the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Lie not one to another.”
To say that she was his sister was part of the truth, but the intention was to deceive. Whether what we say be true or not, if our object be to mislead others, we are guilty of falsehood. Let us pray for grace to be strictly truthful.
Yet surely these gifts must have given Abram but little pleasure; he must have felt mean in spirit and sick at heart.
It must have been very humbling to the man of God to be rebuked by a heathen. It is sad indeed when the worldling shames the believer; yet it is too often the case.
From this Scripture we learn that the best of men, though in the path of duty, will nevertheless have their trials. It is Abram, he is a pilgrim according to God’s command, and yet he is afflicted by the famine which falls upon the land in which he dwells. Trials find out the weak places in good men, and even the holy patriarch had some blemishes. He went into Egypt, into a land where he had no right to be: he was out of the path of duty, and therefore out of the place of safety. On the devil’s ground he was in slippery places, and found it hard to maintain his uprightness. He equivocated, in order to save himself and Sarai; he deceived Pharaoh by telling him only half the truth, and he exposed his wife to great peril: all this arose out of the unbelief which marred even the mighty faith of the father of the faithful. The best of men are but men at the best, and this record suffices to show us that even the chief of the patriarchs was a man of like passions with ourselves. Why can we not have Abram’s faith, since Abram had our infirmities? The same Spirit can work in us also a majestic faith, and lead us to triumph by its power.
He did not feel safe till he had returned to his separated condition. Association with the world is not good for the believer’s soul. The more he is a sojourner with his God, and a separatist from sinners, the better.
Doubtless he confessed his sinful weakness, and renewed the allegiance of his faith in God. If we have erred or backslidden, let us also return to our first love, to that Bethel where first we set up an altar unto the Lord.
Oh send thy Spirit down, to write
Thy law upon my heart!
Nor let my tongue indulge deceit,
Nor act the liar’s part.
Order my footsteps by thy word,
And make my heart sincere;
Let sin have no dominion, Lord,
But keep my conscience clear.
“All things are yours.”
Rich men may be godly, and godly men may be rich, but riches are the sure source of trial. In this case abundance did not bring peace, but became the source of discomfort. Good men cannot rule their servants’ tempers, even though they control their own. When relatives dwell together they must be very careful, lest they be made to disagree through their servants. It is a rare thing for relations in the second degree to live in the same house without strife; and it becomes every inmate of such a household to watch against suspicions, envies, and bickerings. The presence of such powerful enemies ought to have made these good men cautious how they disagreed. Since the eyes of the world are upon us we must be careful how we act. Let not a Christian household make sport for worldlings by internal disagreements.
Abram was the older, the greater, the richer, and the better man, yet he gave way to his nephew. In all differences it becomes the more powerful to be the first to yield. By so doing he will prove himself to be of the nobler disposition. Abram’s faith brought forth in this case the fruit of a noble, generous, yielding spirit. All true faith is thus fruitful.
This was a grave fault on Lot’s part. He looked only to the richness of the country, and not to the character of the people. He walked by sight not. by faith; he looked at temporal advantage, and did not seek first the kingdom of God. Hence he became worldly himself and gave up the separated life of faith to go and dwell in a city; thus he forfeited all claim to the promised inheritance, and pierced himself through with many sorrows. In the end, he who sought this world lost it, and he who was willing to give up anything for the honour of God found it.
When friends leave us we may look for renewed visits from the Lord to sustain and console us, for when Lot was gone the Lord appeared again to Abram.
He was bidden to survey his possessions and walk abroad like an owner in his own grounds: even thus may our faith behold the covenant blessings which are ours in Christ Jesus, and we may rejoice in them with joy unspeakable.
So let our lips and lives express
The holy gospel we profess;
So let our works and virtues shine,
To prove the doctrine all divine.
Thus shall we best proclaim abroad
The honours of our Saviour God,
When his salvation reigns within,
And grace subdues the power of sin.