Genesis 13:2-12

June 27, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Posted in Bible Study | Leave a comment
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Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold. He went on his journeys from the Negev as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place of the altar which he had made there formerly; and there Abram called on the name of the LORD. Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. And the land could not sustain them while dwelling together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to remain together. And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. Now the Canaanite and the Perizzite were dwelling then in the land. So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. “Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me; if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left.” Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere–this was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah–like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar. So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom.

Today, we’re going to continue following Abram as he follows God. Abram has been called out of Ur of the Chaldees, away from his family. He has followed his father Terah to Haran. There, Terah died and Abram continued on his own, with his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot. They traveled to Bethel and then south through the Negev. A severe famine caused them to move into Egypt and live there for a little while.

As they entered Egypt, Abram had told his wife that she was to tell everyone that she was his sister (which we saw is actually true) so that they wouldn’t kill him and take his wife. The Egyptians told Pharaoh of Sarai’s beauty and he took her to be his wife. Because of her beauty, Pharaoh gave Abram livestock and servants. But, God struck Pharaoh and his household with “great plagues” because of this. Pharaoh seems to know why the plagues came and Who brought them. He rebuked Abram, gave Sarai back to him, and sent them out of Egypt.

Now, Abram is rich in livestock, silver, and gold. He retraces his steps through the Negev and back to Bethel where he built the altar. As he reaches this place, Abram must have remembered calling out to God and been reminded of Who it was that had blessed and protected him. We also see that Lot has been blessed because of Abram. He too has flocks and herds and tents. This brings about a problem for nephew and uncle. The land that they are both dwelling on cannot sustain both of them. Both of them had so many possessions that it brought strife between their herdsmen as they fought for grazing land. We find out that the Canaanite and the Perizzite are dwelling in the same land. In these stressful conditions, Abram approaches Lot with a request. His desire is to be at peace with his nephew, so he asks Lot to separate from him. Abram, being the elder one, should have had the choice of land, but he instead gives that to Lot.

When Lot looks up, he sees that the valley of the Jordan is well-watered. The text says that it was as well watered as the garden of the Lord. It doesn’t say in the text, but I can’t help but wonder if this view of the valley was enhanced by Lot’s desire to increase? Just a thought. In the end, Lot moves to the valley of the Jordan. But, he doesn’t stop there. He takes his tents as far as Sodom.

Meanwhile, scripture says that Abram settled in Canaan. It is interesting that it is only now that God’s command is obeyed. You might be asking what I’m talking about. Let’s take another look at it:

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; (Genesis 12:1)

God told Abram to go forth out of his country, which he did. But, he also told him to go away from his relatives and his father’s house. This would include his nephew Lot. Now that Lot is gone, God can begin to work with him and prepare him for what’s to come.

This brings to mind something that I want to ask you. Has God commanded something of you? If so, have you obeyed completely? Or, is there still something that you need to get rid of/let go of so that He can work in you? Prayerfully ask the Lord to show you what the case may be and He will show you. Just be ready to obey…

Next week, we’ll see how God adds to His promise! Hope to see you there!

Is it not enough?

January 18, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Posted in Christianity | 2 Comments
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As I continue to hear about the church in America, I am struck by some things that I just don’t understand. I keep talking about the church “in America” because it looks different from the church outside the US. The problems that American churches face are nothing like the ones faced by the churches in other countries. While American churches worry about new “growth” methods and how to better entertain churchgoers, Christians in other countries are hiding in basements worshipping God with the single page of scripture that they’ve been able to smuggle with them. While American churches work on “branding strategies” and marketing efforts, Christians in other countries are dying just for naming the Name of Christ. Is it just me or is something out of whack here?

God has set aside His church to accomplish certain goals the way He wants them done. When the church fails to do this, they are in rebellion to God. I was reading in Numbers 16 this morning and it brought all this together. In Numbers 16 Korah, Dathan, and Abiram as well as 250 others go up before Moses and Aaron and express their anger and frustration. They accuse him of “exalting himself” as their leader when “all of the congregation is holy”. These men who accused Moses weren’t just any men though. They were men of renown, chosen from among the assembly. Korah was a son of Levi, the tribe who was set apart for service to the Lord as His portion. This wasn’t enough for them though. They wanted the same prestige that Moses had. They wanted the power that he had without the burden or the approval of the Lord. They felt that they should be just like the priesthood and decided to tell him boldly and arrogantly. They told Moses that he had “gone far enough” in exalting himself over the people.  Continue Reading Is it not enough?…

Looking for Ezras

June 16, 2008 at 1:32 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I was reading a section of scripture last night that got me thinking about something. The passage that I read was Ezra 6-10. In it, the Israelites are coming out of captivity and returning to Jerusalem. As they return to their homeland and begin to resettle, something is brought to Ezra’s attention that causes him to tear his garments and weep for Israel. The leaders of Israel come to Ezra and tell him:

 

“The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, according to their abominations, those of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians and the Amorites. For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race has intermingled with the peoples of the lands; indeed, the hands of the princes and the rulers have been foremost in this unfaithfulness.”

Ezra’s response is to tear his garment, pull out some of his hair and sit appalled (stunned/devastated). Scripture says that everyone who trembled at the word of God sat with him. They did this until the evening offering. At the time of the evening offering, Ezra gets on his knees before the Lord and prays. In his prayer he expresses embarrassment and shame in regard to the way the leaders of Israel have acted. He cries out because of the guilt of iniquity that Israel still walks in. The people who feel the same as Ezra gather with him weeping as well. They then decide to call an assembly in Jerusalem. This assembly was mandatory and would result in being cut off if you didn’t show up. They gathered in the open square before the house of God in heavy rain trembling in fear of God. Ezra then stands up before the people of Israel and tells them that they have added to the guilt of Israel by disobeying God and marrying foreign wives. He calls them to take an oath and to separate themselves from the peoples of the land and from their foreign wives. The assembly responds in agreement, recognizing their lsin and takes the oath. The ask for time due to conditions, but desire to do so in order to turn away the “fierce anger” of God. The end of Ezra 10 then goes on to list the names of the priests, singers, Levites, and the people who had married foreign wives.

After reading this, I couldn’t help but wonder if God is looking for Ezra’s today? Today, God’s people are just as guilty of marrying “foreign wives” as the Israelites were then. The church has polluted the gospel, changed the way of salvation, put themselves in place of God, and gone off to chase other “gods”. If God had “fierce anger” toward Israel for marrying foreign wives then, how much angrier is God now at His people? It still amazes me how we can claim Christ as Savior and then completely disregard everything that He’s commanded us to do. I am appalled at the way people in the church ignore God’s commandments and His anger and still seek His blessing. We have people who claim to be Christians calling on people to get in touch with “Mother Earth”. Others are taking tenets of other faiths and trying to make them fit into Christianity. Still others are preaching a gospel that has nothing to do with Christ or His purpose for coming to earth. Instead they replace Christ with love, money, or self. Shouldn’t God be angry? Should we be surprised that His wrath is building and beginning to pour out on our nation and others? When those who are “leaders” in the church take the precious gospel of our Lord and make it a mockery, what else should we expect?

One of the most appalling things of all of this is the fact that these “leaders” have no shame! They have absolutely no care in the world that they are misrepresenting Christ and misleading thousands. They don’t care that their iniquity is a foul stench in the nostrils of God. They have no real concern for the truth being preached or people actually getting saved, as long as their churches are packed, they wallets are full, and what they believe is spread as far as they can take it, they’re satisfied. Nevermind that it’s not the truth. Nevermind the fact that it’s not the gospel that saves. Nevermind that people are being made comfortable while going straight to hell. None of that matters. There is no guilt, shame, or embarrassment from these men and women. They are “successful” and that’s all that matters. Sure, it’s success in the eyes of the world, but it’s what matters.

The body of Christ needs Ezras who are ashamed and embarrassed by where the church has gotten to and are willing to call God’s people back to scriptural living. They need to have God’s understanding of His Word and be willing to weep and grieve for this ongoing tragedy. They also need to be willing to stand up and speak out against this horrible façade, naming names if necessary. Some people may read this and think that I’m talking about a new ministry focused on “turning peoples’ hearts back to God”. Nope. That’s not what I’m talking about. To be completely honest, I’m tired of ministries. We have way too many “ministries” run by people who just want to accomplish their own agenda under the guise of Christianity. This isn’t to say that there aren’t legitimate ministries out there. I know of many who are truly doing the things that need to be done. There are many, many more however, that do nothing but inflate egos, stuff pocketbooks, and accomplish absolutely nothing for God. We don’t need that.

What we need is for the people of God to be willing to be made horribly uncomfortable (even if it means sitting in a downpour) and to see their iniquity for what it is. We need to be willing to stop “graying” the issues and start calling things as black and white when they are. We need to start living our lives the way God wants us to, instead of living them the way that we want and then hoping God will bless us. We need the body of Christ to recommit to separate themselves from the “people of the land” and to stop marrying foreign wives. We need to recognize that God is fiercely angry with us for what we have failed to do and to renew our oath to be obedient to Him. We need to “make confession before God and do His will”…


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