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  The Great Bible Story #11
By sight or by faith

Jacob Ninan
On the way back from Egypt to Canaan, Abram and Lot, his nephew, found themselves in a serious situation. Their flocks had become so large that it was difficult to accommodate all of them in the same place. Some of the men in charge of their flocks began to quarrel among themselves over this matter. Abram became very unhappy about this, and he told Lot that such things should not happen between them as they were 'brothers'. He told Lot to decide which way he wanted to go, so that he, Abram, could go in the opposite direction so that both of them could avoid this conflict in future.

The fact was that it was to Abram that God had promised the land, and Lot had just tagged along. Abraham was also the senior man. He could have kept his nephew in his place, so to speak, but he chose instead to treat him as a brother. Strictly speaking, Abram was not obliged to give Lot anything, and he could have pointed that out. But with great magnanimity of heart, Abram asked Lot to choose whatever land he liked. Peace between brothers was more important to him than land or wealth, and he trusted in God to fulfil His promise and to take care of him.

When Lot looked around, he saw a land that was very fertile, and he figured out that this was likely to fetch him great returns in the future. One thing he did not take into account was that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were in that direction. The people in these cities were notorious for their wickedness, especially for homosexuality. Lot chose that land anyway, even though, in fact, he was choosing material prosperity at the risk of moral decay. He was so blinded by the prospects of wealth that he ignored the great moral risks to him and his family. He may have imagined that as a righteous man he would manage to keep his family from getting influenced by the people around them.

After Lot went his way, God appeared to Abram and reiterated His commitment to the Promised Land. He asked him to look around in every direction and said that He would give all that he could see to him and his descendants. He would not lose out because of his decision to honour God, but God's presence and blessings would make up for everything in the end.

What happened was that Abram chose to honour God and put His values above all, but Lot chose material wealth above godly values. Abram walked by faith, while Lot walked by sight. God who was watching both of them rewarded them each according to their choices.

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Comfort & Counsel