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2. Genesis 13

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Introduction: Personal ?Did anyone in your family have an argument this past week? Maybe it wasn’t you, but did you get pulled in to resolve it? (all mothers can yes) Maybe it hasn’t yet come to the surface, conflict is brewing, but you can see it coming. Maybe you are still recovering from Christmas and the conflicts that happen when family gets together. Conflicts, whether family, friends, workplace, neighbors, conflicts happen, seem to be inevitable. Our lessons speaks to those times of conflict also to the times when we need to make choices, decisions that direct the paths of our lives. REVIEW:

Lot is Abram’s nephew, son of A’s brother Haran, who had died years before back in Ur. When Abram left Ur, Lot went too. When Abram left Haran, Lot went too. When Abram left Canaan and went to Egypt, Lot went too. Chapter 13 opens up with the men traveling back to Canaan.

Outline:

I. Circumstances lead to Conflict Gen 13:1-7 (slide2)

II. Choices reveal Character Gen 13:8-13 (Abram/Lot)

III. Covenant is Claimed Gen 13:14-18

Circumstances lead to Conflict

READ Gen 13:1-7

Conflict=a difference that prevents agreement

Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary (slide3) (slide4)

A. Conflict inevitable: Abram and possibly Lot had prospered materially in Egypt. Wealthy in livestock and silver and gold, servants. Wealth in cattle demands land for grazing, water for all animals. Question became: whose flocks would have choice pasture? Whose would be the first at the wells for water? What would happen to sheep that strayed away into other folds? Petty quarreling over resources between the servants would inevitably affect Abram and Lot’s relationship. We know from chapt14 that Abram had 300+ trained men in his household, Lot probably had a significant # too. We can see the possession of wealth showing its ugly side- the side that tends to divide families, isolate brothers, embitter friends, conflict of material possession.

Ie. Growing up my sisters and I often heard our mother say ‘ I won’t fight over anything, if any sibling wants something, give it to them, there’s nothing worth a relationship.” She had witnessed two of her uncles fight over money and stop speaking, even to the point of one refusing to go to the other’s funeral, affected their children, her cousins, grieved her. We grew up hearing: Nothing, not money or stuff is worth that”

Right after Gen 13:7a =7b “the Canaanites, Perrizzites were also living in the land at that time”

B. Conflict observed:. Wonder why they’re mentioned here again? Possible reminder to us that whenever we are at odds, conflict, strife, dissention- there is someone watching.

1. Waiting to see if this quarreling might be an opportunity for them to move in. Limited resources in the land.A family feud that might lead to war between the 2 men could be a chance for them to step in, conqueror one or both, take the wealth and livestock, people into captivity.

2. Watching their testimony. They might have said “these 2 men refused to worship our gods, they’ve said they worship the one true living God, created all earth, above all gods, they serve this God-and they’re fighting over their animals? Can’t even get along with each other. This little sentence= reminds us how people are watching how we handle conflict in our churches, also how we resolve conflict in our homes. “She supposed to be a Christian and she can’t get along with her mother-in-law, I thought Christians were supposed to love everybody? Or she fights all the time with her husband and she wants to tell me about peace with God?”

Truth: Conflict is inevitable and there will always be someone watching how you handle it. (slide5)

Application: Are you involved in some unresolved conflict? Husband,disagreeing and pulling in different directions? Way money is spent, how kids are disciplined, tension is building up, children watching you. Volunteer work, school, crisis center= can’t believe it, giving your time, faithful for years, new person comes in and takes your little corner, desk, phone, work space is gone, card table in the hall, people are watching. Work, unreasonable boss=never sure exactly what will please them, or a difficult co-worker who you really don’t trust but you find yourself side by side 8-9 hrs/day, people are watching. People are watching, someone is watching=how will you handle this? ENCOURAGE YOU to use the Peacemakers materials, Language alone gives you tools to discuss how you can/do handle conflict. Book. Peacemakers team at church help you.

How you handle this, what behavior choices you make reveal something about you.

Choices reveal Character Gen 13:8-13 (slide6)

A.Abraham READ Gen 13:8,9

1. Direct- Abram faced the situation, not in denial, knows there’s a problem. Break had to come, they needed more space, outgrown staying together, surely this parting could be done peacefully, resolve to solve this conflict.

2. Discernment, wisdom- We’re brothers, the relationship we share is far more important than our possessions.

3. Dignity and generosity- “please no more quarreling, you choose first, I’ll take what you don’t want” We know that Abram is Lot’s senior, his uncle, Abram should have the prior claim, stronger, leader of the households, spiritually=heir to God’s promises. He let Lot choose first because his strong desire is to make peace Mt 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall see God. World says you’re a fool if you let someone else take advantage of you, God says you are blessed if you give up your rights for another.

4. Faith- Hadn’t God promised to take care of him, bless him w/and inheritance. Hadn’t God taken care of him in Egypt, wouldn’t he continue to be true to His word? (slide7)

F.B.Meyer “The man who is sure of God can afford to hold very lightly the things of this world. God Himself is his heritage and in having God, he has all.”

If God gave him things, he would hold them as a steward, in trust for God. If God took them away, that was fine too. Abram’s relationship w/God was primary and everything else was secondary. He sacrificed his own “rights” to make peace w/his nephew, He chose second because he trusted God first.

Truth: When you are trusting God to take care of you, you can relinquish your “rights” for the sake of the Kingdom of God on earth. (slide 8)

Life of faith like Abram is a life of reversed values. Jesus would tell us the same thing= Beatitudes= You think blessings come in being wealthy and powerful, but I tell you it’s in being poor in spirit; you think you should love your neighbor and hate your enemy, I tell you love both your neighbor and your enemy; you think if someone wants you to go a mile for them, I tell you go 2…and on and on. Living reversed values can only be real if you’re walking in faith and trusting God. When you do, you reflect the Kingdom on earth, you incarnate Jesus Christ.

Application: What personal right have you been willing to give up for sake of God’s peace on earth? Is there someone you need to go to and end a strife even if it means a personal sacrifice? Sacrifice of your pride, hurt, anger. This is not doormat peace= peace at any price, this is intentionally, willingly, purposefully seeking peace to please God first. Lot’s choice also reveals his something of his character, contrast to Abram.

B. Lot READ Gen 13:10-13 slide9

“Lot lifted his eyes”=his eyes were the binoculars of his heart

1. Self-focused – life is about me. When Abram offered the choice, if Lot had truly been a righteous man he would have deferred and said “no uncle, you must choose first, I’ll take what you don’t prefer” That’s not what happened. Lot snapped up the offer. In his spiritual nearsightedness he chose what looked good even though he knew v13 the men of Sodom were wicked before the Lord. Ez 16:49-50..”arrogant, overfed, unconcerned, did not help the poor and needy, haughty, did detestable things before God.”

2. Superficial- Gen 13:10-Put yourself in the picture, standing on the heights of Bethel, looking over the land of Promise. On 3 sides not much to attract you, business of raising sheep, hills all around. But to the southeast, broad valley, waters of the Jordan spread out, green, luxurious. Text tells us, it looked like Garden of the Lord, Eden, or the land of Egypt, maybe it reminded Lot of Egypt. Cities of this plain were large and wealthy, land of opportunity, you could get rich quick in the right kind of business. Perhaps Lot saw this as an opportunity to leave raising cattle and livestock, that’s exactly what happens. In time, he would live to regret his decision.

3. Independent of God - Gen 13:11 “He chose for himself”. No mention of prayer, asking God. Like Abram he has flocks, herds, tents, but no altars are mentioned in Lot’s life, he makes decisions for himself, based on what he thinks is best, what he can see. He doesn’t ask “Is this right for my family? Is this a good place to raise a family? Is this a place where we can worship God freely?” God is not involved in his decision, “MY WAY”

Truth: Our choices must not be based only on our desires but on divine guidance. (slide10)

Our eyes, feelings, our goals alone are not to be trusted. “The heart is deceitful and wicked and who can trust it” Me, without God, is very me first then you. I desperately need God’s divine guidance is what is truly best for me and others around me.

Also, we belong to a God who has told us he has a plan for our lives, Romans 12:2 “perfect, good, acceptable”- I want that kind of life don’t you? He says seek My guidance, seek My direction, seek Me.in sincerity, You must be real, honest, authentic when you ask God’s guidance because He may lead you away from what you think is good, pleasing, self satisfying, to the ultimate good, his good for your life.

So how to you discern God’s will, His plans for you?

Premise: He wants you to know His will, doesn’t want to trick you, confuse you.

Ps 32:8 I will guide you.

Times when God’s will is more clear than others “God the best I understand I believe this is your will, please stop me, re-direct if I’m reading you wrong”

Bible= supreme source of guidance. “everything for life and godliness”

Circumstances=ask do they match up w/scripture, never conflict w/biblical truths

Counsel of godly people= Prov 27:17 As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another

Peace= Inner peace, if there’s no peace, stop, wait, pray some more

All 4 together are pieces of one puzzle that we have to discern God’s will for our lives.

Application: Think of the decision or choice that you are making right now, big or small, what is it? How are you deciding what to do? After this lesson, none of us want to be like Lot. Danger of becoming like Lot is that you can get there slowly by degrees. Not one big bad choice, series of little choices, made w/o God, one after another in the wrong direction. Lot began as a decent man who ended in disaster in an environment that he chose for himself and his family. Looked at his “little choices”

“Looked” toward Sodom Gen 13:10 not just looking w/eyes, Abram also looked, heart.

Wasn’t responsible for existence, was resp for the appeal he let the city have over him

“pitched” his tents near Sodom Gen 13:12

“living in” Sodom Gen 14:12 tents are gone, he lives in the house in the city,

“sat in the gateway” in Sodom Gen 19:1,7,9..made it, climbed social ladder, leader of a corrupt, wicked city, compromised his integrity, moral standards, godly witness. How did it happen? Series of little wrong choices made w/o God.

Covenant is claimed Gen 13:14-18

Painful to see Lot pack up and move away, together a long time. Yes they had problems, yes Lot took the best land, but they were family and Abram would miss him. God comes to Abram, reassures him of promises READ Gen 13:14-17 (slide11) Abram, this is your land to your descendants, not Lot’s, I’m giving this land to you forever.

Not sure, but it’s possible that God wants Abram to experience this promise, not just believe in his heart, walk it with his feet, enjoy it, travel through it, look on this land, receive it with eyes of faith.

This is exactly what God wants for us: Possess the Promises

POCKET PROMISES-These are God’s promises for his children, but they really aren’t yours until you personally possess them, apply them to your life.

Application:

How many of God’s promises can you claim because you’ve walked through them? What verses have you memorized, they are written on your heart? Do you have them posted in your car, kitchen? HAND: I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU…

READ Gen 13:18 moved his tents to oaks of Mamre near Hebron, 19 miles SW Jerusalem, builds an altar. Mamre=fullness, Hebron=fellowship w/Lord= describes Abram.

Conflicts, choices, we have them too, we live in the same fallen world. We too have a short time here to make our life investments. Chose like Lot, do our own things, grasp for the pleasures of this world, give God the leftovers, or we can chose like Abram to make our life choices, our life direction based on God’s Word to us, trusting that his way is best. Choose to be a woman of faith.

Related Topics: Curriculum