Abram Separates from Lot

 

A Sermon by the Rev. James P. Cooper

Dawson Creek – October 21, 2012

  1. The Lord established His covenant with Abram.
    1. They were in Ur, present day Kuwait, when the Lord called him to travel into the land of Canaan and beyond.
      1. If Abram obeys the Lord, and worships Him alone,
      2. Then the Lord would protect him, give him land, and many descendants.
    2. They set out with Terah, Abram’s father, Sarai, Abram’s wife, and his brother Haran’s son, Lot.
      1. Their first stop is Haran, a city in the north, in modern Syria. There Terah dies.
      2. So Abram & Sarai resume the journey with their nephew Lot, turning south and heading through Canaan into Egypt.
      3. In Egypt, Abram tells Pharaoh that Sarai is his sister – which is true – but it leads to trouble. Pharaoh takes her into his household and the result is that all of the women become barren. The truth is eventually revealed and Pharaoh sends Abram away with great wealth.
        1. Pharaoh has been informed in a dream that Abram is a great prophet, and he doesn’t want Abram angry with him – so he gives gifts.
    3. So, as the Lord promised, as Abram travels he becomes very rich in sheep and cattle and other possessions.
      1. So rich, in fact, that it is no longer practical for Abram and Lot to travel together.
        1. So many animals that the herdsmen were having trouble finding enough grazing, and were coming to blows over the various meadows.
        2. They had to separate. Abram gave Lot the choice.
  2. The Stories of the Word were all written in Canaan because that land, more than any other, has features that correspond to heavenly things.
    1. The Sea of Galilee
      1. Fresh clear water in the mountains, full of fish = the Word.
    2. The Jordan river, the boundary of the land = introductory truths.
      1. Truths because it is water, introductory because it is the boundary that separates the non-church from the church.
      2. This is why John and Jesus baptized in the Jordan river (See TCR 510).
    3. At the other end, the Dead Sea.
      1. 1300 ft. Below sea level. So full of minerals that nothing can live in it at all. Surrounded by desert with some of the highest temperatures in the world = represents the sensual degree of the mind, or what human beings would be without the Lord’s inflowing and uplifting love.
    4. Mountains, because they cause you to turn your face upwards toward heaven = love to the Lord
      1. But to live up there means more work
      2. Not so many luxuries
      3. But highly rewarding to those willing to work.
    5. Cities of the Plain (Sodom and Gommorah) = the Love of Self.
      1. Well watered land would support more sheep without having to walk so much.
      2. Live in a house instead of a tent.
      3. Markets nearby where all kinds of things can be purchased.
      4. And you also get to live nice and close to lots of wicked people.
    6. Lot chose the valley, and bad things began to happen to him.
      1. Kidnapped, then rescued by Abram
      2. Loses all his money and becomes a beggar in the gates of the city.
      3. Angels come to warn him, and the people of the city attack the angels.
        1. Which leads to even worse crimes
      4. Finally, Lot and his family have to flee as the city is destroyed by the Lord, and his disobedient wife is turned into a pillar of salt.
    7. Meanwhile, Abram is doing very well
      1. Enough servants that he has a personal army!
  3. We all have thousands of ideas every day.
    1. We need to chose what will become part of our mind.
    2. How do we make the right choice?
      1. Ask yourself, “mountains or valley?”
      2. or, “What would the Lord think?”
      3. or, “What would my family think?”
    3. Abram represents the Lord in this story, and we are represented by Lot.
      1. The Lord gives each of us a choice
        1. Mountains, or valley.
      2. Lot selected the valley, the “easy” way, and lost everything.
      3. Abram selected the mountains, the “difficult” way, and became the father of a nation.
    4. Reflect on the reading from the Spiritual Diary that was read as a lesson:
      1. Spirits, both good and evil, travelling together on a road.
      2. In the middle of the road was a great stone, in shadow. The good could see it, but the evil could not see it.
        1. The stone, the rock, the cornerstone of faith = the acknowledgement of the Lord in His Divine Human.
          1. This is the same as the “pearl” which forms each of the gates of the Holy City.
        2. On one side of the rock there was a path that led to heaven, on the other a path that led to hell.
        3. Evil spirits did not see the rock, stumbled, fell, and lay as if dazed. When they got up they argued that they had done as many good deeds as anyone else and so deserved to go to heaven just as much as anyone else. But when their interior thoughts were opened and revealed, it was seen that the were vile and hated the God, and could not travel the path that led to heaven.
        4. But they were also told that it was within their power to not think evils about God, and to refrain from doing things that were against the Word.
        5. They did not wish to do so, and so continued on their way into hell.
      3. This is instructive for us, still in the world, who have time to make changes to our ruling love.
        1. Refrain from thinking evil things about God – about His motives, or His failure to give you the blessings you want.
        2. Refrain from doing things that are against the Word, and thus against the life of charity.
        3. When you bring your life into order on the level of your mind, not just your deeds, then the Lord can flow in with good affections and the good thoughts that accompany them.
        4. This lead to the acknowledgement of the Lord in His Divine Human, a ruling love of good, and puts us on the path that leads to heaven.
        5. It’s not the easiest path, but the destination is worth the effort.
    5. (Mat 7:13-14) “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. {14} “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Amen.

 

 

First Lesson: (Mat 7:7-14)

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. {8} “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. {9} “Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? {10} “Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? {11} “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! {12} “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. {13} “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. {14} “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Second Lesson: SD 5798

THE WAY WHICH LEADS TO HEAVEN IS THE SAME WAY, AS FAR AS THE CORNERSTONE, [AS THAT WHICH LEADS TO HELL].

I conversed with angels respecting the fact that it is believed that it is difficult to tread the way to heaven, because so many things must be done and all lusts forsaken, besides many things more. Wherefore, as occurs in the spiritual world, the matter was shown by means of a road, which signifies truth which leads. A road appeared at the right, where both the good and the evil trode. It was the same road; but, when they reached to a certain distance, there was a great stone, in shadow, which the good saw but not the evil. From that stone, which is called the cornerstone, a road led to one side and another to the opposite. The evil went on the opposite side, which was behind and sloped downwards; but the good went the other way, which inclined upwards. The latter led to heaven, the former to hell. That stone signified the Lord and His Divine Human. The evil did not acknowledge it: the good did acknowledge. It appeared that the evil fell upon it, because the stone was in shadow. Hence was shown that the moral life which both evil and good lead is the same, but from a different source; the evil do it from an infernal source, the good from a spiritual source. The evil who travelled it, were those who led a moral life like the moral life of the good About the cornerstone, see Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10, 11; Luke 20:17, 18. They who fell upon the stone said, that, when they fell, they lay as if dazed. When they got up, they said that they did goods as much as the others – they were permitted to enumerate some of these – and that, therefore, they were equally entitled to enter heaven. But they were merely goods of civil life in external form; for the interiors, which were of the thought and of the love, were opened, and they were vile, and also defamatory about God, especially about the Lord. They angrily declared, also, that they were not able to do good of themselves; how, then, could they travel the way leading to heaven? But they were told that it was within their power, not to think evils about God and about the Lord, and thus to shun such things as are against the Word and against doctrine, and against the doctrine of their faith; and when they shun evils of thought, then, from the Lord, good affection and consequent thought inflows, and thus they are brought into good by the Lord; and so far as they are in this, so far they come into the affection of truth.

 

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