Abraham: Following In The Footsteps Of Faith – Sermon #5
ABRAM’S TROUBLE WITH LOT
Genesis 13:5-13 (NKJV)
5 Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents. 6 Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. 7 And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land.
8 So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.”
10 And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. 12 Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. 13 But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord.
For Abram, everything isn’t smooth sailing! After his return to Canaan from his disastrous trip to Egypt, there arises a conflict between himself and his nephew Lot. It was a conflict that had serious ramifications and had to be resolved. How this conflict was settled is the focus of the message this evening.
Just like Abram, there are times in life when conflicts and troubles arise. How we deal with those conflicts and troubles reveals more about our characters than we want to admit. Because what you are when the pressure is on is what you really are!
Since that is true, let’s take some time to look into these verses this evening and notice some aspects of this story that speak to our lives tonight. I want to preach for a while on this thought, Abram’s Trouble With Lot.
I. V. 5-7 A TROUBLESOME PROBLEM
A. V. 5-6 The Cause Of The Problem – Both Abram and Lot had gained immense wealth and power. (Note: Neither is inherently wrong as long as they are controlled by the right spirit. When our “things” control us, then we are headed for trouble. (Ill. Matt. 6:19-21)
B. V. 7 The Course Of The Problem – Their problem remained unresolved and eventually developed into a bone of contention. Evidently, each wanted the best grazing ground for their flocks and herds. (Note: Trouble is always a certainty when the focus of life is removed from the Lord Jesus Christ and focused on self, individual right, or to the things of this world! Ill. Heb. 12:2.)
(Note: How Abram and Lot responded to this crisis in the family says a lot about the character of each. If you want to know the true character of any person, just see how they respond in a time of crisis or conflict!)
II. V. 8-9 A TENDER PROPOSAL
A. V. 8 Involved A Plea For Peace – Abram displays a loving, gracious spirit when he deals with Lot. He gives a two-fold reason as to why they should live in peace. By the way, his reasons for them are still valid for the church today!
1. They Were Brethren – They should love and respect one another! (Note: The same is true concerning the church – John 13:35) (Note: Even in the best of circumstances, trouble is always a possibility. In the church, there should be peace, love and tenderness between the members, but, because we are sinful humans, trouble often arises. However, it is never right, regardless of the reason. There is nothing so important that it should be allowed to tear up the work of the Lord in His church. And, friends, He cannot bless in an atmosphere of discord and trouble.) (Note: The best course of action is to forgive and to forget! Matt. 18:21-22; Luke 17:3-5; Eph. 4:32; 1 Cor. 13:4-5)
2. The Heathen Were Watching – Verse 7b tells us that the Canaanites were living around them at the time. This presented a dual problem in the face of the conflict. First, it placed both Abram and Lot in danger. If these warlike people saw an opportunity to attack them and take their possessions they would. Second, no doubt these people were keenly interested in Abram’s God. They would evaluate his religion by the effect it had on his life.
(Note: The same problems confront the church in our day! When we fight, Satan has a heyday in the church and scatters the flock. When we fight, the world sees our lack of love, tenderness and forgiveness and concludes that we are no better off then they are, and that this “Jesus business” means nothing!)
B. V. 9 Involved A Price For Peace – Abram willingly gave up his rights as the elder of the family. He could have chosen first, but he yielded to Lot. He willingly placed Lot’s happiness, wishes and rights ahead of his own.
(Note: This is not something that we see often, but it what believers are supposed to do, Phil. 2:4; Rom. 15:1; Rom. 14:19-23. We should never compromise the truth to please anybody! However, there are times when we should give in to the wishes, needs and rights of others!)
C. V. 9 Involved A Promise For Peace – How could Abram so easily give up the best of the land to Lot? Abram knew that his cause was safe with God! The Lord has already promised to give him “all” the land, Gen. 12:7.
(Note: When a believer’s faith truly rests in the Lord, then they can afford to hold their possessions and their rights very loosely. After all, it is God, not they, who looked after their interests, Rom. 8:28.)
(Note: Abram did not get mad, bitter or puffed up when he did not get his way. He simply did everything in his power to work out the problem. That is the way of Christ and the will of God!)
III. V. 10-13 A TRAGIC PLAN
A. V. 10 Lot Lived By Sight – Lot made his decision based upon what his eyes told him. He claimed the land that appeared best for raising flocks and herds. He did not consult with the Lord, he just looked until he saw what pleased him and that is what he chose. He gratified his flesh! He did just what Eve did in the Garden, Gen. 3:1-6. He allowed his flesh to live for him, 1 John 2:16.
Ill. The reference to Egypt. Lot must have fallen in love with that country and chose what he did because it reminded him of Egypt. (Note: It is a dangerous thing to live to fulfill the appetites and lusts of the flesh. Yet, anytime we cease to walk by faith in the Lord God and go after our own path, we are walking by sight.)
B. V. 11 Lot Lived For Self – Lot’s choice demonstrated a total lack of regard for the needs of Abram. Evidently, he didn’t respect Abram at all. Lot lived to please one person and that person was Lot himself. He was selfish to the core.
(Note: He is a perfect description of many in our days. Everything is about “my rights”, “my wants”, “my needs”, “my life”, “my way”, etc. Friends, that is not a way of life that is pleasing to the Lord. You live like that and you will always be mad at somebody over something. You will always have your feelings hurt about some issue or the other.
C. V. 12-13 Lot Lived In Sodom – Lot left the life of a pilgrim behind and settled down among the sinners of Sodom. He raised his family there. He also lost his family and his testimony in that place, Gen. 19. He was a “just” man, 2 Pet. 2:8. However, that is no way for a believer to live!
(Note: Sadly, Lot’s way of reacting to trouble is the way chosen by most folks in our day. These men needed to separate, but Lot chose the wrong path and he chose it with the wrong attitude. His choice led him down and cost him plenty. Abram’s choice brought him blessings and honor.)
If you had to be honest this evening and compare yourself to one or the other of these men, which would it be? Abram, who took last place so that another could go first? Or, Lot, who grabbed all he could for himself without regard for anyone else?
I think we could all use help in the matter of responding to conflict and trouble. The way to receive that help is to admit the need, seek the face of the Lord and let Him help you.
Some here tonight have issues with other believers. You must get that settled! God cannot bless you and use you for His glory until that is taken care of, Matt 5:23-24.
Some have problems with being too self-centered. Others may have trouble forgiving. Whatever your need, there is help in the Lord, if you will come to Him.