2 JUNE (PREACHED 2 JUNE 1771)
The price of riches
‘And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.’ Genesis 13:1–2, 5–7
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Genesis 13:1–18
Notice the riches of Abraham and Lot. They forsook their own country and went into a strange land at the Lord’s command, and he provided well for them. It is true the promises of the gospel chiefly respect better and spiritual blessings, yet they include the things of this life likewise. I would observe from it that the best way to prosper as to worldly concerns is to observe the Lord’s commandments. I am afraid some of you, yea some believers, think otherwise. To this is owing the profanation of the Lord’s Day, which so sadly prevails amongst us. I know some allow themselves in what their consciences condemn, because they cannot trust the Lord with their substance or character. They seem desirous to serve him if they could do it without offending the world. This is for a lamentation.
Note the inconvenience attending their riches: strife—not immediately between themselves, but their herdsmen strove, and Abraham and Lot were in danger of taking part with their respective servants as to have some difference. We may see from hence that though the Lord will give his people every needful good, yet for the most part he withholds riches from them. It is in mercy. Great possessions are usually accompanied with great cares, troubles and snares. Our life and comfort does not depend upon them; rather, they endanger peace and safety. Abraham and Lot wished to live in peace, but their servants had strife, and strife is like the kindling of a fire, which spreads far and wide from small beginnings.
FOR MEDITATION: ‘They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition’ (1 Timothy 6:9).
SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 25 [1/4], GENESIS 13:12–13