【Bible Study】Genesis 13: A Person's Perspective Determines Their Future

Bible Study: Genesis


Hello! Let's take a look at Genesis Chapter 13. Genesis is particularly fascinating, containing a wealth of spiritual knowledge and wisdom. The topic we're discussing is called "A Person's Perspective Determines Their Future." You mustn't say, "How did I end up like this today? God, why did you let me become what I am today?" Your past perspective determines your present, and your present perspective determines your future. Don't blame God. The problem is this: a person with a limited perspective experiences a lifelong tragedy. Without vision, a person's heart is narrow, and their sight is short-sighted, just like a mouse with only grains of rice in its eyes. There's a song called "Mice Love Rice," and as they continue to focus on rice, they get trapped.

Brothers and sisters, you should know: if disaster strikes me, I deserve it! If poverty befalls you, it's also your own doing! Why is that? It's because of your flawed past perspective. In fact, over the years, during the process of building the church, I did one thing: I always wanted to change everyone's perspective, but up to today, I haven't succeeded, and I have failed miserably. Why is it so hard to change one's perspective? Sometimes, the people I serve are determined to head down the wrong path, and no matter how hard I try to pull them back, I can't. Later, I came up with a rule: people won't do what they think is wrong; they believe what they're doing is right. But when people don't realize they're doing something wrong, that's a tragedy.

So, from today, we need to examine whether our perspective is that of a mouse or an eagle. A mouse's perspective is narrow-minded, while an eagle soars in the sky, observing everything on the ground, and when it spots prey, it swoops down and captures it with its talons. This eagle's perspective is excellent.

The Path of Destiny is Littered With Corpses

I have studied the Bible, especially from the Genesis written by Moses, all the way to Deuteronomy, and I've discovered that on this predestined journey, there are obstacles everywhere. We haven't even reached other books yet; we're still in Genesis. In books like Deuteronomy and Numbers, many people died in large numbers, one group after another. Tens of thousands died here, tens of thousands there. Just think, 60,000 people died in 40 years, with over 10,000 people dying every year. Some were struck by God, and some died naturally. The road of destiny is strewn with obstacles, meaning that as we walk this path, it is often left with only one person, just like in the case of Abraham, who continued living in Ur of the Chaldeans even after his father died. Lot's father, on the other hand, didn't have such a fortunate fate and passed away while they were still in Ur of the Chaldeans.

In those days, it's unclear how old Lot was, but he followed his uncle Abraham. Abraham had no children of his own, and Lot was his nephew, so he raised Lot as his own son. However, later, Abraham realized that Lot's vision was not that great. God originally intended to lead their entire family to the land of Canaan, but Lot's father, Haran, died, and they didn't even reach Canaan, let alone leave Ur of the Chaldeans. When Abraham's father reached Haran, he didn't continue the journey, and Abraham asked him, "Are you coming?" His father replied, "I'm not coming." Abraham then said, "You go your way, and I'll go mine. I'm heading to Canaan."

Abraham left his father, and when his father passed away, he didn't go back to see him off. This predestined path isn't easy; Abraham's father was gone. Lot followed Abraham on this journey, but as we reach Genesis chapter 13, Lot is also gone. Why did Lot disappear? That's what we're going to talk about today. How did it happen? We all know that Lot's life was quite tragic. He moved to Sodom, and later, God destroyed the city of Sodom, leaving Lot and his two daughters behind.

Lot climbed to a small hill with his two daughters, forgetting almost everything, but he didn't forget to bring a jar of wine. He drowned his sorrows with alcohol, and all his accumulated wealth vanished, leaving him with no face to return to his homeland. People often end up going in circles in life. Some start working hard in their thirties, then by their forties, they are back to where they began. By the time they are in their fifties, not only have they returned to square one, but they are even in debt. They were originally debt-free, but now they owe millions. Continuing this cycle into their sixties is truly tragic. This is what happened to Lot. The reason? He was doing fine following his uncle Abraham, but he insisted on leaving. It's as if he was under a spell.

Vision is a powerful thing, and a person's future depends on their vision. If you lack vision, it's your destiny. People won't do what they believe is wrong. If Lot had known how his story would end, would he have chosen Sodom? He wouldn't have. If Lot had known the future, he wouldn't have left his uncle Abraham. So where's the problem? Core interests are essential. It's about why you live and what you live for.

Over the years, the church has seen one group after another being eliminated, just like Lot's father. The church kept moving forward while he died. Then there are those like Abraham's father who stayed in their original place. And then there are those like Lot, who want to follow me, but I might not want to take them along. I look at your vision and core interests and can tell that you won't make it on this journey. While you still have some financial stability and can pursue your dreams, I say, "Please leave. You go left, I go right, or vice versa. Let's go our separate ways.** We're not meant for the same path. The predestined road is littered with obstacles, and it can't be forced. I won't force you, and don't force me. I'm following my predestined path, and you follow your own way. You make your wealth, and I pursue my God.

So, the church has been eliminating one group after another. Do I care? Not really. I don't want to carry Lot with me, because even God can't stand to see him. Having Lot around is a headache. People, especially small pastors, need to constantly purify their groups and congregations. If there's someone in your group causing friction, then definitely address it. You need to be careful. If you're a good person, be like Abraham. Choose. Lot chose the entire plain of the Jordan. Abraham had vision; he was a person with extraordinary vision.

Abraham had vast wealth in gold, silver, and livestock. What can you say about that? Abraham reached Canaan but encountered a famine, an economic crisis. But Abraham had been through economic crises before, and he ended up with more wealth. His livestock multiplied, and his gold and silver increased substantially. How amazing is that? Two people might be in the same business. You open a shop, and so does Abraham, but Abraham's business flourishes, and Lot is envious. Abraham told Lot, "Kid, you need to leave!" Why? If you don't leave, God won't speak to me. Later, God told Abraham to stand in the land and look to the north, south, east, and west; everything he sees, God would give to his descendants. Lot didn't matter anymore.

You could say that God made Abraham send Lot away. It was God's will for Abraham to do so. Lot also wanted to leave, but he couldn't bring himself to say it. If someone wants to leave the church, and they can't say it, I'll say it for them. I'll be the bad guy. So, brothers and sisters, you must have vision. Clean out those without a destiny. If you don't have a destiny, what's the point of staying? If you say you're here to be blessed, well, the blessings came after Lot left, reserved for Abraham. What did Lot get? Lot got Sodom, a place that was about to be destroyed.

The real estate in Sodom was booming, and the Jordan Valley was incredibly fertile. So, all you pastors, you should have Abraham's vision. Clear out the people in your group who lack a destiny. If you say, "I don't care if one more person leaves or stays," I especially don't care if one more Lot stays or goes. If you don't have Abraham's destiny, don't walk with me! You can't make it. I've been working hard here, and you want to follow me, but I'm not sure about taking you with me. I look at your vision, and I know you can't make it on this path.

Destiny is a matter of choice. If I choose to like something, then I like it. It's not something you can reason into. If reasoning could make it work, we wouldn't need to send these people away!

For example, someone comes to the church looking for a wealthy spouse, but all the wealthy suitors are already taken. I say, 'This place doesn't cater to such pursuits. You should go to another church across town; there are plenty of people there, more than ten thousand. You can find someone suitable among them. If they already have a spouse, it's not my concern.' You might ask, 'What kind of talk is that?' Well, if you have your eyes on someone, what do I care? That's your vision, and I can't influence it. If you keep thinking about that, why should I stop you? If you want to prepare for an entrance exam, go ahead and focus on your studies; this place isn't for entrance exams. If you want to take a civil service exam, then prepare for it seriously; this place isn't for civil service exams.

Jesus asked those who remained, 'Do you also want to go away?' If you want to go, then go! I imagine Jesus' words were quite strong, just like the way Abraham sent Lot away. We need to understand that vision determines how people see things. Some say, 'Teacher, that's not the case. I've seen several people who left our church recently, and they're doing well!' I say, 'You're close to them, aren't you?' I don't mind. If one day you get lured away, that's fine.

I have to thank Brother Ma! Brother Ma has a good relationship with me. Brother Ma helped build the church. I said he was excellent, and without Brother Ma, it wouldn't work! Brother Ma took someone away, and then he took another person away shortly after. That's great!

When Lot and his family moved to Sodom, they were counting money all the time. The value of their houses doubled, tripled, and more. Because the real estate price in Sodom was astronomical. If you sold the houses in Sodom, you could live for generations. The price of houses in Sodom was like the property market in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. How wonderful! Unlike Abraham, who set up a tent, had to dig a hole for a restroom, and it was so inconvenient. He was irritated! It was even challenging to take a bath. There was no sauna. He spent his days tending to sheep, and the smell of the sheep clung to him. How could he live like that? Lot had a unique vision. The hygiene conditions in Sodom were fantastic! The city had excellent sanitation facilities, cultural activities, entertainment, and nightlife. The lifestyle there was superb! He'd later testify, 'Thank you, God! Thank you for bringing me to such a wonderful place. Thank you for helping me make so much money.' However, in the end, Lot nearly lost his life.

Lot's Vision

Lot is quite an interesting person. Men are most afraid of marrying the wrong wife, and marrying a wife who loves money would be a tragedy. Lot's perspective on many things should be half-learned from Abraham and half-influenced by his wife. This story, as I have put it, is told differently from how it is presented in the Bible.

Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold. (Genesis 13:2)

Not only was Abraham rich, but he was also very prosperous. So what happened?

Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 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. And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time. (Genesis 13:5-7)

Why did Abraham's herders quarrel with Lot's? I guess! There should be a bit of a story behind it. At the time, Lot and his wife must have noticed that Abraham's oxen, sheep, donkeys, and camels were all plump and strong. Our animals, on the other hand, didn't look as good; they were scrawny and had prickly hair. Their appearance was quite disgusting. Lot probably thought that it was because Abraham's animals drank water from that well that they looked so good. So he thought, "I must go and take them by force." Consequently, Abraham's herders quarreled with Lot's. The sheep in Abraham's household were healthy was not because of that grass, and it wasn't because of drinking that water. Even if they moved to a different place and drank any water, they would still be strong because God blessed them.

But he had a wife who was always behind him, managing things. Lot was the chairman, and Lot's wife was the CEO! Sometimes, the chairman can't control the CEO; in reality, the CEO often indulges the chairman. It's not an easy situation! Abraham's heart was probably heavy too. The issue lay in their perspectives. Was Lot predestined? Not at all. If you tell me that Lot was a righteous man, who declared him righteous? Only Peter considered Lot to be righteous. In fact, Jesus never said that Lot was righteous, and neither did the Apostle Paul. Don't make things up because they both have similar names, Lot and Peter, and are from the same generation.

One's perspective on resources is incredible. Let's ponder Abraham's wealth. He became rich through God's blessings. He even became wealthier during a famine, which is amazing. You may ask, "How do you know that Lot's perspective was flawed?" It's not me saying that his perspective was flawed; it's Abraham who knew that his nephew's perspective was flawed. Abraham had watched his nephew grow up, and he could see that he was petty.

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.) (Genesis 13:10)

Abraham's choice was not about the land; it didn't matter whether the land was fertile or not. What mattered was God, not money.

In a close look, someone like me thrives in whatever I do. I thrive because I don't rely on what I do; I rely on the God I trust. I have the perspective of Abraham, and even in barren lands, I can see God's hand, see what God has done in my life. Abraham didn't care about money. You might think he was making fun of it, but he truly didn't care about money or that piece of land. What he cared about was God. Lot's perspective was just terrible.

A person's fundamental interests lie in earthly resources. I'm telling you, as a Christian, never rely on this. Christians live by relying on God; we eat by relying on God. God is the best resource.

Abram's Vision

Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. (Genesis 12:10)

Abram saw that this place was not so good; as soon as he arrived, there was a famine in this place. In his heart, he thought, "Since God has given me this land, and now there's a famine, oh, I understand." What was Abram's perspective? He understood in his heart and was clear in his mind: God is testing my faith, but that's okay, I'll pass this test absolutely. As a result, he went down to Egypt and came back with much gold, silver, and livestock. Whatever came into Abram's hands turned into treasure.
And then, wherever Abram went, he built an altar and called on the name of the Lord. All of Abram's deeds were known for calling upon the name of God. He built an altar in the fourth verse, and then in the eighteenth verse, he built another altar, calling on the name of the Lord.

and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord. (Genesis 13:4)

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. (Genesis 13:18)

This means you have to know what you rely on to live. If you don't know that relying on God to live is the best choice, what are you doing among us? So how did it end? He sent Lot away after seeing Lot and sent him away. God was my resource, my security. You, Lot, are still uncertain which side you'll be on if someone truly comes to fight. As a result, after sending Lot away, God said to Abram, "Arise, walk through the land in its length and in its breadth, for I will give it to you."

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. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. (Genesis 13:14-15)

why did He give me this barren Canaan land? The answer is that Abram didn't care if it was good or not. Abram cared about being blessed by God wherever he went. This is an unusual thing. Why would God give today's Palestinian land, the land of Canaan, to Abram and his descendants?

It's not about being good or bad; Abram didn't care. What Abram cared about was that he could receive God's blessing no matter what the place was like. That's what made it great, because it was a promised land. So Abram stood on that land and looked in all directions, north, south, east, and west. Whatever he could see, he could look far, really far. It's not about physical distance, it's about how far he could look, how far he could see in time, all the way to eternity. He saw the offspring of Abram, like the dust of the earth. So, what kind of person is this?

How one sees resources is remarkable. Let's contemplate this. Like me, I prosper in everything I do. Why do I prosper in everything I do? Because I rely on God, and God's blessing follows me everywhere. Abram had such a view that wherever he saw in the land was like God's garden. The difference between him and Lot was that Lot had a view and saw how he could profit from the land. But Abram had God's view, and he saw the land as the promised land, which was what made it great.

Let me tell you, the whole earth belongs to God. Everything belongs to God, and it's God's decision to whom it's given. If God says, "I give you this land," that's fine. If God says, "I give you that land," that's fine, because that's the promised land. So when Abram stood on that piece of land and looked around, whatever he could see, whether far or wide, was a land promised to him by God.

Close your physical eyes and open your spiritual eyes, see your future, because one look takes you to eternity. Look at Abram, like the dust of the earth, and I ask you, who is this person? If you're shown him, you'd say, "Oh, how can I live until that time to see those things?" But he was living it already, living in eternity, seeing God's glory on us.

May the God bless you all!

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