Issue No. 36

22 - 28 September 2008

Was Lot a lot like Abram?

- by Mickey Chiang

Jesus said, “If anyone comes to me and does not ‘hate’ his father and mother…..he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). We must love our parents so much less than we love God that the lesser love seems like hate, hyperbolically speaking. Who can obey such a requirement?

Abram did. He left his country, his people and his 145-year-old father to go to wherever God led him. He loved God more than he loved his father. He left practically everything, including his inheritance.

Did Abram lose out because he put God first? I think God blessed him with much more than the inheritance his brother Nahor received. Years later, when Abram’s servant Eliezer met Nahor’s grand-daughter Rebekah, he gave her a gold nose ring and gold bracelets. Her brother Laban was impressed and called Eliezer, “you who are blessed by the LORD” (Gen 24:31). If Laban had been a wealthier man would he not have said something like, “What’s the meaning of this? Do you think you can buy us with these cheap trinkets?”

When he left, Abram took along Lot, his late youngest brother’s son. Was it because he loved the youngster, or was it perhaps because Lot wanted to see the world and taste adventure? I think Abram loved Lot a lot, as we will see below.

God led Abram into Canaan. Later, Abram went to Egypt to escape a severe drought. Abram told the Egyptians his beautiful wife Sarai was his sister, for fear they would otherwise kill him to have her. Pharaoh took her into his palace and “treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female servants, and camels” (Genesis 12:16). Isn’t the position of servants interesting?

Pharaoh treated Abram well, but nothing is said about him treating Lot well too. So how did Lot also acquire “flocks and herds and tents” (i.e. many servants)? (Gen 13:5 & 6) His possessions were so great that the land could not support the livestock of both Lot and Abram, and quarrelling broke out between their herdsmen. If Lot’s great wealth did not come from Pharaoh, through whom did it come? Who else but Abram?

To avoid trouble, Abram magnanimously told Lot, “Is not the whole land before you (Note: not “us”)? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right.” (Gen 13:9) Abram offered Lot the first choice, after calling him “brother”(Gen 13:8).

Now, Lot shared many genes with Abram and he had spent many years with Abram, so surely he must have become as loving as Abram, and chose the second-best pastures? Unfortunately, Lot chose the plain of Jordan that was “well watered like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt” (Gen 13:10). Here we begin to suspect that Lot was not a lot like Abram.

Did Abram lose out by being a “nice guy”? Abram settled at Mamre near Hebron where he made friends with three outstanding men, Mamre, Eschol and Aner. Lot settled at Sodom, among very wicked people.

While Lot was at Sodom, the kings of Sodom and nearby areas rebelled against King Kedorlaomer of Elam. He whistled up support from three allies. Their four armies marched down from Mesopotamia and defeated the rebels, and took away everything, including Lot, his family and possessions. When Abram heard this he summoned his three good friends and the 318 trained men in his household. Abram had over the years trained his men to fight; Lot apparently did not. He had not learnt that lesson from Abram.

Abram rushed from Hebron, divided his small force into three, and attacked at night, routing the enemy and pursuing them all the way past Damascus. Most of us have read that and mentally asked, “So what?”, because we missed the military genius of Abram in using a small force to beat overwhelming forces. We missed his ferocious tenacity in pursuing still large and dangerous forces for over 300 kilometres. To walk 300 kilometres is already a big feat, but to conduct successful warfare over that distance? What about his logistics? How did he inspire his men to such heights of valour and effort?

Did Abram do all this for material gain? No, all he wanted was to rescue Lot, his family and his possessions. Abram gave a tenth of the plunder to Melchizedek, a priest of God Most High, and the rest to the king of Sodom (the defeated king who deserved nothing), telling him to give shares to Aner, Eschol and Mamre. Abram risked everything for love of Lot. What did Lot ever risk for Abram?

Abram, whom God chose to start a new nation of God’s chosen people, wasn’t he an outstanding man?

Introducing our Council members ...

DR MOIRA LEE is the Acting Director of the Learning Academy and the Temasek Centre for Problem-Based Learning. Her work at the local polytechnic involves academic staff professional development in areas such as pedagogy, organisational learning, educational research and mentoring. She is a fellow of the Staff and Educational Development Association, UK. Moira also teaches part-time in educational psychology at the National Institute of Education. At Singapore Bible College, she is a part-time lecturer teaching the course Equipping The Whole People of God. Moira worships at St George's Church (Anglican). Moira is the Council’s resource person in developing people and processes in BGST. As BGST grows, we need to institutionalise all our policies and procedures relating to people and the administration of the school. Council is fortunate to be able to tap Moira’s creativity, wide training and experience to help it identify issues that may impact the growth and advance of school.

MS CHONG YUN MEI has had various vocations as a social worker, a literature ministry staff with FES (Fellowship of Evangelical Students) and a homemaker. She also spent a few years as a volunteer editor with the Autism Association. Her involvement with FES has been from 1986-1995 and from 2004 to the present. In 1992 she spent a short sabbatical at Regent College, Vancouver. Currently she works part-time overseeing the communications and resource ministry at FES. Her husband, Dr Loo Wing You, is a lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic and they have two children, Zhi En, 15 and Yin Ci, 12. The family worships at Bukit Panjang Gospel Chapel. Yun Mei is the Council member who oversees the development and delivery of the services of the Library, Bookshop and publications of BGST. These are matters which have critical impact on BGST as an academic institution. 

Weekly Highlights

Chapel This Week. Chapel This Week The Chapel speaker for this week is Ps Anil Samuel from Telugu Methodist Church at Short Street. 

Chapel Summary (17 Sep). Last week’s chapel speaker, Ms Irene Wee, shared on the subject of “God of the Unexpected.” Drawing from her personal family experience and work as a management consultant, she explored the process of how our faith in God are challenged and encouraged when unexpected things happened to us. How do we handle it when things unexpected happened? How did we handle it? What did God do in that situation? What did we learn about ourselves and God from these experiences? For what we fear tells us a lot about ourselves, about where we are in our walk with God. Ultimately, as we work through the process, we will discover that God is working too. Our God is a real, personal and present God. (Ser Choon) 

Update on BGST Fundraising Dinner 2008

  1. The committee has been meeting fortnightly and the planning stage has more or less been completed.

  2. We are now moving towards the marketing and publicity stage. Please pray particularly that as the launch of the sales approaches, God will give us wisdom and courage to work hard and persist.

  3. In the light of the jittery financial climate, pray that the people we approach may have the conviction that they should still continue to be faithful in giving and not shrink their budgets.

(Irene Wee, Dinner Organizing Committee)

New @ BGST Bookshop

Understanding Evangelical Media
Quentin J Schultze & Robert H Woods (eds.)
(IVP 2008)

From broadcasts to blogs and Bible theme parks to podcasts, the media Christians use to convey their messages is changing. Insightful essays on various aspects of the evangelical media landscape.
Culture Making
Andy Crouch
(IVP 2008)

A call to reclaim the cultural mandate to be the creative cultivators that God designed us to be. Keen biblical exposition demonstrates that creating culture is central to the whole scriptural narrative, the ministry of Jesus and the call to the church.
For enquiries, call BGST Bookshop at Tel: 6227 6815.

31 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088454. Tel: 62276815 Fax: 62276816 
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