One of my mom’s favorite stories to tell about me growing up was about when I was in a church Christmas play when I was about 3 or 4. Each of the little ones sat on the stage in those tiny little chairs churches around the country have in their children’s area or nursery. The chairs where lined up in a row, and each kid was suppose to stand up and go to the microphone and say whatever their line was to say. For some reason the chairs ended up getting mixed up and the little kids didn’t go back to the same seat they originally were in. For some reason, this really bothered me, I guess my OCD developed at an early age. OCD, or as I call it CDO, because that is alphabetical order, the way it should be.
Anyway, when it was my turn up to speak, I stood, grabbed my chair, carried my chair with me, held it while I said my lines, carried it back to it’s spot and sat down on it. NO ONE was messing with my chair! My mom loved this story! Everyone in the church thought it was cute and funny, and it is the stuff parenting is made of.
It is a cute, funny story to see a young child carrying something with them that they were suppose to leave behind. However, it is a totally different story when a grown adult drags things along with them that they should leave behind them. What do I mean? Well, to explain, we are going to look at the story of a man in the Bible who was told by God to leave everything behind him, but who instead allowed one little thing to come with him. Who is this man? His name is Abraham.
Wait! Abraham? The patriarch of the Jewish nation? The man God made a covenant with to become God’s chosen people? The man whose lineage brought us the Messiah? The Hebrews 11 Hero of the Faith Abraham? That guy?
Yup! That is the guy we are going to look at today. While Abraham was greatly blessed by God, He did mistakes along the way that we can all look at and learn from. That is what we are going to do today. Let’s dive in!
Genesis 12:1 tells us, The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
In this passage we read God’s original call and plan for Abraham and His life. God tells him where to go, what to do, and how He would bless him. Let’s see Abraham’s response to God’s command.
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him.
Notice the words in this passage. Abraham obeyed and did what God told him to do. However, he took someone along with him from his past. Even though God told him to leave his father and his family, Abraham took his nephew Lot with him. God never called Lot to go along with Abraham. He wanted Abraham to leave everything behind and follow Him wholeheartedly. Abraham did this, but he let Lot come with him. Lot was never part of God’s plan, and his accompanying Abraham caused Abraham nothing but grief. Let’s look at Genesis 13 to see what I mean.
So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. 2 Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.
3 From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier 4 and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord.
5 Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6 But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. 7 And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.
In these verses we see Abraham begin to realize the blessings and promises God had on his life. He is growing and becoming wealthy and prosperous. However, his chose to bring Lot along from his old life began to interfere with the blessings God was pouring out on his life. Lot’s people were fighting Abraham’s household and causing strife, divisions, and issues for Abraham. Eventually Abraham had to deal with the situation.
8 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”
10 Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.
Because Abraham brought Lot with him, Lot got the pick of the land and Abraham didn’t get the good land. However, God still was going to bless Abraham and in the remainder of Genesis 13, God tells Abraham that He was going to bless him and give him the whole land. So even though Lot came with Abraham, the situation was resolved, and lot had been only a minor annoyance for Abraham, right? Wrong!
Shortly after the separation of Abraham and Lot, Abraham received disturbing news. 4 kings had united and attacked the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Casualties were huge, and they gained victory. Not only that, but Lot had been taking captive.
Genesis 14:11 says The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away. 12 They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom.
13 A man who had escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew. Now Abram was living near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite, a brother[b] of Eshkol and Aner, all of whom were allied with Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.
Abraham was forced to go and rescue Lot from the 4 kings that had taken him prisoner. You may be thinking, “So what, Abraham fought and won a great battle. He was the winner!”
While this is true, the point is this…Abraham was forced to engage in a battle and fight a war that he never would have had to fight if Lot hadn’t come with him! The fact that He won isn’t important. He never should have had to get involved at all. The 4 kings attacking and conquering where probably used by God to weaken a strong city so when the time came for Abraham to receive these cities as his possession, they would be weakened and easier for him to win. But because Lot came with him, he had to get involved in a battle that was none of his business or concern. So once again bringing Lot with him caused Abraham nothing but grief.
As you continue through the next 4 chapters of Genesis, it seems as if Lot is no longer a source of grief to Abraham. We read of God giving Abraham a promise of a heir and Son. We read of God continuing to grow and prosper Abraham. It was a good period of time for Abraham. Then once again, Abraham’s decision to let Lot come with him ends up biting him in the butt once again.
One day, 24 years after the decision to let Lot come with him, Abraham is visited by three men. One of the men is Jesus incarnate, and the other two are angels! What a privilege for Abraham to have God in flesh appear to him! Jesus tells Abraham and Sarah they will have a Son! It was a great, life changing day. As Jesus and his angels got up to leave, they walked towards Sodom.
16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.[c] 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”
20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord
Jesus sent His 2 angels to look over Sodom and Gomorrah, and he stayed and talked with Abraham. At this point Abraham begins begging Jesus to save the city. In reality, the best thing for Abraham to achieve the Promise God had for him would be to have this wicked, sinful city destroyed. So why is he begging God to save it? The answer is found in Genesis 19:1.
19 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city.
Lot had moved into Sodom! He had originally picked land in the area of this wicked city. He had lived on the outskirts of the city when he had been taken captive. Now 24 years later, we find he and his family moved into the wicked city! Abraham knew this, and out of love and concern for his nephew, he begs God to save the city, that, in reality, would have been best destroyed for his own good. But 24 years ago, he took Lot with him, and he was still suffering for this decision!
The decision to take Lot with him had long-lasting effects for Abraham. For 24 years, he was always having battles and struggles and issues. But the issue wasn’t over. God rescued Lot and his two daughters from Sodom before he destroys it, but then we read that his daughters fear they will never marry. So they devise a plot to make sure they have heirs!
30 Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. 31 One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth. 32 Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.”
33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.
34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.
36 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. 37 The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. 38 The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today.
You may be thinking, “what a horrible story, but what does it have to do with Abraham?” Well, the answer is this. Fast forward a few hundred years to the book of Judges. Abraham’s children have become God’s chosen people, freed from slavery in Egypt. They now live in the Promised land. You know who they have to constantly fight and try and live free from bondage of? The Moabites and Ammonites! Hundreds of years later, Abraham’s children are struggling with Lot’s children. Why? Because Abraham took Lot with Him!
Guys, Abraham was called by God to a new way of life, full of Promises and blessings. All Abraham had to do was leave his old way of life and follow God. Abraham did this. But, he took on person from his past with him, and he suffered for generations because of it. We need to learn from his story and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes.
I don’t know what your “Lot” is in your life. It could be a relationship. It could be a sinful behavior. It could be an addiction. Basically your “Lot” is anything that is anything from your past or your old way of life. It is the things that keep you from 100% wholehearted surrender and abandonment to God and where He is leading you. I know in my life I had a few “Lots” I had to deal with.
I had friendships that were unhealthy and keeping me from becoming wholeheartedly devoted to God. I had to end these friendships so they didn’t keep trying to bog me down and keep me in my old way of life. I had thought patterns and mindsets that kept me from flourishing for God. I had to reprogram my way of thinking and acting and allow God to transform my mind. I had areas of bondage such as pornography, unforgiveness, and rage that couldn’t come with me on the journey God called me to as I grow spiritually. These are just some of the “Lots” that couldn’t come with me. I had to leave them behind so they didn’t constantly trip me up going forward with God.
What about you? What are you’re “Lots”? Are their things from your old, carnal way of life that you have brought with you into the new life in Christ that God has given to you? If so, what are they? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal them to you so that you can identify them, look them in the eye, and say, “You can’t come with me! I am going forward with Christ and I am leaving you behind!” Only then can you truly experience everything that God has for your life!