Generosity is an essential characteristic of godly living.
GOLDEN TEXT: Gal 3:9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
This lesson is based on two episodes in Abrahams life that demonstrated his Godly generosity and moral strength. Both episodes were in relation to Abraham’s nephew Lot. When Abraham migrated to Canaan, Lot and his family came with him. Eventually, both men were so prosperous in Canaan, it seemed best for them to go their separate ways. In their parting, Abraham was so generous toward Lot, it appeared he was putting himself at a disadvantage, but he had God’s blessing. After some time has passed, Abraham was drawn into the only war he was ever engaged in, to save Lot and his family. In this, Abraham showed godly strength and courage.
UNSELFISH ACT OF DEFERENCE
A. Prosperity and Strife
Gen 13:1 And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.
Gen 13:2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.
Gen 13:3 And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai;
Gen 13:4 Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.
Gen 13:5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.
Gen 13:6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.
Gen 13:7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.
…….Someone once told me to never do business with family or fellow church members. I say, as long as both members are sanctified and have a track record of stability, then have business. And, make sure deference is open and available by both parties.
This is the very beginning of scripture revealing the generosity of Abraham. He was a gentleman by all means and the prime example of how we are to be as Christians. May we always prefer others above ourselves, for this is from where the true blessings come.
B. Unselfish Peacemaking
Gen 13:8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.
Gen 13:9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.
…….Because Abraham fully trusted that God would provide no matter where he ended up, he allowed Lot to take first choice of the land and he would accept what remained.
…….Have you ever desired peace in such a way that you would do whatever it takes just to keep it? Just as Abraham proved, God’s blessings are toward those who are unselfish and kindhearted.
Gen 13:10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
Gen 13:11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
Gen 13:12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
Gen 13:13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
…….As Lot viewed the lush green land in the Jordan valley, presuming what would grow his prosperity, I’m sure Abraham was settled in his spirit knowing that his growth didn’t depend on land. It wasn’t a particular condition of land that brought his wealth in the first place.
…….Even though Lot beheld a beautiful land, what he may not have known was how corrupt the inhabitants were. Motivated by selfishness and greed, Lot made a terrible mistake that would bring tragedy to his family.
Growing in prosperity or fame can never be a trade for righteous and holy living. “Just because the grass is greener on the other side doesn’t mean it’s real!”
If the Spirit will not dwell, neither should we!
A. Letting Go and Keeping
Gen 13:14 And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:
Gen 13:15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
…….Though it seemed that Abraham had let go of much, standing on high ground the Lord told Abraham to look in all directions and said to him, “All the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever”. By God’s sovereign will, Abraham and his descendants lost none of the land of Canaan.
……. by faith in God, Abraham demonstrated the spiritual principle of letting go of something to keep it. Jesus taught, whosoever desires to save [keep] his life will lose it, but whosoever loses [lets go of] his life for my sake and the gospels will [save] keep it (Mark 8:35). If we let go of our life by giving it to Christ, He gives our life back to us, better than we could ever make it.
B. Blessed and Worshiping
Gen 13:16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.
…….What a promise! Because you have proven yourself in me, I will build my nation in you! Though Abraham may not have understood the promise, he would still hang on simply because he loved the Lord.
Don’t ever give up, the finish line holds more you could ever understand by seeing it!
Gen 13:17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.
…….If Abraham would have stopped right there and satisfied himself with disappointment, he may never have been the father of all of Israel. Because of his faith and obedience, holding on to a promise God continued with Abraham.
Gen 13:18 Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD.
…….So many times we are put through a test to only prove that God was right. God doesn’t need to prove to himself if we are ready or fit, He already knows. It is ourselves who come to conclusions on what we need or don’t, and what path we should or should not take. When we think we want the things that come in between our relationship with Christ, He will at times let us have them. When they are sitting in our lap, only then do we come to realize that we didn’t need or truly want it. What we think is right for our lives will come in time if it truly is. If it isn’t, trust that the Lord is keeping it back for all the right reasons.
RESCUE AND BLESSING
A. Strength in Trusting God
…….Here is the first account of war in the Bible, and the only account of Abraham being involved in warfare. For 12 years the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar paid tribute to four Asian kings. In the 13th year, the Canaanite kings rebelled and refused to pay tribute to the Asian kings, probably thinking the Asian Kings would not trouble themselves to enforce the tribute. However, they invaded Canaan, determined to force the Canaanites to remain subject to them.
Gen 14:8 And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim;
Gen 14:9 With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five.
Gen 14:10 And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.
Gen 14:11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.
Gen 14:12 And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
Gen 14:13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram.
Gen 14:14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.
Gen 14:15 And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.
…….Initially, Abraham stayed out of this war until he received word that his nephew Lot and his family possessions had been taken by the Asian kings.
Abraham had a small army of 318 servants who had been trained for combat. With trust in God to give him victory, Abraham and his army pursued the Asian kings and their army to a location about 120 miles north of Abraham’s camp and Hebron. There, Abraham divided his army and launched a surprise attack on the Asian Kings. Many of the Asians were killed, and the rest fled away with Abraham’s army in pursuit. The complete victory for Abrahams army came at Hobah, near Damascus, 60 miles north of the site of the initial battle.
B. God Given Victory
Gen 14:16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
Gen 14:17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale.
Gen 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
Gen 14:19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
Gen 14:20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
Gen 14:21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
Gen 14:22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
Gen 14:23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:
Gen 14:24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.
RESPONSE TO THE WORD
Abraham was a man of peace. He did not choose war, but war chose him. Bad news can come at any time, changing our lives and plans in ways we would never have chosen it. It is wise to live, as Abraham did, so as to be prepared for all eventualities, whether they be good or bad. It took great faith in God and courage for Abraham to pursue four kings who had defeated five kings in Canaan. However, in doing what was right Abraham believed God would give him the victory. And doing what is right, we too must trust in God to give us victory. And like Abraham, let us be mindful to give God the glory for the successes he gives to us, by acknowledging our dependence on Him.
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