Summary: Abram learns from mistakes and his motives change allowing God to make the decisions for him.
Years ago I was working two jobs trying to get into professional golf. One of those was a courier job where you had to use your own vehicle. I had a very reliable Honda civic hatchback, great for driving in the city, a fair bit of space in the back with the seat folded down. It was the best car I had ever had up to then.
I got to thinking, if I bought a truck I could carry more and make more money with my deliveries. I was dead broke so I went down to east hastings street in Vancouver where there were many questionable used car dealers. I noticed a couple trucks in the front row of this one lot.
One of them was a mazda in beautiful shape on the outside, and looked really nice. The other was a chevy s-10 in pretty rough shape, some rust, the paint peeling off on the front, and a few dings, not very attractive to look at and very dirty inside. I test drove the mazda and it didn’t start well, a little puff of smoke came out when it did start, and when I was driving it, the shifting was kind of funny.
The owner of the lot came with me and asked if I felt anything in the clutch, which should have given it away, but I loved the look of this truck and said, no, feels OK to me, even though it didn’t really. Then I drove the chevy and it started great, drove great, had much more power.
Well to make a long story short, I traded in my Honda for much less than it was worth because I wanted this mazda truck. And of course I signed to take it as is. Two weeks after I got it, the clutch needed to be replaced and in the winter when the weather got cold, it would smoke up the whole neighborhood when I started it until the engine got warm. It was so embarrassing. Six months later, the engine literally blew up, with this muddy looking stuff all over the engine compartment. That was the last I saw of that truck.
I had to quit my courier job and instead of a 40 minute drive I had to take a 2.5 hour bus commute to the golf course I was working at. Why am I sharing this story? Because I ignored what I knew was the right thing to do, and made my decisions based on greed and surface attractiveness. It ended in disaster.
Today we are going to look at a story in Genesis where we’ll see how Abram and his nephew Lot make a decision, and the effects of the different motivations used to make it. How one of them used the same kind of motive as I did with my truck, and the other trusted God with the process.
So let’s begin by looking at how:
I. Abram Starts Over (vv 1-4) after being kicked out of Egypt
So Abram went up from Egypt. Notice that up is always a good thing in the Old Testament, it almost always means toward Jerusalem. The text says he was very rich with stuff now after the Egyptians basically paid him to leave, and he went to the place where his tent had been at the beginning between Bethel and Ai.
Isn’t it interesting how God wanted him there in the first place, but Abram decided to head south to Egypt. Well, this is just a reminder folks that no matter what we decide, God will always have his will prevail sooner or later, so why not just follow Him from the beginning. We could save ourselves so much time and grief.
Abram goes back to the place where he was last in the will of God, where he started, and he does the right thing, he calls upon the name of the Lord. Very important, he doesn’t go back and think up another scheme now that he is starting from scratch again, he does what he should have done in the first place, calls upon the Lord.
Notice Lot went with him and there they both are in between Bethel and Ai, between the house of God in the west and ruin in the east, and we’ll see the significance of this again in a few minutes.
Now Abram has all this stuff including a lot of livestock, and so does Lot. Remember there was just a drought, so the land had not fully recovered and there was no way their abundant livestock could live off the same land. They had to separate, one of the curses of having all this stuff. And this is where we see how:
II. Abram Solves the Problem (vv 5-9)