Eternity Daily Bible Study
The Life Of Abraham
Verses: Genesis 13:8-13
Topic: Lot Camps Near Sodom
Date: 5th December 2005
[The Romans 1-8 series is now in ebook format and can be downloaded
Genesis 13:8-13 HCSB Then Abram said to Lot, "Please, let's not have quarreling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, since we are relatives. (9) Isn't the whole land before you? Separate from me: if you go to the left, I will go to the right; if you go to the right, I will go to the left." (10) Lot looked out and saw that the entire Jordan Valley as far as Zoar was well-watered everywhere like the LORD's garden and the land of Egypt. This was before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. (11) So Lot chose the entire Jordan Valley for himself. Then Lot journeyed eastward, and they separated from each other. (12) Abram lived in the land of Canaan, but Lot lived in the cities of the valley and set up his tent near Sodom. (13) Now the men of Sodom were evil, sinning greatly against the LORD.
Lot chooses to dwell in prosperity, while Abram chooses to dwell in the land of Promise. This is a choice Christians make every day – to choose immediate prosperity or to dwell in the faith-promise. The full abundant Christian life is very, very difficult, perhaps not all the time, but often enough to be significant. It was difficult for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, it was difficult for Joseph and Moses and David and Daniel and it involved the cross for Jesus and persecution for the apostles John Peter and Paul. In fact, Paul says life will be difficult for every committed Christian:
2 Timothy 3:12 HCSB In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
Lot chose the immediate gain, he chose by what his eyes saw, not by what God said. This is typical of people who make poor life-decisions!
In the 1960's Walter Michel of Stanford University Walter Michel of Stanford created a simple test of the ability of four-year-old children to control impulses and delay gratification. Children were taken one at a time into a room with a one-way mirror. They were shown a marshmallow. The experimenter told them he had to leave and that they could have the marshmallow right then, but if they waited for the experimenter to return from an errand, they could have two marshmallows. One marshmallow was left on a table in front of them. Some children grabbed the available marshmallow within seconds of the experimenter leaving. Others waited up to twenty minutes for the experimenter to return. In a follow-up study (Shoda, Mischel, & Peake, 1990), children were tested at 18 years of age and comparisons were made between the third of the children who grabbed the marshmallow (the "impulsive") and the third who delayed gratification in order to receive the enhanced reward ("impulse controlled"). The differences were huge, even larger than would be predicted by IQ tests. The “impulse controlled” group scored an average of 210 points higher on the SAT (university entrance) test, and were far more mature and less likely to get into trouble.
Source:Shoda, Michael, & Peake, 1990
The life of faith is all about “impulse-control” and delayed gratification! There are sometimes very long times of waiting for God. In fact, Abraham had to wait 25 years for the promise of Isaac to be fulfilled!
Back to Lot. Lot liked comfort, and ease and prosperity and the lush pastures near Sodom. It would prove his eventual ruin. Lot would end up living in a cave in the mountains and committing drunken incest with his daughters. In his heart Lot was righteous but he was not wise, and did not make good life choices. Lot lived by sight, rather than by faith. Lot ate the first marshmallow!
Now Christians often have to make career choices and sometimes are faced with the choice between a lucrative job with a compromising corporate culture, and a lesser paid job in a more honest and reputable firm. Will the Christian take the money and “pitch their tents near Sodom” or will they take the promise and take the lesser paid job knowing that God will bless them more in the long run?
Lot at first lived “near Sodom” but a few chapters later he is “in Sodom” in the very city itself. He had been absorbed by the surrounding culture! He became a resident in the midst of flagrant sin and wickedness. Now Lot had a strong personal faith and God saved him when the city was about to be destroyed, and Christians can still keep their faith in the worst of places and God may rescue them. But there is a price, a steep price, for hanging out with the wrong crowd, or working for the wrong company. Eventually god judges that city, or group of people and your “investment” in them is destroyed along with them. A Christian may rise in an Enron (and some did) but they will fall with it as well (and several good Christians went to jail).
Abraham chose to trust in God, to take the land that was not as fertile, and to dwell along way from Sodom and Gomorrah. In fact, as we shall see later he wanted nothing to do with the prosperity of Sodom and would not take even “a thread or a sandal”.
Genesis 14:21-24 HCSB Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give me the people, but take the possessions for yourself." (22) But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have raised my hand in an oath to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, (23) that I will not take a thread or sandal strap or anything that belongs to you, so you can never say, 'I made Abram rich.' (24) I will take nothing except what the servants have eaten. But as for the share of the men who came with me--Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre--they can take their share."
There is a time to refuse prosperity, if it is linked with evil, and to trust God and take the promise instead. Christians need to wait, to take the delayed reward, to trust the Lord, and to love righteousness more than cash.
John Edmiston (email@example.com)
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