Lot and the garden of Eden

The relationship of Lot to Avram is an intriguing one when you look at the covenant God makes with Avram. In Genesis 12, God speaks to Avram: Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonours you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen 12:1-3 ESV) Here we see that it is Avram by himself who is addressed. Avram is the one who has to leave to go and possess the land; and he is the one whom God will bless; and he is the one by whom blessings or curses will come upon others; and he is the one through whom the whole world will be blessed. But immediately after God has spoken to Avram, we are told: So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. (Gen 12:4 ESV) Now Lot […]

Lot leaves Abram – Abram leaves the lot.

Up from Egypt Now, after his little diversion in Egypt, Abram returns to Canaan and we are told: So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold. 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. 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 quarrelling arose between Abram’s herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time. So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarrelling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll […]

Lech lecha! Get out!

Lech lecha! The way in which the story of Abraham is introduced has always fascinated me. Or rather, I should say, the way in which I have most often heard the story of Abraham introduced has always fascinated me. Abraham seems to appear, like Melchizadek, out of nowhere. Now admittedly, I have mainly only heard the story from Reformed Church preachers or Jewish rabbis. The former preach on Abraham as part of their understanding of the covenant, and the latter do so as the father of their nation, even if he runs a long second behind Moses as a founding father. And even when you read through Beresheit from the creation story, there still seems to be a hiatus between Babel and Ur. So what is the connection between Abraham and the eleven chapters that have gone before him? Is there continuity or a gap. Before I look at that, I want to look at something else in the story that also seems odd. Gen 12. The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I […]

Out of Egypt I called my Son – exile and return.

In Genesis 14, we come to the story of Abram’s visit to Egypt and the somewhat peculiar incidents that follow. I say peculiar, because they are strange events to us, even though similar events occur later in Genesis. But what seems to us a strange and quirky little story has a far greater significance for the story of God’s people than we could imagine at first glance. This story of Abram descending to and ascending from Egypt becomes prototypical, it sets a pattern, for the whole history of Israel that follows. And that’s what we want to explore in this article. We pick up the story at chapter 12, verse 7, where Abram has recently come into the land of Canaan, only to find it inhabited, strangely enough, by Canaanites. “The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him. From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. […]

The power of three

It’s Good Friday today, and in church this morning, the stage has been given an Easter theme with a depiction of Golgotha and three crosses. After looking at this for a moment, I suddenly had a weird thought (not too uncommon for me, I suppose) Why three crosses? Easter was, after all, about Jesus the Messiah who was crucified during the time of Pontius Pilate. It is Jesus’ death that brings forgiveness and healing to the world, only Jesus’ death. What place did the other two crosses have? Well it seems when you look back through the Bible, God often does things with three people, or three types of people. We see this fairly clearly with Abram. God comes to him and promises to bless him. But God does more than that. In Genesis 12 we read: Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonours you […]

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