Saturday, June 17, 2017

Abram and Lot - Genesis 13:5-17

            This opens a new chapter in Abram’s life. Now he starts to deal with God’s plan and that includes his relationship to Lot, his nephew.

13:5-7 Prosperity leads to a quarrel.  Is it significant that the Canaanites were in the land? All of a sudden, the land becomes crowded = precious. What happens when there is not enough of stuff to go around?

13:8-9 Abram gives Lot a choice to avoid the quarrel. Oops. Whose land was it? Wasn’t God the true owner who had given the land to Abram? Did Abram have the right to give Lot a choice?

13:10-13 Lot’s choice was a good choice for him but it came with risk (Sodom). Did Lot know? I think he knew but was willing to take the risk. How many times do we know the risk but make the choice anyhow?

13:14-17 “Then the Lord said” God speaks to Abram and reminds Abram about whose land it really is and what God is giving to Abram. Lot only gets in on the inheritance of Abram if he sticks with Abram. Land possession is all about connections!

13:18 Abram moves to Hebron – a strategic choice for him. Why that choice? Did God tell him to move there? Don’t think so. Did Abram make the right choice – I think so. How do we discern the will of God when God doesn’t give us specific instructions? Abram believed the promise of God which tells me that if we believe the Lord then we can choose our way in faith that God guides us in our choice. What do you think?

                           “There he built an altar to the Lord.”  
How many altars did Abram build? Bethel (12:8; Hebron (13:18).  Do you have to build an altar if you have already built one if the building is an indication of a willingness to worship? Yes, Bethel. Do you have to worship (call on the name of the Lord) often? Yes, Hebron.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Abram and the Land

Genesis 12:6-7 Traveling through the land. A great tree marked the spot – Shechem. Canaanites were in the land.
     The Lord appeared to Abram and said – To your offspring, I will give this land. The Abrahamic covenant is repeated and reinforced when Abram arrived and saw what the vision was all about. It’s one thing to have a vision. It’s another to see the vision with your own eyes
Genesis 12:8 So, he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. – The Canaanites were there but Abram worshiped the Lord in a land not his own but promised to him.  Who does this world belong to, God or man? God – thus when we worship the Lord in a strange land we are accepting His promise. The term “appeared” means that the Lord made Himself known to Abram. No longer just a voice, Abram had a visual experience.
             *Abram’s altar was unlike the Canaanites altars – Abram saw and worshiped God. He was not looking for God – God was looking for him! This is the first theophany or divine revelation given to us in Scripture. God spoke first, then Abram called. Notice the sequence:
         Shechem – God appears to Abram; reinforces the promise.
         Bethel – Abram builds altar – calls on the name of the Lord. More than worship.
Genesis 12:9 Abram continued south, to the Negev. Perhaps the context (Gen. 12:10) tells us why he moved from Bethel.
Abram leaves the Land – Not Good.
12:10 There was a famine in the land. This was a circumstance that caused Abram to forgets God’s promises. He doubts God’s provision and protection then he leaves the land. Loses sight of the vision. Why did Abram leave the land? Why go to Egypt? “Abram showed that he needed to learn that the God who had called him and made promises could and would protect him and Sarah. Why do we look elsewhere when famine comes our way?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Abram before Abraham

         One of the most important people in the Old Testament, Abram was the person that persuaded his father, Terah, to start his journey from Ur of the Chaldeans (Gen. 11:31). As important as he was, Jesus placed him in perspective by saying “Before Abraham was born I am.” (John 8:58)
                                The Call of Abram (Gen. 12:1-3)
Genesis 12:1 “The Lord” - He is there and He is not silent. “had said” –See Acts 7:2 for the chronology.
“Go from your country” – Ur of Chaldees was Abram’s country. “your people” – Chaldeans were different from Haran which was 600 miles away from Abram’s country.
“your father’s household” – The household of Terah – Abram did not leave Terah until Haran.
 “to the land I will show you” – Abram knew where he was going. Abram to become a traveler. He started on a pilgrimage. His focus was on the vision that God gave him. He looked to a land. He was to make progress.
*Believers are travelers on the road to see what God will show them. See Hebrews 11:8-10

Genesis 12:2 I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all people on earth will be blessed through you.”
                                      The Big Question: 
Why? Why Abram? Why this much? What prompted God to make such an outlandish promise to Abram? Do we know? Can we know? Does it matter whether we know the mind of the Lord in this matter? What does this promise reveal about The Lord God Jehovah? Maybe God believed in Abram. Maybe God saw Abram’s life as a whole and He believed in Abram? Was Abram a good man to deserve or (more likely) did God grace him?

Abrahamic Covenant = Land, Seed, Blessing. From Pentecost (Thing to Come):
Covenant – a legal contract in which the contracting parties agree to a certain course of action.
Ultimate Purpose of God – To Glorify God – Both covenantal and dispensational theology agree.

Gen. 12:3 God’s blessing and cursing is both personal and universal.
·        “I will bless those who bless you” – Extension of God’s blessing to those who bless (say and do good things for Abram). In other words, Bless Abram – you will be blessed of God.
·         “whoever curses you I will curse.” – God retains the power to control His friends and His enemies. An enemy of Abram is an enemy of God.
God and Abraham at the time of the covenant – God could have manipulated Abram. But that is not the characteristic of God.  Instead, God made Abram a job offer:
·                                  Travel – You must leave town to get a better job.
·                                  Real Estate – land management.
·                                  Protection – personal.
·                                  Family – he needed a large family for workers.

Gen. 12:4,5 Abram was 75 years old when he set out from Haran. His father had died. His brother did not travel with him. Lot, a nephew, was with him. Sarai, his wife with him. All his possessions with him – not a temporary arrangement – moving for good! His people were with him. “And they arrived there” – Nothing about the journey. Everything about the destination. This part of the journey was not significant.