Greetings everyone! God’s rich peace to you in our Lord Jesus, and welcome to Wednesday’s edition of EDiBS. Thanks for being here today as we continue on in our study of Genesis. Right now we’re coming to the end of Genesis 13, where we’ll be seeing a beautiful reaffirmation of God’s promises to Abram. I’m glad you’ve come along for the discussion! Just a reminder today as we begin: please remember that you’re always welcome to post our daily sessions on your various social media platforms, forward them via email to as many people as you’d like each day, or share EDiBS in any other manner that the people you love and care about might find helpful. As always, our goal is to bring the Word of God and the sure hope of Christ and His love to as many people as we can, and also as always, you play a huge role in meeting that goal! Thanks so much for helping out in that way, and thanks also for being here today! Let’s pray and begin.
Father, we love you, we worship you, and we adore you. You have rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into your marvelous light. You have made us alive in Christ, who gave Himself for us that our sins could be forgiven and that our fellowship with you could be restored. Thank you so very much! Please bless the hearing of your Word today. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
As we get started today, Genesis 13 ends with, as I said a moment ago, God reaffirming His gracious promise to Abram as he sojourns through the land of Canaan. Our focus: All that you can see…and all that you can’t!
14The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. 15All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you." 18So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the Lord.
In my neighborhood there are many vacant, dilapidated houses and overgrown lots that have been problem spots for years. They attract drug and other criminal activity, they’re fire and vector control hazards, and they contribute to an overall look of unkemptness from block to block even as they serve to diminish property values in the area. The sad thing is that most of the properties in question were, in a previous era, absolutely beautiful. Their Victorian and Queen Anne architecture, along with their spacious lots and lovely southern gardens filled with camellias, azaleas, and roses, were the pride of the community. For the people who built and lived in them, they were the products of hard work and the realization of long-held dreams. They weren’t simply houses, they were home. Today they’re anything but. What happened? Over time, the people who treasured those homes left, or grew old and died — and in some cases, with the leaving or the dying, the sense of pride and place left and died as well. Today the dreams associated with those old home-places have deteriorated; their beauty has become blight. Very little is left.
As we’ve been following the narrative of Abram and Lot over the past several days, one thing we’ve begun to see very clearly during our study time is the difference in character between the two men. This became especially clear for us at the beginning of the present chapter when conflict arose because Canaan didn’t have enough space for both families to dwell together in peace. Do you remember what happened? After Abram graciously offered Lot the first choice of the land as they separated, Lot immediately took advantage of said offer, and he chose what seemed to be the best and nicest portion of the land for himself. In doing so, he left Canaan, because he felt in his heart that the plain of the Jordan was a better option. So it was that he settled there among the cities of that plain — and especially near to Sodom. In Lot’s mind, this was home. Here he had a sense of pride and place. Here he would realize many of his long-held dreams. Here he would create for himself a beautiful existence…or so it seemed. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before Lot’s dreams would begin to deteriorate. Unfortunately, his sense of pride and place would not be long for the world. Very soon, in fact, Lot’s idea of a beautiful existence would become blight…and by the time it was all said and done, there would be very little of anything left.
In today’s passage, however, we see that Abram, staying in Canaan, rather ironically ends up having a very different experience than that of his nephew. Following Lot’s departure, the Lord makes, yet another time, an incredible promise to His servant:
"Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. 15All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”
So it is that Abram continues to traverse the land, moving from place to place. In time he comes to the oaks of Mamre in Hebron, where he pitches his tent and builds another altar to the Lord.
As we wrap things up for the day, do you know what’s beautiful here? Mamre means "fatness," fat with the fullness of supply. Hebron means “association with” or “having fellowship.” Abram, then, builds this altar to the Lord in the place of fatness and fellowship, an incredible foreshadowing of the great blessings in store for him, not just as an “exalted father,” as he is now known, but as the “father of many,” which he will indeed become in the fullness of time. Right now he’s a man in waiting — a man standing on a yet-still unfolding promise — but as he waits for the permanence of possession that he has been promised, as he waits for the time when there will be a place to settle and descendants to fill the earth, he nonetheless finds contentment with his sojourner’s tent and with his place at the altar. Contrary to Lot, who is in possession of nothing but a quickly dying dream, Abram is enjoying the blessings of all that God is giving to him and his descendants forever…by faith right now, and yet in full anticipation of a glorious fulfillment to come. As you think on all of this, keep one thing in mind: at this stage, Abram still has no children! Which means, of course, that we have lots of adventure ahead of us as we continue to follow this through!
Thanks for your time today, everyone; it’s always great to be with you, and I’ll look forward to seeing you again next time. Have a great day, and God’s joy and peace to you in Christ!