Saturday, June 29, 2019

2019.06.29 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 13

Questions for Littles: Who left from where in Genesis 13:1? To what part of the promised land did they go? What was Abram’s financial condition (Genesis 13:2)? To where did he end up returning (Genesis 13:3)? What was in that place (Genesis 13:4)? What did Abram do there? Who went with Abram (Genesis 13:5)? What did he have? What problem did this create (Genesis 13:6-7)? Who initiates to stop the strife in Genesis 13:8? Who suggests that Lot get the first choice (Genesis 13:9)? What did Lot lift his eyes to see (Genesis 13:10)? What did he choose (Genesis 13:11)? Where did Abram dwell (Genesis 13:12a)? Where did Lot dwell (verse 12b)? Of what problem does Genesis 13:13 inform us? What (whom) does Abram have instead of fertile land (Genesis 13:14a)? What does Yahweh promise him (Genesis 13:14b-Genesis 13:17)? In Genesis 13:18, where does Abram go, and what does he do there? 
It’s one thing to rejoice over God’s gracious gifts to us. But how does the extent to which we cling to those things compare to the extent to which we cling to God? That’s the question that we get answered about Abram in this text. In Egypt, God had increased Abram’s wealth in livestock, silver, and gold. But, He had increased Abram’s wealth in something even more important: repentance from sin and faith toward God.

That’s the point of Genesis 13:4. Abram is back to the faith he had at the first. And Abram is back to the worship that he offered at first. And that’s going to serve him well, because he’s about to have strife with the only family that he has in the world. God’s good blessings cause a spiritual challenge in Genesis 13:6-7, but the stumbling of  Genesis 12:10-20 has receded back into the background. Abram doesn’t need his possessions, so long as he has his God. The Canaanites and Perizzites are still in the land. It’s not land-possession time yet. That’s for Abram’s seed, and he doesn’t yet have any.

So, by his faith in God’s taking care of him and God’s promises to him, Abram is freed to give Lot the choice of the “best” land. Lot makes a terrible choice on many counts. To keep multiplying his possessions, Lot is willing to pitch his tent as far as “exceedingly wicked and sinful” Sodom.

But that’s the lesser half of his folly. Lot’s own sin was enough already to sink him deeper than the grave, even if he never became associated with the people of that city. What he needed was the one in whom all the families of the earth would be blessed. What he needed was Christ. But he was willing to give up staying with Abram in order to feed his flocks better.

What are we willing to give up of our connection with Christ in order to (so we think) maintain or increase our prosperity in this life? How many of us skip personal worship or take a portion of the Lord’s Day for earthly priorities in order to enjoy a little more entertainment or work a little bit more to prosper ourselves? With whom are we willing to associate? What lies and exaggerations are we willing to tell, or truths are we willing to conceal? How much inconvenience is too much to participate more in the life of the church?

It was not technically wrong for Lot to pitch his tent in the Jordan valley. What was wrong was all the decision-making behind it. How often do we ignore the values behind our decision-making while carefully justifying our actions?

On the other side was Abram. It was ok for him to have the browner landscape, because he had God Himself. And he who has God has, literally, everything. Because everything in existence belongs to Him. And everything yet to exist. He makes promises about the future, because that belongs to Him too. Even seemingly impossible promises like innumerable descendants to a man with a barren wife.

But most of all, having God means having God Himself in Christ. Abram’s view of what he has is much greater at the altar in Genesis 13:18 than it was during the tour throughout the land. God has given Himself to sinners at the cost of the blood of a substitute!
What might change in your daily and weekly habits if the Lord Himself is your chief Blessing? 
Suggested Songs: ARP181 “God Our Only Good” or TPH73C “In Sweet Communion”

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