THERE WAS A STRIFE
Genesis 13:10 ¶ And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
Genesis 13:14 ¶ And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: 15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. 16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. 17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. 18 Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD.
The Lord had instructed Abram while he was in the Ur of the Chaldees to get out from his kindred, but his nephew Lot was still with him. He has now been separated from Ur, and from his father, and his father’s house. He has also been separated from Egypt and Pharaoh. Yet Lot was still with him.
But Lot was not in the promise. Isaiah 51:2 Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. Lot is always said to walk with Abram and not with God. (Genesis 11:31, 12:4, 13:1,5). God delivered him from Sodom for Abraham’s sake. Genesis 19:29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.
Lot is not listed in Hebrews chapter eleven, where we look for the ‘hero’s of faith.’ He is not blessed by Melchizedek with Abram. (Genesis 14:18, Hebrews 7:9,10). He is not listed in Messiah’s lineage. (Matthew 1:1,2; Luke 3:34). He forced warfare on Abram and his confederates. (Genesis 14:12,13,16, 24). His wife stands as a warning to those who draw back from the faith! (Luke 17:31,32; Hebrews 10:38,39). There are only the ‘days’ of two men whom the Lord said the times would be like at the end of the world, and one of them is Lot’s! (Luke 17:26,28).
And both Noah and Lot got drunk! Noah’s drunkenness brought forth the separation of all the races of the entire world. (Genesis 9:19-27). And Lot’s drunkenness brought forth, through incest, two races of people who proved to bring forth severe trials for Israel for many decades to come. (Genesis 19:30-38).
But here in our study passage we finally have the separation of Abram from Lot. Sanctification requires separation, but separation always provides liberty. Please take serious note of verse fourteen listed above in our passage. It clearly states it was only after that Lot was separated from him that the LORD said unto Abram! Dear soul, it is only after we have come out from among them that God will more fully be our God! 2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
And it was only after Judas went out from the disciples that the Lord Jesus spoke of his glory. And then he gave us his blessed teachings of John chapters fourteen through sixteen. And thereafter we are allowed to listen to God, the Man, pray to God, the Father, in chapter seventeen. John 13:30 He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night. 31 Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.
For the Lord Jesus Christ is the Word, who is God! (John 1:1,2,14). Therefore He is the same God who spoke to Abraham. And he will always be like himself! He will never change! Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Therefore as he acted to Abram at the separation from Lot, so he conducts himself at the separation of Judas from the disciples, and for us as we separate from unequal yokes! This includes the unequal yoke of our natural mindedness! Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 1 John 3:20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
It is in the spiritual creation of the redeemed soul (Ephesians 2:10), the same as it was in the creation of the natural order! The Lord God divided in order to bring forth perfection! Genesis 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
But we must take note of the source of the strife. It was the nurturing of animals! Genesis 13:6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. 7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. Then Abram, Lot, the Canaanite and the Perizzite all had the same issue of feeding their animals. And just what does this mean to us? That all men born of the flesh will have to deal with those base animal influences from a carnal mind! Ecclesiastes 3:18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts. 19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. 20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. 21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
But Lot dwelt on the level of those basic human instincts, only lifting up his eyes (Genesis 13:10), upon the well watered plains of Jordan. Yet Abram had God to lift up his eyes (Genesis 13:14), to looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (Hebrews 11:10). He was given to see things through the eyes of God. …for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7).
And there were two things that Abram had that are not listed in Lot’s possessions. Consider these two verses: Genesis 13:2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. 5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. Abram had silver and gold, but Lot has not these listed with his animals. And those are the things that every Spirit-borned believer has that no religionist possesses! For the silver represents redemption applied! It is the price to be paid for the death of a servant! See Exodus 21:32 and Zechariah 11:12. And this is the price Judas received for betrayal of the Great Servant of God – the Lord Jesus Christ! Matthew 26:15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
The Lord Jesus said that Abraham saw his day and was glad. John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. For Abraham and Isaac went up upon the same mountain (Moriah), with the wood, fire and knife for the sacrifice of Isaac as did God, the Father, and the Lord Jesus upon that same mountain, now called Calvary! And the Son had the wood of the cross on his back, with the fire of God’s justice and the knife of God’s judgment in the hand of God the Father.
Then Abram, as with every true believer, had gold! This represents the true and tried, experiential faith! 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
Revelation 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. Most religionists are fantasizing about walking on streets of gold in ‘heaven.’ But they don’t realize that this is referring to walking on the tried faith of the believer in the present. The just shall live by faith! And all Spirit-given faith is tried in the fires of affliction! For that city that John saw coming down out of heaven, (Revelation 21:2), was the church coming down at Pentecost! (Acts 2:1-4).
That was the source of the strife. Now let us see the purpose of the strife. Contention and strife are, as are all things, for the glory of God! Psalm 76:10 Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.
The world’s tribulation gives us opportunity to identify and appreciate the Lord’s peace! John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Abraham’s son, Isaac, had the same strife from some herdsmen as well. Genesis 26:18 And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them. 19 And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water. 20 And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him. 21 And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah. 22 And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.
Those wells that were provided by the previous generation for Isaac’s present nourishment are ordained to be stopped up by the forces of the enemy. But that is in order that Isaac may learn, by experience, the strife of the spiritual life. He is forced to dig new wells for his present needs. But his, like his father’s shall not be used without that tribulation our Lord spoke of in the world! For every rose also comes with many thorns.
And even with the digging of new wells, we, like Isaac, shall also have the herdmen of Gerar, to take from us the rightful claim of the fruit of our labor! The Hebrew word, “Gerar” comes from a word translated, “shall destroy” in Proverbs 21:7. And they are the instruments of Satan, sent to disturb our outer peace in order that we may be driven to, and more fully appreciate, our spiritually provided inner peace! John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
For if we persevere, we shall finally be rewarded with our Rehoboth! Remember that verse in Psalm 76:10, quoted above? Well, this wrath is finally restrained, as it would not fill the requirement of glorifying God! Finally, the herdmen of Gerar are kept back from this last well! Therefore it’s name means, “Room, width, or, a broadway!”
1 Chronicles 4:39 And they went to the entrance of Gedor, even unto the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks. 40 And they found fat pasture and good, and the land was wide, and quiet, and peaceable; for they of Ham had dwelt there of old. 41 And these written by name came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and smote their tents, and the habitations that were found there, and destroyed them utterly unto this day, and dwelt in their rooms: because there was pasture there for their flocks.
Dear Heart, Ham and his cursed race may presently occupy the places of your need, but let patience have her perfect work, and you shall see your Rehoboth! For none of the Patriarchs could realize that one day, in a far off realm, the Lord God Himself would sit at their well and seek for drink! John 4:5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.
Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Pastor Gene Breed
November 19, 2015