Monday, July 01, 2019

2019.07.01 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 13:14-17)? In Genesis 13:18, where does Abram go, and what does he do there?    
The second half of chapter 12 had gone poorly, as Abram stumbled spectacularly. But, God was patient with His servant. He has promised to bring the Savior into the world, and He has promised specifically that it would be through Abram that all of families of the earth will be blessed.

By Genesis 13:4, the Lord has brought Abram back not just to where he began physically (between Bethel and Ai) but spiritually (Abram called upon the name of Yahweh). And this was vital, because for the coming crisis, it was necessary for Abram to be convinced in his heart that the Lord is his great hope, and delight with his heart that the Lord is his great joy.

In the contrast between Abram and Lot here, we see several important factors. First, the foolishness of walking by appearances instead of promises. Lot “lifts up his eyes and sees” the riches but not the risks. Yes, it looks like Eden (Genesis 13:10), but it behaves like the serpent (Genesis 13:13). Fleshly eyes do not rightly assess the prospects of a situation.

Second, the freedom of walking by promises instead of appearances. Abram doesn’t need the well-irrigated land. He belongs to the God who provides and protects even in physical and spiritual drought. So, he does not press his interests. He is free by his faith to give Lot the pick of the land. How can we love our neighbor as ourselves? How can we even love our enemies, take no revenge of our own? How can we even be slow to speak or slow to become angry? Love to God is the Scriptural fuel for all of these, but faith in God is its foundation. We need not seek our own interests, because the Lord Himself is already doing so!

Third, the future of faith. Compare the promise in Genesis 13:15 to the one in  Genesis 12:7. The difference is that, here, Abram himself is included in this promise (even if he will have to rise again from the dead to receive it!—Hebrews 11:13-16). It’s not just his seed who will receive the land but Abram himself will receive it. Suddenly the tour in Genesis 13:17 is taking on two meanings. One, it’s a continual reminder of the greatness of the multitude of the seed promised in Genesis 13:16. Two, it’s a survey of what belongs to him.

Fourth, the feasting of worship. But what does faith receive now? Is Christianity really just pie in the sky, by and by? Absolutely not. Faith may have to wait to receive the fullness of what has been promised, but it already possesses something infinitely greater: we have Him who has promised it. Abram does NOT have to wait to come into the possession of his greatest inheritance. There he is, enjoying God Himself in worship in Genesis 13:18!
Which situations in your life appear worrisome to your flesh? What promises correct your vision of it? Which situations appear to your flesh to bring safety and happiness? Upon what promises do your peace and joy genuinely rest instead?
Suggested Songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH23A “The Lord’s My Shepherd”

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