"Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan." ~Genesis 12: 1-5
After going through the story of Lot and Abram in Genesis several times, it's still not clear whether Abram brought Lot along with him or whether Lot tagged along on his own, but was never sent away. The verses seem to go back and forth in their indications. What is 100% clear, however, is that Abram (the father of our faith and credited by some as the father of monotheism) was commanded to leave behind his home, his relatives and everything related to his earthly father's house.
It's also clear that he didn't heed this command. Not even a paragraph passes before we see both Abram and Lot riding off into the sunset together. Their story of entanglement continues:
So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, he and his wife and all that belonged to him, and Lot with him. Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold. He went on his journeys from the Negev as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place of the altar which he had made there formerly; and there Abram called on the name of the LORD. Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. And the land could not sustain them while dwelling together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to remain together. And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock Now the Canaanite and the Perizzite were dwelling then in the land. So Abram said to Lot, "Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. "Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me; if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left." ~ Genesis 13:1-9
Lot continues along with Abram like Mary's little lamb. In our own lives we have people we've brought along for the ride. There are also those who tag along - yet we don't kick them off the bus. Usually, we know they aren't supposed to be there with us, but we keep them around anyway.
This isn't a value judgment. Just because we shouldn't be in a relationship with someone, doesn't make him or her a bad person. Lot was considered to be a good, righteous man. This wasn't about Lot being a bad person. This entire story is about Abram finally developing the courage to trust God at God's word without a safety net. He eventually got there. And, it's when Abram got to that place, that the Lord really began to speak to him with more clarity. It's then that the promise truly begins to unfold!
Side note: This isn't intended to be encouragement to leave a marital relationship. Seek counseling for that. In my own life, this principle has meant that I've had to leave friendships and business partnerships behind to experience God's best.
"The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever." ~ Genesis 13:14-15
We all know of Lot's sufferings while dwelling in Sodom. We know that he lost nearly all of what he had and, in the end, it was just him and his two daughters. We know that it was Abram's faithfulness towards Lot that brought any level of comfort and restoration for Lot. Unfortunately, there's no indication that Lot ever contributed anything fruitful, productive or favored into his relationship with Abram...no advice, no comfort, no growth. Lot, though a good man, was a drain on Abraham. This is the epitome of a toxic relationship!
What do we learn from this history? How does Lot's story unfold? What are the lessons here for us to incorporate into our own lives and seeking healthy relationships? There's so much here. In the interest of time and space, I'll be brief:
- When the Lord calls you to go forth, you can do it! He might send you companionship, but press on whether He does or not.
- Not everyone belongs in your life...even if they are good people.
- Be intentional about your relationships. Even friendships should be purposeful and productive.
- When the wrong people are with you, tension is inevitable.
- There's a way to separate: be as communicative and as peaceable as possible.
- The presence of some people hinders our ability to hear God's voice clearly.
- When we demonstrate the courage to leave toxic relationships behind, blessings open up to us.
Lot's story ends with his daughters committing incest with him...giving birth to the Moabites and the Ammonites from this unholy union. These are two of the same nations who have been either antagonistic towards or actively at war with Israel ever since. The Lord reminds His people not to even allow them into the Assembly because they not only didn't help Israel when they were coming out of Egypt, but even attempted to curse them! Read the passage. If you want to have some fun, do a little research on Ammon and Moab. Let's not even discuss Ishmael. Abram brought many of Israel's troubles with him because he didn't have the courage to leave Lot behind.
What do you take from the story of Abram and Lot? I'd love to get your feedback!