Sunday, 31 May 10.30 am Order of Service

WELCOME

HYMN 2784 [Stracathro] O for a closer walk with God

1 O for a closer walk with God,

A calm and heavenly frame,

A light to shine upon the road

That leads me to the Lamb.

2 Where is the blessedness I knew

When first I saw the Lord?

Where is that soul-refreshing view

Of Jesus and His word?

3 What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!

How sweet their memory still!

But they have left an aching void

The world can never fill.

4 Return, O holy Dove! return,

Sweet messenger of rest!

I hate the sins that made Thee mourn,

And drove Thee from my breast.

5 The dearest idol I have known,

Whate’er that idol be,

Help me to tear it from Thy throne,

And worship only Thee.

6 So shall my walk be close with God,

Calm and serene my frame;

So purer light shall mark the road

That leads me to the Lamb.

PRAYER

READING GENESIS 13:3-18

3 From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier 4 and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord.

5 Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6 But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together.

7 And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.

8 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives.

9 Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”

10 Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)

11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.

14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west.

15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted.

17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”

18 So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord.

SERMON LOT’S LOT

Hebron is in the south of Canaan – and we read that Abram BUILT AN ALTAR there. He has been to Egypt – he has been out of God’s will – he has been trying to do things HIS way – and he has failed miserably – but NOW HE IS BACK!

In Abram’s case he wasn’t just back from Egypt, he was back in spiritual shape once again. He had gone to Egypt away from God – but now he was back with God once again. You might have noticed that Abram built no altars to God when he was in Pharaoh’s land!

We find Abram not just building altars, but also walking the land.

Now that we find him with great wealth, it is the extent of his wealth that proves to be a problem.

As you read the account in verses 8 and 9 you must have been impressed at the graciousness of Abram towards his nephew.

Calvin’s comment is excellent:

Lot fancied he was dwelling in paradise [but he] was nearly plunged into the depths of hell.

But friends, be warned. What seems to glitter may not be gold. What seems so attractive may turn out to be ruinous to us and our soul. (Pro 14:12)

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

Land which appeared poorer – yet it came with the blessing of God – and we need to learn and relearn that a little WITH the blessing of God is infinitely superior to huge amounts with God’s blessing with-held.

Vs 11 here tells us that Lot set out towards the EAST!

There is something for us to learn from Abram’s dealings here with Lot. Although he is Lot’s uncle and therefore senior to him, nonetheless, he calls him “brother” in verse 8. Abram was willing to give up the land of promise, so it seems, in order to bring peace. He wanted to bring reconciliation between himself and his nephew.

Now these twin themes of reconciliation and bringing peace surely resonate with us as we recall the great teachings of the Bible.

The author of Hebrews encourages us: 12:14

HEB 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men

James says much the same to his readers: 3:17

JAS 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

And the Apostle Paul has the last word. Abram’s actions are but a foretaste of Him Who came to die on the Cross – not sticking up for His Own rights, but laying down His life for others.

Eph 2:14-17

EPH 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.

PRAYER

HYMN 1909 WORKMAN OF GOD. (5vv)

1 Workman of God! O lose not heart,

But learn what God is like;

And, in the darkest battlefield,

Thou shalt know where to strike.

2 Ah! God is other than we think;

His ways are far above

The heights of reason, and are reached

Only by childlike love.

3 He hides Himself so wondrously,

As though there were no God;

He is least seen when all the powers

Of ill are most abroad.

4 Thrice blest is he to whom is given

The instinct that can tell

That God is on the field when He

Is most invisible.

5 For right is right, since God is God;

And right the day must win;

To doubt would be disloyalty,

To falter would be sin.

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