Questions for Littles: What was Abram very rich in (v2)? Where did Abram return, after having been rebuked for his trip to Egypt and his conduct there (v3-4)? And what did he do, when he returned to Bethel? What did Lot have (v5)? Why couldn’t they dwell together (v6)? What happened between Abram’s herdsmen and Lot’s herdsmen (v7)? Who wanted this strife to end in v8? What did he propose in v9? What did Lot see about the plain of the Jordan (v10)? Whom did he choose to live there (v11)? Where in the plain did Lot dwell (v12)? Toward where did he pitch is tent? What comment does the Lord make about this place in v13? Who spoke to Abram in v14? What did He promise to him in v14-15? What else did He promise in v16? What did He command Abram in v17? Where did Abram go in v18? What did he do there?The passage for this week’s Old Testament reading presents to us a humbled Abram. When he comes back to the land to which the Lord had originally commanded him, he goes all the way back to the place that the Lord had brought him at first. And he worships.
In fact, the passage is bookended by worship at Bethel and worship at Mamre. In between, the man who has been humbled before God is also humbled before others.
No longer is he seeking to preserve his own skin by taking advantage. Rather, he is trusting the Lord to take care of him, and avoiding strife by inviting his nephew to have the first pick of the land.
Sadly, Lot sought to improve his earthly circumstances rather than abandoning his wealth to stay with his uncle. Abram wasn’t just family; he was the man to whom and in whom the covenant promises had been made. If it comes down to choosing between a fortune and being with God’s Mediator, then what shall we choose? Lot chose poorly.
Eventually, we find him in the cities of the plain… and at last, alas, toward Sodom! What would come of him and his family from all of this? He would end up losing all of his earthly treasures anyway. And worse things too.
For Abram, however, trusting the Lord is rewarded. We know that Abram could see the plain from his new home (cf. 19:27-28). The Lord promised it all to him, both his area and Lots, and everywhere else!
Here, then, is the choice that faces each of us: live in humble dependence upon the Lord that leads to avoiding strife and enjoying blessing? Or, live for earthly treasure in the moment, slowly sliding toward Sodom?
With whom do you have strife? Before whom should you be humbling yourself as the beginning of a remedy for that strife?Suggested songs: ARP78A “O Come, My People” or HB89 “The God of Abraham Praise”