Daily Distinctives, March 6, 2018 – Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)

If you are a fan of the band Journey you will have spotted the source of my title for today’s devotional right off the bat. As I read my devotional passages for today’s study I caught myself singing, “Someday love will find you, break those chains that bind you, one night will remind you, how we touched and went our separate ways…” I always loved how gritty the intro guitars to that song sound. But what made me think of that song was in verse 9 of our study for today and as we dig in you’ll see a little bit deeper into how my mind works. Even if the connections are “Worlds Apart” I can almost always relate Bible studies to some rock-n-roll song…lol.

So, in my last devotional, we talked about lies and how they affect people. Today we are going to look at how close quarters can separate even the closest of friends and relatives. Now, I love hospitality. I really do enjoy having friends and family over to my home for dinner, conversation, maybe even a movie or a hockey game (Go Preds!), but after a while, I just want to kick off my shoes and jeans and relax. It might be frowned upon if I did that while entertaining company. But seriously, after a few hours, I am ready to relax. It is not that my guests have worn out their welcome, heck stick around and watch T.V., make a snack if you want, but I am going to bed. But can you imagine having a whole bunch of people in close quarters for an extended period of time? That would be like having your in-laws come and live with you for several months. Now, I happen to like my in-laws, they are good people, but we have limited exposure to them. By the time we start warming up, they are out the door. Perhaps with age comes wisdom and they understand something that I don’t. Either way, they stay just long enough for me to wish they would have stayed a bit longer, but short enough to that I am not banging my head on the table wishing they would leave already! Ha! Seriously though, I get it. You never want to wear out your welcome. But that is what we see here in our passage today.

[Gen 13:1 NKJV] Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South.

Now in our last study, Lot was not mentioned, but we can surmise from the context that Lot, Abrams nephew had traveled with Abram and Sarai to Egypt during the famine. While they were there I can only imagine how easy it might have been for Lot to grow accustomed to the “good life” that Egypt afforded. The problem with the trappings of the world is that they are traps. We get sucked into easy living and strive for more and more. When asked, “How much money will it take to make you happy?” The rich man replied, “Just a dollar more…just a dollar more!” The eyes of man are never satisfied. And as it turns out, God had prospered Abram, even though we might think that after the last stunt he pulled that he did not deserve it. But God prospers who He will prosper and for reasons that we may not understand. Even though Abram blew it in our last study, we see that he faired well for himself in terms of wealth. Look at the next verse.

[Gen 13:2 NKJV] Abram [was] very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.

So it would appear that their time in Egypt proved to be financially lucrative for Abram. Perhaps he was already quite wealthy prior to entering Egypt, but we see here that at this point he was “very” rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. Abram was a bawler!

[Gen 13:3 NKJV] And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai,
[Gen 13:4 NKJV] to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the LORD.
[Gen 13:5 NKJV] Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents.

I like this passage because I find that sometimes it is good to get back to center. Life has a way of hitting me from all angles from time-to-time, and sometimes I need a reset. Whether it be a return to the basics in Scripture, a men’s retreat, or even a good concert, there is something refreshing about getting back to the things that I am familiar with. Here we see that Abram returned to the place where he pitched his tent originally before the famine. He returned to the altar he had constructed. That must have been a welcomed sight for Abram to see. It must have been a refreshing reminder to Abram that even though he blew it in Egypt by lying, God still had a promise for him. But still, he had this constant reminder that he had not followed God’s command completely. Like a mosquito buzzing in his ear, his nephew Lot was always there as a testimony of his disobedience.

[Gen 13:6 NKJV] Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together.
[Gen 13:7 NKJV] And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land.

Growing up, I was a cartoon fanatic. I loved the old Tex Avery cartoons. One of the characters, Droopy, was one of my favorites. I remember him saying, “You know what? That makes me mad!” And this gentle character would go off on the antagonist of the story. But when I read this passage, my mind drifted back to a particular episode titled “Drag-a-long Droopy” (go ahead watch it…you know you want to).

[Gen 13:8 NKJV] So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we [are] brethren.

Unlike the episode of the cartoon Droopy, Abram looks for a more peaceful solution. He saw the quarrels that were ensuing and recognized that it was time that he and Lot went their separate ways. And so Abram approaches Lot and makes a reasonable offer to his nephew. And while you might think that it was Abrams prerogative to choose where he would go since he was, after all, the elder of the two and had every right to choose the best land for himself, he does a very interesting thing and gives preference to the younger.

[Gen 13:9 NKJV] “[Is] not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If [you take] the left, then I will go to the right; or, if [you go] to the right, then I will go to the left.”

You might think that Lot would have been grateful for uncle Abe here and deferred the decision giving preference to his elder patriarch, but after coming from prosperity the lust of the eyes would win out over his decision on which way to go and Lot would take the more choice of the two options.

[Gen 13:10 NKJV] And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it [was] well watered everywhere (before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar.
[Gen 13:11 NKJV] Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other.
[Gen 13:12 NKJV] Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched [his] tent even as far as Sodom.

You might think this was the end of the story, and it is for today, but we will see how the plot of Lot would cause no end of grief to Abram as we move on in this study, LORD willing.

Prayer: LORD thank You for today. Thank You for my wife and my family. Thank You for the godly men You have surrounded me with. Thank You for all that You have blessed me with. While I may not be as wealthy as Abram was, I am in a much better place financially than most of the 3 Billion or so people who inhabit the earth. I am very grateful for all that You have blessed me with. I understand that it is all Yours and that I am merely a steward of it, but thank You for giving me the ability to provide for my family. I pray LORD that You would show my children how blessed they truly are to live where we live and have what we have. LORD, thank You for the good report from my doctor today. Thank You for the all that You have blessed me with today in my work and in my men’s group this evening. LORD, I lift my daughter up to You for the things that she needs spiritually. I lift all of my children up to You and ask that You would help me lead them to You daily. Thank You for my wife and her companionship, her support of me and our family and for her love. LORD, I lift up my brother Mike to You and ask that You would give him clarity on the decision that he has set before You. Give him wisdom LORD to do the best thing that would bring You the most glory. Father, I pray for my pastor too. I ask that You would continue to bless him in all that he does. I pray his daughter is doing well, and that You have been doing a work in her life this past week. LORD, I am so grateful for the church we attend, and I would ask that You would bless the homeless ministry in their endeavors to minister to those who are less fortunate. I ask that You might use me and the inspiration You gave me this evening to bless that work as well. LORD, to You, be all glory and honor. It is in Your name that I pray. –Amen

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