Abraham, Part 3 (The Covenant & the Cross #49)

[audio https://www.buzzsprout.com/25444/231800-abraham-part-3-the-covenant-the-cross-49.mp3]

Today’s passage of Scripture is Genesis 13:7-8 which reads: “And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.”

Allow me to share with you some further commentary on this passage from the Reformation Study Bible by Dr. R.C. Sproul:

Lot and Abraham are compared and contrasted: both looked around, were offered land, and traveled to their allotted portion. But Lot, who chose by sight, will escape twice by the skin of his teeth, while by faith Abraham will be enriched forever.

Faith in God’s sovereignty gave Abraham the freedom to be generous. His generosity typified that of Israel to Moab and Ammon, Lot’s descendants. God applauds generosity and peacemakers.

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Charles Haddon Spurgeon. He said: “Some people like to read so many [Bible] chapters every day. I would not dissuade them from the practice, but I would rather lay my soul asoak in half a dozen verses all day than rinse my hand in several chapters. Oh, to be bathed in a text of Scripture, and to let it be sucked up in your very soul, till it saturates your heart!”

Our topic for today is titled “Abraham” (Part 3) from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

A painting of Abraham's departure by József Molnár.

A painting of Abraham’s departure by József Molnár.

As we look through the next few chapters, it becomes very obvious that Abram was a finite, fallible human being. He no sooner got to Canaan than he went off to Egypt because of a famine. Times got hard, so he looked for an easier way. (Ironically, this incident is recorded in the same chapter that relates God’s promises, highlighting the contrast.) Once he got to Egypt, he compounded his failure by asking Sarai to lie. Abram realized that his wife was still a good-looking woman, and he feared someone might kill him in order to marry her. So he concocted the half-lie that she was his sister (Sarai was in fact his half-sister). Sure enough, she caught the eye of the Egyptian officials and ended up in Pharaoh’s palace.

This sequence of events shows that Abram had a long way to go in learning to trust God. First, in spite of God’s rich promises concerning the land, he left it to get food. Second, he did not trust God to protect him in a foreign land, so he resorted to falsehood. Third, he placed his personal well-being above that of his wife, allowing Pharaoh to take her into his harem (and receiving great riches in appreciation). In the end, God protected Sarai and restored her to Abram, but they were expelled from Egypt.

The next events show Abram’s good side. He and his nephew Lot, now both wealthy, had so much livestock that they were getting in each other’s way and so needed to divide the territory. Although Abram was the patriarch and should have had first priority, he gave Lot his first choice on the property.

Today, the region where Lot settled, in the valley of the Dead Sea, is one of the most barren places on earth. Climatological studies, however, indicate that this region has been drying out for the last 4,000 years or so. Apparently, at the time of Abram, there was much rainfall, which made this protected valley a lush, agricultural region. After Lot chose the lush valley, God reiterated His promise to Abram, assuring him that the outcome of this decision would be beneficial. Abram then moved to Hebron.

Subsequently, we see another high side of Abram’s character. in chapter 14, we are told of his daring rescue of Lot, who had been abducted by King Kedorlaomer and his allies. however, the writer’s purpose for including this account goes beyond the great military drama. Rather, the focus is on the aftermath, where we are introduced to the fascinating though somewhat enigmatic character, Melchizedek.

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