Summary: Lot is in a "lot" of trouble if Abram has any bitterness.
Show video “Rebuilding”
My mom died last Sunday. I had promised her that I would perform her funeral. There were quite a few loved ones concerned that it would be too much for me to handle. But I experienced the Holy Spirit in a way as I never have before.
The beginning of the year I gave each of us a small, simple book of God’s promises. The scriptures beginning on Jan 8th dealt with comfort. I was promised each day leading up to her death of God’s comfort. I felt the comfort of the Holy Spirit as I never have felt before. In fact, on the day she died the scripture for that day was Psalm 31:7 “I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.” At the bottom of the page was this quote from C. S. Lewis “God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain.” At the time I did not realize it but the stain spoken of here was the stain of bitterness. In fact those who offered to pray for me were asked to pray against a root of bitterness.
I must admit there were those at the funeral that I had anger toward. As I expected there was great weeping and sorrow at the loss of a loved one. However I struggled with feeling compassion toward them. I knew some were weeping due to remorse that they had allowed precious time to slip away from them and now could not claim this time back to spend with her. But bitterness was holding me back from offering them comfort.
Proverbs 14:10 reads “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can fully share its joy.” I discovered a joy found in bitterness, a sort of satisfaction of seeing the weeping of others. But as Hebrews says “it’s a poisonous root” that damages me and eventually will damage you. It’s a root that must be destroyed. Or, like the man in the video, I will build a box where there is no escape.
Today we will discuss the third test of Abraham. This test, if failed, would leave Abraham bitter, Lot destroyed, and God dishonored. Let’s begin with Gen 13:1-4 “So Abram left Egypt and traveled north into the Negev, along with his wife and Lot and all that they owned. (Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold.) From the Negev, they continued traveling by stages toward Bethel, and they pitched their tents between Bethel and Ai, where they had camped before. This was the same place where Abram had built the altar, and there he worshiped the Lord again.”
Remember from last week that Abram had left everything behind to go to the land of Canaan, the land promised to him by God. All was going well until a famine struck. In panic Abram turned from God and looked to Egypt for assistance. He told a half truth about his wife and she ended in the Pharaoh’s household. Curses began to fall upon the Pharaoh’s household and he discovered the truth about Sari. He sent Abram on his way back out of Egypt with more possessions than what he had originally. Abram returned to where he had quit following God and worshiped him at one of the altars he had built. Things seemed to be back on track when a problem arose.
Lot also had become wealthy in Egypt. Perhaps the Pharaoh had paid a portion of the cost for Sari. Maybe Abram shared with him his fortune as “hush money.” Or perhaps, since Lot was like a son to him, he decided to share his fortune with him. Nevertheless, Lot also had flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and many servants.
We must remember that the land they found themselves back in had suffered a famine and perhaps had not recovered yet. But we are told that the land could not support both Abram and Lot. So disputes broke out between their herdsmen.
We read in Gen 13:8-12 how Abram sought to solve this problem. “Finally Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not allow this conflict to come between us or our herdsmen. After all, we are close relatives! The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want the land to the left, then I’ll take the land on the right. If you prefer the land on the right, then I’ll go to the left.”
Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. The whole area was well watered everywhere, like the garden of the Lord or the beautiful land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) Lot chose for himself the whole Jordan Valley to the east of them. He went there with his flocks and servants and parted company with his uncle Abram. So Abram settled in the land of Canaan, and Lot moved his tents to a place near Sodom and settled among the cities of the plain.”