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Selflessness, Worship, Blessings

Genesis 13:5-18

Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 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. And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.

So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives.  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.”

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

The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west.  All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.  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.  Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”

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

Abram was a wealthy man.  God had blessed him and he had a lot of animals to feed.  His nephew Lot traveled with him and Lot had a lot of animals to feed.  On top of that, there were two other communities living in the area and they had a lot of animals to feed.  Quite simply, there just wasn’t enough grazing pasture to accommodate all the animals.  This was causing conflict among their ranch hands.

Abram was the elder and etiquette would dictate that the nephew would bow to his uncle out of respect and Abram certainly could have demanded Lot do so.  But Abram trusted God.  It was God who had called him.  It was God who had blessed him.  I think Abram knew that no matter where he went God was going to provide.

In an act of selflessness Abram told Lot he could choose any land he wanted and Abram would take his family and his animals in another direction.  Lot could have been the bigger man and replied out of respect to his uncle that he would defer and let Abram choose first but Lot saw an opportunity and he seized it.  Lot chose the lushest pastures for himself.

I would imagine it was a bit of a pain to have to gather up family and animals and move but Abram just did it.  Then what happened?  The LORD spoke.  The LORD gave Abram all the land as far as the eye can see.  And Abram built an altar to the LORD and worshiped.  

Abram had learned a very valuable lesson early on it seems.  He trusted God.  He was a peacemaker.  He acted in love and was humble and generous.  He believed God would provide.  And God did.


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April 2012
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