Summary: Abram's nephew Lot tested Abram's heart when Lot found himself in trouble.
Late one summer evening in Broken Bow, Nebraska, a weary truck driver pulled his rig into an all-night truck stop. The waitress had just served him when three tough looking, leather jacketed motorcyclists - of the Hell’s Angels type - decided to give him a hard time. Not only did they verbally abuse him, one grabbed the hamburger off his plate, another took a handful of his French fries, and the third picked up his coffee and began to drink it.
The trucker calmly rose, picked up his check, walked to the front of the room, put the check and his money on the cash register, and went out the door. The waitress followed him to put the money in the till and stood watching out the door as the big truck drove away into the night.
When she returned, one of the bikers said to her, "Well, he’s not much of a man, is he?"
She replied, "I reckon not and he sure wasn’t much of a truck driver either. He just ran over three motorcycles on his way out of the parking lot."
Aw, sweet revenge. We’ve all desired it at some point in our life. We love to see the bad guys get his. That’s why on most Monday nights 3.5 million people are watch pro-wrestling. They watch to see if the good guy will finally come out on top over the bad guy. By the way, if you are a closet wrestling fan see me after church. Not so I can chastise you. I want to know what you thought of that last match.
When it comes to getting even the Bible is very clear on the matter. We read “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord.”
(Romans 12:19) It says “See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.”
( 1 Thessalonians 5:15) It says “If the godly give in to the wicked, it’s like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring.” (Proverbs 25:26) God realized if we try to take revenge, if we try to pay back the evil of others with revenge, then we could become spiritually polluted and muddied. Because the source of our vengeance may be bitterness.
Bitterness can be a dangerous symptom to deal with. Like the truck driver hitting the bikes, the bikes were destroyed but at what cost to the truck? How much damage was done to the bumper, tires, or undercarriage? Proverbs 14:10 reads “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can fully share its joy.”
There is a joy to your revenge and bitterness that no one will understand but you. But there is damage done to your spirit that no one will experience but you. As we continue our journey with Abram we will see an opportunity for him to experience bitterness or faith in God to extract revenge.
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. Abram possibly decided to share his fortune with him. Therefore, Lot also had flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and many servants.
Coming out of the famine, the land could not support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds living so close together. Disputes broke out between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot.
So Abram sought to solve this problem and gave us our first lesson
In conflict, always take the high road.
Gen 13:8-12 “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 had become an orphan when his father died. Abram’s father took responsibility for him until his death. When Abram left to follow God’s calling, Lot was an adult man. But Abram had compassion and allowed him to come on his journey. This was in direct opposition to God’s command to “Leave your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.”