Glimpses in Genesis: Abraham and Lot, Genesis 13, 14, 19.

Just some random thoughts about the lives and experiences of these two men.

Abraham. 

1.  Abraham was not “ambitious.”  Thought the elder of the two and therefore the leader, to say nothing of being the one to whom God had appeared and to whom the promises were made, he deferred to Lot.  The world says, “Be something.”  God says, “Be nothing.”  Cf. Philippians 1:5-7, Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus, who…made himself of no reputation…(emphasis added), something of which we all need to be reminded in this age where “I” is all-important.  The Greek literally says, “He emptied Himself” (of the independent use of His divine attributes, not of His deity.  Though fully Man, He never stopped at the same time being fully God.)

The words of one of the Puritans comes to mind here:

My myself –

I am nothing.
I deserve nothing.
I can do nothing.
I can make good use of nothing.
I am worse than nothing.
If I come to nothing, nothing is lost.
– Jeremiah Burroughs

No wonder modern “churchianity” doesn’t care for the Puritans.  Likely, the feeling would be mutual.

We might also note God’s word to Baruch, who was the prophet Jeremiah’s secretary, Jeremiah 45, especially v. 5, “and do you seek great things for yourself?  Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring adversity on all flesh,” says the LORD.  All this world’s going to be destroyed.  It doesn’t matter if we live in a 250 room castle or a 100 square foot “mini-home.”  It’s all going up in smoke.

2.  Abraham did not “look out for number one.”  The difference between “complaint” and “compliant” is where you put the “I”.  Cf. I Corinthians 13:1-5. One of the characteristics of “love” that Paul mentions is does not seek its own.

3.  Abraham did not assert his “rights.”  His attitude was the embodiment of meekness.  One of the “hazards” of this is that people take advantage, as Lot did Abraham.  However, our Lord said of “the meek:”  “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” Matthew 5:5.  To a much lesser degree at the time, this happened to Abraham.  He was given the land of Canaan, and ultimately, “the world.”  Lot wound up, as Matthew Henry put it, “in a hole in a hill,” with the results of the well-meaning, but woefullly misguided actions of his daughters.  When it comes right down to it, unless the Lord comes first, all of us are going to end up “in a hole.”

4.  Abraham went “above and beyond” when he rescued Lot from the defeat of Sodom.  How easy it would have been to write Lot off as a lost cause, or think that he got what he deserved.  Instead, he risked a great deal to rescue him – without, at the same time, further enriching himself by helping himself to plunder.  It was offered to him by the king of Sodom.

Lot. 

We have to remember that, in spite of all his failings, Lot was considered a “righteous man,” 2 Peter 2:7, 8.  This is also perhaps intimated in Abraham’s intercession for Sodom, Genesis 18:23, when he asked the Lord, “Will you destroy the righteous with the wicked?”  Now, the New Testament tells us that we have been counted righteous, not because we’ve managed to scrape together a few half-baked, moth-eaten acts of “good,” but because of the Lord Jesus and what He did.  What He did is accounted as ours through our faith in Him.  God will accept nothing less, nothing else.

At the same time, Lot’s shortcomings and sins are no excuse for ours.  His is not an example to follow.  He’s not the standard.

1.  Lot relied on his natural senses, Genesis 13:10, 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. 

How like Genesis 3:6, So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.” (emphasis added).  We know what happened as a result of that one event.

A similar thing happened early in Israel’s conquest of Canaan.  They experienced a terrible defeat after a great victory.  When Joshua asked the Lord why, God said Israel had sinned.  The plunder of the city was either to be destroyed or to be given to God.  This is the confession of the guilty party:  “When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them, Joshua 7:21 (emphasis added).

The little chorus taught to children is good advice for us all:  “Be careful, little eyes, what you see….”

2.  Lot had evidently acquired a taste for “Egypt” during the time he and Abraham were there, Genesis 13:10.  How attractive the world seems and how easily, naturally, we acquire a taste for it.  We’re born in it.  It’s our home.  What we need to acquire is a distaste for it.

3.  Lot was selfish, choosing all the plain of Jordan, Genesis 13:11.

4.  Lot journeyed east, Genesis 13:11.  There’s a verse, which I couldn’t find in the concordance, in which God complains that His people are “filled with eastern ways.”  Perhaps the KJV has it differently.  That’s the version I grew up with and a lot of the verses I know are still from that version, though I know some from the newer ones.  It makes it harder, sometimes, to find a verse I’m looking for, like this one.

In his journey, at the least, Lot pitched [his tent] toward Sodom, v. 12, (KJV).  He was definitely going in the wrong direction.

5.  Lot ignored the moral and spiritual condition of the inhabitants of Sodom, Genesis 13:13.  Fair surroundings mean nothing in the presence of foul sinners.  This world would be a great place if it weren’t for us sinners.  We mess everything up.

6.  Lot wound up suffering in the defeat of Sodom, in a war in which he should have had no place, Genesis 14:12.  Note that Lot now lived in Sodom, not just “toward” it.  How easy it is to do that – to become complacent about things which once would have horrified us.

7.  Lot endangered his unmarried daughters, Genesis 19:8.  We can’t understand this, but the sense of hospitality and its responsibilities were so ingrained in this time that anything would be done to protect those who were in the house.  Cf. Judges 19:22-24.  This doesn’t necessarily make it “right.”  It was just the custom.  Lot also endangered his daughters by exposing them to the corruption of the city.  This will come into play later.

8.  Lot lost all credibility with his family, Genesis 19:14.  Note that Lot was now sitting in the gate of Sodom, Genesis 19:1, a place where the governing of the city and other important decisions were made, cf. Ruth 4:1-6.  Because of this, when he tried to warn the rest of his family of impending judgment, they thought he was joking.

9.  Lot was very reluctant to leave the city, Genesis 19:16.  In fact, the angels almost had to drag him and his wife and his two unmarried daughters out of the city, the LORD being merciful to him.

10. Lot tried to salvage “a little” of his old life, Genesis 19:18-22.  He was afraid to go to “the mountain” and be safe, but pleaded to be allowed to go to a nearby city, v. 20, on the basis that it is a little one, …(is it not a little one)?

11. Lot lost everything anyway, Genesis 19:26, 30.  All his possessions were destroyed, and his wife looked back.  The world scoffs at this and we might not understand exactly what happened to her, but our Lord said, “Remember Lot’s wife,” Luke 17:31-33.  Also Luke 9:62.

12. Lot was led into unimaginable sin because of his waywardness, Genesis 19:31-35.  Even though his daughters had “good intentions,” and were thinking of their father, their’s was still a terrible sin.  In defense of Lot, they did have to get him drunk in order to carry out this well-meaning, but ill-judged plan.  See what mistakes and sins one can make by simply judging by the “sight of the eyes.”

13. Lot’s sin led to consequences for Israel years after his life and death, Genesis 19:36-38.  The children conceived in this wickedness became the ancestors of the Moabites and Ammonites, both enemies of Israel, though in the providence of God there were times and people when they were friends.  Cf. 1 Samuel 22:3, 4 and 2 Samuel 23:37.  It also affected the travels of Israel from Egypt into Canaan, cf. Deuteronomy 2:9, 19.  Who knows that effect our lives have on unborn generations of our descendants.  Who knows into what folly unaided human reasoning may lead us?

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