What a change we see in Abraham from Chapter 12 of Genesis to Chapter 13. In Chapter 12, Abraham, actually, at that time he was still Abram, goes down to Egypt because of a famine. There, he becomes concerned that his life is in danger. His wife, Sarai, is a real hottie and he thinks that if Pharaoh knows that they are married, Pharaoh will kill Abram and take Sarai. He gets Sarai to hide the fact that they are married, from Pharaoh.
It is pretty amazing that Abram was so weak at that time, that he was willing to allow his wife to be in Pharaoh’s bed. In fact, he got rich off the deal. Because Pharaoh thought that they were just brother and sister, not only did he not kill Abram, but he blessed him with “sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.” (Gen. 12:16)
Yet God’s hand was on Abram. Even in his lack of faith, the Lord protects them both. A plague had come on Pharaoh’s house and he realized (we don’t know how) that it was because he had taken another man’s wife. He sends Abram away with his wife and all the goodies he had been given. That could have only been the grace of God.
In Chapter 13, he becomes even wealthier. I think he began to see that this “God thing” was real. He must have recognized that the blessing on his life was supernatural and he learns to trust God.
Then conflict comes. His workers and those of his nephew Lot begin to quarrel. Abram says to Lot:
“So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.” (Gen. 13:8-9)
Abraham had come to the place where he understood the blessing and favor of God. He was becoming God’s friend. He knew it didn’t matter which area Lot chose, as God’s blessing would remain on him. Lot chose the lush area near Sodom. It didn’t matter to Abram—if God determines blessing, then blessed you will be.
When I first came into ministry some 30 years ago, a fellow elder opposed me greatly. He would seek to embarrass me publicly. He was threatened by me because he thought we were in competition to one day replace the senior leader. The truth is, it was the last thing on my mind. But he came after me. Finally, when I had had enough, I was going to rebuke him. I shared this with a mentor and he said, “Yeah, you could do that. Or you could pray and fast for him.”
Ouch! Not what I wanted to hear. Clearly, God was calling me to take the low road. I humbled myself and honored him, praying and fasting for God to bless him. Within a short time, he left the ministry. In other words, as long as I was getting offended and taking things into my own hands, the issue remained. Yes, like Abram, God was still blessing me, but this fellow was a thorn in my side. The minute I began to pray for him, God resolved it—and quickly. Years later, God restored my relationship with this man.
I came to the place, however, where I realized that if I humbled myself and trusted God, no one could keep me from His favor and blessing. This principle has worked time and time in again in my life and ministry. Abram learned this in a big way and, after Lot left him, the Lord renewed His covenant with Abram.
The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” (Gen. 14-17)
Are there areas in your life that you have not surrendered to the Lord, areas where you don’t trust Him? Learn to live as Abram did, realizing that if “God be for you, who can be against you?” (Romans 8:31)
This article originally appeared on Messiah’s Mandate, November 16, 2017, and reposted with permission.