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ES009 Abraham Part 2

Evening Services - Other  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  28:25
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Genesis 13:1–18 NKJV
1 Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South. 2 Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. 3 And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, 4 to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the Lord. 5 Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents. 6 Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. 7 And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land. 8 So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.” 10 And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. 12 Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. 13 But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord. 14 And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; 15 for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. 16 And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. 17 Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.” 18 Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the Lord.

Introduction

Well, we see at the end of Chapter 12 Abram being disgraced due to him not trusting in God – this happens when we don’t believe God’s word and we start to scheme. Things were tough in the land of Israel or Canaan as it was then, and his sheep were struggling and so he went off to Egypt. Egypt is a picture of the world. It seems more attractive, you can get what you want there but what you also find is trouble of your own making. So, Abram was now, in effect, in 13:1 deported from Egypt. What was he doing in Egypt to start with? This was not the Promised Land but Abram, the man of faith, had his moment of doubt. Now the only way to get back right with God is go back to where you were in fellowship with Him. But even though it seems he should not have been there God had appeared to him.

Abram: Man of God. V.1-4

Now he comes back to the place where he first pitched a tent and where God had spoken to him and told him that He would give his descendants this land. Going into Egypt is perhaps symbolic of going into sin but once he had been chastised he came back to the place God first spoke to him and called upon Him. This is what we have to get. Go back to the place you were in fellowship with God and He will bring you back into fellowship. As we heard this morning chastisement and God putting the pruning knife on us is painful but once afflicted we are quick to get back to how things should be and we get in line with the purposes of God. Lot on the other hand didn’t learn and continued to desire the things of Egypt as we shall see.

Abram: Man of Peace & Charity (You go to left or right) v5-13

Through no fault of their own the land could not sustain both Abram and Lot together and strife reared its head among their shepherds. Both Abram and Lot have become very wealthy but the cattle that they have cannot graze the same land and water sources were poor. Now the shepherds start fighting with each other in the presence of the heathen and when this type of thing goes on between Christians in front of the world it ruins our witness. This is not as uncommon as you might think – gossip and backbiting going on – it ruins our witness in the world. We are called to love one another. And so, solutions need to be found for very real problems and there is a need for selflessness.
So Abram, on the basis that they were related, said ‘let there be no strife between us’ and then gives a solution to their predicament. You go one way, I go the other. You go Left, I go right. You go east I go west. What is more – I let you choose which way you want to go. Now this is the Abram of faith! What a man was Abram! Such charity! Such selflessness! Letting Lot choose which way and having peace in himself that it will all work out – He was now trusting in the Word God had given to Him earlier in chapter 12, which said:
Genesis 12:2–3 NKJV
2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
and finally he was doing something about the first thing he was told in verse 1:
Genesis 12:1 NKJV
1 Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.
He had hardly got away from his family seeing Lot and his lot come with him. It would have been better to tell Lot to stay at home in Ur. And so there was trouble with the family for there was no room. However, the trust Abram had in his God and His Word had finally caught a hold of him. Indeed, he would have claimed the promise found in
Romans 8:28 NKJV
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Except he knew this of God through experience.
Abram was now completely reliant upon the Lord and relaxed about decisions others make. And in this case we see that Abram is the peacemaker – there are so many disputes between families other things, especially about money. Money in families can cause a lot of pain especially when it comes to contesting wills. We say it’s not fair! Not trusting in our God and in allowing ourselves to be used. Let God repay!! Instead of blessing we curse. (And by the way I wrote the first draft of this sermon 9 years ago)
So, Lot went east to Jordan where it is well watered and was like the garden of the Lord. Abram bore in mind the scripture, though not written then but was written in his heart:
Romans 12:10 NKJV
10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
in allowing Lot his choice.
We should learn to be at peace as Abram. We should take note that Lot’s decision to go there was based upon how things looked. Notice it said in the text that it was like the garden of the Lord before Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. We need to base our future on what God’s says not on what we think or what others think. This is putting into practice
Proverbs 3:5–6 NKJV
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
There are three types of people in the world: the unsaved, the carnal Christian and the spiritual Christian. We see here with Lot that in verse 10 he looked towards Sodom, in verse 11+12 he moved towards Sodom and then in 14v12 he moved into Sodom. Be careful of where you put your eyes. Lot lifted up his eyes and saw Sodom and Jordan but did not lift his eyes to Heaven. Notice the progression to sin from seeing from afar, to drawing near, to living in. Sodom was well known for its sexual sin and from this, Scripture tells us, we are to flee not run to.

Abram: Man of the Promise v14-18

Despite the fact that Lot took to the land of the East, God promised all the land that Abram could see including where Lot went. Then Abram was to do the walk of faith – literally! He had to walk throughout the whole land to the boundaries thereof. This promise was not based upon Abram believing nor was it conditional on any actions. This promise was and is to be fulfilled. We can see that present day Israel is occupying the land once promised to their ancient ancestor. When God makes a promise He keeps it. Israel, despite what we think of the country, is in its rightful place among the nations. In fact, we know that Israel should be occupying more of the land than it currently has. This should colour, in part, what we think of the Palestinian problem. We should also know the history of the area and not jump to conclusions based upon recent and not so recent media stories. With that said we cannot condone wrong doing on any side when we are shown that there is proof and we should seek, as Christians, to bring righteousness and justice.

Abram: Man of War

In the next chapter war broke out...
Genesis 14:1–16 NKJV
1 And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations, 2 that they made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). 3 All these joined together in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea). 4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5 In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him came and attacked the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh Kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites in their mountain of Seir, as far as El Paran, which is by the wilderness. 7 Then they turned back and came to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and attacked all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who dwelt in Hazezon Tamar. 8 And the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out and joined together in battle in the Valley of Siddim 9 against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of nations, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar—four kings against five. 10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of asphalt pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled; some fell there, and the remainder fled to the mountains. 11 Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way. 12 They also took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. 13 Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, for he dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner; and they were allies with Abram. 14 Now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 He divided his forces against them by night, and he and his servants attacked them and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. 16 So he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the people.
Then there was war. The war was not of Abram’s or Lot’s making but a rebellion started against the King who was in power at that time. Sometimes we are caught up in situations that are not of our making – life is not always fair and why should we as Christians think that life is not going to treat us the same? James says: Count it all joy. Trials and temptations will come to us. In this world you will have trouble but Jesus says: Don’t worry. I have overcome the world. Not always good things happen to us. We are not promised an easy life, indeed, it seems we are promised the exact opposite.
Now Abram hears some disturbing news: his nephew Lot has been taken captive by King Chedorlaomer and the other kings. Whilst I said that the war was not of Lot’s making, the fact that he was there in Sodom put him in harm’s way and takes us back to the original decision of going East based upon how things look. On hearing, Abram immediately sets off with 318 trained men and goes off after the army and defeats them and brings back Lot along with the other people who had been taken captive. Abram would not have got involved in this war if his nephew was not involved. Why should he get involved? Lot has been a pain ever since he left his father. So why would Abram risk his life for his nephew? The only reason can be love. He loved the unlovely. This was love without condition. Abram travelled 120 miles to save him out of the King’s hand. And do you know what? Lot went back to his worldly ways afterwards by going back among people who vexed him.
2 Peter 2:7–8 NKJV
7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)—
Once you are worldly as a Christian it is hard to break free of it even when you have good Christian friends trying to save you from it. This is not to say that Lot did the things the people of Sodom did but he liked the comfortable life he had in the midst of such people.

Abram: Man of Honour (King of Sodom, King Melchizedek) v17-20

Genesis 14:17–20 NKJV
17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley), after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him. 18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all.
Here we meet a character who is a type of Christ. Neither beginning nor end. King Melchizedek comes out as High Priest of God – before there was any law or any mention of priests that happened in Moses’ time and he blesses Abram. And Abram recognises him for who he was and gives him a tenth of everything. Note also that Melchizedek is King of Salem. Salem means peace. The name Melchizedek means King of Righteousness. God came with peace & righteousness to Abram after the war. But watch out the King of Sodom (which means King of burning) will offer the worlds goods for your body but both will burn up in the end – this was Lot’s choice and in the end he lived out his life in a cave where his daughters who have learned the ways of Sodom are incestuous and out of that came Moab and Ammon both becoming enemies of Israel.

Conclusion

There are a number of lessons that we need to take with us:
Not always good things happen in our lives – but in the end it will be for our good. Let us remember the promise of
Romans 8:28 NKJV
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
The way we live affects others.
Family is not chosen by us but we are to love them – perhaps we would not have chosen the members of our family and so it is with Christians – perhaps we would not of chosen one another but we need to look out for each other and go the extra mile – this is the 2nd commandment after all: to love your neighbour as yourself.
Let us take to heart the lessons of Abram and Lot.

Benediction

Romans 8:38–39 NKJV
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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