“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran” (Genesis 12:1-4).
“Are you an Abraham or a Lot?” is a question that inquires into our level of dedication to the Lord. Is our desire to serve God in our daily lives or be driven by personal ambition and passion? Do we want to live by Scriptural standards or the fashion of the world? The answer to these questions depends upon whether we truly want to be followers of Christ or not.
Lot was willing to follow Abraham to the Promised Land until he took advantage of what appeared to be a better offer. He had grown wealthy and was blessed by being with his uncle. It is probably true to say that this desire wealth and property had infected his entire household, which then culminated in this conflict. “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10). “And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left” (Genesis 13:8-9).
Even though Abraham had the right to take the best for himself, he left the choosing to Lot. Lot thought he had won the lottery that day, so without much consideration, he chose to move into the luscious and fertile fields of the Jordan Valley (:11), but soon he would be pitching his tents ever closer to Sodom (:12). Eventually Lot moved his family into Sodom itself. The phrase “Lot sat in the gate of Sodom” indicates that he had become a high ranking member of society (Genesis 19:1). No doubt he had kept a semblance of righteousness about him, and maybe he thought he could influence the people of Sodom for the better, but out of all the people that moved with him away from Abraham, only four escaped the destruction, though his wife hankered about the city and was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26).
Lot’s choice put everyone connected with him into danger, temptation and sin. Let us not forget what his daughters did after they fled from Zoar (Genesis 19:30-38), which proves that sin was well in control of their hearts. Their sin would cause much suffering for Israel in the future at the hands of their descendants. Lot had wanted to experience city life with its sensational experiences and entertainments, but that was not a good environment in which to raise his family.
In fact Abraham did not choose anything other than to follow the will of the Lord. He appears to get the dregs, the leftovers, and that which no one else wanted. While Lot was living it up in Sodom, Abraham had a tough existence out in the plains of Mamre. He too made wrong decisions with regards to an heir, but overall he was a man of faith with a desire to please God. His hard life might have caused him to doubt on occasions, but the Lord brought him back to his commitment and trust. He had the opportunity to enrich himself when he rescued Lot from the kings that had attacked Sodom, but he chose not to accept anything the world might offering him as a reward (Genesis 14).
Abraham’s choice led him directly into blessing. He received a reward from God that would never expire and which everyone who believes might share in. “After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1) … “As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee” (Genesis 17:4-7) … “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham” (Galatians 3:6-9). It is interesting that Christians are called the children of Abraham in Scripture rather than the children of Moses. Do we see the obvious reasons for this?
The end result of the choices these two men made either brought about judgement or the blessings of God. The Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 6:19-21 states, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Those who follow Him are called to focus their life’s ambitions on Him alone, that is, in glorifying, serving and loving Him. We can do this by putting aside our personal goals to faithfully follow Him wherever He may lead us. “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:11-14).