The Path of Obedience

Genesis 13:3‑18  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Genesis 13:3-183And he went on his journeys from the south even to Beth-el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth-el and Hai; 4Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord. 5And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. 6And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. 7And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. 8And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. 9Is 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. 10And 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 thou comest unto Zoar. 11Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 12Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly. 14And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: 15For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. 16And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. 17Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. 18Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Lord. (Genesis 13:3‑18)
Abram returned to the very place in Canaan where he had had his tent and his altar at the first. It would not do for him to stop at some other place, because the Lord had appeared to him there before, and un­doubtedly that was where He wanted him to be. It is always best to be in the place where the Lord wants us. There Abram called on the name of the Lord. If we want to have confidence that He hears our prayers, it is necessary to walk in the path of obedience to Him.
A Quarrel Between Lot and Abram
Shortly after Abram and Lot had settled quietly in the land, a quarrel began between their herdsmen. They had become so rich when in Egypt that now they could not dwell together in Canaan. How easily riches can become a snare if we set our hearts upon them! God has a reason, too, in telling us that the Canaanite and the Perizzite were then in the land, for it is a sad thing when the world sees the children of God quarreling. Lot didn’t seem to feel badly about it, nor about the dis­honor to the Lord’s name by such actions. Abram, on the other hand, was much concerned about it, and said to him, “Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee ... for we be brethren.” He did not want to quarrel because Lot was his brother’s son, and he knew such things did not please the Lord.
Abram soon found the best way to settle it. He told Lot that he could take first choice of the land, and that he would take what was left. How kind this was! When you see a quarrel starting, dear children, do you give in to your friends as Abram did, and let them have first choice? This would surely please the Lord, and when we think of all He has done for us, and of how He forgave us when we deserved to be punished, we should forgive others too. “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath for­given you” (Ephesians 4:3232And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)).
The Test of Lot’s Heart
Up to this time Lot had followed all Abram’s movements, but he had never really followed the Lord for himself. Now the test came. He must act for himself, and when he did, we soon discover where his heart was. He looked toward the well-watered plains of Sodom, and said they were like the land of Egypt. His heart was still in Egypt, and he was quite ready to pitch his tent toward the wicked city of Sodom.
This world in which we live is filled with wickedness and sin too. It has crucified the Son of God, and like Sodom, God’s righteous judgment is hanging over it. Those who know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour are safe from this judgment, and someday He will come and call His own to be with Him forever. Dear young reader, are you ready to meet Him?
After Lot departed, the Lord appeared to Abram, and promised to give him the land. He told him to walk through it, for He wanted him to see all that belonged to him. Abram then moved to the plain of Mamre.
The believer’s blessings now are spiritual ones, for we are “blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:33Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (Ephesians 1:3)). God wants us to read His Word so that we may know the many blessings which belong to us in Christ. Do you read it each day?
Further Meditation
1. What was the best way to settle the dispute between Abram and Lot?
2. At some point we all have to live by our own faith and not coast along counting on someone else to make spiritual decisions for us. That moment of truth came for Rehoboam in his life. How did he respond?
3. An excellent pamphlet that teaches practical lessons from the life of Lot can be found in Lessons From the Lives of Abraham and Lot, Four Essential Things Missing in Lot’s Life by B. Anstey.