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TEXT: Genesis 13:1-18

MESSAGE: The Pursuit of More

 

“What’s your guiding voice in life?”

 

“An endless bombardment of news and gossip and images has rendered us manic information addicts. It broke me. It might break you, too. Every single minute on the planet, YouTube users upload 400 hours of video and Tinder users swipe profiles over a million times. Each day, there are literally billions of Facebook “likes.” Online outlets now publish exponentially more material than they once did, churning out articles at a rapid-fire pace, adding new details to the news every few minutes. Blogs, Facebook feeds, Tumblr accounts, tweets, and propaganda outlets repurpose, borrow, and add topspin to the same output.” — Andrew Sullivan 

 

“12:10-20…presents Abraham as an anxious man, a man of unfaith. He is ready to secure his own survival because at this point he does not trust exclusively in the promise…The text indicates that the temptation of unfaith comes immediately after his best resolve to faithfulness.” — Walter Brueggemann

 

The narrative breaks down in three ways. It’s…(1. The Return 2. The Test 3. The Path)

 

  1. The Return (v. 3-4)

From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord.”

 

“The narrater is surely suggesting that Abram is trying to recapture his previous experience of God.” — Gordon Wenham 

 

“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”

— Psalm 37:23-24

 

“…people of faith fail, just as others do. The difference is that when they fail, the do not fall because they return to the Lord in repentance, calling on his name and seeking forgiveness.” — Iain Duguid

 

2. The Test (v. 5-11)

Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time. So 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.” 10 Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company…”

 

“I pity celebrities, no I really do – Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, and Barbara Streisand, were once perfectly pleasant human beings. But now their wrath is awful…You see Sly, Bruce, and Barbara wanted fame. They worked, they pushed and the morning after each of them became famous they wanted to take an overdose. Because that giant thing they were striving for, that fame thing that was going to make everything OK, that was going to make their lives bearable, that was going to provide them with personal fulfillment and happiness had happened and they were still them.” — Cynthia Heimel

 

3. The Path (v. 12-18)

“Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom13 Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” 18 So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord.”

 

“…what was viewed as a great step forward was to be his ruin, for these cities were destined to destruction.” — Gordon Wenham

 

TAKEAWAYS: How do we listen for God’s voice?

 

  • God’s faithfulness over your failures

 

“Remember, therefore, it is not your hold of Christ that saves you – it is Christ; it is not your joy in Christ that saves you – it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument – it is Christ’s blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to your hand with which you are grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to your hope, but to Jesus, the source of your hope; look not to your faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith.  We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to your soul.” – Charles Spurgeon

 

  • Contentment over consumption

“…give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord? ’Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” — Proverbs 30:8-9

 

  • Long term over short term
  1. 14-15 God takes Abram to the highest place and tells him…“Lookaround from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west.15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.” 

 

“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” — Matthew 4:8-10