Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Genesis 13: The lure of self-salvation: Heaven is a place on earth?

Back in Canaan we find Abram and Lot together. Both of their households have increased via their trip to Egypt and now things seem crowded. God has prospered them at the cost of those who opposed this royal family. Now. there is tension between the two Sheikhs.

Abram puts his inheritance at risk by offering half of it to Lot. Lot could have the north or the south of Canaan to his nephew. Instead, Lot goes east (never a good direction to travel) to the lush Edenic valleys of Sodom, where the wicked live. And we're given advance notice of Sodom's fall. Seemingly he has learned nothing from Egypt, of the dangers of living with the serpent's seed. Alarm bells should be ringing but off he goes.

Waiting is rough in the short term. Lot divides from Abram and goes for Heaven on Earth – he wants to make his own way back into Eden, rather than waiting for Abram’s Offspring to lead his people back in and defeat the serpent. He walks away from the blessed family and their promised inheritance. Matthew Henry notes: "Lot had the paradise, such as it was, but Abram had the promise".

Abram remains in the land and has the promises renewed while he waits in the dusty post-famine land of Canaan. He’ll have more descendents than the dust in the land. And so he continues to establish the worship of the LORD in this land. Daily as he waits the dust on his feet will prophesy to him of God's great promises.

2 comments:

  1. Do you think Abram is putting his inheritance at risk by giving it to Lot? Or was the inheritance at risk because they were too great for the land to support them, and were threatening to be torn apart by strife, so that actually the division is a positive thing.

    Unless my memory fails me, the New Testament only evaluates lot in positive terms: Peter describes him as righteous (2 Peter 2). I can't help but think your evaluation of him is a little harsh.

    I like the observation about continuing to move east of Eden, though, and Lot's lot (!) looking so promising, so much like a return to Eden, whereas it's with Abram that the future lies.

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  2. I think it's a tough one - cos you're right the NT is positive... I'm still pondering this (and all the other Genesis stuff).

    Appreciating your interactions.

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