It’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. It’s even more amazing what you can do when you put God’s mind to it. I’m glad I became a Christian when young. I’ve had a lifetime to discover what it means to have Christ in me, the hope of glory. I look back humbled, thankful and in awe at what God has done in and through a very flawed human being. it’s all too easy to lose the magnitude of a few verses of scripture like this little episode. Abram, a shepherd, who’d never been to war, saw off four previously unconquerable Kings. In sporting terms this is like San Marino beating Brazil at football, or the Cook Islands beating the All Blacks at rugby. But… what if supernaturally a world beating gifting comes upon the players of the San Marino or Cook Island teams, then the odds change somewhat. Enjoy this episode and reflect upon how it’s amazing what God can do, when you put His mind to it. (By the way the website tells some stories of what God is doing through some wonderful young leaders across the globe: www.biblenovels.com)
Honestly, I had meant to cut this episode from the revision of Patriarch. But then as i came to it, I realised again that it is intrinsic and vital to the understanding of the story. And isn’t that the deal about life! We get bored with the mundane. We don’t see the point. Yet it is in the mundane that foundations are laid, and imperceptibly attitudes forged, passions lost, and directions set. When Abram and Lot separated they set out on paths which took them to very different places not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually too. The Bible tells us not to despise the day of small things. In fact one of the wonders of the Christian faith is that there is no such thing as the mundane… at least as long as Christ is in it. Every moment, every day, has purpose and potential. We can redeem it and take it with us into eternity. Or waste it, miss it, and worse still let it distract us. In Christ every moment is a holy one.
Splits happen and are normally very painful. Most of us carry the scars of broken families, friendships and churches. Some of them we caused, whilst in others we might justifiably claim to have been the innocent victim. Mostly though it is rather more complicated than that. I’m beginning to sound like a broken down record but just because Abraham lived 4000 years ago doesn’t make his split from Lot any less painful or problematic. What I love from this part of the story is how Abraham handles the conflict and split so openhandedly. We’re now truly beginning to see the fruit of faith in his life. It doesn’t shield us from conflict, pain or hurt, but does something even more glorious- it carries us through with dignity, grace and love. Somehow it even manages to use the conflict, pain and hurt to enrich us, so we can eventually say: I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, but wouldn’t have missed it for the world. It builds faith so we can go on, and love again where ordinarily breach of trust should leave us stuck in bitterness and regret and unwilling ever to be vulnerable again. Listen in to Abraham’s story.
Abraham had made it to the land where he would ultimately settle but that time was not yet! My personal pilgrimage story is that I so often seem to have to go round and round in circles until finally I’m ready for what God has for me. It’s so frustrating but always necessary. We don’t know just why Abraham headed off to the Negev and from there to Egypt to face huge personal challenges. It was probably a whole mix of things, including fear and uncertainty, as well as the need to deepen his walk with the God he was still getting to know. My hunch is the hostility and downright evil he experienced in Canaan probably exposed these frailties. Abraham was moving from agnosticism to a personal faith through revelation. He was on a journey, and the cultic worship he would have encountered in Canaan would have been a shock. It’s hard for us, particularly westerners like me, to comprehend this. Our exposure to spiritual things is limited at the best of times, and few in my culture talk about powers of evil and a spiritual battle. But it is real, and the battle in Canaan was hotting up. Abraham began to worship far more publicly and this must have illicited a response from the cultic priests of the day. Once again I’ve sought to downplay the details of what this confrontation could have involved. But we are in a battle between good and evil, far more hideous than any of us could ever imagine, and we need to be wise to the fact. Our walk with God isn’t through meadows with pastel skies. It’s trench warfare. I’d love to hear your reflections at biblenovels.com or the Biblenovels facebook group.