Monday, January 30, 2017

Thanks a Lot!

Everyday we make many choices.  Some are based on gratitude, other times on greed. These choices can say a lot about us, as well as impact our futures.  With that in mind, lets look at Genesis 13: 8-11where Abram and Lot are deciding who should take which part of the land. They present us with stark contrasts in character that we can learn from.

 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left."10 Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east.
Things to think about:
  • Just for a little context, consider the following:
    • Abram and his family, including his orphaned nephew Lot, got kicked out of Egypt because Abram got caught in a lie he told Pharaoh about Sarai being his sister, not his wife. (See last week’s study about making decisions based on fear)
    • Interestingly, Pharaoh gave Abram an immense amount of wealth as a parting gift.  Abram apparently shared this with his oldest male relative, Lot.  So when they left Egypt, they had so many animals they each had a VP - Herding and those guys were arguing because there wasn’t enough land for all of the animals to graze.
    • So Abram chooses a peaceful remedy to the quarreling and decides they should split up. He gives the choice to Lot. “If you go left, I’ll go right.  If you go right, I’ll go left.”
    • In what ways does Abram represent God’s character and Lot symbolize the world’s?
  • So Abram gives Lot the honor of choosing even though:
    • Abram raised Lot as his own son since Lot’s father (Abram’s brother) had died while Lot was still a boy
    • Abram was Lot's elder in a patriarchal society and had every right to take whatever he wanted
    • Abram shared his wealth with Lot
    • there was a significant difference in the quality of the choices
    • How do you see the character of Christ in this situation? See Phil 2:6-8
  • verse 10 says Lot looked around and saw the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the Garden of Eden
    • remember when we looked at the original sin recently? Eve looked at the fruit and saw that it was pleasing to the eye and good for food.  How often what looks good on the outside is rotten to the core!
    • and that is just what we find here because the “core” of Lot’s choice was Sodom, of Sodom and Gomorrah fame.
    • At the risk of trying to write something that sounds like it comes from the Bible, Lot could have said, “My master, since my youth and the passing of my father, you have treated me as your own son. You have seen to my every need and I have lacked for nothing. Far be it from me to take from you what is rightfully yours. From a heart of gratitude and respect, I ask you to have the well watered plain. May the Lord’s blessing be on you.” 
      • He doesn’t even fake some sense of impropriety in what he’s doing
  • So Lot gets what he wants, and Abram doesn’t roll his eyes
    • Lot pitches his tent near the gleaming, bustling city of Sodom (which by the way was already well known for its wickedness)
    • The truth is we sometimes are drawn to the shiny object too, just like a bug on its way to the zapper!
  • God goes on to tell Abram in verses 14-16 that the entire land, as far as he can see or walk, will be given to him and his descendants forever.
    • and the first thing Abram did as he settled in his new home was to build an altar to the Lord (v.18)
  • A Study in Contrasts
    • which of the following contrast strike you as the most important in this passage?
    • Which ones do you think God wants to build in you more deeply?
  • Abram Lot
    Parent Child
    Giver Taker
    You Me
    Faith Fact
    Altar Abode
    Eternal Immediate
    Gratitude Greed
    Blessed Cursed

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