Money, Possessions and Family
· Dr. Duguid – plot, scene divisions, characters & application
· Bookends, contrasts, dialogue, drama and repetition
· Don’t know any Hollywood writers
· Hoosiers and scenes in a movie
· Each scene is meant to communicate something
· Ultimately to learn about God – to know Him, love Him & worship Him more
· WENT UP – contrasted with 12:10 WENT DOWN
· SEVERELY RICH, LOT is with him and he is on a JOURNEY
· Narrator’s specifics call us to pay attention – V. 3 & 4
· THERE ABRAM CALLED UPON . . . .
· What’s going on? Abram is on a pilgrimage of repentance
· LOT . . . ALSO HAD . . . LAND COULD NOT SUPPORT THEM
· Appearance that God is not faithful – drama, tension
· Notice the repetition of the word “DWELLING”
· STRIFE – CANAANITES & PERIZZITES
· Stage is set – something must change
· Abram is on a pilgrimage of repentance, he and Lot are prospering but God’s prospering creates other problems, there’s other people groups there, it looks like God has failed Abram, he wants to do the right thing but now he’s got other problems
· What will he do? How does he respond?
· Next scene we will see a very different Abram than Gen. 12
· THEN ABRAM SAID
· Patriarchal society – so it’s appropriate that Abram leads here
· Dialogue – 2nd time Abram speaks but notice how different he speaks here
· Before – fearful, timid & compromising
· Now – Clear, firm and trusting
· Verse 9 – This is amazing Patriarch becomes peacemaker
o Abram is out of the cultural box – meant for us to ask why?
o Why would Abram prefer Lot? Risk the promised land to his nephew?
o Abram’s motivation is not obvious in the text but next we will see Lot’s
· Verse 10 – LIFTED UP HIS EYES & THE GARDEN OF THE LORD
o Lot is walking by sight – wants “heaven on earth”
o Nothing about God or Abram
o Lot is a picture of you and I without the call of God, the grace of God working in our lives
· Verse 12 – Intentional use of the word “SETTLED” or dwelt
· Lot goes east, settles in cities vs. Canaan
· WICKED same word as the people killed in the generation of the flood
· GREAT SINNERS rare phrase and implies the extreme seriousness of Sodom’s sin
“Lot, when he fancied he was living in paradise, was nearly plunged into the depths of hell.”
· God speaks after Lot separates – significant
· Separate, lift up your eyes, look – just like Abram said to Lot earlier
· Notice what God does:
1. The land you see I will give you – “the land I will show you”
2. You and your offspring – before it was to Abram now explicitly to his offspring
3. Forever – God commits to Abram forever
4. Dust of the earth – from general to specific EXPLAINS THE METAPHOR
· v. 17 Is the legal way they would take possession of land
· V. 18 is Abram’s obedient response
· Just like scenes in a movie – Abram, Lot and the others are just the actors communicating a message.
· What is that message? What is it that surfaces from this story?
God is faithful despite human failures
· God’s faithfulness IS NOT dependent on human action
· God’s faithfulness is a reflection of His glory – His character
God’s faithfulness in repentance
· REPENTANCE IS A GIFT FROM GOD
· REPENTANCE ULTIMATELY DISPLAYS GOD’S FAITHFULNESS
· Abram has failed miserably
· God is leading him in a PILGRIMAGE OF REPENTANCE
· One of the most distinguishing characteristics of Christianity is this – how God’s people respond in failure
· More than any victory, or even suffering, how you respond in failure speaks volumes of who your God is!!
· Where do you go when you fail and “go down” to Egypt?
· Guilt – that makes a statement about the God you serve!!
· You should feel guilty – but do you stay there? Do you retrace your steps?
· Condemnation – double pride
· FIRST – God’s Word isn’t true that there will be no condemnation
· SECOND – I didn’t perform right – More attention on what you are doing or failed to do than on what Christ has done.
· REPENTANCE IS A GIFT FROM GOD
· REPENTANCE ULTIMATELY DISPLAYS GOD’S FAITHFULNESS
God’s Faithfulness in prosperity
· Abram has a test of prosperity here
· How will he respond? What does trusting God look like?
1. Abram and his money
2. Abram and his family
3. Abram and his God
· Abram is a changed man
· Abram is trusting God’s promise – and it’s affecting his daily life
· Abram can get out of the box of cultural ways of doing things
Heb 11:8-9 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
· Abram was looking forward to something much better than this life
· Abram was changed in his own foundations
· Abram was free, liberated – he didn’t need to “go for the gusto”
· Abram had failed and now was renewed in God’s promises
· God’s faithfulness shines bright when our hearts are changed at the very foundation of what we live for
· How about you? Is Christianity a religion where you leave one set of rules and behaviors and adopt another set of rules and ways to live?
· OR has God changed you at the very foundations of your being?
God’s faithfulness in Word
· God keeps His Word
· God is a faithful God despite human failure
1 Th 5:23-24 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
· God’s faithfulness despite Abram’s failure both magnifies the glory of His character AND raises a question about His character
This scene points us to another scene in the story hundreds of years later
· Does God have no standards?
· Does Abram get any consequences?
· How can God grant repentance, “severely” prosper Abram and then not only renew but expand and get more explicit with His promises to Him?
· God’s faithfulness in Abram’s failure is meant to be a big pointer
· A neon light flashing, grabbing our attention
· Jesus was in a situation very similar to Abram – Satan took Him up on a high cliff and said “I will give you all you can see”
· Jesus rebuked Him
· Jesus perfectly fulfilled
· God’s faithfulness in Abram’s failures is meant to point us to the perfect One
· Abram was willing to trust God by possibly giving up the Promise land
· Jesus gave up everything
· How does is God faithful to His holiness and continue to be faithful to sinful Abram
Ro 3:23-26 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
· God is faithful despite our failure
· Will you trust Him at His word?
1. Be a person of the Word – every time we fail, we actively believe untruths about God
2. Be a person of repentance – Luther was a great sinner but Luther was a great repenter
Let the movie of your life be one that continually reflects the glory of God’s character – one scene at a time.
Because you gave it up, I’ll give it all to you
How can He do this?
A third man was taken up – the great irony – already Jesus’ by rights
Satan was going to give them without suffering, going to the Cross
NO I came to lose everything, separation from the Father, authority, glory, to lose everything
God takes Abram up these aren’t yours by right but I’m going to give them to you
Satan takes Jesus up – these are yours by right and Jesus loses them
We can be taken to the mountain top and accepted cuz Jesus lost it
Abram points to Jesus cuz
We can have it cuz He lost it
Abram points cuz He let go so he could keep his relationship with Lot
Jesus gave up the ultimate wealth so He could have a relationship with us
Palace vs. tent
Faith vs. fear
Faith vs. foolishness
The God In Repentance
Ge 13:1-18 So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb. Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. And he journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the Lord.
Abram and his wife “went up”
Lot is mentioned
Rich, severe – same term as used when describing the famine
Ex 12:35-36 – Israelites were given gold/silver when leaving Egypt
Details of travel are meant to indicate Abram is trying to recapture what he had
The altar is still there – the promises too?
Up from Egypt, “severe” rich vs. famine, faith vs. unbelief
Repentance/faith – going back to the gospel, our justification, etc.
God convicts, calls us back to where we started
Adam/eve failed, world failed, Noah’s kids led to Babel, God comes to Abram and he fails
Repentance displays the patient faithfulness of God – He brings us back
Turn from and go back to the original promise of God
Because our trust is not in us, we can keep going back to God
Failure reveals what we really are
Repentance is a gift from God – He uses it to bring us back and further His purposes in us
Define condemnation, guilt vs. faith, repentance
God leads Abram to a path of repentance and next we’ll see how it affects his next test
The God of Prosperity
And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were dwelling in the land.
WALKING BY FAITH WHEN THERE ARE OBSTACLES IN THE WAY
Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.”
FAITH FILLED PEACEMAKING
And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east.
WALKING BY SIGHT TO GET BACK TO EDEN
Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.
GOD’S WORK IN A MAN POSITIONS HIM TO TRUST IN EVERY DECISION
God’s blessing creates the problems
“dwell” is used repeatedly in this chapter
Problems cuz other people groups were there
Famine and Pharoah from last scene, inhabitants this scene
Psalm 133:1 the ideal? Abram invites him to share the promised land
Sodom more fertile before destruction
Statement about destruction casts a shadow on Lot’s decision
Lot is offered a share of Canaan but chooses to go “the cities of the plane” contrasted by Abram settling in land of Canaan
“east” may imply what adam, eve, cain and men of Babel
His direction suggests divine judgment
Wicked or “evil” like the generation of the flood
“Great sinners” rare phrase and implies the extreme seriousness of Sodom’s sin
Calvin – Lot, when he fancied he was living in paradise, was nearly plunged into the depths of hell.”
V. 8-9 Abram speaks for the 2nd time – different – clear, firm but polite.
God’s work in us and His covenant keeping nature is our only hope to walk by faith and pass the test of prosperity, the test of family conflict & life changing decisions
Abram was looking to another city not the cities of Sodom
Abram and three relationships:
Abram and his brother – family
Abram and God – His promise of land
Abram and His money – possessions, security
Lot “sees” and pursues what he believes is going to give him the “garden of the Lord”
Lot is ambitious
Abram is obedient
Abram has been fundamentally changed (Heb. 11:8)
He is free! Liberated! He doesn’t need to clutch his finances
Identity, worship and pursuit will
Abram passes the test of prosperity and that leads to some questions like how does God relate to Abram who failed Him?
What does that communicate about God? Does He have no standards?
The God Who Promises
The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.
The land I will show you – now He is showing Him!! Lot looked up and saw something different
Promise expanded to Abram’s offspring and expanded to forever!
I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted.
Explains the metaphor!
More specific now than in Gen. 12
Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”
Legal way one would take ownership of the land
So Abram moved his tent and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.
Separated, look & lift up your eyes might mirror v. 9-11
Location NE of Beitin where you can see the ocean, mountains in east, Mt Hermon in north and Dead Sea in the south
3 distinctions in statement – more precisely defined, to Abram and descendents, forever
Nation – In ancient times it could be a small group but Israel will be uncountable like the dust of the earth
Abram camped vs. Lot camped
V. 14 – contrast of Abram on the heights and Lot down in the sunken plains.
Walking around the perimeter of the land is the legal way to take property in the Ancient Near East.
God’s Word as a unified whole
How could God do this? Lead him to repentance, bless him severely, expand His promises?
Points to another scene – Jesus before Satan after 40 days of fasting
Jesus gave up everything
Satan wants to give him all the land, kingdoms
Lot wanted the garden of the Lord without the Lord
Satan offered the kingdoms apart from God’s will
Rom. 3:24 – in the Cross God vindicated His righteousness