A Tale Of Two Blessings (Genesis 13)

Summary:

We’re always looking forward to a better version of life. We look forward to not being single, being skinnier, landing a better job, moving someplace nicer, visiting someplace awesome. Yet we rarely think about the issues and struggles that come with those life upgrades. They’d be different problems, yeah, but they’d still be problems. They could even be worse than what we deal with now. In other words, “mo’ money, mo’ problems”.

No one in antediluvian times knew the truth of this wise proverb more than Abram and his nephew Lot. In this chapter, they find themselves very wealthy indeed (thanks in part to poor Pharaoh), yet unable to live together because they are literally too rich to function. They solve this problem by splitting up. In these simpler times (devoid of power-hungry nations eager to gobble up land) there’s plenty of empty space for them to discover and inhabit, so much, in fact, that the men get to choose which direction they’d like to expand in.

It’s not an equal decision, however. The land to the east of them is gorgeous, healthy, and rich with opportunity (verse 10). The land to the west is apparently nothing to write home about, since, well, the author of this chapter didn’t write about it. Luckily for Lot, Abram is a nice man and gives his nephew first choice of where to move. Lot doesn’t have to be asked twice – he immediately decides to move east, leaving Abram with the west. Even though he has ended up with the short end of the stick, the Lord still promises to bless Abram with uncountable descendants. Abram, in turn, worships.

The Treasures Within:

This Should Be Easy

Imagine God answers your prayer, whatever it is. He answers your prayer for health, for victory over a specific sin, for admission to college, for a scholarship, for a job, for a raise. God literally pours out so many blessings that you don’t have room to receive it, like He did for Abram and Lot. Or He places a simple, yet beautiful blessing into your lap. What do you do first? How do you respond?

Well, are you an Abram or a Lot? Both of these men were favored by God – he gave them more than enough cattle, servants, and money (verse 2). One of these men took the blessings and sort of wandered off – but not just anywhere. Despite being blessed by his loving God, Lot decided to pack up and settle down in the opposite direction of that same God. Moving toward Sodom was moving toward wickedness, sin, and people who thrived off it (verse 12-13). Did Lot head there because he wanted to get in on the party culture? Maybe not. Had Lot thanked God for his blessings? Perhaps he did! But Lot’s actions still betrayed his heart – there was something he valued more than his relationship with God. Was it security? Was it the admiration of his peers? Was it adventure? We may never know, but ultimately we’ll come to see that this simple decision may have been the worst Lot made.

The Root Of All Evil?

Lot wasn’t the only rich one. Abram had been blessed just as much as Lot had. He settled in Canaan, the exact place God had commanded his father to emigrate to years before. Abram’s land, riches, and circumstances were all loving gifts from God and Abram knew this. So he built an altar (verse 18) in an act of gratitude. Next, he settled down and enjoyed his blessings, which was, believe it or not, an act of obedience.

This sounds totally weird at first. Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes it’s easy to feel bad for the good things in your life, especially when you see the pain other people endure. What if you had to suffer that way? Why wasn’t it you suffering? These questions can drive our focus away from God and His love straight to ourselves. Yet as we can see in this chapter, this isn’t quite God’s plan. In verse 17, He practically commands Abram to enjoy the land He gave him. Walk around. Explore. See just how wide and plentiful the land is. Savor God’s abundant blessings.

God blesses us for many reasons. Often He wants us to share our resources with others. Or He wants us to tell people about His goodness. But He also wants us to enjoy the good He gives us. Abram enjoyed his blessings with gratitude towards God. Lot enjoyed his blessings a little differently. But for now, things are good. It is the calm before the storm.

God’s Message To Us:

“Keep your mind and heart on Me as you bask in My blessings.” God is a good Father. He loves to give good gifts for His children – that much is obvious in this chapter. He loves to see us enjoy the gifts He gives us – He loves to see us smile. But imagine how much it hurts Him when we don’t use His gifts? Or when we take the blessings and ignore Him? Or when we misuse the good things He gives us, allowing ourselves to fall into sin? We can’t take our Lord for granted. We can’t let our relationship with Him fall off of our priority lists, even when things are going well. We can’t be Lots when God blesses us. Instead, let’s celebrate God’s blessings and celebrate our God, thanking Him and focusing on Him like Abram.

What do you think? Do you see any other differences between how Lot handled God’s blessings and how Abram did? What do you think God wanted to say to you when He wrote this chapter?

 

 

 

 

 

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