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Genesis 13:14-18 - Homiletics

Magnanimity rewarded, or Divine compensations.

I. A REVELATION GIVEN . Immediately on Lot's departure Jehovah approaches, the appearance of the heavenly Friend compensating for the loss of the earthly kinsman, as often happens in the Divine dealings with men and saints. The revelation now afforded to the patriarch was—

1. Personal . Essentially a self-revealing God, only through the medium of a person can Jehovah give a full and clear unveilment of himself. Of this description was the theophany accorded to the solitary flock-master on the Bethel plateau; and in the man Christ Jesus have the saints a like disclosure of the person and character of the unapproachable Supreme.

2. Gracious . The dignity of him who thus appeared to the patriarch, the all-sufficient and self-existent Deity, and the character of him to whom such revelation was vouchsafed, the father of the faithful, but still a mere creature, and, apart from Divine grace, exposed to just condemnation, attest its stupendous condescension. Yet "such honor have all the saints" to whom, notwithstanding their personal insignificance and deep unworthiness, the supreme Deity has approached and unveiled himself in Christ.

3. Opportune . At the time when it was made the patriarch's heart, we can imagine, was the seat of mingled emotions. Saddened by the loss of a kinsman who had been long his companion, and perhaps pained by the recollection of that kinsman's avarice, dejected as he realized his solitude among hostile neighbors and in a foreign land, though, doubtless, also sustained by a consciousness of having acted well in parting with his nephew, the patriarch was much in need of Divine consolation and succor. And so are Christ's visits to his people ever seasonable ( Luke 24:15 ; John 6:20 ) and suitable to their wants.

4. Comforting . This was proved by his subsequent behavior. Plucking up the stakes of his tent, he resumed his travels, and at his next encampment built an altar for the worship of the Lord. It is a good sign that gracious visits to needy souls are having their desired effect when those souls are able to attend to the ordinary but necessary duties of life, and to preserve their relish for the public and private rites of religion.

II. A LAND GRANTED . For the loss of the Jordan circle the patriarch receives an express donation of the entire territory of Canaan. So Christ promises to reward his self-sacrificing followers in kind as well as quantity, and in the life that now is as well as in that which is to come ( Matthew 19:29 ). The grant made to Abram was—

1. Magnificent . The grant of a land; of the land of Palestine in the first instance, and in the second of the better country, even an heavenly, of which the earthly Canaan was a type ( Hebrews 11:8-10 ). The like grant is made to believers in the gospel ( Matthew 5:5 ; 1 Corinthians 3:22 ; 2 Timothy 2:12 ).

2. Certain . The complete isolation of the patriarch, the occupation of the land, and especially the barrenness of Sarai, were all calculated to make the Divine donation of the country before him but a doubtful gift after all. And so sometimes to Christians may the heavenly inheritance appear highly problematical. But the ground of certainty for them is precisely what it was to Abram, the word of the living God; and as Abram staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, so neither should they.

3. Perpetual . To thee, and to thy seed forever, were the terms in which the earthly Canaan was conveyed to the patriarch. That is, so long as the seed of Abram according to the flesh existed as a separate nation they should occupy the land of Canaan; while for his spiritual posterity the heavenly Canaan should continue an inalienable possession. So earth to the believer is a perpetual inheritance in the sense that "the world is his," while heaven is an eternal country from which he shall go no more out.

III. A SEED PROMISED . The magnanimity of the patriarch had deprived him of a brother's son; the grace of God rewarded him by promising a child of his own. No man ever comes off a loser who makes sacrifices for God. The seed promised was to be—

1. Numerous . A multitude instead of one; exemplified in the untold millions of Abram's natural descendants. So God delights to reward his people, returning to them a hundredfold for what they give to him ( Matthew 19:20 ; Ephesians 3:20 ).

2. Spiritual . An offspring united to him by bonds of grace in lieu of a kinsman connected with him by ties of blood; a prediction realized in the myriads of his believing children. Another principle which regulates the Divine compensations bestowed on saints is to take the less and give the greater, to remove the material and impart the spiritual ( John 16:7 ; John 19:26 ).

3. Eminent . If Lot was renowned for wealth and worldly prudence, the unborn seed of Abram should be distinguished in the annals of both Church and world for riches of a more enduring character and wisdom of a nobler kind; a prophecy fulfilled in Israel after the flesh, which as a nation has always been more distinguished for intelligence and capacity than for numbers; in Israel after the spirit, or the Church of God, whose characteristics have ever been rare spiritual illumination and high moral potency; and in Israel's Savior, "in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge," and "in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily."


1. That God is the ever-present though unseen Spectator of noble deeds.

2. That every act of self-sacrifice performed for his sake elicits his approbation.

3. That while he who keeps his life shall lose it, he who, for Christ's sake and the gospel's, loses it shall ultimately find it.

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