Genesis 13: Abraham the Selfless Peacemaker
Strife is unavoidable. But what you do when it breaks out reveals much about you. Abram provides a Christ-like example.
Have you ever experienced division in a family or church? It is not pleasant, and often disastrous for at least one of the parties involved.
This chapter details Abram’s return to Canaan. It is obvious that God is prospering Abram and his nephew Lot, but strife breaks out between their herdsmen, and Lot decides to move towards Sodom.
It also gives another revelation of God to Abram.
v. 1 - as it is concerning Christ, who was called out of Egypt according to prophecy, so it is typified by Moses. God calls His people out of the world.
v. 2 - “rich” = honor/heavy. Wealth brings a weight. A responsibility. Many imagine they can manage that weight, but most cannot.
vv. 3-4 - Abram illustrates the Christian life. After a period of folly and sin, the only way to enjoy fellowship with God is to “repent and do the first works.” Get to the place of blood-shedding, the cross of Christ, and call upon God in the shadow of Calvary.
vv. 5-7 - in the midst of prosperity, strife breaks out. This is a lesson for families and churches. The devil lurks at the door of prosperity ready to destroy what you are enjoying. Worse than that, the world is watching and loves to see strife among God’s people.
vv. 8-9 - Abram is a peacemaker, focusing on his common ground with Lot and rather than the differences that had developed. Those who understand the union of believers in one body ought to fight even more strongly for harmony between believers. Why can Abram act like this? Believers who trust that God is sovereign in their affairs are less likely to fight their own battles in a defensive spirit. Plus, he made his own decisions before and that was disastrous. Abram is seeking first the kingdom of God. Just as Christ emptied Himself
vv. 10-13 - Lot, with carnal—rather than spiritual sight—sees an opportunity for more prosperity. We are warned of the lust of the eye. The weakness that was in Eve was in Lot. He is not entirely to blame. Abram’s visit to Egypt had given Lot memories that influenced him. Had Abram not visited Egypt, perhaps things may have been different. And although Lot does not immediately join himself to Sodom, we soon discover him among them. The detail of v. 13 is given so that we understand Sodom’s wickedness is public knowledge, and not an unfortunate discovery for Lot. This event represents Abram’s final attachment to his family, and communicates that God is using him to establish a new community. In this, Abram typifies Christ.
vv. 14-18 - Abraham knew that it is better to be in a desert with God than in a fruitful plain without Him, and was rewarded with a fresh revelation of the promise. This is fulfilled in Christ, who takes the entire world to be His and through faith, has a people that are as numerous as the dust.
v. 18 - Abraham had a tent and an altar. If we have this, we are rich. Christ had nowhere to lay His head. His tent was His humanity, and His altar was the cross.
Be careful in your desire for riches. In Abram’s case his wealth polished his piety, but very often it tarnishes the souls of men. It can make them have a sense of independence from God and others, and a sense of entitlement, the opposite of which is seen in Abram. He seeks God and is generous to Lot.
We never read of fellowship between God and Abram in Egypt, but as soon as Abram gets back where he should be, he meets with God and God reveals Himself to him. Let that be a lesson. Are you spiritually backslidden? Get back to the altar, i.e. the cross.
Children, invite counsel from older, godly influences in your life. Lot was a believer, and should have sought counsel from Abram rather than making a decision based solely on his own observations.
Young people, learn from Abram and Lot. Pray for an indifference towards the promises of this world, and an eye for the promises of God. That will keep you away from Sodom. In addition, be very slow to put distance between you and the older, godly influences in your life. This was catastrophic to Lot and his family.
To every adult, take care. Lot had an opportunity to earn more money, but it was going to take him away from good influences and place him next to bad. When a new employment opportunity arises, be careful. Chose what enables you to serve God best.
Do you have a burning desire to preach the Word? Do you have a longing to reach lost souls? Let the words of the Son of God to Abram be to you. Christ told His disciples to lift up their eyes and look on the fields. He still says the same. Look in any direction. There are souls that need the gospel.
“Growing wealth will prove no blessing to thee unless thou gettest growing grace. Prosperity destroys a fool and endangers a wise man.” — Charles Spurgeon
Genesis 13: Abraham the Selfless Peacemaker