Summary: We need to consider the consequences of our choices.
Where Are You Pitching Your Tent?
In the Bible record, we find the familiar story of Abraham. That story began in a place called Ur of the Chaldees, a place that was located in what we know today as southern Iraq. It began with a man by the name of Terah, who had three sons, named Abraham, Nahor, and Haran. Haran had a son named Lot. As the story unfolds, we find that Lot’s dad died in Ur of the Chaldees, then he and his grandfather and uncle Abraham moved from Ur at the Lord’s command. They stopped at a place called Haran, where Terah, the grandfather died. Then, with their families and possessions, Lot and his uncle Abraham moved once again to the land of Canaan, which would later come to be known as Israel. When Abraham arrived in Canaan, the Lord appeared to him and told him that all his descendants would inherit the land he was surveying, a great tract of land that would belong to all his descendants. Abram was so moved that he built an altar to God and worshipped Him there.
If you remember, they stayed for a short while, then journeyed farther south into Egypt, where out of fear for his life Abraham made his wife Sarah lie about her identity to the Pharaoh. Pharaoh thought Sarah was Abraham’s sister, and thus took her as his own wife. The Lord plagued Pharaoh until the truth came out about her true relationship to Abraham, after which they all packed up and returned to Canaan.
All the while that Abraham and Lot were traveling together, they amassed these great herds of cattle and sheep and ranch hands, so that by the time they returned to Canaan, they had accumulated far too much to be able to ranch together. This is the situation in which we find them in Genesis 13, which we’ll now read.
"And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. And he went on his journeys from the south even to Beth-el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth-el and Ha-i; unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord. And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled in the land. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly."
Now as you continue reading in the following verses and next several chapters, Abraham grows and matures into the wonderful man of God that we study and admire. Sure he makes some mistakes, some bad choices, but he learns from his sin and draws nearer to the Lord in the end.
Lot on the other hand lives a life of grief and heartache. He pitched his tent toward Sodom, later moved into town, became one of the town’s leading citizens, enjoyed his wealth and influence, but in the end he lost his wife, committed incest with his own daughters, and fathered a nation of people who would be a thorn in the side of Israel for years to come. Time and time again Abraham would have to get Lot out of trouble, for his was a wasted and sorry life. It wasn’t his upbringing. It wasn’t poverty or bad circumstances, but instead, it was the choices Lot made that led to a life of regret and shame.