Genesis 13 -- 15
The testing of Abram's faith began after he and Lot left Ur of the Chaldees on their 1000-mile journey to the Promised Land. Upon arrival, he discovered there was a famine in the land. His trials continued to increase in order to develop his faith in God who could take care of his needs. Soon there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle (Genesis 13:7). Abram could have taken the very best for himself since he was older than his nephew, as well as the spiritual leader. Instead, he graciously said to Lot: Let there be no strife . . . between me and you . . . for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself . . . from me: if you will take the left hand, then I will go to the right (13:8-9). It was then that it became evident that their goals in life were very different. Lot selfishly took advantage of Abram and chose all the good land on the left as well as on the right, all the well-watered plain of the Jordan Valley.
After Lot's choice, Abram had no alternative but to go north into the hills, so he removed his tent . . . and dwelt in the plain of Mamre . . . in Hebron (a mountain region), and built there an altar to the Lord (13:18).
Worldly-minded Lot decided to ignore his spiritual need to be in fellowship with Abram. Instead, he made friends with the people of Sodom, who were exceedingly wicked sinners before the Lord (13:10-13). Even before this, in the time of Noah, it was revealed that the earth also was corrupt before God (6:11). And, as with Nimrod, before the Lord means in opposition to the Lord.
Lot was typical of many Christians today who deplore our wicked society but who, like Lot, make decisions based on their material advantages. Only a few listen seriously to their Savior, who says: If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me (Matthew 16:24). Few realize that they can't serve two masters. The forces of evil do not want us to fulfill the will of our Lord or to believe that, when we trust in Him, we have chosen the best in life.
The Apostle Paul wrote of his own experiences: We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed . . . Persecuted, but not forsaken . . . Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. . . . For our light affliction . . . works for us . . . we look not at the things which are seen . . . which . . . are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (II Corinthians 4:8-18).
Perhaps the Lord has chosen you, even as He did Abraham and Paul, to experience material loss, that eternal life might be experienced in others. Those who carry their burdens best are those who are helping to lift the burdens of others. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies . . . Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble (II Corinthians 1:3-4).
13:6 bear = support; 13:12 toward = near; 14:11 victuals = provisions; 14:13 confederate = allies; 14:17 dale = valley; 15:4 bowels = your own flesh and blood.
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