Friday, April 1, 2016

Abram let God make the Choice (Genesis 13:5-11)

Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And quarrelling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s… So Abram said to Lot, ‘Let’s not have any quarrelling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. It not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.’ Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt… So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east
(Genesis 13:5-11,

When there was conflict between Abram’s servants and Lot’s, Abram extended a graciousness that similar to the grace he had received from God. The two households (uncle and nephew) would have to go their separate ways. As the elder relative, Abram had every right to dictate to his nephew the terms of the separation. But he didn’t. He let Lot choose which land to take. Wow!

Why was Abram willing to leave that most important decision to another? Perhaps he understood that neither he nor Lot was really making the decision. God was at work, and God was the One who would be giving Abram the land he wanted Abram to have.

As it turned out, Lot’s choice to settle in the “well-watered” plains of the Jordan didn’t make him a great patriarch. Life among the wicked cities of the plains – including Sodom and Gomorrah – wrecked Lot’s family completely (read Genesis chapter 18 and 19). God rewarded Abram’s act of faith, on the other hand, with a renewal of His promise: “All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever” (Genesis 13:15). That land, by the way, included the Jordan Valley, which Abram had just given to Lot!

I like what Ray Stedman writes, “Everyone dwells in a world exactly like that of Abram and Lot. A world in which material values constantly clamour for us to make a choice. We have only so much time to invest, so much life to spend, and we are pressured to try to grab the best for ourselves while we can. We can say with Lot, ‘I want what the world can offer me now, I want the cities of the plain.’ Or we may wait with Abram, content with our tent and altar, enjoying the blessings of the land by faith now, and waiting for God's fulfilment of all his promises in that wonderful age yet to come. The Christian who is content to let God make his choices finds it easy to fulfil the New Testament word: ‘Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you’.” Amen.


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