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and between my bardmen and thy herdmen; It is pleasing to see Abram's anxiety for for we be 'brethren.
Lot, his brother's son, by taking him with 9 Is not the whole land before thee? sepa
him in following the call of God. You will rate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou rcilt take the left hand, then I will go to the
always be doing right, when seeking to inright; or if thou depart to the right hand,
duce others to go with you in following the then I will go to the left.
word and the ways of the Lord. But wherever 10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld you go, you must remember the worship of all the plain of Jordan, that it was well wa- God, and call upon the name of the Lord. tered every where, before the Lord destroyed And early blessings, and places where the Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden Lord first made himself known to your soul, of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou
will not soon be forgotten. “If I forget thee, comest unto Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of
O Jerusalém, let my right hand forget her” Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they
most accustomed exercise or employment. separated themselves the one from the other. (Ps. cxxxvii. 5.)
12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, But all are not always of the same mind and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and who belong to the same family, or who dwell pitched his tent toward Sodom.
under the same roof. And, unless you watch 13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
and pray against temptation, you will find it 14 | And the LORD said unto Abram, after
very difficult to escape the shares of Satan, that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now
especially when you see others, as you think, thine eyes, and look from the place where thou prospering more than yourself. What a sad art northward, and southward, and eastward, difference of mind, in this respect, was there and westward :
between Abram and Lot! Both were the 15 For all the land which thou seest, to
Lord's servants; but both had not alike the thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
same measure of active faith.
Abram was 16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the
very rich in cattle, silver, and gold ; but dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be
his treasure was in heaven. Lot also, who numbered.
went with Abram, had flocks, herds, and tents, 17 Arise, walk through the land in the but he was dissatisfied; he had an evil eye length of it and the breadth of it; for I will and a discontented heart. This unhappy give it into thee.
mind he diffused into those around him ; 18 Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the ? plain of Mamre, which is in
and his very herdsmen imbibed their master's Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD jealousy. Hence arose distrust, dissension,
and strife! Ah! what a wretched being is (2) Heb. plains.
man! What misery will a covetous heart or
an evil eye produce! Into what snares and One of the chief excellences of the historical temptations do they fall who will be rich at parts of the Sacred Volume is the knowledge all hazards, cost what it may! (1 Tim. vi. 5—8.) it gives of personal character and the workings Mark the man of God. The things that of the human heart amidst the various occur- made Lot wretched were nothing to Abram; rences of life. The lessons thus taught will relying on the Lord, and seeking the heavenly illustrate the general doctrines of divine reve- treasure, he was quite indifferent to earthly lation in all their various features. And he riches. How brightly did he shine when who neglects to profit by such lessons seldom he said to Lot, Let there be no strife beacquires much genuine experience, or attains tween me and thee; for we be brethren! to any eminence in saving wisdom and grace. The whole land is before you. Take which
The subjects opening before us shew the you will, go to the right hand or to the left, need of bearing in mind this remark. An and what you leave I shall be quite satisfied instance of this kind occurred in the last
with. What greatness of character is here! chapter; and many others, for similar obser- and all for the sake of peace! “Blessed are vation, will be found as we proceed. May the peacemakers; for they shall be called the the Lord teach us to profit by all his word! children of God.” (Matt. v. 9.)
(1) Heb. men brethren.
But what is the issue? Lot viewed the well- they joined battle with them in the vale of watered plains of Jordan, and chose them for
Siddim; his portion. The cities of the plain arrested
9 With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam,
and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel his eye, and he pitched his tent towards So,
king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; ilom; the place already mentioned, and soon
four kings with five. to be named again in a more fearful manner!
10 And the vale of Siddim was full of slimeThere Lot fixed his abode ; there he dwelt
pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah in the midst of, or very near to, a people, fled, and fell there; and they that remained who were wicked and sinners before the fled to the mountain. Lord exceedingly. Was that the place for
11 And they took all the goods of Sodom
and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went the man of God? Who does not already tremble for the result?
12 And they took Lot, Abram's brother's Is Abram a loser by his disinterested con
son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and duct ? Quite the contrary. Whilst Lot was departed. rushing into the mouth of danger for the sake 13 | And there came one that had escaped, of wealth, Abram received renewed tokens of and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the Lord's favour, and the truth of his pro
the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of inised word. This added fresh life to his
Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were
confederate with Abram. faith, and renewed energy to his prayers.
14 And when Abram heard that his brother And thus he went on his way in the strength
was taken captive, he 3 armed his trained and fear of the Lord.
servants, born in his own house, three hun-
15 And he divided himself against them, he 1 The battle of four kings against five. 12 Lot is taken and his servants, by night, and smote them, prisoner. 14 Abram rescueth him. 18 Melchizedek
and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on blesseth Abram. 20 Abram giveth him tithe. 22 The rest of the spoil, his partners having had their portions, he
the left hand of Damascus, restoreth to the king of Sodom.
16 And he brought back all the goods, and ND it came to pass in the days of Am- also brought again his brother Lot, and his
raphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of goods, and the women also, and the people. Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal 17 [ And the king of Sodom went out to king of nations ;
meet him after his return from the slaughter 2 That these made war with Bera king of of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king the king's dale. of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought Zoar.
forth bread and wine: and he was the priest 3 All these were joined together in the vale of the most high God. of Siddim, which is the salt sea.
19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed 4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, be Abram of the most high God, possessor of and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. heaven and earth:
5 And in the fourteenth year came Che- 20 And blessed be the most high God, dorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Kar- hand. And he gave him tithes of all. naim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims
21 And the king of Sodom said unto in 'Shaveh Kiriathaim,
Abram, Give me the persons, and take the 6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto goods to thyself. El-paran, which is by the wilderness.
22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, 7 And they returned, and came to En- I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord, the mishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the
most high God, the possessor of heaven country of the Amalekites, and also the Amo
and earth, rites, that dwelt in Hazezon-tamar.
23 That I will not take from a thread even 8 And there went out the king of Sodom,
to a shoclatchet, and that I will not take any and the king of Gomorrah, and the king thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, of Admah, and the king of Zebojim, and have made Abram rich: the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and 24 Save only that which the young men
have eaten, and the portion of the men which all he had! The wealth of Sodom excites went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre ; let the cupidity of the conquerors; and Lot's them take their portion.
tents, cattle, and riches, are mingled with the (1) Or, the plain of Kiriathaim.
(3) Or, led forth.
spoil! Indeed, but for the renewed instance of (2) Or, the plain of Paran.
(1) Or, instructed. (5) Heb. souls.
Abram's disinterested and timely interference,
he might have been utterly impoverished, if not Ix how many various forms does the corruption altogether destroyed. Ah! what a lesson is this of the heart of man break forth! Cain slew his for the covetous men of the world! Are you brother; Lamech boasted of his deeds of not much like Lot ? For the sake of gain, have blood; the whole world was filled with vio- you not been ready to abandon the society of lence; Lot was discontented, and, for the your best friends, and to place yourselves in sake of gain, pitched his tent toward Sodom. the midst of peril! Oh! think in time. All Whence arose these several actions ? From the calamnities that came upon
Lot the depravity of the human heart. All these the fatal step which he took on leaving Abram. evil things came from within ; and they prove The love of gain was his snare. The society that man is utterly polluted and undone. of the wicked nearly effected his ruin. (Mark vii. 21-23.)
Abram's effort is crowned with success. These evil dispositions are sometimes ex- It was a remarkable instance of divine prohibited upon a larger scale. The sins of tection and care. How otherwise could his one become the sins of numbers, and then three hundred and eighteen men have vannations are involved in all the fearful con- quished those accumulated hosts? But when sequences. From whence come wars and God works, “the race is not to the swift, fightings among you? Come they not hence, nor the battle to the strong" (Eccl. ix. 11); even of your lusts?" (James iv. 1-5.) In this he gives the victory to whom he pleases. chapter we have a practical proof of this sad Observe the difference between the conduct truth. Four kings are confederate against of these two kings upon the occasion of five. The battle is sore, and the slain are Abram's victory. The king of Sodom offered many. Twelve years they had been in sub- a reward ; the king of Salem blessed him. jection to another; in the next year they Whence this difference? The one was the rebelled; and in the year following the at- slave of the world; the other was the priest tempt was made to bring them back to their of the most high God. And which did Abram former subjection. These are some of the prefer? Not a thread of Sodom's goods would sad disasters resulting from the fall of man; he take as a reward; but the blessing of God and the only remedy for their utter extinc- he highly prized. tion is the extended dominion of the Prince Now which do you value most, the goods of Peace. When Christ shall be more savingly of this world, or the blessing of heaven? known, man will live in harmony, and wars Which would you have taken, had you been and discord will cease. (Isa. ii. 24.)
situated as Abram then was?
The poor coThe facts named in this chapter are recorded vetous worldling would have said, Give me principally for the sake of two individuals, the goods for my portion. The soul that is Abram and Lot; and to shew the dangerous born of God will always prefer the blessing, course of the latter, together with the striking and say, O my God, let thy mercy rest upon effects of genuine godliness in the former. Ah! me for ever! But where is Lot? Alas! little do the great ones of the earth imagine settled down again in Sodom, where he had that, for the sake of a few humble persons before fixed his abode. Will nothing make scattered here and there, they plot and scheme, him wise? Will not danger arouse, and judgand rise and fall, and flourish and decay, just ment alarm? Does not every peril and every as it pleases the Lord to manifest his love for deliverance
“Come out from among them, his chosen. They mean not so; but God sit- and be ye separate?” (2 Cor. vi. 14—18.) teth in the heavens ruling over all.
Have we not also here a glorious type of Amidst this overthrow, where is Lot? Christ? Is he not the true Melchizedek? Taken prisoner and carried away captive with Is he not the “priest of the most high God ?”
Is he not a “priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek?” Is he not the “ king of righteousness” and “king of peace?” (Heb. vii. 1-17; and v. 1-10.) Does he not refresh, strengthen, gladden, bless, and save the souls of all his people? What know you of that Saviour? Is it by him you draw near to God? Hath he blessed you and saved your soul?
The Lord grant us all to know this glorious priest, and to taste of and rejoice in this great salvation !
surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not their's, and shall serve them ; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge; and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and 'a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.
18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:
19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,
20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims,
21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
(1) Heb. a lamp of fire.
CHAPTER XV. 1 God encourageth Abram. 9 Abram complaineth for want of
an heir. 4 God promiseth him a son, and a multiplying
came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
2 And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus ?
3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
4 And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
7 And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.
8 And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?
9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.
10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.
11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.
12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a
We have seen the successful effort of Abram against the victorious kings for the rescue of his nephew Lot; and also his disinterested conduct in refusing any of the spoil as a reward for what he had done. Now let us mark what follows.
Would not those proud kings be greatly incensed at the thought of being vanquished by an insignificant stranger ? Would they not take speedy measures to wipe off the disgrace? What, then, must become of Abram with his little handful of followers ? Must they not be cut off and destroyed ? See the Lord's tender care and mercy. At this very time the most precious promises are given for his comfort and safety. “The word of the Lord came unto Abram, saying, Fear not, Abram : I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (v. 1). As much as to say, I know the dangers to which you are at this time exposed : I know also the painful apprehensions that distress your mind ; I know,
I moreover, what you have done in forsaking all for my sake. But fear not; no enemy shall touch you, no foe shall do you
harm; I am your shield, and your exceeding great reward. What precious assurances ! How cheering, how reviving must they have been
to Abram's heart! And are not all the pro
that would take place.
In the time apmises of God equally great and precious ? pointed, however, the word would be literally They are all just suited to our need, and fulfilled. always fulfilled in their season. They are Is it not always so, more or less, in all the all designed to cheer, and strengthen, and dealings of God with his people? Who ever refresh, and comfort the soul.
was made useful in the Lord's service without But every mercy bestowed calls for fresh previous humiliation and trial?
Who ever acts of faith and renewed tokens of obedience. yet tasted the salvation of Christ, without God had said he would multiply the seed of feeling the sense and burden of his sins? Abram and make of him a great nation. Years And with regard to our final rest above, no had passed away since that promise was given, one enters the joy of the Lord without first and as yet he had no child. How can it be? passing, for some time at least, through this Shall the promise fail ? Must the steward world of sorrow, suffering, and death. Let of his house be his heir ? No, says God; us, then, take courage from this thought; let “ he that shall come forth out of thine own us buckle on our armour ; let us credit the bowels shall be thine heir.” “Look now to- faithful promise, and press on in hope of the wards heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be glory of God. able to number them; so shall thy seed be." This promise he believed. In this promise was the Saviour included. Believing this
CHAPTER XVI. promise it was accounted to him for righteous- 1 Sarai, being burren, giveth Hayar to Abram. 4 Hugar, ness. Abram was justified, and had peace with .
beiny uflicted for despising her mistress, runneth audy.
ĩ An angel sendeth her back to submit hersell, 11 and God. (See Rom. v. 1, and Heb. xi. 8-12.) telleth her of her child. 15 Ishmael is born.
The true nature of saving faith consists in OW Sarai Abram's wife bare him no believing, on God's testimony, that which to children: and she had an handmaid, sense and nature would be impossible. That
an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. an old man, like Abram, should become the
2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now,
the LORD hath restrained me from bearing : father of many nations, to nature was impos
I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be sible; but not to faith. That a sinner shall
obtain children by her. And be justified from all his sins, and saved for Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. ever by believing in Jesus, to nature is im- 3 And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her possible ; but not to faith. Faith credits the inaid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten testimony of God, believing that it shall be years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to even as he hath said. There the believer
her husband Abram to be his wife. rests, calmly awaits the issue, and is never
4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she
conceived: and when she saw that she had disappointed. Thus Abram believed; thus
conceived, her mistress was despised in her all the people of God believe ; and thus all
eyes. believers in Jesus are blessed with faithful 5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong Abraham.” (Gal. iii. 9.)
be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy But faith that conquers in one difficulty
bosom ; and when she saw that she had conmust prepare for others. God's designs are
ceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD
judge between me and thee. deep and unfathomable. It is an act of the
6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy greatest condescension for God to give any
maid is in thy hand; do to her " as it pleaseth intimation to his people of what he intends thee. And when Sarai 3 dealt hardly with to bring to pass; but when he makes the her, she fled from her face. promise, we are to believe the testimony, and 7 And the angel of the LORD found her rest assured of the accomplishment. The way
by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by and means may be painful, but the issue will
the fountain in the way to Shur. be glorious. So here, God assures Abram of
8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence
camest thou ? and whither wilt thou go? And the promised seed which should become a
she said, I flee from the face of my mistress great nation. But they must pass through Sarai. a long period of suffering and trial before 9 And the angel of the Lord said unto her,
that I may