Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The life of Abraham - Genesis 13

In Genesis 13, we see a slightly different picture of Abram. Upon his return from Egypt, it was time for him to take control of the land the Lord had promised him. He was traveling with his nephew, and they had quite a menagerie between them. Between all their herds and people, plus the people already living in the land, they couldn’t possibly stay together. The resources were limited in this arid climate. They had to split up if everyone was going to survive. As is His nature, God used this as a chance to test Abram’s faith.

As we saw in the last chapter, Abram failed a minor test of faith when he didn’t trust God to protect him from the Pharaoh. Abram took matters into his own hands and God had to protect him by punishing Pharaoh. This time, Abram passes the test by allowing Lot to have the first choice of land. It seems like a simple gesture, but Abram basically trusted that God would provide for him with whatever choice was left. Because of this, God rewarded Abram with not only the land he was given, but promised him Lot’s as well.

We will see in the coming chapters that Abram is quite a dynamic character. One moment he shows an abundance of faith, like what we see here. In other moments he lacks faith. The moment where he lacked faith in chapter 12 is not the last time. To me, this shows his humanity and allows us to relate to his experience. Abram is clearly one of the most important figures in all of the Bible. He is a pillar of faith and the patriarch of God’s promise for humanity. It would be easy to install him to some lofty status that we cannot reach. Instead, his humanity shows that he was just like us. He was weak, fallible, and at times, confused.

It is also an opportunity to see God’s patience. This patience not only manifests itself with Abram, but with us as well. There are a number of times where Abram took God’s plan into his own hands, and failed as a result. When he patiently waited for God to act he had success. In a way, God never lost faith in Abram even though Abram briefly lost faith in Him from time to time.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

It is reassuring to know that God always has faith in me, even though I lose faith in him.