STRIFE AND SEPARATION
Pharaoh returned Sarai to Abram and ordered them to leave Egypt. They were conducted by an official escort to the border. Abram left Egypt with great wealth which created conflict within his own family. Lot had accompanied in all his wanderings. Abram retraced his journey and sojourned in the Negeb. He continued to move until he reached Bethel and rebuilt the altar. It was wealth that caused dissension in Abram's family as herdsmen quarreled with one another over the land. Abram proposed a voluntary separation so that the strife might cease. Although Lot was younger and the inferior in rank, Abram gives him the choice of the land. Abram's actions were not only generous, but they also demonstrated his faith in the Lord to fulfill his promise.
Lift Up Your Eyes
Lot chose the best part of the land, the Jordan Valley. Lot’s choice indicates some of his character issues: his pride and lack of submission, his worldliness and longing for Egypt, his selfishness, and his recklessness as he settled in a wicked land. The dispute had been resolved due to the gracious spirit of Abram. Within a few months, however, Lot’s choice would involve both men in a perilous situation. The family separated, and each went their own way. The Lord appeared to Abram for the fourth time at Bethel. Abram needed encouragement at this stage, and the Lord did not fail him. Although he had been walking by faith, the Lord told him to lift up his eyes and look toward the four directions of the compass. God thus undergirded the faith of this man by showing him exactly what his inheritance would be. He finally was seeing the land that God would give to Abram and his descendants. God also encouraged Abram by employing a metaphor to help him understand the immensity of his family. Abram's family would be like the dust of the earth which most certainly cannot be accurately numbered. God's words were an everlasting promise to the still childless patriarch.
Walk By Faith
God tells Abram to walk by faith through the land that God was giving to him. Abram walks over the land that God promised and as the dust clings to him, it serves as a reminder that God will accomplish that which is impossible. There is a difference between understanding what God has said and claiming those promises for oneself. During the course of Abram's moving around, he settles in Hebron close to some great trees and builds an altar because faith is not a one-time event is the path for a lifetime which rests in the faithful God. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. True faith manifests itself in obedience and worship.
Things To Consider:
- Why does wealth cause problems?
- What can one learn about handling conflict from Abram?
- Is being gracious a sign of weakness? Why or why not?
- Why do we act like Lot so often?
- Why is it so difficult to die to our own selfish desires for the benefit of another?
- What can we learn from the actions of Lot about fighting sin in our lives?
- How do we walk by faith?
- How is faith evident in your life?