Sermon

Live by Faith, not Sight (Genesis 13)

Be careful when making decisions. What may look like Heaven may in fact be Hell. The eyes can be deceived so we must not trust our eyes. Instead, God instructs us to prayerfully seek His will because He always guides us to what is best. In our sermon today, we shall study Genesis 13 and learn about conflict that arose between Abram and Lot. Abram responded in faith and generosity and was greatly blessed by God. Lot responded in selfish pride and set himself up for great misery.

  1. Success may bring conflict (13:1-7). Abram emerged from the crisis in Egypt (Gen 12:10-20) with a greater appreciation for God. His faith increased as he saw God work mightily to save him. Abram also came from Egypt “very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.” Lot “also had flocks and herds and tents.” Abram and Lot were blessed and prospered in the land, but “the land could not support both of them dwelling togetherand there was strife.” This new prosperity was good but brought strife between family. Not only was there strife in the family, but enemies because “the Canaanites and the Perizzites were dwelling in the land.”
  2. Conflict requires faith (13:8-13). Conflict is inevitable and a sure sign of spiritual maturity is not how well you avoid conflict but how you respond to it. Abram said to Lot “let there be no strife between you and me.” Abram told Lot to choose where he wanted to go and he would take another area. Lot “saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord…so Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley.” Abram “settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom.” Abram responded in faith because he knew that God would take care of him. Lot, on the other hand, chose based on sight and not faith. If he had chosen in faith, God would have warned him against settling near “the men of Sodom.”
  3. Faith brings blessing (13:14-18). After Abram’s faithful response to the conflict, God responded by reaffirming His blessing on Abram. The Lord said, “all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.” God’s blessing is not just about the size of the land but on the size of his family. God said, “I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted.” Abram trusted God and God once again demonstrated His faithfulness to keep His promise to Abram to make him a great nation.

In order to resolve the conflict between himself and Lot, Abram responded generously knowing that God would take care of him. Lot, however, responded selfishly and, as we shall see in the next chapter, had disastrous consequences. On what basis do you make decisions? Is it through prayerfully seeking God’s wisdom? Are you willing to be generous and gracious as you seek the welfare of others? Or do you insist on getting the best even if it means that others may suffer? The only way we can be sure that our decisions are the best, is when we obey the direction God gives.