Genesis 13:1-2 (NIV) 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.
Verses 1-2: Remember who Lot is. Lot was Abram’s nephew, the son of Abram’s deceased brother Haran (Genesis 11:27). After Haran died, Lot and Abram lived together in one household under care of Abram’s dad Terah (Genesis 11:31). When Terah died, Abram took Lot under his wing and became a father figure in Lot’s life. Practically speaking, because they lived so close to each other for much of their lives, Abram saw Lot like a younger brother and cared for him that way (see verse 8).
Genesis 13:3-4 (NIV) 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.
On verses 3-4: Along the journey to Canaan Abram passes the first altar he ever built and worships God there. Here we see one of the benefits of creating a tangible reminder of times when the Lord spoke to you, whether that tangible reminder is building an altar, writing about it in your journal, hanging a piece of art, or something else: when you create a tangible reminder of the times when God spoke to you, you extend the mileage, usefulness and impact of the word God spoke to you. That’s because you’ll be inclined to think about that word more often and remember it for longer.
Genesis 13:5-9 (NIV) 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 herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. 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 herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. 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.”
On verses 5-9: Sometimes the most peaceful way to resolve a conflict is for the two people in conflict to agree to go in different directions. In this case we see that Abram initiates resolution to the tension between him and Lot. He even puts Lot’s interests ahead of his own, allowing Lot to choose any part of the land that Lot wanted, even if it meant that Abram would get the shorter end of the stick. I believe Abram did this because Abram learned his lesson from acting selfishly in Egypt (Genesis 12:10-20) and also because Abram loved his nephew Lot. Abram’s actions here remind me of Philippians 2:3-5: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus”. Because Abram put the interests of his nephew Lot ahead of his own, God blessed Abram.
Genesis 13:10-13 (NIV) 10 Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (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 men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.
On verses 10-13: Likely out of greed and selfishness, Lot chose for himself what he thought was the good part of the land. Little did Lot know that the portion he chose was actually filled with so much wickedness that God was about to destroy it (v10b, 13). Lot made his choice based only on looks from afar. He did not bother to do his research before choosing. Had Lot, like Abram, walked through the length and breadth of the land (v17) he had chosen, Lot could have saved himself from learning about the problems the hard way.
What can we learn from this? When making big decisions about what to acquire, first do your due diligence and look beyond appearances.
Genesis 13:14-18 (NIV) 14 The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, 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 moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the LORD.
On verses 14-18: Even though Abram had almost shipwrecked his own destiny in Egypt (Genesis 12:10-20), and even though his nephew Lot chose what seemed like the good portion of the land for himself at Abram’s expense, God still blessed Abram and would fulfill His promise to Abram, blessing Abram far more than He blessed Lot.
What can we learn from this? God’s plan is greater than our own mistakes and greater than the selfish things people do at our expense. So no matter what mistakes you have made, and what hurtful or selfish things others may do at your expense, know that God’s plan is far greater, so you don’t have to worry.
Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plans for my life are greater than my mistakes and greater than any undesirable thing people do at my expense. Therefore I will not worry about myself or about my future as if it all depends on me, for You are writing a greater story with my life. Thank You that You will bless the times when I am generous and unselfish, and You will work through even the hurtful things people do to write a greater story. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!