- Rev. Joseph A. Bias
THE COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM – Part 2
(The first part of the series was posted on November 3, 2020. This is now Part Two of that series)
"And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever." Genesis 13:14-15
God was with Abram, as He promised He would be. It was God who moved on Pharaoh’s heart to give gifts to Abram in exchange for Sarai; Pharaoh not knowing that she was his wife. [Genesis 12:16] And it was also God who plagued Egypt because Pharaoh took Sarai from Abram, intending to make her his wife. [Genesis 12:17] And it was God who spoke to Pharaoh in a dream to reveal to him that Sariai was Abram’s wife.
“So it was, when Abram came into Egypt, that the Egyptians saw the woman, that she was very beautiful. The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken to Pharaoh’s house. He treated Abram well for her sake. He had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female servants, female donkeys, and camels. But the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.” Genesis 12:14-17
So Pharaoh summoned Abram and said, why did you tell me she was your sister? I was prepared to take her for my wife. Now because of you, this plague has come upon me, and my people. Take her and go your way.
“And Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she wasyour wife? Why did you say, “She is my sister’? I might have taken her as my wife. Now therefore, here is your wife; take her and go your way.” So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they sent him away, with his wife and all that he had.” Genesis 12:18-20
It is evident that Abram came to Egypt with quite a caravan and with many livestock and herdsman. He was wealthy when he came there, but he left with even greater wealth, because of what Pharaoh commanded to be given to him. This was also the work of God on Abram’s behalf. Also at this time his entourage included Lot and all his herds and herdsmen.
“Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South. Abram wasvery rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the LORD.” Genesis 13:1-4
After sometime of sojourning together a dispute arose between Lot’s herdsmen and Abram’s herdsmen over the use of the land.
“Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents. Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock.” Genesis 13:5-7
We should note the implication here. The collective possessions and wealth of Abram and Lot were so great that the place where they were camped could not sustain all their livestock and the people that made up their families and their servants.
Ultimately, they were compelled to separate from one another. Lot went toward the well-watered plane of the Jordon. (It was compared to the Garden of Eden before God destroyed the land of Saddam and Gomorrah.) Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan.
Remember, God’s first call to Abram was this.
The LORD had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3
Abram did get up and go from his country, Ur of the Chaldeans, but he did not leave his family, at least not fully in the beginning. When they left Ur, the entire family moved northward and settled for a time in Haran, until Abram’s father Terah died. But when Abram continued on his journey toward the land of Canaan he took Lot, his brother’s son with them. But now, with Lot moving to the region of the Jordan River and Abram remaining in the plain, he was at last fully separated from his family. It is now that God speaks this word to him.
“And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: ‘Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.’ ” Genesis 13:14-17
This is the first statement of the promise of the covenant God is making with Abram.
First he says him, “…lift up your eyes now and look from the place where you stand to the north, to the south, to the east and to the west...all the land which you see, God said, I give to you and to your descendants forever.”
Our natural gaze allows us to survey our immediate surroundings, but many times woithout thinking about it, the cares of this world, the attention required to take care of the daily needs of life can cause our focus to get fixed on a very small point of perspective.
Our needs of the moment can so dominate our thinking, that our hopes, expectations, our dreams and visions become limited and overwhlemed by the mundane stuff. In such situations we easily become prey to fears, hopelessnes or purposelessness.
Isolated from an awareness and considertaion of the bgger life picture we can feel a sense of lonliness and can begin to think that all is futile from our myopic focus on this world only.
This was something of the case with Abram. Though he was aware of God being with him, he had also been distracted by his concern for his nephew, Lot, and all his people, and for his own family and all his people. But now separated from all those folk and their cares and concerns, Abram can now hear from God at a deeper and more personal dimension. The first thing God tells him to do is look up, and get the bigger picture. Open your eyes to the greater perspective, the greater possibiliy and the greater blessing that is being revealed to you.
From time to time we all need to take a moment to look up and see the vastness of the expanse of the world, the universe beyond our own and with that perspective begin to consider the greatness and the enormity of the person of God, and the greatness and enormity of His love for us. While we are here on earth we are in the world but we are not of it. By God’s Spirit we are given the provilege of walkig in the Awesome Height, the Profound Depth the Vast Expanse of His Love as His purpose for our lives in Him, by Him and through Him, is revealed to us, daily.
For Abram this was a profound vision and revelation that changed his life forever. And each of us has a profound and life transforming promise from God that is sure and filled with the power and authortiy of God to transfrom us into the image fo His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that the glory of God may rest on us and flow through us to all the world.
“…that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19