Pop quiz Hot Shot: You just scored some serious goods from Egypt. You and your cousin are livin’ large with many new animals, goods and
slaves “team members”. MTV is calling to do an episode of “Cribs.” You are literally the richest guy around. Boom Baby!
However, there isn’t enough good pasture and water to support your herds, tents, and flock tenders. It is getting so bad that your hired workers are starting to fight with each other and this is causing you and your cousin to fight with each other. Strife is filling the camp and no one likes strife right?
What do you do?
My first thought would be to get rid of the stuff. I am not sure if I would actually do it but it seems like the stuff is the cause of the problem.Therefore, you get rid of the stuff, you get rid of the problem.
But we never really want to get rid of our stuff do we? Especially when we cheated the Egyptians out of it fair and square! And neither does Abram. Rather than live together at peace with Lot by cutting the size of the herd, they decide to go their separate ways. (Read Genesis 13 for the story)
Their possessions take priority over their relationship. They are not willing to go with less for the sake of staying together.
Question for the comments: Had you been in Abram’s place, what would you have done (and be honest!)?
Last Time, This Time
After they split up, God gives Abram a new promise. I am intentionally not saying he reminds Abram of the original promise and blessing because he doesn’t actually repeat any of it.
Last time it was about going to a land God would show him. This time it is about giving the land he can see to him and his offspring.
Last time it was about making Abram into a great nation and blessing the world through him. This time it is about his descendants becoming like the dust, in that if you could count the dust you could also count the descendants.
Last time the question was where Abram would go. This time the question is how he is going to have offspring as numerous as the dust. That is kind of difficult with a barren wife.
It would seem that each promise God gives Abram leaves him with more unknowns. Each answer God gives leads to more questions. What do you think: Is God primarily concerned with us gaining certainty or learning how to trust?
*Update: I realize that I forgot about God promising that the land of Canaan will go to Abram’s descendants back in chapter 12. Let’s mark that down as mistake #3. Woops!)
In Your Opinion . . .
One final question: Do you think there is a connection between God telling Abram that his offspring will be like the “dust of the earth” and man being created out of the “dust of the earth?” Discuss.
Note: Tomorrow I am flying out to St. Louis to spend a week with my girlfriend Andrea. Look for a guest post from her later in the week!