Photo by Faye Cornish (unsplash)
In our continuing study of Abram, we closed out Genesis chapter 12 with Pharaoh of Egypt booting Abram and family out of his country. Abram’s deception and God’s wrath upon Pharaoh and his princes was the cause. Abram’s act of deception has been most debated among theologians for centuries such as: Did God overlook Abram’s lie? If so why? How could Abram stand by and allow his wife to be taken to spare his own life? Holy Spirit doesn’t give readers direct answers regarding this, but as we study the Scriptures we can conclude some reasonable explanations. The following is what I have discovered to answer these questions:
1. God knows we are but dust (Psalms 103:14), meaning due to our human nature we rely on emotions such as fear, doubt, etc.
2. God looks at our heart for the true motive of our actions. Whether intended for evil or good (1 Samuel 16:17).
3. God is full of “grace and mercy.” (1 Peter 5:10; Psalms 100:5)
4. God loves and protects His children (1 John 4:19).
Let’s review these four facts! First, Abram’s walk with the Lord was very new. Personally I don’t believe he was familiar with God’s ways and character during these turn of events; in other words, Abram didn’t know God’s love yet. Think about your own relationship with God as a new “born-again” Believer! What mistakes did you make? Were you confident in His love for you? How many times did you doubt Father God before your relationship blossomed to where it is now?
Secondly, God examines our hearts for the motives of our actions. From out of our heart flows the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23). God saw fear in Abram’s heart mixed with the sincerity of wanting to do the right thing but using the wrong method – fear! I believe God saw Abram as a baby Believer taking baby steps and falling along the way. What about your steps?
Thirdly, knowing beforehand the intent of Abram’s heart, our all-knowing Father, extended “grace” to Abram. That “grace” (unmerited favor) was given to Abram in the form of wrath upon Pharaoh and his house. God says “touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm” (1 Chronicles 16:22). Abram and Sarai were God’s anointed. They were “called out” by God and God’s plan will never be thwart by anyone! Father God means what He says and says what He means. We too are His anointed and He will fight our battles!
Finally, Father God revealed His love to Abram and Sarai. He supernaturally acted on behalf of Abram and Sarai. The plague upon Pharaoh and his household was a strong message to both Pharaoh and Abram. This plague was quick and severe putting reverential fear in both Pharaoh and Abram. Pharaoh, knowing this plague was from God Almighty, was quick to return Sarai to Abram. Unfortunately, Abram’s lie didn’t leave much of a testimony of his character, but before we judge him let’s remind ourselves of what fear has done in our lives and the mark’s it has left behind. One can only imagine the thoughts roaming in Abram’s head for lying and being reprimanded by a heathen.
Let’s continue our journey to Genesis 13:1-18 to discover what happens next in the life of Abram and Sarai. We will review three major events as outlined below.
Return to Canaan (Genesis 13:1-4):
Abram and his family return to the Promised Land, a place he should have never left, the place where his dwelling was east of Beth-el, the “House of God.” The Word points out that Abram returns with great riches. As we read these four Scriptures, we may be quick to say, “he should have never left the place of blessing.” Now let me ask, how many blessings did we walk away from due to poor choices and later realize our mistakes?
Unfortunately, due to fear of the severe famine in the land, Abram left his place of worship, which caused him to make a choice that lead him to sin by lying. Abram now makes the right decision to go back to the Promised Land. Notice he didn’t head for his place of origin; he heads straight to the Promised Land. I believe him experiencing, indirectly, the Mighty Hand of God at work, against Pharaoh, put reverential fear and trust of God deep in his heart. Just imagine experiencing first hand God’s love and protection toward you.
With this new found love and hope, notice what Abram does as soon as he reaches his original dwelling place. Abram goes to the place of the Altar he had made upon his first arrival in the Promised Land and calls on the name of the LORD. Abram came back to the Altar with true repentance and worship! Is there something in your life that you need to surrender at the Altar (Cross)?
Abram and Lot (Genesis 13:5-13):
Whenever we are walking in grace and victory, the devil can’t stand it. It gives him a headache so he stirs up confusion! We now learn that not only is Abram wealthy, but so is Lot. Their combined wealth was too much on the same parcel of land causing conflict between their herdsman. Abram wanting to resolve the conflict, confronts Lot offering him to choose his own land to spread out on. Their possessions were great, but Holy Spirit is wanting us to learn something from this. Abram, although the patriarch, allowed Lot to choose first, Abram has now learned to trust in God and not in his riches, land, or man. His heart belongs to God not his material possessions. Abram now knows and is confident that whatever is left for him concerning the Land, God will provide. Wow! What a life lesson we all need to learn. Lot chooses the best of the land for himself and pitches his tent as far as Sodom, the sinful city.
The Covenant/Promise (Genesis 13:14-18):
We will finish this chapter with God confirming His promise with Abram. First, did you notice that God doesn’t confirm His promise with Abram until Lot had separated from Abram. From the beginning when God “called” Abram He told Abram to “separate from your kindred.” What does the LORD want you to separate yourself from? Old habits, bad influences, old lifestyles, materialism, etc., before He can blossom you? The land was a promise to Abram and his offspring and not Lot and his offspring.
“And the LORD says to Abram, after 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: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. 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. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee” (vs. 14-17). This promise was also made to Abram while in Ur, but to assure Abram, God repeats the covenant/promise.
After Abram walked through the land, he moved his tent and pitched it by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and once again we read “Abram builds an Altar to the LORD.” Mamre in Hebrew means “vision” and Hebron in Hebrew means “communion.” Meaning Abram is walking in the LORD’s “vision” for him and in “communion” with the LORD. This chapter is a good lesson for all Believers to consider in their relationship with God:
1. We are but dust and will make mistakes.
2. When we fail, don’t run away from Father God, instead run to Him with a repentant heart.
3. We are to separate ourselves from all undesirable things as God directs us.
4. We are to develop a heart of worship and praise.
5. We are to trust Father God to supply all our needs and we are to put Him first.
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