I love Raisin Bran Crunch, but I can’t really afford to buy it every single week, so I buy the knock-off brand from Savemart, aptly called “Crunchy Granola Raisin Bran” (I actually had to look that up because I don’t really think about what it’s called — it’s a knee-jerk reaction. Just ends up in the cart.)
The raisins make the cereal work. Don’t get me wrong — honey flavored flakes and nutritious granola have merit, but the chewy raisins break the monotony. Otherwise, I’m destined to travel a five minute avenue of blah every morning.
The Bible is kind of the same way sometimes. Pastors and Bible scholars would love to say the Word has heavy significance in every syllable and word — I mean, it’s written by the finger of God Himself, right? But it’s not always riveting literature. Sometimes it’s a handful of verses setting up the following chapter. Sometimes it’s an entire chapter that sets up the next story. This does not devalue the Word itself — we just have to look at each section and consider what the purpose is. Otherwise, we’ll be looking at dry, raisinless cereal. Eww.
Unfortunately, many Bible teachers are unwilling to discuss many sections of the Bible because it’s inconvenient, it takes extra time to study, or it lacks entertainment value for their weekly audience. If your church depends on a lively service every week, and you start crawling through the temple descriptions in Exodus, they’re going to get bored and leave. Sucks, huh?
Church wasn’t set up to be a carnival, and the Bible isn’t written to be a page-turner. But in the midst of endless flakes, it does have raisins in it. The Bible is definitely nutritious, so get your fill every day. Just make sure you shake the box, because sometimes the raisins all settle on the bottom.
With that long-winded introduction (if you’ve even made it this far), here are some morsels of dehydrated grapes.
Abram and Lot have people under them fighting over some sheep, so they talk it out and decide they need to split up their land before the shepherds get angry (13:8-9). Abram picks some land in Canaan, and Lot decides to go with a land a little further off, closer to Sodom. Lot is flirting with temptation, because Sodom is already notorious for being “exceedingly wicked” (13:12). We don’t know why, but we do know that Lot is playing with fire by moving so close. Lot would pay the consequences soon.
It also mentions that Abram set up an altar in his territory. Abram intended to worship God and make it known who he was in this for. Lot didn’t do that (at least, on record). Strike two.
A big fight over land breaks out, because Google maps hadn’t defined borders on their satellite photos yet, which results in the four kings NOT including Sodom and Gomorrah taking over the other five (14:4, 8-11). Lot ends up getting kidnapped in the melee, because he’s a rich dude and has tons of stuff and he’s living in a low-income housing area. Abram hears about it and gets fired up, sending his personal ninjas over (318 of them!) to clean house with a message not to mess with family. (14:14). He gets all of Lot’s stuff back, including the ladies. Well played.
We get a glimpse of Melchizedek, the venerated first priest (Hebrews 5-7 makes a clever comparison with this guy and Christ) who brings out an interesting dish “bread and wine.” (14:18) Then the king from Sodom comes around offering Abram more stuff if he gives up his people. Abram avoids compromising and denies the offer.
Abram and Lot are contrasting characters in this drama. Abram chooses to live among his own, while Lot lays out his border near disaster. Abram looks to worship the Lord, and Lot is mostly concerned with making money and multiplying his abundance. Both are blessed by God, but one makes a move to do things “his way”.
Many people sit in church every week and hear teachers talk about how to have a blessed life, to multiply stuff and be richer than you ever have. These teachers are just trying to sell tithe and book sales. They’re ruining God’s Word every single week.
The economy in this country is “bad”, but really, it’s not. There are still cars all over the road. People are still living in brand new houses. We’re still buying Droids and iPhones. Sh’mon now. It’s time to be content. Learn from Abram and Lot. Set up your altar for God — make Him the center of what you’re doing. Spend a little less money on investments and pay bills based on what you make. You don’t have to refinance. Move into something a little smaller. Get the freebie phone — those apps are just eating up your time. You know I’m right.