Tag Archive | Genesis

Matthew Henry on Genesis 13:10-13

Genesis 13:10-13 (ESV)

10 And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)
11 So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other.
12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom.
13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.

Matthew Henry on Genesis 13:10-13

Now Lot’s coming to dwell among the Sodomites may be considered,

(1.) As a great mercy to them, and a likely means of bringing them to repentance; for now they had a prophet among them and a preacher of righteousness, and, if they had hearkened to him, they might have been reformed, and the ruin prevented. Note, God sends preachers, before he sends destroyers; for he is not willing that any should perish.

(2.) As a great affliction to Lot, who was not only grieved to see their wickedness (2 Peter 2:7-8), but was molested and persecuted by them, because he would not do as they did. Note, It has often been the vexatious lot of good men to live among wicked neighbours, to sojourn in Mesech (Psalms 120:5), and it cannot but be the more grievous, if, as Lot here, they have brought it upon themselves by an unadvised choice.

(from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, PC Study Bible Formatted Electronic Database Copyright © 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All Rights reserved.)



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The Sin in Lot’s Choosing

Genesis 13:10-11 (ESV)

10 And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)
11 So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other.

There are so many sermons that attribute sin to this event in Lot’s life.  Mostly though they are just speculative ideas.  Scripture doesn’t itemize the sins of Lot.  Actually there is very little said about what Lot did right or wrong and without 2 Peter 2:7-8 we might would have to wonder if Lot was even a believer.

The ESV Study Bible has this note for Genesis 12:10-20:

The events described in this section raise many questions that go unanswered, creating a sense of ambiguity as to how the behavior of everyone involved should be judged.  As is common in biblical stories, the narrator gives no direct evaluation of the participants’ actions, leaving the reader to figure out the ethical questions.

We could speculate Lot sinned by:

  • Taking the first choice
  • Letting his herdsmen and animals interfere with his Father figure’s livestock and herds.
  • Not choosing to stay with Abraham
  • Choosing the “best” portion
  • Choosing an evil area

However there is one definite we are given “Lot chose for himself.

Lot didn’t choose what the Lord would have him do.  Lot didn’t choose what would be best for his family.  Lot didn’t choose what would be best for Abraham.  Lot chose for himself.  What appealed to Lot was the criteria for the selection.

Later in the Bible the Jewish people are told by Joshua to choose whom they will serve, either the foreign gods or the Lord.

Joshua 24:15 (ESV) And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Was Lot serving the Lord?  No, Lot served himself.  Being in Sodom was not the sin.  Why Lot was in Sodom was the sin.  Lot was in Sodom to serve himself.  Lot saw that the area around Sodom was fertile and well watered which would help increase his flocks and his wealth.  Was the choosing an area due to the potential wealth the sin.  No.  Not seeking the Lord’s will was the sin.

Lot did not seek the Lord for help in deciding what should be done about the situation between him and Abraham.  Lot did not seek the Lord for wisdom in making a decision.  Lot did not seek the Lord’s will nor did he seek the kingdom of God.  Lot sought for himself.

Matthew 6:33 (ESV) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Lot also didn’t seek what was best for his family, if he had one at the time, nor did he seek what would be best for his future family.  Lot sought the potential of the area of Sodom.  Lot was after financial gain and ease.  He took the easy way out to wealth.  Later in Genesis we start seeing mention of wells in Abraham’s portion (Genesis 21:25) and Isaac is known for his well digging (Genesis 26:18). But Lot chose the well watered portion that reminded him of Egypt.

Lot, the orphan who followed Abraham to a new country, failed to trust in the Lord.  The Lord that had made Abraham “very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold” (Genesis 13:2) and had also made Lot very rich in “flocks and herds and tents” (Genesis 13:5).  Lot couldn’t trust the Lord to continue to sustain him.  Lot must help himself to get and keep his wealth.

Where was Lot’s fear of the Lord?  If Lot had feared the Lord he would have been instructed in what he should choose.

Psalms 25:12 (ESV) Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.

Lot was in Sodom because he chose for himself instead of seeking the kingdom of God.  The Lord might have sent Lot to Sodom anyway as a witness to the people similar to a Jonah to the Ninevites.  But our first goal in any decision should always be to seek first the kingdom of God. (Matthew 6:33)



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Strife

The Bible has a lot to say about strife.  These are just a few verses that discuss strife and the causes of strife.  The first mention of strife is between Abraham’s herdsmen and Lot’s herdsmen.

Genesis 13:5-8 (ESV)

5 And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents,
6 so that the land could not support both of them dwelling 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. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were dwelling in the land.
8 Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen.

Proverbs 10:12 (ESV) Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

Proverbs 13:10 (ESV) By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom.

Proverbs 15:18 (ESV) A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.

Proverbs 16:28 (ESV) A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

Proverbs 23:29-30 (ESV)

29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?
30 Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine.

Proverbs 28:25 (ESV) A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.

Proverbs 29:22-23 (ESV)

22 A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.
23 One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.

Galatians 5:19-21 (ESV)

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,
21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.



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What Did Lot Do Wrong Here?

Genesis 13:10-11 (ESV)
10 And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord  destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)
11 So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other.

What did Lot do wrong here?

Was it being selfish and taking the best Abraham offered like many accuse Lot of doing?



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Leave or Stay with God’s People?

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?



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Light Came Into The World

When we start at the beginning of Genesis we see that Light came into the world on the first day.

Genesis 1:3-5 (ESV)
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.
5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

While that light was good, it was not the perfect Light.  The first light was just a glimpse of the true Light that was to come.

Christ is the Light of the world.

John 8:12 (ESV)  Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Christ came as Light so that we might not dwell in darkness.

John 12:46 (ESV)  I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

Then when Christ arose, He arose on the first day as the eternal Light of the world.

Mark 16:9 (ESV) Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.

Mark 16:2 (ESV) And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.

Isn’t that interesting that the Light arose on the first day in the beginning and also in the New Beginning?



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What is the Sabbath?

First mention of a Sabbath is in Genesis, right?

Genesis 2:1-3 (KJV)
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

But let us not assume anything, but look clearly at what the Scripture says.

First of all despite the fact that many Bibles have topic headings that say “Sabbath”, “First Sabbath”, or something similar, notice what word is missing from the text.  Sabbath.

However, this verse is referenced several times later in Scripture as the basis for the Sabbath given to the Israelites.

Also the root word for “rest” is a similar word to the word Sabbath.  “Shabath” meaning to celebrate,  put away, cease, or rest.  The word for the Sabbath is “shabbath” meaning intermission, translated as Sabbath in the KJV.

The first mention of the actual word “Sabbath” is in Exodus when the Lord is instructing the Israelites about the manna.

Exodus 16:23-29 (KJV)
23 And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.
25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field.
26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.
27 And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.
28 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?
29 See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.

Exodus 16:23 is literally “shabat shabaatown” – Sabbath the rest of.

This is the first Sabbath for the Israelite slaves.  But they did not all obey.  Some still went out to gather manna on the Sabbath but found none.



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