Careful What You Chose

Ever been in conflict with someone because you are getting in their way or there is uncertainty over a piece of land or possessions? In Genesis 13, Abram and Lot faced a similar conflict and there is much we can learn from them on how to resolve it.

Abram and Lot had traveled from the Negev and settled between Bethel and Ai with their herds and tents. “And the land could not sustain them while dwelling together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to remain together (Genesis 13:6, NASB).” The close quarters was causing conflict between their herdsman. Abram offered a solution to the problem, pointing out that there is a lot of land available.

What’s interesting is the attitude of Abram and Lot. Abram is generous in that he doesn’t assert his rights and tell Lot to get out of his way. Instead he tells Lot, “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 (9).” He is willing to let Lot chose first and live with the decision.

Lot had to decide which land to go to. He saw how the valley of the Jordan is well watered and fertile. Verse 10 tells us it was “like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar.” So Lot separated from Abram “and settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom (12).” As the next verse notes, Lot chose to settle near exceedingly wicked and sinful people.

It reminds me of a similar choice made in another fertile and lush garden. God told Adam that he could eat freely from any tree in the garden of Eden, “but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die (Genesis 2:16-17).” Like Lot, the entire garden is before them, but Eve chose to eat from the tree that also has the knowledge of evil—adding sin to the knowledge of the good they have always known in the garden.

The attraction is similar to what Lot saw when he scanned the Jordan valley. He sees that it is “like the garden of the Lord (Genesis 13:10).” Likewise, Eden sees that the tree of knowledge of good and evil “was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate (Genesis 3:6).”

Lot made a choice to settle close to sinful and wicked people because the valley was good for food and a delight to the eyes. Perhaps he was also drawn to the perceived wisdom in the city. The choice Lot made to settle so close to evil nearly cost him his life, but the Lord had compassion on Lot (Genesis 19:16). God sent two angels to remove him from the city before he destroyed Soddom and Gommoroh (Genesis 19:1-23).

Abram demonstrated a humbleness in not asserting his rights against Lot. He showed a willingness to live with whatever Lot chose. Abram had the same view of the fertile valley as Lot, but he remained open to God’s leading. He was not drawn to the fertile valley and the wickedness of Sodom and Gammorrah. It’s interesting that after Lot separated from Abram, God then told Abram, “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever (Genesis 13:14).”

© 2023, Chris G Thelen

He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars —if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. – Genesis 15:5-6

5 thoughts on “Careful What You Chose

  1. I wonder what it is, in our flesh, that sin is a delight to the eyes, and that we think it holds a greater wisdom than God.
    And the mysteries of why God designed that into our flesh? It’s because of His special love for us, I think, and we would need Him to save us from ourselves. The angels don’t have that.

    1. Thanks for the comment. It is a mystery. Temptation does test our heart and our loyalty to God. As you point out, it does show us our need for a savior. As Paul points out in Romans 7:23-25: “Who will set us free…Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Blessings to you.

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