And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. — Genesis 13:10-11
Decisions that are based solely on short-term advantages are not always the best ones. For instance, suppose you need a new vegetable peeler. In the kitchen utensil aisle of your grocery store, you find a simple stainless model for $1.99. However, in looking over the options, you also see an Oxo Good Grips I-Series Swivel Peeler for $11.89. At that point you are faced with making a decision: which peeler should you buy?
If you are only concerned with the short-term advantages, you will pick up the inexpensive peeler — after all, you would save $9.90! But if you are concerned about the long-term results of your decision, you will evaluate. Does it cost or does it pay? Is the $9.90 you would save warranted? You don’t want to be frustrated each time you use the peeler. Would you find yourself replacing it a few weeks later because you just couldn’t put up with how poorly it functioned? Would that cushioned handle on the Oxo peeler be appreciated each time you had to peel more than one potato? How much easier would the swivel head make your task?
Decisions about vegetable peeler options are of little importance. However, other choices will have a significant impact on our immediate future, and perhaps even affect the rest of our lives. We find that point substantiated in today’s text.
Our focus verses record a choice that faced Lot, the nephew of Abram, and it was one that had an unforeseen impact on Lot’s future. God had blessed the two men with prosperity, and the area where they resided was no longer big enough to sustain all of their combined livestock. Abram generously suggested that Lot choose where he wanted to settle, saying that he would take whatever area was left.
Lot looked at the well-watered plains of Jordan and decided that area was the most promising dwelling place. Instead of preferring his uncle, he decided to take the best land for himself, even though it meant living near Sodom.
In the short term, Lot’s choice may have seemed a good one, but it did not prove to be so in the long term. His decision to pitch his tent toward Sodom ultimately destroyed his home and family. Even though the lifestyle of Sodom is not what drew Lot initially, something eventually attracted him enough that he moved into the city. The New Testament does refer to him as “righteous Lot” and indicates that his soul was vexed by the evil around him. However, the credibility of his testimony was destroyed, for when he warned his family of impending doom, they failed to heed his words. Perhaps the decision to locate his family in a city where they would be influenced continually by the sinful lifestyle around them was the fatal error.
Many times, decisions made without consulting God lead individuals into grave spiritual danger, both to themselves and to those whose lives they impact. When making decisions, we need to look to God and ask for His guidance. When our hearts are open to His divine direction, our decisions will lead us closer to God — not further away.
Chapter 13 opens with Abram returning to Canaan after his deportation from Egypt (verses 1- 4). The first place he went upon his return was Bethel, where he initially had built an altar, and there he “called on the name of the Lord” (verse 4).
Verses 5–9 present the dilemma that then faced Abram and Lot. God had blessed the two men materially; verse 6 states that “their substance was great.” Commentators suggest that their possessions probably included more than one hundred tents, one hundred camels, and one thousand sheep and goats. The land of Bethel could not support all of their flocks, and their herdsmen began to quarrel over the limited water supply. It grieved Abram that there was strife within the family, and separating seemed to be the best solution.
Verses 11–13 record the choice Lot made. Being the elder of the two, Abram had every right to settle in the area of land he wanted. Instead, he selflessly allowed Lot to choose first. When Lot compared the well-watered plain of Jordan — then a verdant area that was watered by abundant springs — to the semi-arid mountain ranges of central Canaan, he chose the more attractive and fruitful land. However, the location of the plain put Lot in proximity to the wickedness of Sodom. Verse 13 indicates that Sodom was a morally evil city, for its men “were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.” Lot no doubt knew of the reputation of Sodom and Gomorrah, but he pitched his tent in the direction of the evil city. It is possible that Lot had visited there earlier and was attracted by the business potential of the large urban markets.
In the conclusion of this chapter (verses 14 –18), God appeared to Abram and renewed His prior promises, confirming that the land was a gift to his descendants, who would be impossible to number. In response, Abram characteristically built an altar to the Lord at Hebron, showing his gratitude and devotion to God.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The early history of the chosen race
5. The separation from Lot (13:1-18)
a. Return to Bethel (13:1-4)
b. The strife (13:5-7)
c. The separation (13:8-13)
d. The renewal of the promise (13:14-18)
The choices we make have a significant impact on our spiritual walk, and ultimately, on our eternal destiny. It pays to make those decisions carefully, and at God’s direction!