Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Gen 13-15 for Jan 6

Where would you rather be when you have to choose, but may make a mistake: among your own relatives who know you (Gen 13:1-5)? or could you you see yourself being satisfied with the company and presence of God (13:14-18)? That is, of course, if the choice were one or the other, and you were yourself convinced of the possibility of the two choices: Who's your preferred audience, if at some point you could not have both?

We can take this section of text as showing how the choices of Abraham (and Lot, 13:11) have deep interactions with the will of God: the choices affect them, their family, their future, and the long-term fulfillment of God's promises, even (13:15)!

So we can answer the question definitively, which we first asked: the story illustrates how Abraham never had to feel that a good choice was something God Himself won't work through. Here Abraham makes a choice which, although done honorably, also leads to long-term consequences which Abraham didn't know about, including great stuff about Abraham's own inheritance (15:7), Lot's rescue (once in a war, 14:16, and also later), Abraham's own power to make war in that region (14:15), and even the remote future four generations down the road (15:16)! So never feel that you are forced to make a choice that while good, is impossible for God to use.

Suppose even that Abraham ignored these "momentous" moments, too afraid to go forward, and was just going to live things out, in Canaan (13:12) for a period of time. This might have happened at that point, 13:12. But it is also here that the story wants us to notice, is God passive? No, He communicates with Abraham (13:14), and does tons of other things, besides giving Abraham victory and allies (14:13) in war. A strange personage, a king actually, comes as a priest to Abraham, to celebrate the victory with him and bless him, and give him an alternative allegiance than with the king of Sodom (14:18-24). God takes the initiative by providing circumstances like that, but directly makes His unilateral promises to Abraham (15:8-21), with not only repetition (12:7 cf. 13:15) of previous promises, but elaboration (15:5) and deepening (15:6) of them! God can lead and get through to Abram. He's not limited to what we do "in response," what results from our taking our steps. He knows our steps. He takes the initiative all around our steps! Here and there, before and after -- even to the point of sometimes telling us directly about His plans. He can get through to us. He's not limited in His means.

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