What a change we see in Abraham from Chapter 12 of Genesis to Chapter 13!
In Chapter 12, Abraham (well, Abram) went down to Egypt because of a famine. There, he became concerned that his life was in danger because of his wife. Sarai was attractive, and Abram reasoned that if Pharaoh knew that they were married, Pharaoh would kill Abram and take Sarai. Therefore he asked Sarai to hide the fact they were married, from Pharaoh.
It is pretty amazing that Abram was so weak in faith, that he was willing to allow his wife to be in Pharaoh’s harem. In fact, he got rich from it. Pharaoh thought that they were just brother and sister, so not only did he not kill Abram, but he blessed him with “sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels” (Genesis 12:16).
Yet God’s hand was on Abram. Even in Abram’s weakness, the Lord protected them both. A plague came on Pharaoh’s house because he had taken another man’s wife. As a result Pharaoh soon sent Abram away with his wife and all the “goodies” he received.
In Chapter 13, Abraham became even wealthier. He began to see that this “God thing” was solid. He recognized that the blessing on his life was supernatural and he grew in trusting God.
Then conflict came. His workers and those of his nephew Lot, began to quarrel:
“Abram said to Lot, ‘Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left’” (Genesis 13:8-9).
Abraham had come to the place where he understood the blessing and favor of God. He was becoming God’s friend. He knew it didn’t matter which area Lot chose, since God’s blessing would remain on him. Lot chose the lush area near Sodom. It didn’t matter to Abram – if God determines you are blessed, then blessed you will be.
When I first came into ministry three decades ago, a fellow leader opposed me publicly. He felt we were in competition. Then the senior leadership changed. I finally had my chance to “put him in his place.” Finally, I was going to rebuke him. However, when I shared the situation with a mentor he said, “Yeah, you could do that. Or … you could pray and fast for him.”
Ouch! Not what I wanted to hear. Clearly, God was calling me to take the low road. I humbled myself and honored him, praying and fasting for God to bless him. Within a short time, the situation was resolved. As long as I was getting offended and taking things into my own hands, the issue remained. The minute I began to pray for him, God resolved it – and quickly. Years later, God restored my relationship with this man.
I came to the place, however, where I realized that if I humbled myself and trusted God, no one could keep me from His favor and blessing. This principle has worked time and time again in my life and ministry. Abram learned this in a big way, and after Lot left him, the Lord renewed His covenant with Abram telling him:
“Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you” (Genesis 14-17).
Are there areas in your life that you have not surrendered to the Lord, areas where you don’t trust Him?
Learn to live as Abram did, realizing that, “if God is for you, who can be against you?” (Romans 8:31 paraphrased)