I think we could take five years to study the Old Testament and we’d still have to skip over things. Today’s passage in our one year reading of the Old Testament covers a lot, and time and space just won’t allow us to dig as deep as we would like.
In yesterday’s passage, chapter 12, we read of how Abram went off to Egypt because of a famine in the land. This won’t be the last time we’ll read in Genesis of someone going to Egypt because of a famine, by the way. If you read that Scripture closely, you will have noticed that God did not tell Abram to go to Egypt. God certainly didn’t tell Abram to lie about Sarai being his sister rather than his wife; and yet it was this dishonesty that ultimately led Pharaoh to give Abram a great deal of wealth and to send him away with his ill-gotten gains.
Thankfully, Abram returned to where God intended him to be and it is upon his return that God once again affirmed the blessings He intended Abram to receive. Which do you think more valuable, the worldly wealth Abram gained through deceit or the eternal wealth God chose to bestow upon him? There is no comparison guys; God’s blessings are valuable beyond belief. In today’s passage I believe we are seeing Abram start to understand this.
When Abram’s and Lot’s people start to fight over limited resources Abram gives Lot the choice of where to go.
Genesis 13:8-9 ESV
“ Then Abram said to Lot, ‘Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen.  Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.’”
Abram was the patriarch of this group. Being Lot’s uncle gave Abram the right to say “I’ll go this way and you’ll go that way.” By right, Abram could have taken the land described as being “like the garden of the Lord”. Instead he gave his nephew the choice. A self-centered man could not do this but a man who is learning to depend on God’s sufficiency could. Lot looked at the worldly wealth found in the Jordon valley and he wanted the best for himself. What the world had to offer looked good to him; but what happened as a result of his choice to pursue worldly wealth? Today we learned that he was taken in to captivity by a conquering army. Later we will learn that Lot became an elder of the city of Sodom – and we know how wicked that city was don’t we?
Lot and his family would come to ruin because of his short sighted choice – he would lose all of his possessions in the destruction of Sodom, his wife would turn in to a pillar of salt, and his daughters would have children by getting him drunk and committing incest with him. What Lot didn’t see when looking at the Jordon valley was the absolute wickedness of Sodom. He continually moved closer and closer to that wickedness until he was part of it. Lot and his daughters were not saved from the destruction of Sodom because of his righteousness, but because of his relationship to Abram whom God had chosen to bless.
Lot chose his future based upon worldly wisdom and desires. Abram gave the choice to Lot because he had learned that God would guide him and provide for him. With all of this in mind, we have to ask ourselves the following question. Are we trusting in God’s sufficiency, or are we making choices to pursue what the world values? Wealth in and of itself is not a bad thing – Abram was wealthy. The problem is what the pursuit of wealth does to our heart. We are drawn further and further away from right relationship with God when we pursue worldly wealth. It’s all about priorities. Did you know Jesus told us how to put first things first?
Matthew 6:33 ESV
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”