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#344 SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON #11 GENESIS 13b-14a
TO WALK BY SIGHT DEVASTATES THE SOUL
In the last sermon, we spoke briefly about the distinction between Lot and Abram. Lot walked by sight. Abram walked by faith. In this study, we will see how totally devastating and destructive it is for the soul when a person walks by sight. In GEN 13:10a we read, "And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan..." His heart was attracted to what he saw with his eyes; that is what destroyed him, his house, and all that he had. He coveted what he saw with his eyes; he walked by the sight of his eyes whereas Abram walked by faith in the promise God gave him that he would have the land of Canaan as a possession.
Notice too how Abram lifted up his eyes, but not until he was so directed by the Lord. Let's look for the differences in the hearts of the two men. GEN 13:14 says, "And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, [to see the land which the Lord his God had chosen for him] and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward." Abram did not lift up his eyes during the time the separation was taking place; he was not considering what each would take in order to settle the strife. Abram, from his heart, released claim to everything, allowing Lot to choose his part.
Abram was able to leave the matter to the Lord; he knew the Lord had promised the land to him. Abram was willing to sacrifice that which the Lord had promised to him to allow Lot first choice. Why? He knew the Lord was able to fulfill His promise. If the Lord wanted him to have that land, the Lord would give it to him. He did not need to strive with Lot for it.
Abram recognized this point: if the Lord promised him the land, Abraham did not have to protect it. People who are walking by sight are the cause of much strife today. Human reasoning says, "The Lord gave; the Lord promised, but I..." Then "I" become god. Abram was able to take even that which the Lord had promised him and put it all on the altar. The account of this separation is found in GEN 13:8-9; notice where Abram's heart lay. "And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left." He did not strive over that which the Lord had promised him; he knew the Lord would fulfill His promise.
Now see how the Lord confirmed His promise after they had separated. GEN 13:14 says, "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." The Lord showed Abram what He had for him and reconfirmed His promise. Now Abraham could lift up his eyes and see the land the Lord, his God, had for him. We do not need to stand in our own strength, protecting what the Lord has given us. Why? The example of Abraham demonstrates that the Lord will take care of it.
The Lord looks at the heart of a person. If that individual can trust God from his heart, he doesnt have to defend himself. Gods faithfulness is the best defense in this case. When all the strife was ended, the Lord looked at the heart and confirmed His purpose unto Abram.
The heart is the womb of the mind. Action springs forth from what is in the heart. An honest heart understands what Hannah acknowledged in 1-SA 2:3. "Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed." She is telling us the Lord knows; He understands the thoughts and intents of the heart, but He is watching the actions. Action is the fruit of what is in the heart. If the heart is in total surrender to the Lord, the actions will establish the fact.
Abram's actions verified what was in his heart; he was able to put it all on the altar. If the Lord had promised it, then the Lord would do it. The Lord was able to preserve the land for him; Abraham did not have to use his might to preserve that which others might try to take.
After his own slips and falls, the wisest man's instruction on this point is recorded in PRO 4:23-27. "Keep thy heart with all diligence [That means in all circumstances the Lord brings to you, first, examine your heart. What are the motives for your decision or direction of moving?]; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. [This is also Hannah's message.] Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. [Don't look at forbidden things for they generate a desire in the heart that leads to wrong actions.] Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil."
Our Saviour spoke of the single-eye concept, which means keeping your eyes on Christ. Your eyes are to look straight ahead to the Lord rather than at all the temptations of the world. The single-eye concept means to keep your eyes fixed on Christ. If you want to cross a wide, boiling stream on a narrow pole, you must keep your eye on an object ahead and walk straight across. If you stop in the middle and look down, you will soon be swimming in the water. This is Solomon's message. Keep your eyes straight ahead. Fix your eye on godly principles and the Word of God as the gauge and barometer upon which to govern your thoughts. When the eye leaves that, you have the same kind of problems into which Lot, Eve, and all flesh falls. The lust of the eye is the problem.
How does a person ponder the path of his feet? Solomon tells us to remove our foot from evil. We are to look at the footsteps of Christ and the principles of Scripture. Then all our actions are to be governed by those principles that are pleasing to the Lord.
The eye is one of Satan's most convenient doors for access into an unguarded heart. When our heart is not on guard, Satan has an easy access. Solomon said, "Keep thy heart with all diligence." 1JO 2:16 says, "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." If something is not of Christ, it is of the world.
Walking by the sight of the eyes is the cause of most failures and falls ever since the beginning of time. The lustful eye brings forth a covetous heart, which produces wicked actions. Do you understand why Solomon told us to "Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee." When our eyes are taken off the Lord Jesus Christ, we are bound to slip and fall.
Why did Satan choose a serpent to beguile man? A serpent has the power of fascination. I personally watched a serpent swallow a toad alive. As long as a serpents eyes are fixed on the eyes of its victim, the victim is powerless to move. The serpent needs to merely move close enough to swallow his victim alive. The victim may shake and shiver, but it will not move. The power of fascination comes through the eye. The only way to break that power is for something to come between and break the focus. When the line of sight is broken, the intended victim can flee.
We must understand this principle about the power of sin. As long as our eyes are fixed upon sin, the power of fascination leaves us powerless. Looking unto the blood of Christ by faith is the only way to break the line of sight so the eyes are no longer fixed on that sin. Jesus said in JOH 12:32, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." Jesus is likened to the brazen serpent that Moses lifted up before the people, Cf. JOH 3:14. Jesus also has a drawing power. It is the reason our eyes must be fixed upon Him.
Walking by the sight of our eyes began in GEN 3:6, "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, [Her heart was drawn out in covetousness, and she acted upon it.] she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." After Eve's heart had been deceived, Satan used her eye to cause her to act upon the covetous desires that he had planted in her heart. Do you see that what the eyes saw caused the wrong actions? Isn't this what happened to Lot? He lifted up his eyes and beheld; then he chose and fell.
Was not this the same method Satan used to destroy Achan? In JOS 7:21 we read, "When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it." The Lord had commanded them not to take any of the spoils of Jericho, but when Achan saw the silver and gold, he coveted them. Through the eyes, Satan entered his heart; covetousness set in, and actions followed. Do you see what happens when eyes are taken off the Lord Jesus Christ?
Oh how we see the truth of what we read in 1-SA 16:7b, "...for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." Do you see how important it is for us to guard our hearts? We must analyze the motives of our actions. Is it for God's honor? Is it according to the principles of God's Word? Does it comply with the Word of God? Our eyes must constantly be on the Lord Jesus Christ, "and his name is called The Word of God," REV 19:13.
The Word of God must be our central focus. We see the truth of this in the examples the Lord has given to us in Scripture. When Lot lifted up his eyes and beheld, he saw "...all the plain of Jordan...[was] even as the garden of the LORD," verse 10. He coveted it. However, he did not see what God saw, which is so different from what the eyes of man see. Lot saw riches, or as a person might say today, dollar signs. The Lord saw the wickedness of Sodom behind those dollar signs. God looks upon the hearts of men. Before the holy eyes of the Lord, "the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly," verse 13.
Sometimes we yearn for this or that venture, seeing the dollar signs. The Lord is looking at our hearts. We must remove our eyes from that and turn to Christ for our directions.
The history of Lot recorded in GEN 13:10; & 19:14 is so awesome! As we study the history of Lot, notice that once the backsliding of a child of God begins, it proceeds down a slippery slope to destruction until the Lord intervenes. Backsliding is terrible; once started down the slippery slope, there is no backing out. When our eyes are taken off Christ, the power of sin takes over. We may see our slide downward; we may cry out, but only the Lord's intervention can deliver us. This is what happened to Lot. First he lifted up his eyes and beheld, then he chose what he saw, and then he fell. These things teach us what the Lord saw because He does not look "...on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart."
First, Lot "lifted up his eyes, and beheld," (v:10). That was the beginning; he was not on guard. Second, "Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan." Moses chose rather to suffer affliction with the children of God than to have all the treasures of Egypt. Lot chose all the plains of Jordan. Lot is progressing down the slippery slope, a backsliding condition. Third, Lot "separated" himself from Abram, (v:11). Now the communion with the children of God is broken and cut off. Fourth, Lot "dwelt in the cities of the plain." Lot did more than walk away from Abram. He dwelt in the plains where he appeared to be coveting and moving toward Sodom. Fifth, "Lot "pitched his tent towards Sodom," (v:12). Lot has slipped further and further down the slippery slope. Sixth, Lot "dwelt in Sodom," (14:12). Lot moved his abode to Sodom, and finally, we see his daughters married to the men of Sodom who perished with the city, (19:14).
Do you see the one-way ticket that comes with taking our eyes off the Lord? GEN 19:14 says, "And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law." These men wouldn't leave. Lot had brought his daughters there. Why shouldn't they mock him?
Lot would have perished in Sodom, but for Gods special intervening grace. We see this same principle in the backsliding condition of God's children. Until the Lord intervenes, coming between His child and the power of sin, there is no returning.
When our hearts begin to stray away from the Lord, every step we take is another step away from Him. Oh, beloved, now we can see why Jesus said in MAT 5:29-30, "And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee [If your eye is fixed upon and coveting something, cut it off, turn from it, and look straight ahead into the Word of God. Turn your eyes unto Jesus and His footsteps as your example! Don't get caught in Satan's snare.]: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee [If you have begun acting on what you have seen, cut it off, proceed no further, plead for restraining grace!], cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell."
The venom of sin in the heart is like leprosy. It so often seems to have such a small beginning, but oh how it spreads if we do not immediately flee to that fountain that was opened for all sin and uncleanness! How dreadful is its end! If our eyes are caught on forbidden things, we should immediately flee to the fountain filled with blood from Emmanuel's veins. We must immediately cry unto the Lord to deliver us. If we do not, we will see how dreadful the end will be.
Let's look at some other illustrations that run parallel with the history of Lot. Peter's denial of his Lord was not an impulsive act under a severe crisis, but it was the end link in a chain of events. That chain of events brought Peter to the hour of denial; it was the last link in the chain.
There was first the boasting and self-confidence; it was a heart problem. He did not keep his heart with all diligence. The leaven of the Pharisees that promises one he will be something is the indication it is time to guard the heart. MAR 14:29 says, "But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I." Peter was so confident in himself.
Then there was his "sleeping" in the Garden when he was commanded to watch and pray. When we are very self-confident, Satan lulls us to sleep spiritually. In MAR 14:37 we read, "And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?" This is the Peter who boasted how strong he was. Jesus asked "Sleepest Thou?" This was the second step away from God. He was self-confident; he was also off guard.
The next link in the chain of events was his following Christ "afar off." Peter is still following Jesus, but at a distance. MAT 26:58 tells us, "But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end." This was the next link in the chain of events that led to Peters denial of his Lord. Do you see with whom Peter sat? He chose the company of the servants of the high priest. He is no longer identifying himself with the Lord Jesus Christ; he is sitting in the company of the enemies of Christ. Do you see how the chain of events is bringing Peter farther and farther away from his Lord? Had it not been for God's sovereign grace and His eternal love, Peter would have perished with Judas. Where is the difference? Both deserted Jesus. Peter was seating himself at the fire together with the Lord's enemies to see the end. He couldn't believe without seeing. You have heard the expression, "Let's wait and see." Peter was doing that. He had actually joined the enemies of Christ.
MAT 26:69 says, "Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee." See where Peter was sitting. He had come to the point of denying even knowing Jesus.
The final result was that when his speech betrayed him, he chose to identify with Christ's enemies by going back to using their form of conversation. Often a person can tell who others are serving by their speech. Their language betrays them. If they are using lascivious language, cursing, swearing, and blaspheming the God of heaven, you need not ask if they are Christians. You know who they serve. They have clearly identified themselves.
Now Peter came to the last link in the chain of events of backsliding. What did he do? MAT 26:73-74 says, "And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew." Why did Peter curse and swear? His speech had betrayed him; he did not want them to be able to identify him with Christ because of his speech! Do you see how far Peter fell?
What happened? When backsliding begins in an unguarded heart, the result is sin. Then the Lord intervened with the voice of the cock. In His providence, the Lord used the cock as the symbol just as He had told Peter He would. At the voice of the rooster, Peter remembered. Peter turned and fixed his eyes on the blessed Redeemer; he saw the look of love and his heart melted. The Lord broke the power of sin, and Peter left the company of the enemies of Christ. He went out and wept bitterly. Now he saw the power of sin and the folly of his way, but the precious look of love in the eyes of Christ melted Peter's heart.
Lot found also that he was vexed by the filthy conversation of the wicked. 2PE 2:6-8 says, "And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.)" Not only did he hear, but he saw their sinful deeds.
After Lot became a resident of Sodom, and his daughters married Sodomites, he realized he was trapped and no longer able to redeem himself. His righteous soul was vexed, and he had placed himself in that situation. Lot not only heard wickedness, he saw their wicked deeds, and his soul was vexed.
From Genesis 14, we learn that the Lord removed Lot from Sodom in the battle of the kings. Lot had sunk to the point of living in Sodom with all he had. The Lord intervened and gave Lot a way of escape, but Lot didn't use it. Again, he coveted and moved back into Sodom.
GEN 14:11-12 says, "And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed." At this point, it seems that Lot had lost all his goods, and his life was in peril. The Lord took everything away from him. Through God's intervention, God sent Abram. God spared Lot's life, and all his goods were restored.
GEN 14:14-16 tells us how the Lord spared Lot. "And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people." The Lord sent his servant, Abram, to deliver the whole city for Lot's sake.
We might think that Lot had learned his lesson, but what did he do? He didn't leave. Lot used his recovered freedom only to return to Sodom with all his property. See what we are by nature. If it weren't for God's eternal love, we would destroy ourselves, departing from the Lord never to return. The Lord is so faithful. The Lord returned and intervened again and again.
What is man? Isn't this account synonymous with Jesus' parable about the rich man in LUK 16:30-31? "And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." Lot was delivered from Sodom and turned right back on his own accord. This is the position in which we find ourselves. If it weren't for the restraining grace of God and His power to draw us away from sin, we would be as the sow returning to wallow in the mire, Cf. 2PE 2:20-22. Lot did it.
Outside of God's grace, man will not hear. We see proof of this in the parable in JOH 12:10-11. Here is evidence that man will not hear even if one were raised from the dead. "But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus." Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead. Now Lazarus was a witness of the resurrection and the life that is in Christ. With lack of penitence and hardness of heart, these, men, who had seen with their own eyes that Lazarus was raised from the dead, consulted with each other about putting Lazarus to death. Why? Many came to believe on Jesus.
In the wonder of God's providence, He brings about His eternal decrees as He did with the strife that He allowed to arise between Abram and Lot. Nothing happens by chance. God sent that strife to bring about His eternal decree. We must understand this principle. Jesus said in MAT 10:34, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household."
It takes grace to realize that one of your own sons can be at variance with you, resisting the truth, but it is of the Lord's sending. Why? God wants us to put all in His hands. God wants our hearts in undivided submission to Him. The trial of our faith is more precious than silver and gold. This type of circumstance is a test of whether or not we will obey. The trial of our faith is a trial of obedience under circumstances that are totally contrary to all human reasoning.
Abram obeyed godly principles. He told Lot to choose even after the Lord had promised the land to him. These things are sent not only as a trial of the obedience of our faith, but also to accomplish His eternal purpose of bringing about His decrees. He sent strife between Abram and Lot.
As we see from ISA 51:2, God had called Abram "alone," but at least two of his relatives accompanied him when he left Ur of the Chaldees. In God's providence, however, God's end was accomplished. Terah, Abram's father, died at Haran, and Lot was possessed with a wrong spirit to be able to dwell in unity. Remember that God had called Abram alone; he was to leave behind everyone near and dear to him. He didn't call Abram, Lot, Terah, and all their relatives to go because they were all serving idols. God wanted Abram alone to serve Him, not idols. God separated Abram from the others. Lot's heart was still set on the idols of this world, even after his deliverance from Sodom. Disobedience does not prevent God from carrying out His purpose.
PRO 19:20-21 tells us to "Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand." It was the Lord's counsel that Abram came alone. Lot still had an idol in his heart; he had a wrong attitude and was still serving the land of Egypt. God would not allow Lot to be a stumbling block to Abram. God sent the strife which brought about separation between Lot and Abram.
We can see in so many ways how Abram possessed the Spirit of Christ. He had a totally different spirit than Lot. Abram was the one to whom God promised the land even before the strife. In GEN 12:7 we read, "And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him." Yet Abram allowed Lot to choose land for himself.
Abram demonstrated the Spirit of Christ that we find recorded in EPH 4:2-3, "With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Abram pleaded that there be no strife between them; he was "Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Abram did not have a heart of division between himself and Lot. Even after the separation, Abram came to Lot's rescue when he heard Lot had been captured. He armed his forces and went out to fight the biggest king in the valley. He went with 300 men, which, humanly speaking, put himself in peril to deliver Lot.
Carefully notice the words of Abram in GEN 13:9. "Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left." Abram was a peacemaker, "Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
Abram clearly demonstrated the Spirit of Christ by waiving his rights in order to be a peacemaker. Jesus waived all of His own rights to become our Peacemaker. In PHI 2:5-7 we read, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, [to be our Peacemaker] and was made in the likeness of men."
Jesus thought it not robbery to be equal with God; Adam tried it, but it was robbery. The Lord Jesus gave up all of His rights. He gave them up, leaving His throne to become a servant made in the likeness of man.
Abram would not cause strife by arguing his rights. Have you ever done that? Arent we all guilty? Abram had the right to that land; it was given to him by the Lord. He was able to put it all on the altar as a peace offering to be a peacemaker. So many of us cause strife by arguing our rights, but Abram gave up his rights to prevent strife. You and I must have that mind of Christ if we are to find any consolation in Him.
PHI 2:1-5 explains, "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit [Do you fellowship in the Spirit of Christ?], if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."
We must be in the Spirit of Christ, meaning we must say, "Thy will be done." Can we be hanging on the cross of sacrifice asking the Father to forgive them because they don't know what they are doing? We are to do nothing through strife. The only way to accomplish this is by waiving our rights. It means not striving in our own strength, but letting the Lord protect us and our rights. If it is His will, it will be. It might be later; we might have to be like the dust of the street and be walked upon first. If God wants you to prevail, you will. Let the Lord do it. Read those verses again. Do you have any consolation in Christ? Then be of a like mind. The word "mind" is synonymous with the word "spirit." It is a mental disposition.
Although neither sin nor shame had any just claim against our blessed Saviour, see what we read in 2CO 5:21. See how He waived His rights! The God of glory, the God of heaven came down to take upon Himself our shame. See the mind of Christ that must be in us if we are to have any consolation in Christ. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." If we are still guarding and protecting our own rights and borders, we are not serving Christ. Nebuchadnezzars name means the protector of our own borders. Will you serve him or Christ? The king of confusion would have you protect your own borders.
Now see how far below the throne of heaven Christ made Himself in 2CO 5:21, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." How could Christ be dethroned any lower than that? He gave up His throne and was made sin and came under the wrath of the Father on our behalf. He suffered in Gethsemane, sweating blood and mocked while hanging on the cross. He knew no sin; He was not guilty of any sin. See the condescension of Christ, and "let this mind be in you."
Their walk in the footsteps of Christ can identify those who have the Spirit of Christ. 1PE 2:21-23 says, "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps [Do you have any consolation in Christ? Then follow His example!]: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." We have the Lord Jesus as our example.
If we decide to serve Nebuchadnezzar, the king of confusion, we have to protect our borders and stand up for our rights. However, if we want to follow the King of kings and Lord of lords, we must forsake our claim to our borders and rights and let the Lord Jesus Christ be our Protector. Now look at the example He gave us. "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." Jesus made no attempt to protect His rights or borders. He did not walk under the king of confusion. Nothing is more blessed in this life than to be able to walk in the Spirit of Christ. It means committing all to the One who judges righteously. Being reviled is sharp and painful. What answer can you give? The best answer is no answer. When Christ was reviled, He did not retaliate with reviling; He commended it to One who judges righteously.
We may have a controversy with someone and never understand the intent of their heart. As a result, we can never have just judgment; we cannot judge another person's thoughts or motives. If we understand charity, we must look at every person in the best possible light. We cannot judge them. We must commit them into the hands of One who judges righteously because in the end, He will be glorified and we will be vindicated if we are right.
Abram would far rather surrender his rights than to give occasion to the enemies of God to blaspheme God's Name through strife among the brethren as we see from GEN 13:7-8. "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. [That was Abram's concern; he did not want them to see strife among the brethren and give cause for them to blaspheme his God.] And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren."
It is important that we do not bring blasphemy upon God's name by having strife between the brethren. In our lifetimes, we will see many occasions for strife, and often we must plead with our brothers that contentions must cease. We cannot be contentious; if we must separate, we must do it but contentions must cease. That was the situation between Abram and Lot. It was better to separate than to live in contention. We cannot continue in contention. That is the scriptural mandate from Abram and Lot. Abram saw the wrong in contention between their herdsmen and the Canaanites and the Perizzites dwelling in the land. We must be so careful that we do not bring reproach upon God's holy name by our actions. When God gives us the grace to suffer wrong for His name, the world sees that too. We must be able to not only suffer the wrong, but we must be able to take it patiently because it is well-pleasing unto the Lord. Amen.
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