Community Group Study “Genesis: Faith Renewed”
Before your community group meets:
Read Genesis 13:1-14:16 write down 10-15 observations of the text like what are some of the problems addressed, who the main characters are, what places are mentioned, etc.
Genesis 13:3-4 highlights something particular about where Abram goes, what is that and is there significance to it? (See Genesis 12:4-9).
What is the main conflict between Abram and Lot? How does God work to settle Abram in the land of Canaan and why is this important?
What does the text foreshadow about Sodom? What affect does living near Sodom have on Lot?
When we last saw Abram he was in Egypt motivated by fear. He had left the Promised Land because of a famine and created a plan to have his wife lie about her marital status so powerful Egyptians would not kill him to take her. The irony of the situation is that her beauty caught Pharaoh’s eye (the most powerful Egyptian) and he brought her into his house anyways. What the text showed us is that God was committed to his promise to bless those who bless Abram and curse those who curse him. God sent plagues to Pharaoh’s house and Pharoah released Sarai, chastised Abram for his deception and sent them out of the land.
Abram then journeys back to the Promised Land and he does what most people would do, he goes some place familiar. Genesis 13:3-4 emphasizes that he went back to the place where it began and where Abram first called on the name of Yahweh. We learn that despite Abram’s fear, God has blessed Abram and Lot so much livestock and goods that their servants and people are fighting over the land. This is another circumstance that could lead Abram to doubt the promise and compromise with fear, yet his response is different than last time. Abram defers to Lot and gave him choice over where to settle. Lot, like most people, picked the land that looked the best, but it also drew him into sin because we find in 13:12-13 that he moved close to Sodom which was a city filled with great sinners against Yahweh. Abram got land that many would consider to be second rate, but it is where God wanted him to dwell.
This could feel like a letdown to Abram, but once again we see God’s protective hand and God’s committed blessing. God reconfirms his promise to Abram in Genesis 13:14-18 and specifically informs Abram that it will be “this land” that he will give to him and his descendants and that they will be more numerous than the dust of the earth. God meets Abram with his grace and blessing in the midst of a trial of parting with Lot.
As it so happens, Abram got the good land. The text quickly highlights to us that Lot made a bad choice. The Biblical narrative shifts to this battle that was happening “off screen”. We are not 100% certain if this event took place 14 years after Lot and Abram part ways or if it had been in the works for 14 years (Genesis 14:5). Either way, the Bible is connecting the events and highlighting the consequences of Lots’ actions. Each major city had a king in the region and the king of Elam got a coalition army together and was a military powerhouse. They swept through the region and a group of kings including Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Zoar get defeated by the king of Elam and his group. Lot gets swept up in the action and is captured. This is the Bible’s way of showing us that Lot was tempted by his eyes and the fertile valley that he settled in and made a bad decision by moving next to Sodom. Abram hears about the event and goes and rescues Lot with 318 trained men. This is a somewhat startling turn of events considering we just saw Abram fearful in the land of Egypt, but God works through him to rescue Lot from the consequence.
At your community group:
Take 15-20 minutes to share about how God has been at work in your life, prayer concerns and pray for one another.
How did God speak to you through the scripture and the sermon this week?
Scripture and Discussion Questions:
How does Abram show repentance in this passage? Look specifically at Genesis 13:3-4 and 13:13-18.
The story of Abram has focused on blessing, based on the passages we’ve read up to now, how would you define what it means to be “blessed” by God?
How is God’s promise to Abram expanded in Genesis 13:14-18 when compared to Genesis 12:1-3 and 12:7?
What were the consequences of Lot’s actions? Are there any practical warnings here for us about getting too close to sin and being led by our eyes?
Read all of Genesis 14 to get the context but focus on Genesis 14:17-24 and look for 7-10 observations from the text about where they are, what has just happened, who is there, etc.
Contrast the way Melchizedek greets Abram and the way the King of Sodom greets Abram. What’s different about them?
Why would Abram deny the King of Sodom’s request to take the spoil for himself? Think about what we’ve learned about Sodom from both this interaction with Abram and from Genesis 13:12-13.
We learn in the text that Melchizedek is a priest and a king. His name means “King of Righteousness” and he is the King of Salem which means “Peace”. This theme of priest and king, and righteousness and peace are throughout scripture. Read Hebrews 7:1-4 and 7:11-17. This is a complicated passage, but a good one to study. The writer of Hebrews is making a comparison between the type of priesthood Melchizedek had and the type of priesthood Jesus has. It is one that is based on quality and merit, not on being born into a priestly family of Aaron in the Old Testament. How does Melchizedek point forward to Jesus’ work and why do you think it is important that Jesus’ priesthood is based on his merit and not on his birth family?