Kraig Josiah Rice
Genesis- The Way I See It

Genesis Chapter Thirteen

Written by
Kraig J. Rice

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Genesis chapter thirteen
  Chapter 13- Abram and Lot go Separate Ways
  Genesis 13:1 - 4 Out of Egypt
  The city of Ai- a bad example later on
  Genesis 13:5 - 11 Abram and Lot separate
  Genesis 13:12 - 18 Lot moved to Sodom
  Did Lot compromise his convictions?
  What are Christian convictions?
  Share rich communion with God

Genesis Chapter 13
Abram and Lot go Separate Ways

"And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord"
(Genesis 13:1-4).

Out of Egypt:
It appears that the drought was over with, so Abram and Lot moved back to the Promised Land. We do not know how long they lived in Egypt but they knew when it was time to leave. Likewise, you and I can ask the Lord to guide us and help us when we move, as He is always delighted to do so when we put Him first.

God did not appear to Abram until he had obeyed God again. It appears that his disobedience broke fellowship with God. He had to get out of the world. Egypt is a type of the world. He left Egypt and went back to the Promised Land (the place of spiritual blessing). Sometimes you and I can get off on the wrong road (in the world) that we are traveling on. At such a time, God may give us a gentle nudge to get us back on track again. We might have to start going to church again, praying again, studying God's word again, paying tithes again, or something else that God wants us to do. We need to be who God wants us to be. God loves and rewards obedience from His children, however, He may not "appear" to you or I if we are in disobedience to Him. Later, unrepentant King Saul of Israel, found this out the hard way
(1 Samuel 15:23).

If you or I are walking, riding a bicycle, or driving a car and we start going in the wrong direction, we can turn about or make a u-turn and then start going in the right direction again. If you or I start going in the wrong direction spiritually, God allows u-turns. Abram and Lot went to Egypt and then had to make a u-turn to come back again. He lights up the path for us to follow:
"Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path"
(Psalm 119:105).

Abram reached out towards God. God always receives anyone who wants to come to Him and reaches out to Him. God protected Abram and Lot in Egypt. Their situation there could have turned into a real calamity without God's help. Likewise, God helps you and I when we get ourselves in a real jam. Forbidden fruit creates many jams. His mercies are without equal. Praise His name!

Ai, a city near the altar of God:
Ai (Hai) is mentioned here in verses three and four. Abram's altar was between Bethel and Ai. This altar of faith remained there for hundreds of years as a testimony witness for God. The folks of Ai knew about God and about that altar. That altar was a physical reminder of their spiritual faith. Eventually, the Ammonites became idol worshippers so the residents of Ai slowly disregarded their spiritual heritage from God through Abram and chose apostasy. The altar of Abram was abandoned and the true worship of God spiritually flickered out in Ai.

At the time of Joshua, God decreed the city of Ai be destroyed because of its wickedness
(Deuteronomy 9:4-5). Where was it located? It was on the east side of the Jordan River apparently allied to the city of Heshbon. In other words, it was east of Bethel beside Bethaven near Jericho and the second city taken in the invasion of Canaan by General Joshua and his army. God gave the battle victory against it to Joshua and the city was totally destroyed
(Joshua 8:26-28). I see a message here. Why did God mention Ai here in these scriptures? Genesis is the book of beginnings. The folks of Ai had a great spiritual beginning. So many cities in the world today had great spiritual beginnings for Christ. Then, over time, some of the cities pushed God out and embraced apostasy. They filled the spiritual vacuum with Satanism, wickedness, and violence. This has happened over and over again throughout history with the same tragic results. Few cities today use Ai as a bad example. Like Ai, the destruction of such a wicked city today will happen in God's timing. What about your nation and city? Has it forsaken its spiritual roots? Has it embraced apostasy? Let us pray that we can be salt and light enough to hold back the immoral polution that seeks to spiritually kill it. I think that could be one reason why God mentions this city here in His word.

"And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. And 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. And 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. And 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. 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. 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 thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other"
(Genesis 13:5-11).

Abram and Lot go their separate ways:
There is an old saying: the essence of love is self-sacrifice. Maybe it is better to live in a land of scarcity with God than to live in a land of plenty without God.

Abram had to forsake the world by leaving Egypt. Lot also had to forsake the world but the world was in Lot. Lot chose what he could see rather than what was good for him spiritually. This is the old problem of the choice of sight versus the choice of faith. Are you going to see with your physical eyes or your spiritual eyes? Life is full of choices and we should rightly choose spiritual progress over spiritual decline.

Lot went one way and Abram went the other. When I accepted Christ, I went one way from my unsaved friends and they went the other. I knew that I couldn't have them and Christ also. One of them had to go, so I made the choice to keep Christ and part from them. Guess what! I made the right choice!

"Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly. And 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: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And 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. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee"
"Then 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 13:12-18).

Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom:
What does it mean that Lot pitched his tent towards Sodom? It simply means that Lot moved into that city. Why would he be comfortable in such a wicked city? Something might have happened to Lot while he was in Egypt. Possibly, he might have become more selfish. This is one bad thing that the world can bring to a believer. The world starts twisting a Christian's value system into a mold of it's own. A believer may start wanting the things of the world and become more selfish. Or, maybe this happened to Lot's wife and she was influencing him in this wrong material direction.

God fellowshipped with Abram after Lot was separated from him. Sometimes another person can be a distracting influence in our life. A separation has to take place, especially if there is strife and discord as there was between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. A relationship that was once so positive can turn into a relationship that is now negative. This can happen in a number of different relationship situations. Can two folks walk together unless they be agreed?
(Amos 3:3).

Lot headed in the direction towards Sodom (sin city). He moved to a city that had more nightclub bars than churches (so to speak). The glitter and glamour of city life, the excitement and arousal of the night life, the alcohol, drugs, wild parties, and the diversity of many different things often draw people to them as a flame attracts a moth to it. The evil world system in that city rubbed off on his wife and his children and he had trouble with them there. Why? Because the world will influence a person away from God.

When you and I move, let's make sure that the town or the city of our choice has more churches in it than nightclub bars.

Did Lot compromise his convictions?
What is a conviction? A conviction is a strong truth or belief that a person is absolutely convinced about. For example, I have a strong conviction against drinking alcoholic beverages. You may have some strong convictions also. When a person acts contrary to his or her convictions, then that person has compromised their belief in that area of their life. There is an old saying: "You better not compromise yourself- it is all you have got." This generally happens when a person yields to a temptation in their life. Then that person's conscience starts bothering them that what they are doing is not right. Then a choice has to be made to stop any negative behavior or to continue on in that behavior. If one continues on in that negative behavior then one can harden their conscience so that it does not bother them any more. This is a holiness (sanctification) issue and not a salvation issue.

The question here is whether or not Lot compromised his convictions. I really do not know. But I suspect that he did. Why? Because he was a righteous man who went to live among some very wicked people. This is not a spiritually healthy choice. Here is what the Apostle Peter had to say:
"...and delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked- (for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds) the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations..."
(2 Peter 2:7-9).

What are Christian convictions:
There are areas of moral conduct not specifically mentioned in the Holy Bible. These areas are called personal convictions. What areas? Some of these holiness areas include but are not limited to: masturbation, the drinking of alcoholic beverages, going to movie theatres, going to bars and night clubs, going to dances, body piercings, tattoos, mixed swimming (for males and females at the same time), smoking tobacco, chewing tobacco, the length of a woman's hair, the use or misuse of lipstick or cosmetics, whether or not a woman can wear slacks (men's clothes), et cettera.

What is the Biblical rule of sanctification or personal convictions for the above? The rule is: where the Bible is silent the conscience must rule.

If you are not a member of a church denomination then you can let your conscience be your guide on any of the above topics of holiness.

However, if you join a church denomination then that denomination will have you adhere to it's tenants of faith. The denomination will tell you how you are to believe and act on the above relative topics of holiness and then it is no longer a matter of personal conscience for you but legalism. This is part of the teaching of Churchanity rather than Christianity. And these matters of holiness can vary from denomination to denomination. Some groups serve alcoholic wine in the taking of Holy Communion while others only take non-alcoholic grape juice. Some groups allow dancing and others don't. Some groups allow band music and others don't. One group uses "the hook and eye" on their shirts because they believe that the use of buttons is worldly.

It appears that some denominations may be in competition with one another to see which one is more holy. So they pass more regulations in regards to holiness issues. This does not make them more holy, it only makes them more legalistic. Sometimes, Satan has used these denominational regulations as a weapon of guilt against church members who have violated any of them. The church member may then feel condemned. Some have quit going to church because of their internal conflicts in this regard.

Many years ago some denominations had what they call "clothesline preachers." They would preach to the members of a congregation into not acting against the established order of holiness of the denomination. Some would preach that when the Lord Jesus came back in the rapture of the church- if you were in a movie theater, a bar, or on the dance floor when He came back- then you would be left behind. Another church group excommunicated one of it's members for washing his car on the sabbath day. And there are other examples that I will not mention here.

Problems can arise in this area when a church member of a group violates any of these sacred tenants. The violator can be falsely judged NOT to be a Christian and church action taken against him or her. This might involve rebuke, rejection, or excommunication. Some churches have been accused of "shooting their wounded" in this respect. Some churches have been accused of having too much legalism in this area. Some churches have been accused of showing conditional love rather than unconditional love in this area, and so forth. My advice to you is- if you are a church member, then abide by your denomination's teachings on it's holiness-sanctification issues. If you do not like them or do not agree to abide by them any longer, then resign your church membership.

I believe in the church and I believe in keeping sanctification issues relevant in each congregation. Any church congregation should be a hospital for the sick. We are all sick with sin. Therefore, let us show love and tolerance for each other and always encourage one another to hold to Christ's standard of holiness as set by His own life. He is our model and example. Let us not be critical, hostile, shaming, and judging of each other on sanctification issues. Let us use the law of love in helping ourselves and others to live a sanctified life. If we are weak in ourselves, we must always allow the Lord to be strong through us.

I do not smoke. I do not chew
I do not date girls who do

What does the Bible say about how true Christians are to treat each other on these holiness sanctification issues?

Sometimes, true Christians of one denomination may not show tolerance, kindness, or unconditional love for true Christians in another denomination, who have differing beliefs and behaviors about this doctrine. Sometimes, today, there can be problems in this area. There was a problem in the early church about the conviction of eating meat that had been offered to idols.

The Apostle Paul dealt with that church problem in the Law of Love regarding weak and strong Christians in
1 Corinthians Chapter 8:

"Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him. As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; and through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend"

Rich communion:
Abram traveled from the area south of Jerusalem to the area north of Jerusalem. God met him there.

Mamre means "richness" and Hebron means "communion." One might say that it was the place of rich communion with God. Spiritually speaking, this is the place where you and I should live continuously.

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