Genesis 13:13-18

July 18, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the LORD. The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. “I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered. “Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.” Then Abram moved his tent and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and there he built an altar to the LORD.

This week, we will be taking a look at a smaller passage of scripture in the life of Abram. Before we do though, let’s recap.

Abram had been called out of Ur of the Chaldees with his father Terah and some of his family. Along with him were his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot. They traveled to the city of Haran and there Terah died. Abram, Sarai, and Lot continue the journey to the new land following God’s leading. We don’t know exactly how well acquainted with God Abram was at this time, but he was still obedient. As Abram travels through the land of the Canaanites, he builds altars to God.

When a famine hits the land, Abram travels to Egypt. While their, he tells Sarai to tell the Egyptians that she is his sister (she was – they had different mothers) so that they don’t kill him and take her for themselves. Because of this, the Egyptians tell Pharaoh of Sarai’s beauty and Pharaoh takes her for his own. Pharaoh gives Abram many things because of Sarai but, because she is Abram’s wife, God strikes Pharaoh’s house with “great plagues”. Pharaoh seems to know that Abram and Sarai are the cause of these plagues and kicks them out of Egypt (he lets them keep all the stuff he gives them).

Abram then travels back through the Negev and on to Bethel where he had first set up his tent. As they begin to settle the land, the herdsmen of Abram and the herdsmen of Lot begin to fight each other because there is not enough land for both of them. Abram gives Lot a choice: he can take his pick of all of the areas he can see and Abram will go the other direction. Lot sees that the valleys around Sodom and Gomorrah are fertile so he chooses to go there. He starts out in the valleys, but eventually Lot moves closer to the city until he is living at the gates.

As an aside in the story, Moses writes that the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked sinners against the Lord. We will see what this sin is in later chapters of Genesis. After Lot separated from Abram, God comes to him again and repeats his promise from chapter 12:1-3:

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”  (Genesis 12:1-3)

This isn’t quite the same promise though. God has elaborated on it. If you remember, God told Abram to leave his family and go to the land that He would show him. Until Lot and Abram separated, this wasn’t true. Now that they were separated, the Lord comes to Abram and expounds on His promise:

“Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. “I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered. “Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.”

Now, not only will Abram become a great nation; not only will he be a blessing; not only will all the families of the earth be blessed in him. Now, all of the land that he can see in every direction will belong to him and his descendants forever. He is also promised that his descendants will be greater in number than the dust of the earth. It is promised to him. This is especially intriguing because Abram has no children.

As the chapter (and our study) closes, we see Abram moving his tent near the oaks of Mamre and building an altar to the Lord. As we end for this week, I can’t help but think about something. God only began doing what He promised as Abram was obedient. When God first came to Abram, He promised him something. As Abram moved forward in faith, God acted. As Abram became more obedient, God began to reveal more of His purpose and plan. While God didn’t need Abram at all in order to make His will be done, He blessed Abram with the opportunity to be a part of it all. It is the same with Christians today. God certainly doesn’t need us for any reason at all to accomplish His will, and yet He allows us to be a part of it all and to work in service to Him to see others come to Christ.

Are you obedient to God? Are you living your life according to His moral standard? Are you loving the brethren with agape love? These are the characteristics of a Christian (see 1 John 3:10). Obedience is greater than sacrifice and is something that all of us should strive for every day! We appreciate you reading a long with us and hope to see you here again throughout the week!

 

 

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