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Summary: A contrasting look at Abraham and Lot’s response upon parting company in the land of Canaan.

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Building an ALTAR or a HOUSE

Genesis 12:1, 13:1-18

Abram and Lot Separate

(Gen 13:12 NIV) Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.

(Gen 13:18 NIV) 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.

(Gen 12:1 NIV) The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.

Abraham’s 1500 mile journey was fueled by faith. He left Ur of Chaldea and went to Haran of Chaldea. This city had a TEMPLE OF SIN.

The person who will obey God will do so ONLY by faith. It takes a solid faith in the one who has called you to…

1. Leave the only home you’ve known

2. Go without any promise of income

3. Travel 1500 miles on foot to a land where

enemy lives

(See also Heb 11:8-10.)

Now, Abram has been in Bethel when a famine hits. He goes to Egypt to live until the famine is over and then returns to Bethel.

(Gen 13:1 NIV) So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him.

(Gen 13:2 NIV) Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.

The Hebrew Word for “Rich” is HEAVY. Money and Materials are a burden/heavy.

RICHES are a BURDEN….

1. …to GET them

2. …of Fear to Keep them

3. …of TEMPTATION to MISUSE them

4. …of GUILT for MISUSING them

5. …of SORROW in LOSING them

(Gen 13:3 NIV) From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to where his tent had been before

(Gen 13:4 NIV) and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the LORD.

Bethel is interpreted, “The House of God.” Abram had already been here before the famine hit that area and he was forced to go to Egypt. Later, God would call Jacob to this same place for this same purpose (to build and altar). This was the place that Abram first talked with God, when the promise of the covenant was first put in place.

There are times in our lives when we have need of being reminded of our solemn vows (promises) to God. We need to go back, from time to time, to the place where we first made those vows to be reminded of them, and to call upon the name of the Lord again!

Think of marriage. The great German Christian author and martyr under the regime of Hitler said of our marriage vows: … Just as it is the crown, and not merely the rule, that makes the king, so it is marriage (vows), and not merely your love for each other, that joins you together in the sight of God and man. It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love."

This Place was called “House of God.” But it wasn’t because there was a church building there. It was because that’s where Abram first encountered the covenant of God for Him personally.

Even though he was far away from his home, even though there was no altar (it was now gone) he still kept his relationship with God fresh, he still prayed!

How about you. When you leave home, do you still have devotions when you’re on vacation, do you still have prayer? Do you still call upon the name of the Lord when you’re not standing at the altar (church)?


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