May 2, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Bo Chen, Gracepoint Davis

Genesis 13:5-11
What is ironic about the reason that Abram and Lot “were not able to stay together”?
It was interesting to see that Abram and Lot were not able to stay together because their possessions were too great (v6).  It was ironic that even good things in life and “blessing” (according to the world) cannot keep a close relationship together; in fact, it breaks the relationship.

What can I learn about life through this?
One would think that when things are well, and people have what they need (and more) materially and physically, one would not have as much relational strife or have no other needs. But only the opposite is true. More worldly wealth many times lead to more trouble and division.

Through this, I am reminded of the sad reality of life, similar to how the greater things are often defeated by lesser things. Here, material wealth really got in the way of relationship, and for Lot, he missed out on being with Abram who was chosen by God.  Or many stories of how good relationships end because one person moves on to a better job, bigger city, better promotion or a larger home.  And in the same way, my pursuit of God and spiritual growth could be stalled or suffer if lesser things such as comfort, money, autonomy begin to grab a hold of my heart and take precedence in my life.

Genesis 13:10-13
What can we know about what Lot values from this text?
– A good and spacious land, well watered, well taken care of (v 10). This land has lots of potential for greater opportunities and advantages.
– Maybe a sophisticated and exciting life of living among the cities (v 12) instead of a boring, unpredictable, uncomfortable life of a nomad.
– All the wealth and fame from what can potentially be his, in the city

Reflect on two phrases that capture Lot’s life trajectory: “the two men parted company” and “Lot…pitched his tents near Sodom.”
Lot’s life trajectory completely changed, and it started with that ONE decision to parted company with Abram. Lot cut himself off from his uncle Abram whom he knew was chosen by God and a source of spiritual blessing for mere practical reasons. Lot made decisions based on convenience rather than on conviction and faith, and he decided that it was more worth it to stay put near a good land with secure future, rather than going on a journey with God and Abram, with a lot of uncertainties, inconveniences and unknown future.

Soon after Lot left Abram, he chose to pitch his tents near Sodom, even knowing that the men of Sodom were wicked and sinning greatly against the Lord. Once he made a decision to step away, a 2nd step to compromise became easier. Despite the fact that Lot knew the danger of being near Sodom, he may have rationalized himself out of it, thinking that it wouldn’t be too bad, he got everything under control, and after all, there were so many benefits that he couldn’t refuse.

This passage is so timely especially as I am thinking about the graduating seniors who will need to make one of the tough choices of their life. The initial decision may seem insignificantly small – just a matter of what to do, where to work, where to live and who to associate oneself with. The decision may not seem to make a huge difference or matter a whole lot, but from what we learned from Lot’s life, his 2 seemingly small decisions had great implications.

This is also true in my life: the responsibility of choosing the right choice is presented to me every day, every moment – not just in big decisions of life.  Daily, I am presented with a choice to stay connected with the sources of spiritual blessings (e.g. Word and Prayers, Community of Believers, Christ-centered relationships with people who can help me grow closer to God, daily obedience and meaningful work). I’m also presented with a choice to not compromise and give into sins and temptation of comfort, complacency, pride, competitive spirit or wanting control over life and financial security. These decisions will either spur me on to embrace and obey God’s higher vision and calling for my life in our church, or it’s draw me closer to the World and thus following God more and more at a distance. I must not underestimate how these daily choices can affect the trajectory of my life and my relationship with God.

———————————-

Submitted by Becky Fong, Gracepoint Berkeley

Genesis 13:5-11
What is ironic about the reason that Abram and Lot “were not able to stay together”?
It is ironic that they were not able to stay together because their possessions were so great and the land could not support them.  Their prosperity and abundance made it impossible to remain together, which is ironic because these are supposed to be blessings yet they caused them to separate.  Actually they could have stayed together if they or one was willing to downsize, to give up some of those possessions.

What can I learn about life through this?
From this, I can learn about life that things that we view as supposed blessings can actually cause division, and that I need to assess clearly and be willing to let go of supposed blessings when they start to actually cause compromise and erosion of values I treasure and have committed to, especially relationships.  Specifically, money and possessions and our commitment to obtaining financial security and these things can cause not only outright division, but slow and subtle distancing and cooling in relationships.  If even blood family will separate over possessions, prospects, then I need to beware of separating in relationships with my brothers and sisters in Christ for the sake of supposedly good and “legitimate” things and prospects and so-called “needs”.

Genesis 13:10-13
What can we know about what Lot values from this text?
From this text, we can know that Lot values material possessions and his own welfare above relationships, even with his elders.  He looked and chose the best land for himself without a second thought or hesitation when he had the chance, too quick to separate from his uncle.  It is such a striking difference from the example of Ruth with Naomi, who clung to Naomi and refused to look out for herself and her best interests so that she could stay with her.  This text also shows Lot’s value of worldly things above integrity before God, as he chose to pitch his tents near Sodom, where the men there were wicked and sinning greatly against the Lord.  That he chose to be near such men reveals his callousness and compromise, choosing the most beneficial position for himself regardless of the temptation and influence of the men there who were opposed to God.
Reflect on two phrases that capture Lot’s life trajectory: “the two men parted company” and “Lot…pitched his tents near Sodom.”

These two phrases sadly reflect Lot’s life trajectory of choosing to part company with godly influence in his life and moving toward sin.  This actually reflects what is true, that most of the time people do not outright choose to pitch their tents in Sodom and fly into the face of sin, but more slowly move into that direction by making little choices here and there.  It is true that choosing to separate from godly influences in our lives, older brothers and sisters in Christ, we are moving in the direction of getting closer to sin and compromise.  Lot did not choose to leave Abram with living near wicked men who were sinning greatly against the Lord in mind, but his choice to leave this godly influence opened him up in this direction, as he forfeited the support, accountability, and protection of his uncle, the godly influence in his life.

As I look back I am so grateful for the way God has held me through the godly influences in my life in this body of Christ.  This past Senior Sunday and upcoming graduations reminded me of when I graduated, and how I could have gone off so far in another trajectory with the little subtle decisions I made that years later would have likely led me further from God.  One big decision was deciding where to go for law school.  I had a lot of worldly ideas in my head, and even spiritualized some of them.  I felt the fear of missing out on the little opportunity I was given when I got into a much better school than I deserved across the country, knowing how I wasn’t really smart and didn’t merit their admission.  Thank God that He had blessed me with such rich relationships in the body of Christ and admirable and challenging examples of older brothers and sisters I did not want to leave but wanted to learn to follow and live the life of love I saw and received from them, so that I chose to stay instead of leave.  I would have gone to church had I left and not renounced my faith, but with these little decisions and all the worldly desires I didn’t even realize I had in me then and all the worldly temptations and influences that fly at you right after college, and knowing now my subsequent struggles with ambition, insecurity, pride, selfishness, and misunderstanding of God, I would likely have taken little steps further from God and nine years later ended up much further from God and His direction for my life than I could have imagined.  Like Lot, I overestimated myself and underestimated the power of sin and the world’s influences, but I am so thankful for the godly influences in my life who have held onto me.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Response