Summary: Mature Christians walk by faith and not by sight.
All That Glitters Is Not Gold
Text: Genesis 13:1-18
1. Illustration: A family from a remote area was making their first visit to a big city. They checked in to a grand hotel and stood in amazement at the impressive sight. Leaving the reception desk they came to the elevator entrance. They’d never seen an elevator before, and just stared at it, unable to figure out what it was for.
An old lady hobbled towards the elevator and went inside. The door closed. About a minute later, the door opened and out came a stunningly good-looking young woman.
Dad couldn’t stop staring. Without turning his head he patted his son’s arm and said, "Go get your mother, son."
2. The point of this story is this: we cannot always trust what our eyes see. When this happens we need to see through the eyes of faith.
3. We need to see through the eyes of faith...
a. When things get in the way
b. When our eyes deceive us
c. When you need to make sacrifices
4. Read Genesis 13:1-18
Proposition: Mature Christians walk by faith and not by sight.
Transition: We need to walk by faith...
I. When Things Get In the Way (1-7).
A. Land Could Not Support Both
1. The first thing that ought to stick out to us here has to do with the stuff acquired in Egypt.
2. Notice what the text says, "So Abram left Egypt and traveled north into the Negev, along with his wife and Lot and all that they owned. (Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold.)"
a. It is not coincidence that the first thing mentioned in this chapter is Abram's stuff.
b. Abram already had powerful resources (12:5); his Egyptian sojourn augmented his wealth and power (NLT Study Bible).
c. However, Abram's ill-gotten gain is mentioned again to reinforce the idea that in doing so he had lost the respect of his wife and any self-respect and dignity (Hamilton, 390).
d. As we will see, it was this stuff that would cause the pending rift between Abram and Lot, his nephew.
3. As the narrative continues, we Abram doing what all Christians should do when they make a mistake, return to the Lord. It says, "From the Negev, they continued traveling by stages toward Bethel, and they pitched their tents between Bethel and Ai, where they had camped before. This was the same place where Abram had built the altar, and there he worshiped the Lord again."
a. Abram returns to the place that he had built an altar and again engages in worship.
b. He leaves behind the unknown and the threatening, and now goes back to the familiar, worshiping his God(Hamilton, 390).
c. He built no altars in Egypt, but now that he was back in the promised land, his faith rose, and he again called on the name of the Lord, publicly worshiping him and glorifying his holy name (Horton, 111).
d. Notice the emphasis at the end of v. 3 "before," and "again" here at the end of v. 4.
e. Abram was returning to doing things the right way. In Egypt he lost his focus on the spiritual and put it on the physical, here, however, he returns to the spiritual (Ross, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary: Genesis, 102).
4. However, Abram wasn't the only one with stuff. We see next that, "Lot, who was traveling with Abram, had also become very wealthy with flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and many tents."
a. This whole narrative is governed by the theme of "struggle" and shaped around the "separation" that results from the struggle (Expositor's Bible Commentary, The, Pradis CD-ROM).
b. Both Abram and lot share an abundant possession in common: livestock.
c. However, they also have an abundant possession that differs. Abram has silver and gold, and Lot has tents (Hamilton, 390).
d. Between them they had more than enough stuff to go around, but it would be this stuff that would drive a wedge between them.
5. Herein lies the problem, "But the land could not support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds living so close together."
a. Confined to a small piece of land, the two men must separate (Hamilton, 390).
b. Notice that Abram and Lot weren't the only ones there. They also had to share the land with the Canaanites and Perizzites (v.7).
c. They couldn't find enough pasture land and water for them both and it caused trouble between the two groups.
6. The result was that "disputes broke out between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot."
a. Disputes: This root occurs predominantly in legal settings...The vb. may represent any part of a lawsuit, including the potential of taking legal action (New International Dict of OT Theology & Exegesis. Pradis CD-ROM).