Why did Christ say, “As in the days of Lot,” and not “as in the days of Abraham?” The Lord was giving a picture of world-end conditions. He said that those conditions would be like the days of Lot. Not like Lot, alone, but like the days of Lot.
The “days of Lot” were days of sinful shame and lusting. Into that method of living and thinking Lot soon became engulfed. His family also became engulfed with him, and so deeply so, that two of his daughters and their husbands were lost in the overthrow of Sodom, while his wife turned back and became a pillar of salt.
1. ABRAM WAS VERY RICH (Gen. 13:2)
Abram did not obtain his riches through worldly means. It was God who increased his store. When the king of Sodom wanted to enrich Abram, the Patriarch said, “I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich.”
Again, Abram never counted himself more than a mere tent dweller. He had much of this world’s riches, yet he never set his heart on such things. He lived looking for a City whose Builder and Maker is God. At any moment Abram was ready to let go all that he possessed that he might enter into that richer inheritance above. His spirit of fairness to his nephew Lot is so plainly seen, as he gave Lot the first choice of the land.
2. LOT ALSO WAS RICH (Gen. 13:5)
Lot’s day was a day of eating and drinking, buying and selling, marrying and giving in marriage. It is all right to eat and drink, it is all wrong to be intemperate, and given to surfeiting. It is all right to marry and to give in marriage, but it is all wrong to be given over to licentiousness and lewdness, and to marry out of the will of the Lord. It is all right to buy and sell, but it is all wrong to be given over to the love of money, and to heap up treasures for the satisfying of the lustings of the flesh.
Abram was rich, he did not enrich himself on the king of Sodom or the Sodomites.
3. THEY COULD NOT DWELL TOGETHER (Gen. 13:6)
The time came when there was strife between Abram’s herdsmen and Lot’s herdsmen. Then, they were forced to separate.
Abram said unto Lot, “Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, for we be brethren,” In all of this there is a tremendous lesson for us. If two groups cannot agree, and they yet be brethren, let them separate in peace. Striving among saints is very grievous to the Lord, and its fruit is contention, bitterness, and evil words.
In our socity we have seen groups of saints who had no vital differences about them, separating from one another simply because they could not agree on some method of operation. If they had merely separated in peace it would not have been so bad, however, they who had been in sweet fellowship immediately after their separation began to malign one another. Why do saints not follow the beautiful spirit which marked Abram’s separation from Lot?
4. ABRAM’S CORDIALITY TOWARD LOT (Gen. 13:9)
When the time of separation came, Abram said unto Lot, “Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.”
Abram was the senior it was Lot who had gone with Abram, not Abram with Lot. Abram could rightfully have taken the first choice; he could even have commanded Lot to have gone to the left, or to the right. He rather gave Lot the place of precedence, and of choice. Abram was concerned with the things of Lot than with his own things. Should not our greatest joy be to prove a blessing to others?
Jesus Christ went about doing good. When He left Heaven, He left in behalf of others. When He lived, He lived for others. When He died, He died for others. While we were yet sinners, He died for us.
5. LOT’S SELF-SEEKING (Gen. 13:10, 11)
Lot lifted up his eyes. He did not say unto his uncle Abram, “Take thou the choicest of the land.” He chose the best for himself. This was all in direct contrast to the spirit that dominated Abram.
The true character of Lot now began to exert itself. He beheld that the plain of the Jordan was well-watered everywhere, so he chose all the plain, and journeyed East. He felt that prosperity and power were his. In all of this Lot went contrary to the spirit of his Heavenly Father. God has said, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
He who lives for self-glory or riches will surely come to poverty. He who seeketh his own will sooner or later succumb under the power of selfishness.
Lot did not seek Divine guidance. He was his own guide. He thought that he could see a long way off, but he was in fact shortsighted. Had Lot gone to God, God would no doubt have told him that while the land he chose seemed a goodly land, yet, it would lead him to poverty instead of plenty, and to sorrow.
Let us ask God to make our choices. The difficulty with us is that we are shortsighted and cannot see afar off. We know not what a day may bring forth.
6. PITCHING TOWARD SODOM (Gen. 13:12)
How significant are the words, “Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom”! The goal of Lot’s ambition was Sodom. As Lot moved his way toward Sodom, he was steadily pressing toward an ideal which to him seemed the greatest good in life.
Sodom, a city which stood for the climax of world dominion and power. His dream was not only to dwell in Sodom, but to wield the power of plenty and position among its people. Lot sought human greatness and human authority.
It was not a matter of one day, but of weeks and months before Lot attained his ideal. We would ask every young person to ponder the path which they are now treading, and to lift their eyes toward the city of their dreams. Remember, they that will be rich pierce themselves through with many sorrows. Remember, that those who love the world and the things which are in it cannot truly love the Father.
How the words ring out, “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.” Perhaps, as Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom, he was thinking not so much of the villainy of the Sodomites as of his own wealth and attainments.
When wealth, however, is secured at the cost of spiritual life and contact, it will prove a curse instead of a blessing. When, becoming rich is dependent upon becoming mixed and mingled with the wicked and with sinners, riches had better be foregone.
There is something more valuable than money. There is something more profitable than success—that something is the favor of the Lord with peace and joy of heart.
7. ABRAM’S RICH REWARD (Gen. 13:14)
To Abram the Lord said, “Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever.”
It was just after Lot had separated himself from Abram and had started on his way toward Sodom; it was just after Abram had told Lot that the whole land lay before him, and that he, Lot, could take his choice—it was then that the Lord appeared unto Abram.
When the Lord said to Abram, “All the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it,” He included the very land which Abram had just given to Lot. The sorrow in Lot’s choice was that Lot was to attain to a height of glory and honor and power, with riches, only to fall. He builded for a fire. He laid up store where moth and rust corrupt.
“With Abram it was different. That which God gave to Abram was by Divine decree secured unto Abram’s sons, yea, God gave the land unto Abram and his seed forever.
As we stand thirty-five hundred years down the stream of time, since God told Abram that the land was his forever, what do we see? We see the Children of Israel, Abram’s seed, once more turning their faces toward the promised land. They are about to inherit every foot of ground that God ever gave to Abram.
How much better, therefore, was Abram’s choice than Lot’s! Lot chose soil and “land and lost it. Abram chose God and as a result he got soil as an everlasting possession.
8. THE DEVOTION IN HIS OBEDIENCE (Gen. 12:7)
When Abraham reached the land where God had sent him, “there builded he an altar unto the Lord” (Genesis 12:7). How well this reveals his great devotion to the Lord. Why does this altar show great devotion on Abraham’s part to the Lord? Because he built it in heathen Canaan. He was not afraid to own his faith and to worship God before the heathen. He publicly and unashamedly professed his faith in God before those not sympathetic to his faith. It takes great devotion to God to do that.