Abram’s Response (13:18)
Abram’s response revealed a growing faith in the God Who called him. He moved his tents toward Hebron, settling near the oaks of Mamre. It was a plot of ground which belonged to another, not Abram (cf. 14:3), but it was where God wanted him to be. There Abram built an altar and worshipped his God. We studied last time that everywhere he went, he built an altar and declared he served the Most High God. Even in the face of people who did not believe and did not want to believe. But Abram did it anyway!
How different were the paths of these two men, Abram and Lot, after they separated. The one was almost imperceptibly edging closer and closer to the city of Sodom, to live among godless and wicked men, and all for the sake of financial gain. We see that in families today, don’t we… The other was living the life of the sojourner, dwelling on those barren hills, with his hope in the promises of God. One lives in his tent and builds an altar of worship; the other trades in his tent for an apartment in the city of wicked men. Here was a decision which bore heavily on the destiny of two men, but, far more, on the destiny of their offspring.
The decisions reached by Abram and Lot are the same as those which confront every Christian today. We must decide whether to trust in the sovereignty of God or in our own schemes and devices. We must determine whether to trust in the ‘uncertainty of riches’ or in the God Who ‘richly supplies us’ (I Timothy 6:17). We must decide whether to invest in the ‘passing pleasures of sin for season’ or the future ‘reward’ which is promised by God to last forever (Hebrews 11:25-26).
These decisions are clearly contrasted in the separation of Lot and Abram. Lot chose to act on the basis of utility; Abram on the basis of unity. For the sake of unity, Abram was willing to allow himself to be taken advantage of (cf. I Corinthians 6:1-11, esp. verse 7).
Abram acted on the ground of faith, in a God Who had promised to provide. Lot chose to direct his life on the uncertain foundation of financial security. Abram was greatly blessed, and Lot lost it all.
Lot chose to dwell in a city which seemed like paradise (13:10), but was filled with sinners. Abram decided to live in a deserted place, but where he could freely worship his God.
Abram beautifully illustrates the truth of two New Testament facts. First, he provides a commentary on these words, spoken by our Lord:
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God (Matthew 5:5,9 NIV).
Abram was a man of meekness. He was not a man of weakness, as chapter 14 demonstrates. He did not have to forcefully snatch a blessing, but faithfully wait for it to come from God’s hand. He was one who was given to peace, rather than to sacrifice peace for prosperity. We could learn a lot from that lesson today…