Read Genesis 13
Abram and Lot Separate
1 So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. 2 Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.
3 From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier 4 and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord.
5 Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6 But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. 7 And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.
8 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me,or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”
10 Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.
14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”
18 So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord.
On the surface, this chapter might just seem like a story about a land dispute, but there is so much more we can learn than that. Abram has been blessed mightily by God, and both he and his nephew, Lot, have received a tremendous amount of property. There was no longer room for the two of them to travel together, so they had to split. The shocking thing is that Abram allows his nephew to choose where to go. He gave his nephew the first pick! Rather than giving his family member the leftovers, he is willing to submit himself to someone younger and less deserving.
Since Lot has the choice of where he will go, he looks around to find the best land possible. Lot “saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east” (v. 10-11). Lot did what anyone would do in this situation. He picked that which seemed best to him. But here is the important lesson for today: what looks good to us won’t always be good for us. If you don’t know how the story unfolds, Lot picks land that is full of some of the most wicked people on Earth. God would later destroy this area because of their sin. On the flip side, Abram was willing to put his desires aside, and God led him to a much better country.
We all have dreams and ideas for our lives. Obviously, if all of these things would come true, we’d have a better life! But Genesis 13 is a reminder that just because something looks good doesn’t mean it will be good. We are poor decision makers for ourselves. The best thing we can do for our futures is to give them over to God. He knows the land that will lead to our flourishing.
What do you notice about Abram in this passage?
Have you ever had an experience like Lot–you chose something that looked good, but ended up far from it
Do you struggle with giving your plans over to God? Why do you think you trust yourself more than Him?
Did You Know?
The site where Abram would later relocate, Hebron, is a strategic spot, located in between Jerusalem and Beersheba. It is also the highest point in the Promised Land, at an elevation of about 3,050 feet.