Read Genesis 13

Highlights:

Abram and Lot separate; Abram moves to Hebron, and builds an altar; Lot rescued; Melchizedek blesses Abram; Covenant of God with Abram.

The testing of Abram's faith began after he and Lot left Ur of the Chaldees in obedience to the call of God to journey more than 500 miles to the promised land (Gen. 11:31; 12:4). Upon arrival, he discovered there was a famine so they went into Egypt (12:10-20). Returning from Egypt they traveled south near Sodom where the pastureland was best. Abram and Lot both had large flocks. Soon there was a strife (quarreling) between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and . . . of Lot's cattle (13:7). Abram could have taken the best for himself since he was older than his nephew, as well as being the spiritual leader of his family. Instead, he graciously said to Lot: Let there be no strife . . . for we be (are) brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself . . . from me: if thou wilt take the left . . . then I will go to the right (13:8-9). Lot selfishly took advantage of Abram and greedily chose the whole land — all the well-watered plain near Sodom.

It was after this experience that Abram received a promise from the Lord that He would make Abram's seed (descendants) as numerous as the dust of the earth (13:16). Abram went farther northwest to live in the plain of Mamre . . . in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD (13:18). Lot decided to ignore his spiritual need to be in fellowship with Abram. Instead, he compromised and made friends with the people of Sodom, who were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly (13:10-13).

Lot was typical of many Christians today who deplore our wicked society but still make decisions based on personal material advantages. Only a few listen seriously to their Savior, who said: No servant can serve two masters (Luke 16:13). When determining where we live or where we work, our first consideration should be: “Where can I best serve the Lord?”

Before his conversion, the Apostle Paul was a prominent Pharisee. But after he trusted Christ as Savior, notice what he wrote concerning his career choice: What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ (Phil. 3:7-8). It is no surprise that God could use him to write most of the New Testament.

Paul's choice was similar to that of Joshua whom God chose to lead His people into the promised land and who proclaimed: Fear the LORD, and serve Him in sincerity. . . . choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD (Joshua 24:14-15).

Thought for Today:

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:14).

Christ Portrayed:

By the high priest, Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18-20; Heb. 4:15-16; 5:5-10; 7:1-4). Today Christ is our High Priest who is interceding in prayer for us and who alone is deserving of our gifts and service to Him.

Word Studies:

13:6 bear, support; 13:12 toward, near; 14:11 victuals, provisions, food; 14:13 confederate, allies; 14:17 dale, valley; 15:4 shall come forth out of thine own bowels, is your own flesh and blood.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Thursday Morning Prayer • Staff: Beth Carlton • Government Officials: Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (NY) and Rep. Mark S. Critz (PA) • Country: Mali (10 million) in West Africa • Major languages: French and Bambara • Religious freedom despite Muslim majority • 81% Muslim; 17% animism and spirit worship; 2% Christian • Prayer Suggestion: Pray the Lord of the harvest to send workers to harvest for Him (Matt. 9:38).

Optional Reading: Matthew 5

Memory Verse for the Week: John 3:14