Summary: there are times in our life that conflicts and troubles arise. And how we deal with those conflicts and troubles reveals more about our characters than we want to admit. What we are when the pressure is on is what we really are.
Theme: When The Pressure Is On, What?
Text: Genesis 13: 5-13
A. Last Sunday we learned that Abraham went up out of Egypt to Canaan. He went back to the place where he built an altar for God. So Abraham did not stay in his failure; he went back to the place of consecration.
In that event, we learned that there are certain requirements for the believer to be in the center of God’s will, or to be in the place of God’s blessings, victory, and rest. First is total separation of his life from the world. And second is total consecration of his life to the Lord. If we want God’s blessings in our life, then we must live our lives as constant offering to God, pleasing to Him.
B. This morning we’ll talk something very common to each one of us: troubles and conflicts. Abraham, who was called the friend of God, was not exempted to conflicts and troubles, so we are. After his return to Canaan, there arises a conflict between himself and his nephew Lot. It was a conflict that had serious consequences and had to be resolved.
And just like Abraham, there are times in our life that conflicts and troubles arise. And how we deal with those conflicts and troubles reveals more about our characters than we want to admit. What we are when the pressure is on is what we really are.
Since this is true, let us see how Abraham and Lot individually reacted to the conflict that had arisen between them.
I. (First let’s briefly see) THE REASON OF THE PROBLEM (v.5-7).
1. The problem arises when both Abraham and Lot increased immensely in their wealth and possession. Abraham had many flocks and servants, so was Lot. Well, we are not saying here that it is wrong to increase in material things. Wealth and power are not inherently wrong or evil as long as they are controlled by the right spirit. It is when we allow things to control us, that we are headed for trouble.
2. At first, there was no definite resolution or system to resolve their problem, so it had eventually developed into a bone of contention, especially between their servants (v.7). Evidently, each wanted the best grazing ground for their flocks and herds.
Trouble is always certain when the focus of life is on the self, on individual right, and to the things of the world. Selfishness and materialism always breed troubles and conflicts.
It’s sad that it is happening in many christian families. Even in many churches, there is conflict and trouble among church members because of selfishness and materialism. Problems of relational conflicts would have been solved right away before they broke out if we listen to the author of Hebrews who admonished all believers to “fix your eyes unto Jesus.” Trouble is always a certainty when we remove our focus on the Savior.
II. (Second let’s see) THE REACTION OF ABRAHAM (v.8-9).
1. Who is Abraham or Lot is seen in their individual response to the crisis between them. As I said a while ago, how we respond to conflicts will say a lot about our true character. If you want to know the true character of any person, see how they respond in a time of crisis or conflict.
2. Verses 8 and 9 tell us what Abraham did to face the crisis. He made a tender proposal with his nephew Lot. Of course, being the elder of the family, Abraham could have chosen first, but he yielded to Lot. You see, Abraham was a man with a loving and a gracious spirit. That was his true character. But aside from that, there are three reasons why Abraham had willingly and so easily given up the best of the land to Lot:
a) His relationship with Lot. Abraham said in verse 8: “We are brothers.” Abraham gave importance on his relationship with his nephew Lot over any material gain or advancement. He was willing to give up his own right to protect and preserve his relationship with Lot.
Look at that! What an example of loving people over any material thing! Abraham sets an example that every believer ought to be, that is, being a builder and protector of relationship! Do not allow anything, no matter how important, to tear down family or church relationship. Remember this: you are accountable to God as to how you handle your relationships, to your family and to your church.
b) Their safety and testimony. The heathen were watching them. Verse 7 says, “The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land.”
First, Abraham would have thought that maybe these people were keenly interested about his God. So they would be evaluating his faith and religion by the impact it had in his life. The same is true with us. The unbelieving people are watching us. They look at us and evaluate our faith, our religion, by the impact it has in our life. They watch how we respond to problems and circumstances. The question is: What are they seeing in us?