Love…it can cost us

Is there anything you could give to someone else, a sacrifice to show your love? Discuss with God.

Genesis 13:1–18
‘So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.’

Genesis 13:1-18
Genesis 13
Abram and Lot Separate

1 So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. 2 Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.

3 From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier 4 and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the LORD.

5 Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6 But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. 7 And quarreling arose between Abram’s herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.

8 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”

10 Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.

14 The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”

18 So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the LORD.

What do you want?

We have examined the practical issues involved in following Christ, ranging from vocation to sexuality, from food to the priorities we have.

In this Old Testament reading we see Abram and Lot struggling to cope with the material and physical demands of their household and livestock, eventually deciding to part company.

Abram as the older man ought to have taken precedence in any decision about dividing the resources of the land. And yet we see a countercultural humility in him as he allows his nephew Lot to choose which direction he would like to go in.

Lot chooses the way that looks better at face value – he selfishly opts for the greener, better, more prosperous land and effectively leaves his uncle high and dry. But Abram is following the God who can be trusted, so although it appears as if he will be materially disadvantaged, this does not turn out to be the case.

In fact, chasing after wealth and putting himself first lands Lot in all sorts of trouble. In contrast God blesses Abram and he is able to find contentment and peace.

What we do with what we own matters to God. Bring your practical cares and concerns to God. Ask him to help you to put him first and to trust him.

Amy Orr-Ewing (adapted from Daily Bread JM09)

Hard choices

Paul made some hard choices and sacrifices in order to follow God’s way. Abraham found himself in a similar position. He had every right to make the choice and have Lot live with the consequences, but his gracious response to the tense situation was to allow Lot to choose.

Our normal human inclination is to insist on our rights. The fit and the strong survive, while the weak go to the wall.

Different priorities

Abraham is more interested in harmony than in possessions or an easy life. Jesus promised a blessing for peacemakers (see Matthew 5:9).

Peacemaking and insisting on our rights are rarely compatible. Following the example of Jesus, we put the needs and interests of o the rs above our own (see Philippians 2:3,4).

Willingness to sacrifice
Paul’s teaching about the weaker bro the r suggests that we should always be looking out for the welfare of o the rs. Abraham does not insist on what will benefit him but offers Lot the choice. Ironically it led to spiritual disaster for Lot .

We cannot know the outcome of our decisions, or be held responsible for what o the rs do with the m. But that doesn’t stop us putting the ir interests first.

Renewed promise
Abraham does not lose out. God’s purposes for him are not affected by his sacrifice. Selfish decisions stem from disobedience to God and damage our relationship with him. The way of blessing may often be the hard way.

How do you make your decisions? What factors matter most to you?

John Grayston


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