When Abraham miserably failed under testing he went down into Egypt, and Lot went with him.
While there Lot saw the world and tasted its pleasures, this was the first step in his spiritual ruin. Who was responsible for this? Abraham.
Unfortunately he was encouraged in this by an older brother. Lot became a source of grief to Abraham—see v.7.
Poor Abraham’s past mistakes were catching up with him. First, six miserable, fruitless years in Haran, now strife with the family.
“Whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.”
Abraham backslid into Egypt, under adversity, he stooped low to save his own skin.
While there he chose a lovely Egyptian maiden to help Sarah, his wife. This action brought endless trouble into his life.
The repercussions of this action can be seen today in the Arab nations—the Mohammedan religion.
Now Abraham is having trouble within his family.
Lot, whom he should have left in Ur of the Chaldees, is the cause of it.
Those mistakes or sins left indelible impressions upon Abraham, and he lived under the constant shadow of these sins.
No believer can backslide or disobey God’s implicit commands and ever be the same afterwards.
He becomes what one would call a “crippled priest.”
His spiritual growth is limited. His life of faith is stunted. Spiritual power is absent.
Abraham had left Egypt, but Egypt had not left Abraham.
13:2—“And Abraham was very rich in cattle, in silver and in gold.”
Abraham was probably a shepherd, but now he had acquired cattle in Egypt and had hired Egyptians to look after the cattle.
Now where did the strife originate? It was because of the cattle and the Egyptian cattlemen.
There was open contention, and there was in all probability open fighting among the herdsmen.
Abraham was worried sick.
But look at the end of v.7—“The Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelt in the land.”
The tragedy of strife in God’s house especially when unbelievers are looking on.
All this because of disobedience. This presents a grave warning which believers cannot afford to disregard.
However there was a blessing for Abraham in this trial.
At last he was separated from Lot who is a type of the world.
For Abraham to finally gain victory over the flesh and the world was not easy. Neither will it be easy for any of us.
Through the experiences of failure and success, defeat and victory, God was preparing his servant for spiritual maturity and for the distinction of being called the “father of the faithful” and “the friend of God.”
To say that Abraham profited by these experiences is an understatement.
Abraham never went down to Egypt again.
He did not rebel against God’s chastisement, but rather acknowledged his sin.
Look closely at Abraham now.
In the midst of the strife in his own family, he took a line of action which is absolutely magnificent.
Read vs. 8-9 at this point.
Here Abraham is saying, Lot, I am willing to be the least, I am wiling to take the loss if necessary, I am willing to let you have the best; please take your choice.
This was just the opposite of what Abraham could have demanded of Lot.
1. God called Abraham to Canaan, not Lot.
2. God had given the land to Abraham, not to his nephew.
3. God had made his covenant with Abraham, not Lot.
Abraham was the eldest of the two, and could have expected Lot to recognize this fact.
Yet Abraham humbly said, Take your choice, Lot.
What brought about this change?
Abraham was learning to trust God absolutely.
Abraham in effect was saying, no matter what Lot chooses God has promised me the land, and “I believe God.”
When Abraham had committed himself unreservedly into the hand of God, when he fully surrendered his will to God’s will, and completely abandoned himself, then and only then Jehovah revealed Himself to Abraham in a special way—see vs. 14-18.
In 12:2-3 God made a covenant with Abraham. It was a promise.
Here in vs. 14-18 we have God giving Abraham the land.
“I will give it to thee and to thy seed forever”—v. 15.
v. 18—Abraham removed his tent and lived in the plains of Mamre (“instruction”); which is in Hebron (“fellowship”). There he built an altar unto the Lord.
“He believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness—Romans 4:3.
Does it pay to trust the Lord?
Example: Job. His character—he was perfect and upright, he feared or worshipped God, he hated evil. He was prosperous.
Satan’s theory was that Job was good because God had made him prosperous. Satan said to God, “You have put a hedge around him and around his house and around his possessions. You have blessed the work of his hands, you have blessed his family and increased his lands. But put forth thy hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse you to your face.” And God said, “Behold all that he hath is in thy power.” Satan took from Job his family, possessions and lands. Job said, “The Lord gave the Lord hath taken away, blessed by the name of the Lord.” Satan said, “Let me touch him and he will curse thee.” Satan smote Job with boils. He sat down in misery and scraped himself with potsherd. His wife said to him, “Do you still trust God, curse him and die.” His three friends were no more successful. Job said to them, “Though he slay me yet will I trust him.”
God honored his servant. He blessed the latter end of Job more than the beginning.
The Lust of the Eye
We would like to consider Lot, Abraham’s nephew.
We are told nothing of Lot from the time Abraham left Haran, until now. See 13:5—“And lot also, which went with Abraham, had flocks and herds and tents.”
These two men are brought together by the Spirit of God and contrasted for our spiritual help.
Abraham walked by faith.
Lot walked by sight.
Abraham was generous.
Lot was greedy and worldly.
Abraham looked for city whose builder and maker was God.
Lot make his home in the city built by man and finally destroyed by God.
Abraham was the father of all who believe and was made “heir of the world” (Rom. 4:3)
Lot sank to the lowest degredation and when the curtain falls on him he is a pauper living in a cave, having lost his possessions in the destruction of Sodom.
The different outlook of the two men are sharply contrasted in this incident.
Abraham walking by faith, heard God’s word and believed it. Lot walking by sight chose the well watered plains of Jordan.
See v.10 for the description of the plain.
v.11—Then Lot chose him, etc.
Lot’s downward career started when “He lifted up his eyes.”
The human race started to drift from God when “Eve lifted up her eyes and saw.”
Genesis 3:6—“When she saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof.”
“When I saw among he spoils a goodly Babylonish garment and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them and took them.”—Joshua 7:21.
I saw—I coveted—I took.
Lot lifted up his eyes, and because of what he saw he chose.
“It was as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt.”
The choice that Lot made, from the human standpoint seemed to be the right one.
There was a scarcity of pasture land for the animals.
So to the worldly eye of Lot the well watered plains seemed ideal.
What did God see there?
He saw two cities that were a cesspool of iniquity, full of wicked men and sinners. So, from God’s standpoint, it was the wrong choice.
See the results—“Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.”—v. 12.
The various downward steps of Lot’s course are marked out plainly for us to see:
1. He lifted up his eyes and beheld—v. 10
2. He chose him all the plain of Jordan—v. 11
3. He separated himself from Abraham—v. 11
4. He dwelt in the cities of the plain—v. 12
5. He pitched his tent towards Sodom—v. 12
6. He dwelt in Sodom—14:12
7. He becomes a judge, seated in the gate—19:1
8. His daughters are married to wicked men of Sodom—19:14
Consider Peter in this same connection:
1. There was boasting self-confidence—“Though all shall offend thee, yet will not I”—Mark 14:29.
2. Then there was the sleeping in the garden when he should have been watching and praying—Mark 14:37.
3. Then there was following Christ “afar off”—Matthew 26:58.
4. Then there was seating himself at the fire among the Lord’s enemies—Matthew 26:69.
5. Finally came Peter’s denial—Matthew 26:69-75.
What did Lot gain by his choice? He was a loser—he lost everything. 13:5 tells us that Lot was a rich man. 19:30 shows Lot destitute dwelling in a cave.
Let us now apply what we have been discussing to ourselves.
What choice have you made?
Are you walking by faith—trusting Christ for eternal life and a place in that heavenly city? Or are you walking by sight, and choosing the world with its pleasure?
Abraham found the city and living there now. Lot lost all that he ever owned—he made the wrong choice.
Choice not chance, determines human destiny.
The people’s choice
“Whom will ye that I release unto you?”—Barabas
“What shall I do with Jesus called Christ?”—Crucify him
Joshua 24:15—“Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.”
The granddaughter of a man named Aaron Burr got saved. That same evening she asked her grandfather why he had not accepted Christ. He told her this sad story. When he was a young man he attended a particular meeting and was convicted but walked out without giving himself to Christ. Looking up at the starlit sky he said, “God, if you don’t bother me, I’ll never bother you.” “Honey,” he told his granddaughter, “God has kept his part of the bargain, He’s never bothered me, now it’s too late.”
“O sinner the savior is calling for thee,
Long, long has he called thee in vain;
He called thee when joy lent its crown to thy days,
He called thee in sorrow and pain.”
“O sinner the Spirit is striving with thee;
What if he should strive never more,
But leave thee alone in thy darkness to dwell,
In sight of the heavenly shore.”
“O turn, while the Savior in mercy is waiting,
And steer for the harbor light;
For how do you know but your soul may be drifting
Over the deadline tonight (today).”