After leaving Egypt Abram and his party returned eventually to Canaan where they settled and tended to their herds of livestock; Abram became quite wealthy. After some time it became clear that the herds had grown to the point where Abram and Lot needed to go their separate ways for the land could only support so many animals. Abram, now showing a great deal more humility than he had in Egypt, allowed Lot to have his pick of lands, and being a smart young man, Lot took the best locations for himself, leaving Abram to find another place.
Lot had chosen for himself the entire plain of the Jordan, rich indeed, but not quite in Canaan, where he lived near the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abram, mindful of God’s promise, remained in Canaan (13:1-13). That’s where things get interesting…
The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”
So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord. (13:14-18)
Let’s pause and think about this: After the shameful episode in Egypt, Abram and the clan went back into Canaan and prospered. Their prosperity was such that Abram and Lot needed to separate their respective herds, and by all rights Abram, as head of the clan, should have claimed the very best lands for himself, but instead, he deferred to Lot’s choice. In doing so, he also remained in the land God had taken him to and had previously promised. To me, it would appear that Lot chose his financial advantage over God’s promise, and Abram chose God’s promise over financial advantage… and God responded to Abram’s wise choice by reiterating His promises to Abram for both the land and his offspring.
For us today, I think there is also a message, and that is that God will remain faithful to us, will keep His promises to us when we choose to remain within His will, even though we might stumble and fall from time to time. That’s quite a word of encouragement, don’t you agree?
God had a message for Lot also, but we’ll have to wait until next time for that.