In Genesis 13, the Bible preserves the story of Lot and Abraham separating from each other. Abraham is back at the mountain, east of Bethel. He has returned from Egypt after the famine. He and Lot have so many flocks and herds and tents that the land can’t bear them. Strife begins to arise.
In Genesis 13:8-9, Abraham talks to Lot about the problem.
And Abraham said to Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray, between me and you, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? separate yourself from me: if you will take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.
In this passage, there is an opportunity for conflict. Abraham is head of the family. He could have just told Lot what to do, but he humbly went to Lot and gave Lot the choice. What a wonderful example in dealing with family conflict!
In essence, Abraham said, “We have this problem. This is what we need to do. You chose what will be best for you and I will take what’s left.” God will bless us when we deal fairly with our brethren. We don’t have to fight it out and try to make sure we get the best portion. God will bless the portion we are given.
Genesis 13:10-11 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as you come to Zoar. Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
Lot really should have deferred to Abraham’s position of authority and said “No, you choose.” But Lot chose and took what he wanted. He took the land that appealed to the eyes. Aren’t we often fooled by the things that appeal to the eyes?
Lot moves east toward Sodom.
Genesis 13:14-16 And the Lord said to Abraham, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now your eyes, and look from the place where you are northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed for ever. And I will make your seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall your seed also be numbered.
Notice even though Abram allowed Lot the choice, he still ends up where God wants him, in the land of Canaan. God restates His promises to Abraham. Abraham responds by building an altar and worshipping the Lord.
Abram moves southward to Hebron.