Friday, June 19, 2015

All Things New: Abram, the Unknown Road, pt 2

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

There were many transitions in Abram's life once he left Haran; his was a nomadic lifestyle for many years.  He went to Egypt and returned, a wealthy man. 

Something like ten years had gone by as he wandered.   I suspect Abram considered Lot his heir and assumed God would fulfill the promise to 'make him a great nation' through Lot and his offspring.  I mean, that's logical, right?  Wouldn't any of us have figured out how a promise from God would manifest?  Based on circumstances and our own understanding?

 But God had other plans.  And Abram still had to be separated from the last remnant of his father's household.  We pick up the narrative in Genesis 13:5 (using the NIV 84 today):

Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents.  But the land could not support them...and quarreling arose between Abram's herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. 

 God blessed both households so much that they could no longer stay together.  Abram recognized the situation, even though it must have grieved him to send Lot away and see his interpretation of God's promise turn to nothing.

So Abram said to Lot, "Let's not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers....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." 

Lot's choice of the lush Jordan plain left Abram with  God's promise to give the length and the breadth of the land to him and to his offspring, which would be 'like the dust of the earth.'  Ultimately, Abram settled near Hebron...and he made his servant Eliezer his heir. I don't know that Abram really gave up on God keeping that promise, but his expectation dwindled.  He was somewhere between 80 and 85 years old and still had no children born to him. I wonder what his thoughts were as he designated someone from Damascus...who wasn't even blood kin to the one who would inherit all after he was gone.  Did he HAVE to designate an heir?  Was leaving that position open pending the provision of God even an option?  Or was that just the final acceptance of God's NO regarding Lot, performed as a way to close that door in his heart?  This is one bit of the story that is usually passed over with barely a mention, but I honestly think it was a key moment of transition in Abram's life.

The order he thought was in his life was not God's plan for him.  This is a lesson that Abram had to learn and relearn and relearn...his way of working things was not God's way of working things.  It didn't work regarding protecting himself while living in foreign kingdoms, it didn't work in regard to passing on the legacy of God to the next generation. Abram did get it...finally...but he walked through turmoil and heartache to get there.  And he was the friend of God.

If Abram struggled so with the alignment of life's circumstances with the promises of God, how can I be surprised when I find myself perplexed by the same thing?  If Abram had moments when he fell back on his own logic and his own perspective, how can I chastise myself if I realize that's just exactly what I have done?

Abram was human.  Just like the rest of us.  He didn't have it down...but he did love God.  And God didn't reject him when he messed it up.  He still called Abram His friend.

A transition is not a one-shot deal; it is a process.  Even one mishandled for a season can be set right once God's perspective is manifest.  How can I get out of my perspective into His?   How am I allowing the enemy to accuse because I have transitions that I didn't handle perfectly?  

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