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Genesis 13:1-18

Friction between Abram and Lot


For those of us who have walked with the Lord for a number of years, we know the reality of a relationship with
God
- Everything isnt always rosy
- There are obstacles along our way
In each of our lives, these obstacles may look a little different
- God obviously has specific qualities that He is working on in your life that may differ from the issues in
my life
But the same overarching principle is at work in all of our lives as believers
- That principle is Gods commitment to make us more like Himself
- We call this progressive sanctification the ongoing process whereby we become more and more
obedient to Christ
Sometimes God uses trials to bring us closer to Him
- Trials tear our white-knuckled fists from this world and its attractions
- Trials make us look to God who alone can bring lasting satisfaction and joy
Other times, God uses suffering to bring us nearer to Him
- When our hearts are heavy and looking for comfort, we should be drawn to God through His Word
- The Psalms are a wonderful source of comfort and reality as we see how others handled the various
problems of living in a fallen world
Of course, God is always using His Word to conform us
- When Christ prayed in John 17, this is what He had in mind when He prayed, Sanctify them in the
truth; Your Word is truth (17:17)
- In the Word of God we find the greatest means of sanctification His own Word that convicts us and
shows us our shortcomings
One last item that I will mention is the subject of disobedience
- As we all know, we are not perfect in our obedience to God and to His Word
- We fall short and fail to reach His righteous standard
God will use those times to strengthen us
- He will use those times of sinful choices to teach us the consequences of going astray
- If we take the time to seek the Lord, we can learn from our mistakes
We find ourselves in the book of Genesis, chapter 13
- We have been studying the life of Abram
Abram is written of as an excellent example of faithfulness throughout the Scriptures
- But we know that he was not always faithful and obedient
Abram had a real relationship with God
- He knew that he fell short
- He realized that his only way of pleasing God was to place faith in Him and His Word

This morning, we continue looking at Abrams journey of faith and will learn three invaluable principles
about how we, too, can follow God, even after times of disobedience
- Abram revisited his place of remembrance (13:1-4)
- Abram relinquished his prerogative of rights (13:5-13)
- Abram received his promise of reward (13:14-18)

Lets read Genesis 13:1-18

Last week, we noted that God promised Abram great blessings (12:1-3)
- I will make you a great nation
- And I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing
- And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. and in you all the
families of the earth shall be blessed
In essence, Abram was promised three specific items
- A land
- A seed (descendants)
- A blessing
Abram immediately left his homeland and traveled toward the land of Canaan
- He actually made it to the Land of Promise (12:5)
When he arrived at the area near Shechem, the LORD appeared to Abram and told him, To your descendants I
will give this land (12:7)
- Abram knew that he was in the land of promise
- Abram now knew that his descendants would inherit this land
To celebrate Gods goodness and faithfulness, Abram constructed an altar (12:7b)
- This was to offer a sacrifice to the LORD for what He had promised
- It was a sign of Abrams gratitude and thanksgiving
Abram proceeded from the northern area of Shechem down toward the area near Bethel and Ai
- It was here that he built a second altar
- It was also here that Abram called upon the name of the LORD (12:8b)
With singular focus and worship, Abram declared his loyalty to the LORD
- No longer would he worship other gods
- His heart was solely focused on Yahweh
Abram continued journeying toward the southern area called the Negev (12:9)
- It was here that Abram learned that a severe famine had struck the land of Canaan
The Promised Land was very dependent upon annual rainfall for its food
- Without proper rain, the crops would not produce
Egypt was an area that was near Canaan
- Unlike the Promised Land, Egypt wasnt dependent upon annual rainfall
- Egypt had the Nile River which supplied ample amounts of water for the area
- For this reason, Egypt was very fertile
2

We refer to Egypt as Fertile Crescent

It was here that Abram journeyed in a time of famine


- During his time in Egypt, however, Abram encountered a situation that he had no prepared for
He knew that the Egyptians would kill him if he told the truth about his wife, Sarai
- So he hatched a plan of deceit that told only a half-truth
- He told Sarai to tell the Egyptians that she was his brother (12:13)
Things went fine until Pharaohs officials noticed her beauty and recommended her as a wife for Pharaoh
- Abram had not planned on this
God intervened and put an end to this situation
- Pharaoh rebuked Abram for his lying, deceit, and lack of integrity
- He banished Abram and Sarai from the land of Egypt
That is where we left off last week
- What would Abram do now?
- Where would he go?

I.
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Abram revisited his place of remembrance (13:1-4)

So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, he and his wife and all that belonged to him; and Lot with him.

We read in chapter 13 that Abram retraces his steps from chapter 12


- We know that he went from Shechem to Bethel to the Negev to Egypt (cf. Gen 12)
- In chapter 13 we read that Abram went from Egypt to the Negev to Bethel
We will learn more about why he was doing this in a few verses
The Text accounts for the entourage that accompanied Abram
- Abram
- His wife Sarai
- all that belonged to him a reference to all that Abram possessed at this time servants; animals;
precious metals
- Lot
We havent heard much about Lot since chapter 12
- He was omitted because he was not the primary focus
- In chapter 12, the main focus was on Abrams journey to Egypt
- That chapter in Abrams life centered about Sarai, Pharaoh, and Abram
Lot was certainly there with Abram in Egypt
- However, he was not the focus so he was omitted
But he is now brought back into focus since the passage will highlight tension and friction that exists between
Abram and Lot

Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold.

Moses brings out the fact that Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold
- You might say that he was loaded
God had promised to bless Abram
- In the language of that day, to be blessed was to have material blessings
Unlike today, Abrams wealth was not measured simply in dollars and cents
- Oftentimes, ones wealth was measured in terms of livestock
If you look back at Genesis 12:16, you will notice that Pharaoh treated Abram well for her sake; and gave him
sheep and oxen and donkeys and male and female servants and female donkeys and camels.
- In exchange for his sister, Pharaoh gave Abram livestock
When Abram was ousted from Egypt, Pharaoh didnt ask for the livestock
- Abram kept them
- God was blessing Abram, despite a very fatal flaw in his faith
As Abram journeys northward, this reference to Abrams wealth will help us to understand the problem that
soon arises
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And he went on his journeys from the Negev as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the
beginning, between Bethel and Ai, 4 to the place of the altar, which he had made there formerly;
As I said, Abram is retracing his steps that he had made previously
- Before, he traveled from north to south
- Now, he is traveling from south to north
Where was Abram heading?
- The Word of God doesnt mention any Divine direction
- But it seems as if Abram knows where he wants to go
Abram was heading back to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, 4 to the
place of the altar, which he had made there formerly (13:3b-4a)
- This was the second stop in the land of Canaan in chapter 12
- It was the second place where Abram had built an altar
Notice that the altar was still standing
- The Canaanites (12:6; 13:7) who were living in this land had not destroyed the altar to Yahweh
Perhaps the fact that this altar was still standing symbolized the fact that Gods promises were still true
- You see, I believe that Abram realized his folly1
- He realized that he almost blew it
- But God had been very gracious
- Abram had learned his lesson

Leon J. Wood, A Shorter Commentary on Genesis, 65.

Abram wanted to revisit his place of remembrance2


- He wanted to go back to where he last heard the Word of God
- He wanted to go back to where God had personally appeared to him

and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.


It was here at the area around Bethel and Ai that Abram called on the name of the LORD
- Perhaps this was a time of confession and repentance over sinful, foolish choices
- Perhaps this was a time of expressing his gratitude to the LORD for His kindness
- This same phrase Abram called on the name of the LORD was used back in 12:8 of Abrams first visit
to this area
Nowhere in Egypt do we read of Abram building an altar
- Nowhere in Egypt do we read of Abram worshipping God through sacrifice
- Nowhere in Egypt do we read of Abram calling upon the name of the LORD
Is it any wonder that Abram makes a bee-line back to his place of remembrance?
- It was in the land of Canaan that God had promised, To your descendants I will give this land (12:7,
italics mine)
God had not promised the land of Egypt to Abram
- The Text never mentions God speaking to Abram in Egypt
Hence the reason that Abram returned to the last place of Gods speaking
- Abrams heart was ready for worship
- He had learned his mistake
There are times in our own lives when we venture out on our own
- We think we know what is best
- In the words of Proverbs 3, we lean on our own understanding instead of trusting God with all our
heart (3:5)
Like Abram, we make a decision that seems best
- Instead of seeking the face of God, we rely on common sense
- We look for direction in circumstances instead of Gods spoken Word
We have all been there, right?
- We all know the sting of discouragement after realizing that we made a mistake
Oftentimes, our attitude after such a time tells a lot about our character
- Do we sit around, complain, and whine?
- Or do we seek the face of God, repent of our sin, and determine to follow the Lord?
Lets be like Abram
- If you are here and realize that your decisions have taken you to places that you know you should not
have traveled, repent!
- Seek Gods face
- Go back in your mind to your place of remembrance
2

Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record, 301.

When was the last time that you knew God was leading you?
- Unlike Abram, we have the complete Word of God
- Seek God in prayer and in the Word
In the word of Jeremiah, And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart
(29:13)
Abram revisited his place of remembrance
- But he also

II.

Abram relinquished his prerogative of rights (13:5-13)

Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6 And the land could not sustain them
while dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they were not able to remain together.
Back in verse 2 we read that Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold
- Here in verse 5 we read that Lot also had flocks and herds and tents
You had two people with lots of livestock living in the same geographical area
- For those of you who know about livestock and farming, you know that the flocks and herds need
adequate grass in order to survive
The problem that immediately emerges is that the possessions of Abram and Lot are so great that they cant
even remain together
7

And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock.

There is immediately strife between Lots herdsmen and Abrams herdsmen


- Those servants who are looking after the livestock of these two men begin to complain
Each man wants adequate grass and water for his flocks
- But with such a small amount of land area, this is becoming more and more of an issue

Now the Canaanite and the Perizzite were dwelling then in the land.
Right in the middle of a section dealing with a problem between Abrams and Lots herdsmen, the author
inserts a phrase that seems out of place, Now the Canaanite and the Perizzite were dwelling then in the land
- Why did Moses insert this phrase at this point in the story?
We know from Genesis 12:6 that the Canaanite were already living in this land
- Now we learn that the Perizzite was also in the area
We begin to understand why the herdsmen were having problems with finding resources for their livestock
- They were living in an area that was already possessed by others!
- They were not alone and were having to compete for land

Then Abram said to Lot, Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and
your herdsmen, for we are brothers.
Not content to allow this strife to continue, Abram takes the initiative3
- Even though the problem was between the herdsmen of Lot and the herdsmen of Abram, he speaks
directly to Lot
Abram lets Lot know that this strife should not continue between them or between their herdsmen
- The reason that Abram gives is because we are brothers
The older and wiser Abram says, in essence, We are family and we shouldnt be arguing like this!
- We know from the Table of Nations in Genesis 10 that all of the families of the Earth are related by
blood
- They are the common stock of Noahs three sons after the Flood
Family relationships can oftentimes become intense and heated
- But Abram realizes this and seeks to put the issue to rest
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Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me: if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the
right, then I will go to the left.
Abrams solution is rather generous, to say the least
- As the older man with the most possessions, Abram should have had first dibs at what land he wanted
- Lot, as the younger man and with the lesser amount of possessions, should have settled for the second
choice
But Abram relinquishes his rights in giving first choice to Lot
- This shows the heart and character of Abram, doesnt it?
Abram tells Lot, in essence, You make the choice. If you want to go to the left, then I will go right. But if you
want to go to the right, then I will go to the left.
- In other words, Lot could take any portion of land that he wanted
- Abram would be willing to separate, taking a less-than-desire portion of land
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And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere this was
before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you
go to Zoar.
You can just picture Lot, cant you?
- He scans the entire countryside as far as he can see, trying to figure out where the best parcel of land is
- Lets be honest, if you were in this situation, you would have done the same thing!
Lot notices that the valley of the Jordan is well watered everywhere (13:10)
- Lot had just traveled to Egypt with Abram
- The circumstances that prompted Abram to go to Egypt was a severe famine

W.H. Griffith-Thomas, Genesis: A Devotional Commentary, 123.

Lot is reasoning, If I can find a place that is fertile, I wont have to journey to Egypt. My flocks and herds will
be well taken care of.
This area of the Jordan valley is compared to two other places
- the garden of the LORD
- the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar
Lot compares the Jordan valley to the Garden of Eden!
- Surely he had heard about this Garden as the stories were passed down from Adam to his sons, through
Noah, etc.
- Lot sees this land as being a paradise!
Lot also compares the Jordan valley to the land of Egypt
- Remember, Lot has just returned from Egypt and recognized very quickly the fertile conditions of that
area
We have another editorial note in verse 10
- This time, Moses gives some additional commentary and background on the Jordan valley, this was
before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah
We know that the Jordan valley had five major cities
- Sodom was the predominant and prominent city
- Gomorrah was also well-known
The children of Israel would read this and understand that Lot chose the area near Sodom and Gomorrah before
the LORD destroyed it
- This gives us a hint of coming events in chapter 19
I also find it interesting that the author uses picturesque words to describe Lots actions, he lifted up his eyes
and saw all the valley of the Jordan
- He was drawn to this area by physical and visual enticement4
Where else have we encountered this same problem?
- Eve saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes (3:6, emphasis mine)
- The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves
(6:2, emphasis mine)
- Ham saw the nakedness of his father (9:22, emphasis mine)
- Here we have Lot who saw all the valley of the Jordan (13:10)
Lot was not seeking the Lord for direction
- He was relying on his own understanding
- He was relying on what seemed best to him
We make these same choices, dont we?
- The apostle John wrote in his first epistle, For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of
the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world (2:16)
How many times have we been led away because of the lust of the eyes?
- Many more times than we can to acknowledge
4

Wood, 65.

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So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan; and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from
each other.
Lot chose the valley of the Jordan
- The Text tells us that he journeyed eastward
Throughout Genesis, traveling to the east is a sign of distance from Gods blessing
- Adam and Eve were banished east of the Garden of Eden (3:24)
- Cain left and traveled east from the presence of the LORD (4:16)
- The inhabitants of Babel traveled east and settled in the land of Shinar where they attempted to
construct a tower (11:2)
- Here we find that Lot journeyed eastward toward Sodom
It is interesting that Lot chose the Jordan Valley
- From other sections of the Bible, we realize that Sodom was either on the edge of Canaan or was outside
the land of Canaan
Lot was, in essence, choosing to live outside the land of Promise
- This highlights the folly of his choice
Lot could have had the best
- But he settled for what was most convenient
Lot also made a very selfish decision5
- He wasnt thinking about Abram who had taken care of him on the journeys
- He simply wanted to get the best land and get away from Abram
12

Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as
Sodom. 13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the LORD.
With Lot traveling eastward toward Sodom, Abram settles in the land of Canaan
- Abram is no longer pitching his tent
- He is settled
This was the Land that God had told him would belong to his descendants
- He had learned his lesson by going to Egypt
- He wasnt about to leave the Promised Land again
Another editorial note is given
- This time, Moses helps us to notice the character of the men in Sodom, Now the men of Sodom were
wicked exceedingly and sinners against the LORD (13:13)
Lot was so infatuated with the physical beauty of the Jordan valley that he failed to account for the spiritual
condition of the people who inhabited the area
- Moses describes the men of Sodom by two phrases
o They were wicked exceedingly
o They were also sinners against the LORD

Allen P. Ross, Creation & Blessing, 286.

The Sodomites were not just wicked


- They were wicked exceedingly
Sodom has become almost a proverb or byword for severe wickedness6
- It would be similar to calling a woman, Jezebel
- You would be saying that her character is not something worthy of imitation
Sodoms sins have made a lasting impact on humanity
- To this day, even if you ask an unbeliever, they will most likely know what you are implying by the use
of Sodom
Moses writes that they were sinners against the LORD
- They were rebels against Yahweh
Interesting that the Sodomites were not living in the land of promise
- Yet, they were still accountable to Yahweh
- Gods jurisdiction and sovereignty are not confined to his land7
God has already judged an Egyptian Pharaoh for his sins
- And He would soon judge Sodom and Gomorrah for their sins
Isnt it ironic that Lot thought that this new land would be heaven on Earth
- John Calvin writes, Lot, when he fancied that he was dwelling in paradise, was nearly plunged into the
depths of hell8
Notice that Lot moved his tents as far as Sodom (13:12)
- In 14:12, we will see that he was living in Sodom
- In 19:1, we will see that Lot was sitting in the gate as a leader in the city9
Lot was being careless, thinking that he could tiptoe around temptation without consequences for his actions
- But he was wrong
The word here for wicked is the Hebrew word for evil
- We are brought back to the Garden of Eden, arent we, where God warned Adam and Eve, From any
tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall
not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die (2:16b-17)
Adam and Eve failed to heed that Divine warning
- In doing so, they reaped the consequences of their actions
- Their choice set the wheels of physical death into motion
- Their choice also caused there to be spiritual death separation from the LORD
The reality of spiritual death would be passed on to every child of Adam
- Every person born from the seed of Adam would be infected with and affected by this curse

Kenneth A. Mathews, NAC, Genesis 11:27-50:26, 137.


Victor P. Hamilton, NICOT, Genesis 1-17, 394.
8
Quoted in Ross, 287.
9
Morris, 304.
7

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This is what Genesis is all about


- The tracing of One who can deliver sinful mankind from this curse
- The tracing of One who alone could redeem sinners from spiritual death
Lets not simply read Genesis as a story or novel
- This is our heritage
- This is why we sin
- This is a reflection of the human heart
Jesus Christ is the Deliverer
- He is the Redeemer
- He is the Savior
Unless you place faith and trust in Him for redemption, you will die in your sins as a result of the curse
- Your only hope is to believe that Christs death on the cross was sufficient for you
- That He died a substitutionary death, dying as a righteous man for the unrighteous
Abram and Lot had a disagreement
- The wise Abram gave up his prerogative to the younger Lot
Lot squandered his opportunity and chose a city that was inhabited by wicked sinners
Abram displayed a gracious heart in thinking of others instead of himself
- This is a godly virtue that should be cultivated in each of our lives
You see, Abram didnt need to be selfish about the Land10
- Up to this point, the Land wasnt even his
- It was for his descendants
Abram trusted that the LORD would work out everything in His timing
- God had taken care of Abram wherever He went11

So far we have seen Abram


- Revisit his place of remembrance (13:1-4)
- Relinquish his prerogative of rights (13:5-13)
Lastly, we see how
III.

Abram received his promise of reward (13:14-18)

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And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, Now lift up your eyes and look from the
place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; 15 for all the land which you see, I
will give it to you and to your descendants forever.
Lot has moved eastward toward Sodom
- And the Lord speaks to Abram again

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11

Ross, 281.
Morris, 303.

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This was the missing link in Egypt!


- God had not spoken to him
But now that he was back in the land of promise, God was reassuring him that His promises were still true
- God speaks to Abram, restating the promises that were given back in chapter 12
After Abram told Lot to select an area to live, Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan
(13:10)
- Notice the similar language that is used by the LORD toward Abram, Now lift up your eyes and look
from the place where you are (italics mine)
What an amazing display of Gods grace and power
- Abram let Lot choice first
- The LORD tells Abram that all the land was his, northward and southward and eastward and westward
- What a blessing this must have been for Abram
Then the LORD adds this remark, for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants
forever
- Previously, the land was only for Abrams descendants (12:7)
- Now, Abram himself is included
What a reassurance this must have been for Abram
- He had failed miserably in Egypt
- But Gods promises were not contingent upon Abrams obedience
God was showing Abram just how strong He was
- God was showing Abram just how faithful He was
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And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth,
then your descendants can also be numbered.
Yahweh continues to speak of Abrams future descendants, I will make your descendants as the dust of the
earth
- I am sure that Abram was a little confused by this statement
Abram was in his late 70s
- He had no children
- His wife, Sarai, was barren
Yet God is here promising that Abrams descendants would be like the dust of the earth
- Uncountable!
- Unnumerable!
17

Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you. 18 Then Abram moved his
tent and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and there he built an altar to the LORD.
Yahweh exhorts Abram to claim the land as his own, Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth;
for I will give it to you
- Remember, Abram had settled in the land
12

He wasnt about to leave unless God was directing him

But the reality is that God was leading him


- So Abram obeyed without hesitation
So Abram moved to the area of Hebron
- This is about 20 miles south of Jerusalem12
For the third time, Abram builds an altar to the LORD
- One in Shechem
- One in Bethel
- Now one in Hebron
This area would be central to the history of Abram
- It would be here that he purchases a parcel of land on which he buries his wife, Sarai
Two words really summarize the life of Abram at this point
- tents and altars
Abram was willing to follow the LORD
- He wasnt tied to one place so much that he was unwilling to move
- His tent pegs were always ready to be pulled up and relocated
Abram was also ready to worship the LORD wherever he was
- Wherever God lead him, he was ready to express his gratitude, appreciation, and commitment
Yes, the Abram in the land of Canaan is a different man from the one in Egypt
- His focus is singular on the LORD
- He displays quick obedience
Could the same be said of us?
Abram could pray with a clear conscience
- Lord, I am willing to follow You wherever You lead me. Through Your Word, guide me and direct my
steps. Grant me an obedient heart to follow quickly and willingly. May my tent pegs always be ready to
be relocated to the place where You have for me to be
- Lord, You know my heart is one of worship. You are worthy of all praise, glory, and honor. In every
situation and for every situation, I give You praise. May there be an altar in my life at all times so that
You can receive the praise that You deserve.
Are you at that point this morning?
- Could you pray that to the Lord, sincerely and honestly?
If not, why not?
- What sin is more important than obedience to the LORD?
- What person is more important than worship of the LORD?
- What else is more important than following the LORD?

12

John J. Davis, Paradise to Prison, 179.

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What a challenge the LORD has brought to us this morning


- Abram has learned his lesson
- He is ready to follow the LORD
- He is ready to worship Him

Perhaps you are here and dont know the LORD


- If you are here apart from a relationship with Him, I would urge you to cry out in your heart to the
LORD
- Confess your sins to Him
- Trust in the work of Christ on the cross for you
- Ask Him for forgiveness
- Repent of yours sins, trusting God to make you different

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