Lesson 18 w/AnswersGenesis 13:1-18
We continue our study of the call of Abram. We ended our last lesson with Abram, Sarai, and Lot leaving Egypt, having prospered there during the famine in the land of Canaan. (This happened in spite of Abram asking Sarai to lie and claim to be his sister, rather than tell Pharaoh that she was Abram’s wife.) We know for sure that he prospered in Egypt, since at the beginning of this lesson’s study text, in Genesis 13:2, we are told that when he left Egypt, "Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold."
Let’s read Genesis Chapter 13, and consider the following questions:
- Who does it say left Egypt with Abram? (see Genesis 13:1)
- ANSWER: His wife Sarai and Lot. As we can see, Abram has not yet followed God’s command to leave his family behind; Lot is still with him.
- During Abram’s trip back to the Negev, at what city did Abram first call on the name of the Lord? What does this imply is happening between Abram and the Lord? (see Genesis 13:3-4)
- ANSWER: After leaving Egypt, Abram made his way back to the Bethel, where he had previously worshipped God. Genesis 13:4 implies that it is at this time that Abram confesses his sins before God, and the relationship between him and God is restored.
- During the time that Abram and Sarai were in Egypt, who else prospered greatly there? (see Genesis 13:5-6)
- ANSWER: Through his association with Abram, Lot also prospered greatly during his stay in Egypt. The passage tells us that they had so much between them, that the land could not support them both.
- A quarrel develops between the Lot’s shepherds and Abram’s shepherds. Instead of asserting his authority and dictating unity for the good of all, what does Abram propose to Lot? How would this approach apply to life within the Church today? (see Genesis 13:7-8)
- ANSWER: Abram proposes that they split up, rather than stay together. In this way, both could live in peace. There was plenty of work to be done in the land, and Abram pointed out that they were brothers, meaning family. Rather than quarrel, they agreed to divide within the land and live and work in peace. Perhaps today, churches could also learn from Abram’s approach. Rather than an all-or-nothing approach to ministry, a "divide and conquer" approach might better serve the purpose of spreading the gospel. In my personal opinion, it’s not always a bad thing when a split occurs in a church. Sometimes a new work begins in both the old and new churches as a result of the split.
- Abram even allowed Lot to pick the direction that he wanted to go in, and then Abram would go in the opposite one. How ironic it is that this decision also initiated the different directions that each of these men’s lives took from that point on. Abram was already trusting God. What does Hebrews 11:9-10 tell us guided Abram’s choice for a home during his entire life? How does his approach differ from Lot’s?
- ANSWER 1: Hebrews 11:9-10 tells us that Abram lived in tents because he was "looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God."
- ANSWER 2: Lot, as we will see shortly, was drawn to the attractions of the physical world, and looked for a home in a city built by men and not by God.
- Lot visualized two things as determinants in choosing which direction he wanted to go in. What were they? (Genesis 13:10)
- ANSWER: He relied on his physical senses to pick the destination, rather than relying on God. (1) He remembered how well-watered that the land of Egypt was where he had once lived, and (2) he imagined that the plain of Jordan looked as lush as what he imagined that the Garden of Eden must have been. He thus chose based on his perception of a life living in a lush garden on a well-watered plain.
- Once Lot chose the plain of the Jordan, the text tells us that he "set out for the east", and that the "two men parted company"; with Abram living in the land of Canaan. Where did Lot ultimately decide to pitch his tent in all the plain of Jordan? (see Genesis 13:11-13, Genesis 14:12, and Genesis 19:1)
- ANSWER: We are told that he pitched his tent "near the city of Sodom". We are also told that Sodom was a city where men were "wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD." Ironically, later in the narrative, we observe that Lot moves from being a herdsman outside of the city to becoming a resident of the city of Sodom itself. He lives in a home in the city among those sinning greatly against God. He eventually "sat in the gate of Sodom", meaning that he had become a prominent and respected businessman in their midst.
- When did God reaffirm his covenant with Abram? (Genesis 13:14-18)
- ANSWER: God did this when Lot had left for the plain of Jordan, and Abram and Sarai were finally without immediate family.
- Abram settles in the plain of Mamre near Hebron, and God promises him that his seed will be as numerous as the "dust of the earth" if it could be numbered. Who specifically does the Bible indicate is "Abraham’s seed"? (see Genesis 17:5, Galatians 3:16, Galatians 3:29, Romans 4:11, and 1 Peter 2:9)
- ANSWER: The Bible tells us Abraham will be the father of many nations, that Christ is from the seed of Abraham, and that the Church — the genuine believers of Christ — will form a "holy nation." Thus, we are heirs "according to the promise."
We can take great joy in our hope in Christ, as we see God’s promise to Abram confirmed once again. We also see Lot’s life beginning to head in the wrong direction, as he relies on his own ability, and chooses to conform to the physical world around him rather than God. One bad choice will lead to another and yet another, and eventually these decisions will destroy all that he has, including his family. At times, our choices may seem tough and almost impossible to make; however, we will never go wrong if we trust in God and follow the path that He leads us on.
Thanks for being faithful in studying with us each week.