Thursday, February 9, 2017

Abram Faith-Direction: If You Go Left, I’ll Go Right, If You Go Right, I’ll Go Left (Genesis 13:5-11)

\“Lot, who was traveling with Abram, was also rich in sheep and cattle and tents. But the land couldn’t support both of them; they had too many possessions. They couldn’t both live there—quarrels broke out between Abram’s shepherds and Lot’s shepherds… Abram said to Lot, ‘Let’s not have fighting between us, between your shepherds and my shepherds. After all, we’re family. Look around. Isn’t there plenty of land out there? Let’s separate. If you go left, I’ll go right; if you go right, I’ll go left.’ Lot looked. He saw the whole plain of the Jordan spread out, well-watered (this was before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah), like God’s garden, like Egypt, and stretching all the way to Zoar. Lot took the whole plain of the Jordan. Lot set out to the east.”
(Genesis 13:5-11, The Message)

When there was trouble between Abram’s servants (shepherds) and Lot’s, Abram humbled himself. He extended a graciousness that reflected the grace he had received from God. The two households would have to go their separate ways. As the elder relative, Abram had the very right to dictate to his nephew, Lot, the terms of the separations. But… he didn’t… surely not like me… Abram let Lot choose which land to take (since Abram and Sarai doesn’t have any children, they may treated Lot as their own son).

I wonder, why was Abram willing to leave that big-important decision to another? What great faith is this! Then again, I think Abram may understood that actually 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.

If you read further to chapter 14, you’ll find out that as it turned, Lot’s choice to settle in the “well-watered” plains of the Jordan didn’t make him a great patriarch. Lot and his families lived among the wicked people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Bad. Very bad. On the other hand, God rewarded Abram’s act of faith with a renewal of His promise: “Everything you see, the whole land spread out before you, I will give to you and your children forever” (Genesis 13:15). That land, by the way, included the Jordan Valley, which Abram had just given to Lot!

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