Being rich is great, right? No worrying about how to pay for your next meal, and you can do fun things like travel to Europe. Well Abram was rich after his travels to Egypt. He had a variety of livestock, as well as silver and gold. But he was heavy in relation to his riches. After all of this, Abram ended up right where he started. God would have provided for Abram in Egypt if he had faith (remember our study in Genesis 12).
“The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it.” – Proverbs 10:22
“There is a burden of care in getting riches, fear in keeping them, temptation in using them, guilt in abusing them, sorrow in losing them, and a burden of account at last to be given up about them.” – Matthew Henry
Jesus talked about how hard it is for the wealthy to get to heaven (Mark 10:23,24). Having much on this Earth results in loving (worshipping) things of this world and losing sight of eternity. Abram was even rebuked by a pagan king for his actions in Egypt. Yet those who manage their wealth by humility and gratefulness present an opportunity to do more good in this world through Christ. Instead of continuing to live in sin and influencing others to do so, he returned to the altar he built to worship.
“You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” – Revelation 2:3-5
We, as Christians, battle temptation everyday. We can also expect attacks when we get right with God (1 Corinthians 10). Trouble came to Abram through Lot. Conflicts arose between Lot’s people and Abram’s, “for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together” (v. 6). In fact, Caananites and Perizittes dwelled in the same lands. These peoples who called themselves of the Lord were acting like their pagan neighbors, desiring the wealth of the world and doing anything to get more of it.
“For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” – Matthew 23:27
Abram knew he could not carry on God’s commands and take over this occupied land when his own people were quarreling. They would have to have peace within their own community before trying to make peace with those who did not share their same beliefs. Generously, Abram offers Lot a choice of which land (right or left) he wanted so that their conflicting people’s could separate and continue on in peace. By doing so, he trusted that God would take care of him (Abram) no matter which land Lot chose. Holding an eternal perspective makes battles over temporary grazing land seem small and pointless. But, Lot chose the land that looks good, valuing everything that can be seen, and pitches a tent near Sodom (heard of Sodom and Gomorrah?).
“For we live by faith, not by sight.” – 2 Corinthians 5:7
God again reiterates his promise of good land and many descendants to Abram (not to Abram and Lot) once Lot leaves. God then wants Abram to explore the land, even though he does not have title to it yet. How amazing. Walking through a vast land knowing it soon will be yours. God has given us this beautiful world of bounty to enjoy and explore, and we should possess it by faith.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” – 2 Peter 1:3,4
Be amazed by what God has created for us.