Read Genesis 13:1-18
I sometimes fantasize that I have won a new house. It is fully furnished exactly to my taste and I imagine walking through it the first time, with my husband and daughters. We go from room to room exploring and delighting in everything; telling ourselves over and over that it really is ours to enjoy.
Abram was a shepherd and to him land would have been what a house is to me. It represents home, safety, wealth, and abundance, and God is giving it to him. “All the land that you see I will give to you.”
This, even after Abram lied to Pharaoh and God had to rescue Sarai. Abram was selfish and cowardly, but God knew that – before he made the promises.
What God doesn’t say, doesn’t need to say, is ‘Oh by the way, the land isn’t empty.’
No. Canaanites live here. Remember when Noah cursed Ham’s son Canaan? These are his descendants. Noah said that they would serve the descendants of his other son Shem.
Abram is a descendant of Shem.
Through everything that happens, God writes his story.
Strangely, God promises to give this excellent land to Abram while the Canaanites still live there; and he wants Abram to go explore it as though it is already his.
It’s hard for the characters in the story to see the big picture, but Abram does see God. Look back at 12:4-5 and notice how he obeys God; then look at 12:7-8 and see how he worships God. Do you remember God telling Cain that he must overcome sin? The great thing about Abram is that – sometimes – he does.
God promises him everything: children, wealth, fame, blessing and land. It would be impossible to overstate the greatness of these promises to a man like Abram. It’s as though God says, ‘I’ll give you everything you could possibly want.’
Of course, we already know that Abram doesn’t always overcome sin, but the great thing about God is he will work with someone like that. He knows all about the cravings and isn’t looking for a sin-free person.
He just wants one that still battles.
He wants a warrior.