Summary: How to deal witn conflict in our relationships

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How the Life of Faith Deals with Conflict

Genesis 13:1-18


It has been my experience that a great deal of friction and conflict experienced within the family of faith takes place among staff members. One such occasion took place between the pastor and his music director. The friction was so great that it spilled out into the worship service.

One Sunday the pastor preached on total commitment to the Lord, and the music minister followed with the congregation singing, “I shall not be moved.” The next Sunday the pastor preached on giving and how God’s people should give generously to the Lord. The disgruntled music leader followed with the congregation singing “Jesus Paid it All.” The following Sunday the pastor preached on gossiping and the need to control the tongue, and the music leader followed with “I Love to Tell the Story.”

At this point the pastor was frustrated and he told the church that he was considering resigning next Sunday. The music leader then led the song “Oh, Why not Tonight.” The next Sunday the pastor stood in the pulpit and said, “Jesus led me to this church and it is Jesus who is leading me away.” The song leader led the song, “What a Friend we have in Jesus.”

Our study of the life of Abraham will teach God’s people how to deal with conflict when it comes our way. The lessons concerning conflict that we learn today from Abraham’s journey of faith are in stark contrast to the lessons that we learned from Abraham last week. The lessons that we learned from Abraham last week were lessons learned from Abraham’s failure to trust the Lord. The lessons that we learn this week are going to be learned from Abraham’s ability to trust in the Lord in the midst of friction and conflict. Why such a stark contrast between the two narratives? What was the source of Abraham’s failure and success in the two narratives?

Abraham’s success in the life of faith as well as his failure hinged on one crucial ingredient: fellowship with the Lord. As we noticed in the previous verses the key ingredient mission in Abraham’s failure as the altar of the Lord. Worship, fellowship, and communication with the Lord were non-existent in verses ten through twenty of chapter twelve. But that is not the case for chapter thirteen.

The Lord, who was faithful to discipline Abraham’s faltering faith and deliver him from the situation that his faltering faith put him in was also faithful to direct him back to where he needed to be, this we see in verses three and four of chapter thirteen, “He went on his journeys from the Negev as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place of the altar which he had made there formerly; and there Abram called upon the name of the Lord.” God brought Abraham back to where he needed to be in the first place: the altar of the Lord. If Abraham was going to have success and keep his faith from faltering he would need to maintain constant worship of the Lord, fellowship with the Lord, and communication with the Lord. This is exactly what happens in chapter thirteen.

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Johnny Wilson

commented on Oct 26, 2009

Although some of our nuances are different, obviously the meat of both of our sermons on this text is (coming expositorily from the Word) the same. Both of us quote from Philippians and both of us agree that Lot was short-sighted and that Abram erroneously went to Egypt, but came back to Bethel--back to the House of God. Thank you for a solid, solid message.

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