Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Fork in the Road...

Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.

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.”

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.) So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.
Genesis 13:5-12

My wife and I both like the musician Ben Folds. He is a truly talented man, and my wife derives no small amount of joy from the fact that she occasionally sees him driving around town. One of his songs that we both enjoy is The Luckiest. It starts out, "I don't get many things right the first time. In fact, I am told that a lot." In some ways I think this applies to Abram.

Abram learned a hard lesson in Genesis 12. He should have trusted God to keep His promises; instead he gave in to fear. As a result, Pharaoh unknowingly took Abram's wife as his own. No doubt this damaged Abram's relationship with his wife Sarai but it also damaged his relationship with the Lord. Now, in Genesis 13, he finds himself at another crossroads. The Lord is keeping his promise to Abram and is blessing him so abundantly that he and his nephew Lot must part ways. Here is a fork in the road. How will Abram handle it? This time he shows faith. This time he gets it right.

Abram has learned to trust God. The Lord has promised to bless Abram and make him into a great nation, and Abram trusts Him to do this regardless of where his flocks feed. He allows Lot to choose the part of the land he wants. Abram is content with the leftovers because he believes that God is going to bless him no matter what. This highlights one of Abram's best qualities in my opinion. He was teachable. Abram didn't always get things right the first time. In fact, sometimes he made the same mistake twice (see Genesis 12 and 20), but he was humble before his God. He listened to the Lord and learned his lessons well. He wasn't perfect right away. He was far from it. But because he was teachable the Lord continued to use him and grow him. Abram was far from a giant of the faith in chapters 12 and 13 of Genesis. But he walked with the Lord day in and day out and he humbled himself under the Lord's correction for year after year. Over time he became more and more conformed into the image of his God.

What about you? Are you teachable? When the Lord corrects you, do you learn your lesson well or do you stiffen your neck? Proverbs 3:12 tells us that "The LORD disciplines those He loves, as a father the son He delights in." God disciplines you with an eye to correction. He is not merely punishing you; He is training you into the man or woman He would have you be. He has predestined you to be conformed into the image of his Son and He is working that out in your life little-by-little (Romans 8:29). So learn your lessons well. Submist yourself wholly to the guiding hand of God. He doesn't expect immediate perfection, a teachable heart will do.

For further reading...

1 comment:

Danielle said...

Needed this...