So Abram left Egypt and went back to the Negev, he and his wife and everything he owned, and Lot still with him. 2. By now Abram was very rich, loaded with cattle and silver and gold.
He moved on from the Negev, camping along the way, to Bethel, the place he had first set up his tent between Bethel and Ai 4. and built his first altar. Abram prayed there to God.
Lot, who was traveling with Abram, was also rich in sheep and cattle and tents. 6. But the land couldn’t support both of them; they had too many possessions. They couldn’t both live there–– 7. quarrels broke out between Abram’s shepherds and Lot’s shepherds. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living on the land at the time.
Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have fighting between us, between your shepherds and my shepherds. After all, we’re family. 9. Look around. Isn’t there plenty of land out there? Let’s separate. If you go left, I’ll go right; if you go right, I’ll go left.”
Lot looked. He saw the whole plain of the Jordan spread out, well watered (this was before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah), like God ‘s garden, like Egypt, and stretching all the way to Zoar. 11. Lot took the whole plain of the Jordan. Lot set out to the east.
That’s how they came to part company, uncle and nephew. 12. Abram settled in Canaan; Lot settled in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent near Sodom.
The people of Sodom were evil––flagrant sinners against God.
After Lot separated from him, God said to Abram, “Open your eyes, look around. Look north, south, east, and west. 15. Everything you see, the whole land spread out before you, I will give to you and your children forever. 16. I’ll make your descendants like dust––counting your descendants will be as impossible as counting the dust of the Earth. 17. So––on your feet, get moving! Walk through the country, its length and breadth; I’m giving it all to you.”
Abram moved his tent. He went and settled by the Oaks of Mamre in Hebron. There he built an altar to God.
(Genesis 13:1-18 Message)
Leave everything, including your family that you’ve known and grown up with. This was God’s commandment to Abram. We know him as Abraham now but Abram had some lessons to learn and some steps of faith to take before God could change his name. Many times we hear “it’s the year of this” or the “year of that”. We hear much talk about seasons or “it’s your time”. However, I’ve come to find that it’s only when you take that step of faith that things truly begin to happen. Things won’t shift if you don’t shift. One step of faith that we all must take is leaving others that we have known for so long because they can not go with us into our future. We have to let the “Lot” figures in our life go. If we look at Genesis 13, Abram and his nephew, Lot, were experiencing some family issues. Their camps were having some “Reality TV” moments. It was time for them to separate. This moment of separation provides for us some key points on why some people just have to leave your life.
Before we begin, let’s note that Lot wasn’t a very bad man. In fact, he was noted as a righteous man. However, Lot did have some things that made him no longer able to walk with Abram. First, he was walking by Abraham’s faith and not his own. Have you ever met people that trail along just because you’re favored? In my opinion, there is nothing with people following you because God’s hand is on your life. However, at some point in time everyone needs to obtain their own faith. They can still follow but you can only ride on someone else’s faith and favor for so long. If my faith was really rubbing off on you, you would understand that you have to acquire the same mindset as me. However, Lot couldn’t acquire the same level of faith As Abram because God wasn’t talking to Lot at that time. This was a faith walk for Abram NOT Lot. Some may be able to travel with you but after a while they will notice that this is a personal walk between you and God. It’s personal. Let’s look at 4 points that we can learn from Abram and Lot.
- Don’t let separation destroy your peace
People drawn to social interaction by nature. We are talking creatures so we see why it’s hard for us to leave behind those we have drawn close to over time. This was Abram’s nephew. Maybe the separation is between your best friend, a cousin, a college friend, or a co-worker. Never let it destroy your walk between you and God. Abram didn’t start having a fit. When you walk by faith, you don’t start outlining problems but instead see solutions. We see Abram say to Lot that there was plenty of land. He didn’t care which side Lot took. He just wanted there to be peace. Abram was walking by faith and literally moving based on God’s voice. He couldn’t afford for disputes within the camps to disturb the environment. After all, how can you hear God’s voice in the midst of chaos. Something had to go. There was a need for separation because there needed to be peace.
- The natural eye walks in the natural before the spiritual
The saying “The grass is greener” must have been one of Lot’s mottos when it came to Genesis 13. Lot chose the land that looked like it was the best. The first “Lot-ism” is that people who don’t know faith can only mimic in the natural what really happened due to the push in the spirit realm. This is the mind shifter that separated Lot from Abram. Genesis 13:10 uses some very interesting language depending on what translation you are reading. If we base it upon the King James Version, it says that the land “LOOKED LIKE God’s Garden”. It LOOKED LIKE Eden– a blessed land. I’ve come to find out that it’s not about whether the grass is greener or not. You could have a dirt patch and it could still be blessed. It’s not about what is seen on the outside but it’s about who is working within you on your behalf.
When we look at this passage, we see Lot making his first “faith or fear” decision. I remember teaching on a lesson called, “Everything Good Ain’t God”. People who operate in fear make decisions based upon natural provisions instead of the ultimate provider. We can see why Lot drifted to what looked good. We could say that Lot’s best decision was following Abram. However, when it came time to separate Lot did not learn anything from Abram when it came to making a “faith” decision. However, we can’t blame him because we must remember that this was a faith walk for Abram. The promise was not for Lot. Lot never had to walk away from everything and just follow God. Abram was not traveling with Lot. Abram was traveling with God and Lot was following. Lot’s decision of land cost him more than just leaving Abram. If we look later in the scriptures, Lot ended up living in a land of wicked people guided by sin. Lot walked by the natural and paid a heavy price afterwards that even cost him his wife and great pain.
- Never let friction turn into a fire because it will consume both parties
Abram did not care what land Lot chose because Abram was more concerned about staying attentive to God’s voice than letting the chaos in the camp cause a distraction. Many times we put so much energy into keeping relationships rather than just moving on. However, friction will soon cause a fire if you do not address the issues at hand. Many times, we let things slide or cover up instead of handling it and moving on. So instead of walking by faith and moving on, you’re wasting time and effort putting out fires that you should have spoken on a long time ago. I don’t know about you but some things are not worth my energy or effort. Abram realized that this was truly a faith walk. He had left everything he knew to follow a voice that he knew was God. Faith is risky– it involves putting all your chips on the table and saying “all or nothing”. With that kind of faith in operation, the little things won’t be an issue because where God is taking you is greater cause. If we would be honest, the reason why many of us haven’t moved on is because we are still arguing with Lot instead of moving on to the land God is calling us to.
- The voice of God moves in faith and never in the presence of a lack of faith
The first thing that stood out to me in Genesis 13 was the fact that God spoke to Abram AFTER Lot left. It clearly says in verse 14, that AFTER Lot left, God spoke. Why? After the chaos has left, then God can speak to you. What God then tells Abram lets us know how when we base our walk on faith, our blessing lies in our obedience. Gold told him that if he looked in every direction, the land he saw would be his. Imagine that. In the King James Version, God tells Abram to get active and start walking around because He was giving it all to Abram.
When we walk by faith and not according to the eyes of Lot, we will see that separation is required for access into the next level. It’s not that they were bad. They just didn’t have what was required to go with you. As we look at our lives, we will see that many things are a personal journey. God is trying to increase our faith and distractions may come. Yet, those distractions can be flags that it’s time for things to part away from us. We need to hear God’s voice. We need to walk by faith. When we come to Christ, our first instinct is no longer guided by the natural. If we just walk by what God has called us to do, the blessing is there. So stop worrying about what isn’t there or moving forward without certain ones that have always been there. Sometimes you just have to let Lot go.
(Originally written for the A Team Talk Show)