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Genesis chapter 13

DAILY DEVOTION
FOR
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 17

 
 
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 13
AUTHOR:  Jeremy Witt
 
As many of us know in Oklahoma, livestock is necessary and also can build wealth.  Abram has collected livestock, silver, and gold.  Just as God promised Abram, he would be blessed.  This does not always mean materially but in some cases, it includes wealth and more as Abram had.  Abram and his family were leaving Egypt and returning back to the land that Abram had set up altars to the LORD.  Lot, his nephew traveled with Abram, but as their livestock herds grew, it caused issues between the two or between their shepherds as in verse 7.
 
Friction was developing as it does in families at times.  Abram “took the bull by the horns” or addressed the issue before it got worse as he and Lot determined what to do.  Rather than fighting, Abram realized that they must separate.  It was time for Lot for going on his own.  This is a difficult thing to do when you serve as the “Parent” or guardian in the lives of those under us.  I have watched many parents struggle to let go as their child nears adulthood.  My daughter is only a freshman and I am struggling.  It is just a matter of time before she leaves for her post-high school time.  If we just read this passage, we might miss the “humanity” of the moment.  It was more important not to be in conflict than to fight to stay together.  Abram also gave two options to Lot.  It kept it simple.  Choose one way and I will go the other.  Notice that Lot made his decision based on what he saw.  In verses 10-11, Lot chose the better-watered area as most shepherds would choose.  This choice will have consequences as we read in verse 12.  Many times the eyes still the good and neglect to see the bad.  Sodom and Gomorrah lie in the area that Lot chose, and we will see the consequences of this choice in the next few days.
 
We should also point out that there is safety in numbers.  Abram and Lot could have stayed together, but it was their herdsmen that the friction was found.  We are not told which group was the cause, but jealousy snuck into the camp, and it would affect Lot the most.  Had they been together, chapter 14 (tomorrow’s reading) may not have happened. 
 
There are a variety of things we can learn from this chapter.  We could talk about Lot’s greed for the best land without thinking of the consequences of the rest of the land.  We could speak of jealousy in our homes and lives and how it affects us negatively.  We might point out how material things lead us to lose relationships with others close to us.  In our reading today, we never see Abram and Lot go to the LORD.  We know that God will bless Abram, so leaving that safety and promise or faith that Abram had would cause Lot not to be under that umbrella of protection any longer.  Many times in our lives we may not realize what we have had until it is gone.  About 4 ½ years ago, my grandmother died.  She was a prayer warrior.  I knew that before she died, but I felt it after she was gone.  I literally felt more vulnerable and less protected.  My cousins have said similar things because we knew that she was gone and not praying for us anymore.  Lot will soon realize the importance of Abram’s presence in his life.
 
If we notice in verses 14-18, that God showed up to Abram again and promised Abram’s descendants as far as he could see.  God promised a man without children at this point that his descendants would be like the dust of the ground.  Can you imagine what meant to Abram and how he must trust God in faith?  Imagine thinking that you would never have children and being made this promise.  Remember that Abram was 75 years old when God first made the covenant with Abram.  We are not sure of his age at this point, but it most likely was more than 75 years old.  What faith Abram had to trust in God despite his circumstances!  For those who have read the devotionals for a while know that this is an application point.  What is it that God wants you to trust Him in despite your circumstances?  What is it that God is calling you to do even though it makes no sense?  Will our eyes be like Lot’s or trust in God?  Will we seek Him before making a big decision or basing it on our own understanding as Lot did? 
 
May our faith and trust in God grow more each day.

Posted by Jeremy Witt with
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Genesis chapters 11-12

DAILY DEVOTION
FOR
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 17

 
 SCRIPTURE: Genesis 11-12
AUTHOR:  Jeremy Witt
 
We break briefly away from genealogy for 9 verses to read of the Tower of Babel.  Mankind’s overall population has grown.  There has been a considerable amount of time since the great flood to this point of the Tower of Babel.  This tower was most likely a ziggurat, a similar structure to a pyramid but with stairways or ramps going up the sides.  According to the Jewish historian, Josephus, says that a “multitude” followed Nimrod’s advice to build the tower.  This was a joint effort of public or corporate pride.  Remember what lure Satan used to get Adam and Eve to sin was the temptation to be God or like God.  This venture of the tower of Babel was to make a name for themselves.  It was a joint venture to be known for themselves and not God.  The tower was a monument for the people not for God. 
 
Teachable moment/application:  We may not build buildings to the sky for ourselves today as these did, but we do things to make us stand out from others.  It may be our home, cars, boats, property, titles, job responsibilities, etc, that takes the place of the Tower of Babel in our lives.  In and of themselves these things are necessary at times, but when its size, cost, popularity, amount of power is being used to draw attention to me, then it is becoming sinful or at the very least, an idol in our lives.  When ANYTHING begins to become a competition to our identity (made in the image of God for His good and His glory), or our self-worth (viewing things over our role in relationship to God and His worship), we are on dangerous ground.  When I begin to use my ______________ to make ME stand out rather than God then I am on a slippery slope.  Anything that might take the place of God in our lives or move God out of #1 in our priorities becomes sinful.  At times in my life, basketball was a tower.  A relationship was a tower.  My knowledge was a tower.  Myself, my desires, my dreams, and my will have all been a tower in my life.  Have you done an evaluation of your life recently to see what might be or becoming a tower that will keep God from being #1 or even becoming more important?
 
The rest of chapter 11 is another genealogy but this one is different.  This focuses on one family’s lineage.  This is Abram or Abraham’s family line.  Genesis moves from being a wider world view in chapters 1-10 to narrowing down to one family that God will use to change the world.  In chapter 11 beginning in verses 27-32, we are introduced to Abram and his immediate family.  In verse 31, Abram’s father, Terah, is moving them towards Canaan. Abram's wife is Sarai (Sayre-I is most likely the pronunciation) and will become Sarah (Sayre-uh) later as Abram will be known as Abraham.  His nephew Lot will remain important for several chapters. 
 
In chapter 12, the focus is now solely on Abram.  Verse one, we read of the covenant made by God with Abram.  Abram moved by faith to an unknown place.  Notice that God never said where it was.  Because we are given the advantage of knowing or reading the story after the events, we know that God’s plan was to move them to the land of Canaan, but Abram did not know that.  He listened to God by faith and obeyed.  Notice in verse two the things that God promised.  Blessing, popularity, and home or nation.  The difference between what God promised Abram and the Tower of Babel is the purpose of God over the purpose of man.  Abram was not seeking this as those who were trying to build up the Tower.  At times, God will give us the desires of our hearts if our hearts are aligned with God’s heart.  Look at Solomon when God promised Solomon one thing.  Solomon asked for wisdom and God gave him so much more.  We could add an asterisk here about Ecclesiastes and how everything is meaningless or chasing after the wind.  The only way we will be content and satisfied is in the LORD’s will and keeping Him #1 not the things of the world. 
 
After God’s promise or the Abrahamic covenant in 12:1-3, we see that Abram heads that way along with his wife, and nephew.  Abraham is 75 when this happens.  Again, notice that Abram is “no spring chicken” or is not young when this happens.  God is faithful and God will use us at any age if we will walk by faith and obedience.  Be faithful where you are in life right now with no excuses.
 
In verse 7 and following, Abram has arrived in the land that God will eventually give to his descendants, notice how Abram responds.  He worships God by building an altar when he first arrived and again builds another further south from there in verse 8.  His attitude of worship and praise continues despite the promise not being given immediately.  A famine hits the area in verse 10 so they begin moving to Egpyt.  It is here that we discover that Sarai is Abram’s half-sister.  (We will leave that discussion for another day but this was quite common in that day).  Abram asks his wife to lie or to tell a half-truth because Abram is fearful of what the Egyptians will do because of Sarai’s beauty.  One of the things about the Bible that is different from other books tied to faith is that the Bible shares our failures, our sins, and the bigger picture.  If I was writing the book, I would leave out the bad parts of my life.  This is further evidence that God’s Word is not made up by man as it shows our faults.  (Noah-drunk; Abram-liar; Jacob-deceiver; Moses-murderer; David-adulterer and murderer, bad father; Paul-religious zealot, accomplice to the murder of Stephen, and the list goes on.)
 
Chapter 12 is the beginning of the Jewish faith and eventually the Christian faith.  Abram was sent on a mission.  Abram listened to God and followed by faith.  Those verses in verses 1-8 are big.  You should try going deeper with those verses on your own.

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

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