Summary: Abram is finally getting into gear and making some real spiritual progress.
1. Some things are slow starters. The first electric light was so dim that a candle was needed to see its socket; One of the first steamboats took 32 hours to chug its way from New York to Albany, a distance of 150 miles; Wilbur and Orville Writght's first airplane flight lasted only 12 seconds; and the first automobiles traveled 2 to 4 miles per hour and broke down often. Carriages would pass them with their passengers shouting, "Get a horse!"
2. That reminds me of Abram, it took him a while to get going in his walk with God - He leaves Ur only to get staled out for years in Haran; he leaves Haran and barely gets his tent up, when he heads for Egypt; he immediately betrays his wife and is forced out of Egypt by the morals of a pagan Pharoah.
But slow starters are not no-starters! And now we see Abram getting into gear and making some real spiritual progress.
3. Conformity of Abraham.
Trans: Gen. 13:5-18
I. FIRST, CONFORMITY DOES NOT ELIMINATE STRIFE. 5-8
A. The Strife with Lot. 5a
Lot also, who went with Abram - Lot caused Abraham a lot of strive. Notice Abram is now back in the will of God, yet that does not mean a strife free life.
The early church was a godly and growing church but it was not without it's strife.
"Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint..." Ac.6:1
Two godly men Paul and Barnabus understood strife, over John Marks carnality.
"39 Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God." Acts 15:39-40 (NKJV)
"1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body." James 3:1-2 (NKJV)
To dwell above with saints we love,
O that will sure be glory.
But to dwell below with saints we know,
Well, that's another story!
B. The Strife of an abundance of Livestock. 5b-6
5 Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents. 6 Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together - we think prosperity would solve all of our problems and make our life problem free.
America has been obssessed with prosperity for years. In 2006, Japanese workers had higher rates of anxiety, mental illness, depression, and suicide than ever before.
In an attempt to globalize, corporate Japan adopted the working practices of the United States. The focus was on merit-based pay, promotions, and indiviualism.
This was a departure from the traditional Japanese emphases on seniority and teamwork.
The name of the game was individual accumulation of wealth and personal security.
The result was "60% of the workers suffered from high anxiety, and 65% of the companies reported soaring levels of mental illness.
Directors of the Japanese Mental Health Institution blamed the infiltration of Western values, for the rising levels of depression among workers and the country's suicide rate, which had doubled!
Prosperity is not all its cracked up to be - if the grass is green on the other side, you can bet the water bill is higher also.
"The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, Whether he eats little or much; But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep." Ecclesiastes 5:12 (NKJV)
C. The Strife in their Livelihood. 7-8
7 And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land. 8 So Abram said to Lot, "Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren - strife can happen anywhere - on the job; in the family; at church; in your neighborhood.
Trans:Again as we have seen many many times you cannot eliminate problems in this life. There is and always will be something that agrivates us...even when we walk with God.
Job was a righteous man yet he confessed, ""My soul loathes my life; I will give free course to my complaint, I will speak in the bitterness of my soul." Job 10:1 (NKJV)
Even Solomon cried, "Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind." Ecclesiastes 2:17 (NKJV)