Summary: The 25th installment in our series on the Book of Genesis. In this sermon we look at the separation of Abraham and Lot, and the reasons and results of that separation
You Can Go Your Own Way (Genesis part 25)
Text: Genesis 13:1-18
By: Ken McKinley
Now if you remember last time, Abram had gone to Egypt because of a famine. His faith was tested, and he failed the test. But even though he failed, God showed Himself to be faithful, even when Abram was faithless. Now look what happens here; Abram returns to the Promised Land. And he’s going to go back to the place where he had originally built the altar to God. God had shown Himself faithful, and even blessed Abram with wealth, and livestock, and many possessions, but before he goes back to the place where he worshiped God, our text… right there in verse 1, tells us that Abram left Egypt and went to the South. The literal Hebrew says he went to Negev. It’s the area south of Israel, that the Bible commonly calls the “wilderness.” It’s the same place Moses and the Israelites will wander for 40 years. And Abram goes through this wilderness, before coming back to the place where he built the altar.
Do you see what’s happening here? In the last chapter; Abram messed up, he doubted God, and got off track. So what he’s doing here is back-tracking. He’s retracing his steps and heading back to the place where he first came into the Promised Land… heading back to the place where he first called on the Name of the Lord. But before he can do that, he goes through a wilderness experience. We should never fool ourselves into thinking that we can get into sin and then easily get back to our relationship with God. Sin has consequences, and it takes a toll on us. The best example of this that I can think of in the Bible is the story of David. David was a man after God’s own heart, he had a wonderful relationship with the Lord, but after his sin with Bathsheba things were never the same again. Yes; God forgave him – God is a merciful and forgiving God, but there’s always consequences for our sin. Abram finds that out as he’s making his way back to God.
Then, verse 4 says that he again called on the Name of the Lord. So you see; what God’s doing here by telling us about Abram, is giving us a pattern to follow. If you’ve ever sewn, then you know the value of a pattern to follow… but if you’re not a sewer, then think of it as a road map… or maybe a better way to think of it, is as a treasure map. Here in our text God is giving us a pattern of repentance. When we sin, when we stray, the best way to get back on track is to go back to the place we were before we sinned. Abram did it physically, we do it spiritually, and I guess sometimes physically, depending on the circumstances and situations. And again; it’s not always easy, Abram had to pass through Negev, through the wilderness. But he does it! He returns to the place he was, and he worships God. God has seen him through the famine. God’s seen him through the trials of Egypt and the wilderness. So Abram worships the Lord.
And it’s a good thing too, because he’s about to have another test (Read verses 5-7).
So Abram worships God, and the next thing we see is strife between Abram’s herdsmen and Lot’s herdsmen. They have too much livestock between them that the land can’t sustain them. And at the end of verse 7 we’re also told that the Canaanites and the Perizzites surrounded them as well. Now they were tribal people as well at this time, and they had their own herds and crops, and no doubt with the arrival of Abraham and Lot, and all their animals. The “ites” of the area were not looking at them too fondly.
They were probably thinking something like, “You know this guy Abram and his nephew are taking up a lot of our grazing area.” And they may have even been considering stealing some of their livestock or other treasures. So Abram and Lot agree to separate.
God’s will, will be done.
Remember; it was back in chapter 12 verse 1 where God told Abram, “Get out of your country, from your family, and from your father’s house.” Now maybe, Abram was thinking, “Well 2 out of 3 ain’t so bad.” He had left his country and his father’s house.
The only problem was that Lot had hung around. Until now!
But see; the covenant was with Abraham, not with Lot. It’s going to be the line of Abraham that the promises come through. So Abram has this test to go through, but unlike the last time, this time he passes.