Abraham and Lot’s herdsmen argued
During their stay in the desert, The Four Faces heard the story of a wealthy desert nomad. He was very rich with silver, gold and all kinds of animals. During his first trip into the Promised Land, the nomad had built an altar to God between Bethel and Ai. A drought convinced him to go to Egypt.
After the drought this nomad, accompanied by his nephew, left Egypt and retraced his steps back to the altar. They moved in stages through the Negev desert, camping, packing-up, and traveling again, until they reached Bethel, north of Jerusalem.
The nomad’s nephew was also very rich. In fact their possessions were so great that it caused problems and they couldn’t dwell together.
Out of Egypt
Amongst the possession they had brought from Egypt were cattle, herdsmen and an Egyptian slave called Hagar.
Sarah, the nomad’s wife, was without child. The Lord had promised them a son. Years went by and no son was born to Abraham, the nomad, and his wife Sarah. When it seemed as if God’s promise wasn’t being fulfilled, Sarah took matters in her own hands. She miss-interpreted the promise and decided that Abraham would have a son but not necessarily from her. So she gave Hagar the Egyptian, to Abraham. Along with Ishmael’s birth, came pride, jealousy and strife.
Sheep can eat almost anything, even weeds and twigs. They crop grass to the ground. Cattle, however, need to graze where the grass is long enough to grasp it with their tongues. Perhaps the water and pasture would have been enough for sheep, but it was not for the vast amount of livestock Abraham and his nephew Lot owned. The herdsmen quarrelled with each other; they quarrelled continuously.
The Canaanites and Perizzites, also dwelt in the land. They were onlookers to Abraham worshipping God and in contrast. the continuous strife between the herdsmen.
Abraham suggests Separation
To keep their relationships intact, Abraham offered a solution. Abraham and Lot had to separation.
Abraham was the patriarch of the family. God had called him, God had given the land to him, and God had made covenant with Abraham. He had more than enough reason, and the right to cling to what was promised to him and to send Lot away to find his own place.
Despite his rights, Abraham graciously offered Lot the first choice.
Why was he so gracious? Abraham had faith in the Lord. In God he had abundance. He didn’t need to cling to what was his, because he believed God’s promises and the fulfilment thereof. His future was in the hands of the Lord.
Was Egypt in Lot’s heart?
Lot lifted his eyes and saw the beautiful Jordan Valley, with ample water and pasture. It was a feast for the eyes. The Jordan Valley reminded him of Egypt, and the Garden of Eden. Eve had also desired with her eyes when she saw the forbidden tree in the garden. She took of the fruit and ate; she also gave to Adam. Her desires changed their lives as well as mankind’s; sin came into the world.
Lot chose to move out of Canaan, the land promised by God. He went to live among the cities in the Jordan Valley.
Abraham walked by faith, but Lot walked by sight. His greediness and worldly views influenced his choice. He chose the cities built by man. Cities God destroyed later because of their wickedness. In contrast, Abraham longed for the city built by God.
Lot chose without considering Abraham. He took what his eyes told him was the best of the best, that which was most appealing to him.
The parting of Abraham and Lot was not the cause of Lot losing his blessing; it was the circumstances. Lot disregarded Canaan, the promise of God.
His downfall came slowly, step by step.
- Strife forced a separation – Genesis 13:7
- Lot lifted his eyes and beheld the Jordan Valley – Genesis 13:10
- Lot chose, for himself, the Jordan Valley stretching to Zoar – Genesis 13:11
- He turned toward Sodom, and moved his tent close to Sodom – Genesis 13:12
- Then he moved into Sodom and dwelt in the wicked city – Genesis 14:12
- He progressed to sitting in the gate of Sodom, in other words he was one of the elders of the city – Genesis 19:1
- When Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, Lot escaped, leaving all his possessions behind. He lost his wife during the escape to Zoar, which means small.
- Lot feared for his life and left Zoar.
- He ended up living in a cave with his two daughters. His daughters committed incest and Moab and Ammon were born, future enemies of Israel.
Abraham, Father of Nations
Lot lifted up his eyes on his own accord. God commanded Abraham to lift up his eyes and to look in all four directions. Then God rewarded Abraham’s graciousness and faith, by affirming that all the land Abraham saw, God would give to his descendants.