watched the world.
- Describe Abraham’s relationship with God in Genesis 13:14-18.
- What did Abraham see happening in the world around him in Genesis 14:1-12?
- What is happening in the world around you? List changes, problems and tensions you see.
- What do you think Jesus meant in John 18:36?
- How does 2 Chronicles 7:14 underscore that Jesus’ Kingdom is His reign in the hearts of people?
- How do you think God might have you in “seclusion” in order to spend time with Him in worship while you watch the world around you?
- How does this change your perspective?
- How might God be preparing to send you into the world to rescue people who are held captive by the enemy?
Serving in God’s Power
Recognizing His Call
- What did God use to call Abraham out of seclusion and into active involvement? See Genesis 14:12-14.
- How was Abraham’s involvement a godly response? Reflect on John 3:16.
- In what ways have problems and changes in our world affected you or a loved one personally?
- How might these issues be God’s call to get you involved in that particular sphere?
- How was Nehemiah’s call similar in Nehemiah 1:1-2:6?
- Will you ask God to open your eyes to His call to serve?
Rescuing the Captives
- How did Abraham respond to the news of his nephew’s capture by the enemy? See Genesis 14:14-17.
- Who is the enemy of the child of God? See 1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:11-12; Luke 8:12; John 8:44; 1 John 3:8; Revelation 2:10, 12:9, 20:10.
- What are some of the things the enemy uses today to hold people captive?
- What loved one of yours has been taken captive by the enemy? How have you responded?
- What resources did Abraham have to fight the enemy? Give phrases from Genesis 14:13-14.
- What are your resources for fighting the enemy? See John 15:5, 8:32; Ephesians 6:17-20; 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, 3:17.
- What encouragement do you receive from the following Scriptures? See 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, Philippians 4:13.
- 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? See Genesis 14:16.
- How far are you willing to go to pursue the enemy and set the captives free? Compare your effort to the effort of the Christians in Acts 12:5-17 and Colossians 4:2, 12.
- Who benefited from Abraham’s involvement? See Genesis 14:16-24. Who will benefit from your involvement?
What would be the effect on our world if, instead of reacting to our circumstances by complaining, wringing our hands, blaming and criticizing others, we 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 serve, we relied not on programs or techniques but on His power as we pursued those who are being held captive by the enemy?