14 And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; 15 for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. 16 And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. 17 Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.”
18 Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the Lord.
Genesis 13:14-18, NKJV
Abram in Hebron
You will remember that in our last devotion, Lot separated from Abram and moved to the east because the land was not able to support all of their livestock. Giving Lot the first choice, Abram was left with what would seem to be the land that was not as desirable. However, it was not the land that caused Abram to be blessed or not, but rather, it was God.
In our passage above from Genesis 13, we find that God reaffirmed His promise to Abram. Not only did God promise to give to Abram all of the land he could see to the north, south, east, and west, but He also promised to make Abram's descendants as the dust of the earth.
We have the unique opportunity to look back on this passage, thousands of years later, and see exactly how God fulfilled both of these promises to Abram. First, we note that Israel, since 1948, has claimed this same land as their own. Though the boundaries vary from the original land, yet God has still given this land to the land of Israel, the physical descendants of Abram.
God has fulfilled the second part of this promise in two ways. Not only is this fulfilled by those who are of Jewish descent, but this promise has been fulfilled by all true believers, who are the spiritual descendants of Abram. Though Christians are in the minority, worldwide, yet they certainly do number as the dust of the earth and the sands of the seas.
What lessons do we find for us in this, the 21st century, from this passage in Genesis 13? How do we measure blessings? While it was true that Abram was a very rich man, was God only speaking of riches when He blessed Abram? No. As a matter of fact, riches, while considered a great blessing, can actually be a stumbling block, keeping people from Christ.
In Matthew 19, Jesus was approached by a rich young ruler. "Good teacher," he said, "What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?"
To Jesus' reply, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and com, follow Me," we are told that the man went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Was Jesus telling him that if he sold everything he could buy his way into heaven? No! Jesus saw into his heart of hearts and knew that the man had made money his god. He was willing to follow Christ, but not at the expense of losing his possessions.
In this case, riches were not a blessing to that young ruler for his riches kept him from heaven.
The true blessing that God gave to Abram was faith. After hearing from God, Abram, we are told, built an altar to the Lord in Hebron. Abram left the gods he had served and in obedience to God moved his family to the land of Canaan. Now, God has promised that all of this land would be given to him and to his descendants. In great humility, Abram built an altar to the praise and glory of God.
How are we blessed today? Anything we value that keeps us from the Lord Jesus Christ is not a blessing, no matter how happy it may make us. For truly, to have everything, but lose our very souls, is to have nothing. Yet to have none of the things of this world and yet to possess salvation through Christ bringing fellowship with God, is to have everything.
Nothing in this world can be taken with us when we leave this life. Our souls, however, are eternal. To have Christ is to live with Him forever! There is no greater blessing available to us!
Go, then, to Christ. Christ is all!
God Bless You,