In the previous devotional we read about how Abram’s lapse in faith led to a lie that had the potential to destroy the promise God had made to him. But Faithful God protected His promise and He protected Abram and Sarai’s future. He also continued to bless Abram, Sarai, and Lot. We will see those blessings in today’s chapter. Verses 1-7 read,
So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb.
2 Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. 3 And he journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, 4 to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the Lord. 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.
God is so loving and faithful. He brought Abram back to the beginning of his journey. When Abram looked at the familiar area and the altar he had built, I’m certain he reminisced about his entire journey to that point. He remembered what the Lord had done for him and what the Lord had promised him. God was restoring and strengthening his faith.
Abram was not just wealthy, he was very wealthy. Lot too had prospered in that time and as we will read in later chapters, Lot was a righteous man who cared deeply for the way of the Lord. Together, they had so much that the land couldn’t support them both together. They would have to separate. It was time for Lot to leave this man who had raised him since his father’s death and strike out on his own.
Lot was not the promised descendant of Abram. God wanted it to be very clear that this promise would be fulfilled supernaturally by Him, not by manmade laws that would twist what was to fit his promise. So it was time for them to separate. Verses 8-13 read,
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. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.” 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 theLord 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.
The separation was probably not easy, there were no addresses to be exchanged or phone numbers to keep. They might never see one another again. But Abram let Lot choose the direction he wanted to go and when Lot saw the lushness of the Jordan Valley, he chose that way. Lot looked at the choice from a self-focused perspective. He saw it through his eyes, not faith. The passage implies he had some fond memories of Egypt and Jordan Valley reminded him of that. Maybe that is where he first began to get rich or married his wife. He also saw the potential in the Jordan Valley to grow his wealth. He didn’t consider the people. He didn’t look at it from God’s perspective he could have chosen any of 360 paths from where he stood, he chose the path that looked good to him and moved to Sodom. Sodom was a wicked city and Lot would find himself terribly grieved by the unadulterated evil of that place. He would try and raise two daughters there and would not be able to protect them from the corruption, though we know he tried. But he didn’t pray and ask God for direction, he chose based on what his eyes told him and not on the faith of where God would lead.
By giving Lot his freedom to choose any direction, was Abram giving anything up? He sacrificed the lushest land for his nephew. But he had faith that God would take care of him. He didn’t need to worry. Verses 14-18 read,
The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. 17 Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” 18 So Abram moved his tent and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.
Abram may have thought he sacrificed the best to Lot but he wasn’t concerned. Although Abram was very rich, it wasn’t his money he served, it was the Lord God. And God showed him every direction north, south, west, and the direction Lot had chosen, east and said all the land he could see would one day belong to his offspring. He didn’t just refer to their number as many or even too many to count, He said there would be so many counting would be as impossible as counting dust. Have you looked at dust? Have you picked up a handful of dirt and tried to count it?
Abram trusted it to God and not only for children but he understood the promise to be eternal. He understood he would never see the Promised Land filled with his progeny while he lived. He had faith that the promise was eternal and that one day he would stand in the true and eternal Promised Land with his true children, the believers. The author of Hebrews wrote,
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. (Hebrews 11:8-10).
Lot chose based on his instincts, hopes, and desires, he chose based on what he could see with his human eyes. Abram left the choice to Lot because he had faith, he trusted God no matter where He led him. God not only reiterated His promise to Abram but He restated in a way that had to blow his mind with the extent of it.
Man was created out of the dust of the earth. Abram’s offspring would be so plentiful that like the dust they would not be counted. His offspring includes Israel. But every person on the face of this earth has the opportunity to be included as a descendant of Abram, because every person has the opportunity to be adopted by faith into God’s people. We are Abraham’s spiritual children through faith in Jesus Christ. The Lord’s promise is multilayered. He promised Abram would have many natural offspring. He promised him what would one day become the nation of Israel, and He promised him countless offspring which is you and me, believer.