“I’ll tell you what we’ll do. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want that area over there, then I’ll stay here. If you want to stay in this area, then I’ll move on to another place.” — Genesis 13:9
When a plane leaves the runway, or a train jumps the tracks, or a ship drifts off course, disaster looms large. And when people lose their vision, they can quickly lose direction and make big mistakes. Reputations are easily tarnished and hard-earned positions of influence quickly forfeited. And when these people are the Lord’s servants, the cause of the Lord suffers setback. The people of God become easy targets for ridicule and abuse.
After Abram had arrived in Canaan, severe famine necessitated his moving once again—this time to Egypt (Genesis 12:10). There is no indication that he should not have gone there—common sense dictated he should. But once there, Abram got off course. He lost sight of the Lord’s care, and his triumphant faith was conquered by fear—fear that led him to tell half-truths that amounted to lies, which, in turn, embarrassed and enraged Pharaoh and led to Abram’s ignominious expulsion from Egypt.
Sadder and wiser, Abram and his entourage “traveled north into the Negev... They continued traveling by stages toward Bethel... the place where Abram had built the altar, and there he again worshiped the Lord” (13:1-4).
Back on track worshiping the Lord, Abram was immediately confronted with a test. It soon became obvious that the area where he was living lacked the means to support both his herds and those of Lot. Arguments erupted between their employees, and Abram stepped forward with a wise and selfless proposal to Lot. He told him, “I’ll tell you what we’ll do. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want that area over there, then I’ll stay here. If you want to stay in this area, then I’ll move to another place” (13:9).
Lot promptly chose the prime land for himself, so Abram settled in the inferior territory. He could have pulled rank. He could have reminded Lot that he, Abram, was the Lord’s chosen one and Lot was along for the ride. But he didn’t. He knew in his heart that even when the Promised Land didn’t look promising, the Lord of the promise was faithful, and the correct response to faithfulness is a fullness of faith.
Abram’s failure of nerve in Egypt had taken him to the brink of disaster. He had learned a bitter lesson. But even his embarrassing expulsion had proved a blessing, because it had propelled him back to the place of worship.
Any man is capable of jumping the rails. The wise man knows how to get back on track.
For further study: Genesis 13:1-18
Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.