Abram and Lot Go Different Ways
Then Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev—he, his wife, and all he had, and Lot with him.
Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold.
He went by stages from the Negev to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had formerly been,
to the site where he had built the altar. And Abram called on the name of Yahweh there.
Genesis 13:1-4 (HCSB)
Abraham learned his lesson, repented, and “went up” out of Egypt. When you disobey the will of God, the only right thing to do is to go back to the place where you left Him and make a new beginning (1 John 1:9). No failure is permanent in “the school of faith.” Abraham went back to his tent and altar and the life of a “pilgrim and stranger.”
A casual observer of this episode might conclude, “What happened to Abraham wasn’t all bad. Pharaoh gave Abraham a lot of wealth (Gen. 12:16; 13:2), and Sarah was given her own maid, Hagar (16:1). God forgave Abraham’s sin, and he started over again.”
So, what’s the big problem?
The “big problem” is that everything Abraham received in Egypt later caused trouble. Because of their great wealth, Abraham and Lot could not live together and had to separate. Hagar, the Egyptian maidservant, brought division and sorrow into the home (Gen. 16). Having had a taste of Egypt (the world), Lot started measuring everything by what he saw there (13:10-11); and this led to his downfall and the ruin of his family. There are no benefits from disobedience.
After a major failure on Abram’s part, in letting Pharaoh take his wife, Abram returns to his faith in the Lord, which is symbolized by returning to the altar he made right after the Lord had appeared to him (Genesis 12:7-8). God has never had anyone qualified to work for Him yet. We all fail and must return to our faith in Him. Remembering special encounters with the Lord will aid us when we realize that the gifts and callings of God are without repentance (Romans 11:29).
The command of God had been for Abram to leave his kindred (Genesis 12:1), but as of this time, he hadn’t obeyed that command completely. Lot was still with Abram. But the strife between Abram’s herdsmen and Lot’s herdsmen (Genesis 13:7) brought the separation, which should have happened by Abram’s choice.
Now Lot, who was traveling with Abram, also had flocks, herds, and tents.
But the land was unable to support them as long as they stayed together, for they had so many possessions that they could not stay together,
and there was quarrelling between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were living in the land.
Then Abram said to Lot, “Please, let’s not have quarrelling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, since we are relatives.
Genesis 13:5-8 (HCSB)
I wonder how many family fights have been caused by the love of money. The newspapers often publish reports about families battling in court because of an inheritance or a lottery winning. People who used to love each other and enjoy each other start attacking each other just to get money, but money cannot buy the blessings that families freely give.
Abraham may have failed the first two tests, but he passed this third test with great success. The test was not an easy one, for it involved land and wealth; but Abraham is the example of what every believer should do when there are disputes about material things.
Abraham determined to be a peacemaker and not a troublemaker. The land, the famine, their herdsmen or their wealth did not cause the problem between Abraham and Lot. Both of them were rich. The heart of every problem is the problem in the heart. Lot’s heart was centered on wealth and worldly achievement, while Abraham wanted only to please the Lord.
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3)
It was bad enough that this dispute was between brethren; but even worse, the heathen people of the land were watching and listening. When Christians have disputes, it hurts the testimony of the Lord.
James 3:13-4:10 explains why Lot was a troublemaker instead of a peacemaker: He had “heart trouble.” He followed the wisdom of this world (as Uncle Abraham had done in Egypt) and not God’s wisdom. He was at war with Abraham because he was at war with himself, and he was at war with himself because he was at war with God. The world’s wisdom and the world’s wealth seem so satisfying, but they ultimately bring disappointment.
Covetousness—an insatiable appetite for more things—leads to all kinds of evil (1 Tim. 6:10). In order to get more money, people will lie (Prov. 21:6), mistreat people (22:16), cheat (28:8), and even trouble their own families (15:27). “Covetousness is both the beginning and the end of the devil’s alphabet,” wrote Robert South, “the first vice in corrupt nature that moves, and the last which dies.”
Abraham had caused trouble in Egypt because he was out of place, and Lot caused trouble in Canaan because he was out of place: His heart was really in Egypt (Gen.13:10).
According to 1 Corinthians 2:14-3:3, there are only three kinds of people in the world:
- The natural (unsaved),
- The carnal (saved but living for the world and the flesh),
- And the spiritual (devoted to God).
You find all three in Genesis 13:
- The natural (v. 13),
- The carnal (Lot),
- And the spiritual (Abraham).
Lot was a righteous man (2 Peter 2:7-8) but not devoted to the Lord. He could not walk with Abraham because Abraham was the friend of God (2 Chron. 20:7; Isa. 41:8) and Lot was a friend of the world (James 4:4). Carnal Christians who are not walking with the Lord or with other believers cause many church splits and family fights.
Abraham Lived For Others, Not For Self
While in Egypt, Abraham thought first about himself (Gen. 12:12-13); but when he returned to his altar in Canaan, he put God first and others next. As the “elder statesman” of the camp, Abraham had every right to decide the issue and tell Lot what to do; but he gave Lot first choice.
“Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first.” (Rom. 12:10).
The spiritual Christian does not insist on his/her own rights but gladly yields to others.
Abraham Lived By Faith, Not By Sight
No matter what Lot did, Abraham was not worried about his future; for he knew that everything was in the hands of the Lord. Abraham had never read Psalm 47:4 or Matthew 6:33, but he was putting both into practice by faith. He had met God at the altar and he knew that everything was under control.
When God is first in your life, it makes no difference who is second or last.
Lot had a tent but no altar (Gen. 13:5), which meant he did not call on the Lord for wisdom in making decisions (James 1:5). Instead of lifting up his eyes to heaven, Lot lifted up his eyes to the plain of Jordan (Gen. 13:10) and stopped there. The eyes see what the heart loves. Abraham had taken Lot out of Egypt, but he could not take Egypt out of Lot. Outlook helps to determine outcome. Abraham’s eyes were on the holy city of God (Heb. 11:13-16), and he went on to walk with the Lord and inherit blessing. Lot’s eyes were on the sinful cities of men, and he went on to worldly success, spiritual failure, and a shameful end.
Father, I recognize Your covenant and the reasons for my prosperity. I know that if I follow Your way, I will increase more and more. I understand that it is Your will that I have extreme abundance so that I can be a blessing in this earth. The things I produce on the job (or in my business) are saturated with Your anointing. You have placed your command of blessing upon all that I set my hand to do, and the result is an abundance of silver, gold, and their like.
I pray in Jesus’ mighty name, Amen!
DECLARATION OF FAITH
I am blessed just like Abraham because I serve the same God. He is my Provider, and He is in lack of nothing. God is a God of abundance who rejoices in my prosperity. In Him, I have an abundance in all things.
I pray this declaration of faith in Jesus’ name, Amen!