Genesis 13
Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
Return to Bethel - to the altar. The circumstances of the patriarch were very different. He was very rich. Lot is with him, and the sojourn in Egypt had far more depraving effect upon his weaker character than upon that of his uncle. We should remember when we take the young into temptation that what may be comparatively harmless to us may be ruinous to them. The subsequent misery of Lot's career may be all traced to the sojourn in Egypt.

I. The root of it lay in WORLDLY WEALTH LEADING TO CONTENTION. "They could not dwell together."

II. THE DIVERGENCE OF CHARACTER IS BROUGHT OUT IN THE COMPLICATION OF EXTERNAL CIRCUMSTANCES. Lot is simply selfish, willful, regardless of consequences, utterly worldly. Abram is a lover of peace, a hater of strife, still cherishes the family feeling and reverences the bond of brotherhood, is ready to subordinate his own interests to the preservation of the Divine order, has faith to see that Canaan with the blessing of God is much to be preferred to the plain of Jordan with Divine judgments hanging over those who were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.

III. LESSONS OF PROVIDENCE ARE NOT LOST ON THOSE WHO WAIT UPON GOD, and can be learnt in spite of infirmities and errors. Abram could not forget what Egypt had taught him; rich as he was, he did not put riches first. He had seen that that which seems like a garden of the Lord in external beauty may be a cursed land after all. There are people of God who pitch their tents towards Sodom still, and they will reap evil fruits, as Lot did. It is a most terrible danger to separate ourselves from old religious associations. In doing so we cannot be too careful where we pitch our tent. - R.

Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee. Abraham had a nephew who attached himself to his fortunes and shared his fate. Food, fodder, and water became scarce. The flocks of Lot and of Abraham are more than the land can sustain; the herdsmen of each strive together. Servants will often be more bitter towards the servants of a rival of their master, than those immediately concerned. Pathetic is the appeal of the patriarch for the maintenance of peace.

I. IT IS A MOST DESIRABLE THING TO LIVE IN PEACE WITH OTHERS. We are commanded to do so: "As much as lieth in you live peaceably with all men." We may not sacrifice any good principle for the sake of ease, but we are to strive to maintain peace. In matters of faith a man may have to take up at times such a position that others will speak ill of him, but in regard to the neighborly life he must by all means cultivate amity and concord. Little is ever gained by standing on "our rights." Scandal is always the fruit of quarrelling. The worldly-minded are sure to plume themselves on their superior goodness when the spiritually-minded contend. In many homes there is jangling, sneering, and strife; scathing remarks like hot cinders from Vesuvius fall carelessly around. Tyrannous tempers become like tornados, and moodiness kills like the choke-damp of an ill-ventilated mine. Among nations there should be maintenance of peace. The common sense of most should "hold the fretful realm in awe." In the Church strife should cease. It will when each sect seeks to make men Christ-like and not uniform bigots.

II. THERE ARE ALWAYS MEANS OF MAINTAINING PEACE WHEN IT IS DESIRED. Abraham acted most unselfishly with this view; he yielded his claim to a choice. Lot owed much to Abraham, yet he seized an advantage. Lot looks towards Sodom; the strip of green beside the lake and reaching to Jordan reminds him of the land of Nile. The spirit of Egypt, whence he had lately come, is in him; he chooses Sodom, but with its green pastures he has to take its awful corruption. Abraham turns away in the direction alone left to him. He has his tent, his altar, the promises, and his God; he will live in peace. His Father will not forsake him; indeed God very speedily renews his promises to Abraham, and thus the unselfishness of a peaceful man met with an appropriate reward. - H.


1. His own worldly circumstances; and,

2. The suitability of the Jordan circle to advance them.


1. The reverence due to his uncle.

2. The greater right which Abram had to the soil of Canaan.

3. The danger, in parting with Abram, of separating himself from Abram's God.

4. The risk of damage to his spiritual interests in settling in the Jordan circle.

Learn -

1. That while it may be right, in life's actions, to take our worldly interests into account, it is wrong and dangerous to take nothing else.

2. That no amount of purely worldly advantage can either justify or recompense the disregard of the higher interests of the soul.

3. That though good men may oftentimes find reasons for neglecting the soul's interests, they cannot do so with impunity. - W.

1. The physical beauty of the Jordan valley.

2. The moral corruption of its inhabitants.

Lessons: -

1. The weakness of nature as a moral educator.

2. The true design of nature as a moral educator. - W.

I. The SADNESS Of this parting. It was a parting -

1. Of kinsmen (men, brethren).

2. Of kinsmen in a foreign land.

3. Of kinsmen by their own hand.

II. The CAUSE of this parting.

1. The difficulty of finding sustenance together.

2. The danger of collision if they kept together.

III. The MANNER of this parting.

1. After prayer.

2. In peace.

3. With magnanimity on the part of Abram.

4. With meanness on that of Lot.

Lessons: -

1. It is sad when brethren cannot dwell together in unity.

2. It is better that brethren should separate than quarrel. - W.

Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan. To Lot no doubt this seemed but a matter of prudence, a, choice of pastures, yet it stamped his after life. He was a godly man. We miss the point if we think of him as careless. The lesson is for God's people. At first guided by his uncle, but time came when he must act alone. Pastures of Bethel not sufficient. Strife between the herdsmen. God uses little things to work his will. In every life times when choice must be made. Perhaps definite and distinct, e.g. leaving home, or choice of a profession; perhaps less marked, as in the choice of friends and associates, or the habits imperceptibly formed. We must be thus tried; needful for our training (James 1:12). A sevenfold blessing "to him that overcometh" (Revelation 2., 3.).

I. EVIL OF LOT'S CHOICE. He chose the best pasture. Why should he not? The fault lay in the motive, the want of spiritual thought in a secular matter. He broke no positive law, but looked only to worldly good. The evil of Sodom was disregarded. No prayer for guidance; no thought how he could best serve God (cf. James 1:14).


1. No real happiness. His soul vexed (2 Peter 2:8). His life; fretting at evil which he had not resolution to escape from.

2. Real injury. His character enervated. From dwelling in plain came into the city; formed connections there. Irresolute and lingering when warned to flee. His prayer for himself only. Was saved "as by fire" (1 Corinthians 3:15). We are tried daily, in the valley or on the mountain. We cannot avoid trials; not good for us if we could. The one way of safety: "Seek first the kingdom of God." There is an evil terribly widespread - of seeking first the world; thinking not to neglect God, but putting Christianity into corners of the life. What saith the world? Haste to be rich, or great; take thine ease; assert thyself; be high-spirited. And the customs of society and much of education repeat the lesson. But what saith Christ? Look unto me. Not at stated times, but always. The cause of much dispeace, of many spiritual sorrows (1 Timothy 6:10), is want of thoroughness in taking Christ as our guide. Lot was preserved. Will any say, "I ask no more"? "Remember Lot's wife." How narrow the line between his hesitation and her looking back! The grain may sprout through thorns (Matthew 13:22), but the thorns are ever growing. - M.


1. As a matter of business it was good.

2. In its moral aspects the step was dangerous. But -

3. Doubtless at first Lot did not intend entering the city. And perhaps -

4. Lot may have justified his doubtful conduct by hoping that he would have opportunities of doing good to the Sodomites.


1. Surprised them to see a good man like Lot coming to a neighborhood so bad.

2. Led them to think adversely of a religion that preferred worldly advantage to spiritual interest.

3. Rendered them impervious to any influence for good from Lot's example. Lessons: -

1. It is perilous to go towards Sodom if one wants to keep out of Sodom.

2. It is useless preaching to Sodomites while gathering wealth in Sodom. - W.

1. An inviting journey.

2. A gradual journey.

3. A sinful journey.

4. A dangerous journey. - W.

The Pulpit Commentary, Electronic Database.
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