Summary: Abram and Lot separate
November 14, 2010
Have you ever thought about what you’d do if you had a million dollars? I used to think of how wonderful it would be if God moved someone to give the church a large amount of money—then we’d be free to do whatever we wanted. We could have nicer facilities, go on mission trips, and generally meet the needs of the world.
But then I started thinking about it—if it really would be that great, then shouldn’t God have already done it? Shouldn’t churches be the richest and wealthiest because God is sovereign, and He wants to give us resources to accomplish His will?
Or can He do whatever He wants regardless of our abilities?
The problem with the Laodicean church (Rev. 3:14-22) wasn’t that they didn’t have enough resources; the problem was that the depended on their abundant resources rather than the One who gives the abundance.
In our story today we’re going to see that this problem is an old one from way before the first church building or the first printed dollar.
It’s a story about looking at the world through eyes of human wisdom verses looking at it through eyes of faith in God’s wisdom.
It’s also a story about how God fulfills His promises and gives when and how He sees fit.
It’s the story of God’s dealings with a man named Abraham. We’ve already read about how God called him to leave Ur to go to a foreign land that He would show him (Gen. 12:1). A famine comes along, and Abram leaves for Egypt to avoid it. While there he gets into a little trouble with Pharaoh and he’s sent packing back to where he started. He goes back to the land of Canaan (right between Bethel and Ai just a few miles north of Jerusalem).
And this is where we pick up this morning:
Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6And the land could not sustain them while dwelling together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to remain together. 7And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. Now the Canaanite and the Perizzite were dwelling then in the land.
So Abram and Lot (his nephew) live in Canaan, and they’ve got large flocks to tend. They didn’t sit out in the fields by themselves tending their flocks, they had men under them who either helped or did it all. They take their flocks from pasture to pasture and from watering hole to watering hole as nomads. I imagine that one day the leader on one side saw a nice spot off in the distance and started off in that direction when the men from the other flock were doing just the same. Well, he’s not going to walk all that way for nothing, so he tells the other guys to get lost because he saw it first.
Well, they didn’t walk all that way for nothing either, so they tell him to take a hike. One thing leads to another and then everyone’s mad. They’ve got their staffs and their slings and they’ve found a hill worth dying on.
To add to the problem, the land isn’t even actually owned by any of them because the Canaanites and the Perizzites are still in the land. They’re actually fighting over other people’s property.
But Abram doesn’t want any of this quarreling, so he goes over to Lot’s house to talk to him about it:
8So 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. 9"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."
It’s not surprising that Abram’s so sensible, but he’s very generous! Being the elder, he would have position over Lot, and he could tell him to move somewhere else, but he doesn’t. Not only that, but God called Abram, not Lot, from Ur. Abram could easily have defended himself by claiming he had rights from God. But he doesn’t.
Instead he says, “we are brothers.” We don’t need problems between us. You tell me which direction you want to go, and we’ll do it. If you go this way, I’ll go that. Just pick what you want, so there’s no more fighting.
10Lot 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. 11So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other. 12Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom. 13Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the LORD.