I’ve read lots of sermons about Lot and his sins. Many, many sermons focus on Lot and his choosing the best portion. But funny thing is Lot is not condemned in the Bible for that. There is a description given for the land Lot chose but none given for the portion for Abraham. It isn’t like Abraham’s portion was described as rocky, scrub brush, barren dessert. We just tend to assume that because the portion Lot chose was Eden-like that it was the best portion. (Genesis 13:10-11) But nowhere is Lot condemned in Scripture for choosing the “best” portion. Remember Canaan, Abraham’s portion, is described as full of fruit and flowing in milk and honey in Numbers 13:23 & 27.
I did notice an interesting series of events though when reading about Lot and Abraham. See Abraham was a father figure to Lot. Lot was orphaned; his father Haran had died early. (Genesis 11:27-28) Lot had left all his other remaining family to travel with Abraham. Lot could have stayed with Nahor, Milcah, Bethuel, Rebekah and Laban. (Genesis 24) But Lot chose to travel with Abraham. (Genesis 12:4) That was a wise choice considering Laban’s behavior later in Scripture.
In Genesis 12:10-20 we see Abraham failing to trust the Lord. Abraham, Sarah and Lot, along with all their other people, travel to Egypt. Abraham fails to trust the Lord to take care of him so he asks Sarah to lie about their relationship. What I never really realized before is that Lot was with them. Lot saw his uncle fail to trust the Lord, fail to protect his wife, lie and have Sarah lie also. I would imagine Lot had to go along with the lying.
Can you imagine the loss of respect Lot would have had for his uncle? It appears the herdsmen had lost respect also because soon they are bickering. (Genesis 13:7) When Abraham hears about the strife he suggests that Lot chose a portion. (Genesis 13:8-9) Lot doesn’t even bat an eye at the suggestion. Why not?
What would have been different if Lot had remained?
Think ahead to the book of Ruth. Remember Naomi and her two daughters-in laws? Naomi asked her daughters-in-laws to separate from her. Then remember what Ruth said?
Ruth 1:16-17 (ESV)
16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.
17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”
Remember how blessed Ruth was because she stayed with Naomi?
Ruth 4:17 (ESV) And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Then think about Elijah and Elisha. Elijah tells Elisha repeatedly to separate from him but what does Elisha do? He insists on remaining with the man of God. Three times and in three different cities this happens. Elisha was blessed because he remained with the man of God.
2 Kings 2:1-14 (ESV)
1 Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal.
2 And Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.
3 And the sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?” And he said, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.”
4 Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho.
5 The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.”
6 Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on.
7 Fifty men of the sons of the prophets also went and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan.
8 Then Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground.
9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.”
10 And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.”
11 And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
12 And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.
13 And he took up the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.
14 Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.
What might have been the outcome if Lot insisted on staying with Abraham because he was a man of God?
We’ll probably never know.
But the seemingly simple solution of separating due to strife just may not be the best option. It may cause more hardship in the long run. The strife over grazing and water was nothing compared to what Lot had to endure much later in life losing all he had and destroying his family. How might Lot have been blessed if he had stayed with Abraham resolving with the conflict instead of taking the seemingly easy way out to avoid conflict?
Do you run from conflict? Instead of attempting to dealing with it?
Are you separated from other believers due to conflict?