Gen 13:1-13 And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. (2) And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. (3) 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; (4) Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD. (5) And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. (6) 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. (7) 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. (8) 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. (9) 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. (10) 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. (11) Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. (12) Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. (13) But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly. (KJV)
Abraham and Lot returned to the land of Canaan from their sojourn in Egypt. Both men were rich in herds and flocks, and this wealth eventually caused strife. Notice that these verses state that Abraham was very rich in cattle, silver, and gold. These verses also state that Lot had herds, flocks, and tents, but they fail to indicate that he was very wealthy in a fashion similar to Abraham. We might conclude that Lot had a degree of wealth, but no were near the riches of Abraham.
Do not forget that the blessing of God was on Abraham not Lot. As long as Lot remained submitted to Abraham he enjoyed a portion of his wealth and blessing (Gen 12:2-3).
James 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
Notice that strife arises between the herdsmen of Lot and Abraham. I am convinced that this strife was the result of the envy of Lot. Why should Abraham's herds eat all the fat of the land? What about me? What about me? What about me? I can hear the thoughts and silent discussions of Lot and his herdsmen spoken around hidden campfires bemoaning their unjust treatment by Abraham. In the midst of his wealth, Lot failed to recognize the true source of his prosperity and blessing. So often is the case when envy arises in the human heart.
James taught an important spiritual principle about envy and strife. It is the source of confusion and every evil work. Abraham realized that the envy of Lot and his herdsmen would cause considerable confusion and every kind of evil work. Jesus taught a spiritual principle that I believe Abraham also understood that a "…house divided against itself shall not stand:" (Matt 12:25), therefore the time had come for Lot and Abraham to separate as families.
The Bible teaches some principles about strife that we must never forget. Strife is truly the source of every evil work.
Its important to deal with envy and strife before confusion and every evil work arises in our families and churches. It is also equally important to understand the source of your prosperity and blessing.
Phil 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (KJV)
Rom 13:13-14 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. (14) But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (KJV)
Notice the attitude of Abraham; his only desire was to end the strife between Lot and himself. The whole land of Canaan laid before Abraham and Lot, and in honor Abraham yielded his position and allowed his nephew to have first choice of the land. This action displayed a clear quality of humility in the heart of Abraham, and I'm convinced that his encounters with God developed this character trait. You cannot have relationship with God without the Holy Spirit etching into your soul the nature and character of God.
Paul, in the epistle to the Romans, understood a basic spiritual principle. We must walk in honest faith with God, putting on the character and nature of God. We must make no provision to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Abraham did not want envy and strife in his family, therefore he walked in honest faith with God, and made no provision for the flesh. Simply stated, Abraham esteemed Lot better than himself.
Notice that Lot looked on the plains of Jordan and realized that this portion was the best of the land. Lot did not choose to submit to the authority of Abraham, nor did he yield the first choice to him. Lot's choice was driven by his greed for greater wealth, but it is evident he did not realize that the source of his blessed was connected with his right relationship with Abraham. Lot failed to realize the source of his blessing. Envy and strife blinded Lot to the truth, therefore his choice of land was influenced by these wrong motives.
Abraham understood that he was the blessed of God. It did not matter what portion of land he moved his herds and flocks into because God's blessing would flow as long as he remained in right relationship with God. Abraham chose humility because it allowed him to remain in relationship with God.
Matt 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: (14) Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (KJV)
Jesus used the metaphor of a narrow path to describe the life His followers must live in His presence. Being born-again is the gate to the narrow path of Christ. The path of Christ is not a doctrine memorized and confessed, it’s a total life dedicated to Christ and His kingdom. Our church activity in only one small facet of our journey down the narrow path that leads to life in Christ. Even though Abraham preceded nearly 2000 years the principle of the narrow path does not change. Abraham, by faith, walked the narrow path.
Jesus also taught that the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction. We assume that the only destruction being describe by Jesus is the eternal damnation of hell, but this word has another definition.
apoleia (ap-o'-li-a/684); from a presumed derivative of 622; ruin or loss (physical, spiritual or eternal): KJV-- damnable (-nation), destruction, die, perdition, X perish, pernicious ways, waste. 684 apoleia-
Destruction: (Thayer Greek/English Lexicon)
1) destroying, utter destruction; used of vessels
2) a perishing, ruin, destruction
a) used of money
b) the destruction which consists of eternal misery in hell
Waste/Destruction (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)
A. Noun: apoleia (684), "destruction," is translated "waste" in (Mt 26:8; Mk 14:4).
B. Verbs: (1) diaskorpizo (1287), "to scatter abroad," is used metaphorically of "squandering property," (Luke 15:13; 16:1) (2) portheo (4199), "to ravage," is rendered "wasted" in (Gal. 1:13) (3) lumaino (3075), "to outrage, maltreat," is used in the middle voice in (Acts 8:3), of Saul's treatment of the church, RV, "laid waste"
No doubt this Greek word has the application of the eternal misery of hell, but the destruction of hell is only one small portion of this definition. The Greek word also speaks of that which is ruined or lost, or to be scattered abroad. In regards to financial matters this Greek word also has the application of money being squandered.
Consider with me the possibility that Christians can also follow the broad way that leads to destruction (ruin, loss, and squandered opportunities) as surely as Lot made his choice that led to his destruction. Are these Christians going to hell? No! Absolutely not! The blood of Christ has redeemed their souls, but the life of religious world conformity has robbed them of the joys found in Christ on the narrow path. We are admonished by Christ to seek first His kingdom (Mt 6:33), therefore we can conclude that the narrow path is the path of the kingdom of God and His Lordship.
Old Testament Choices
The path described by Jesus was not a new revelation to the principles of God. The narrow path was in place for Adam and Eve as surely as it is for us today. The narrow path we are commanded to follow is hewn by the will of God. The kingdom of God has not changed. The Lordship of Christ was in the garden of Eden, it was on Mt. Moriah with Abraham, and it was with David and the prophets (Heb 11). Jesus clarified its purpose and meaning for all human history.
Lot look on the plains of Jordan, and was motivated by his greed and envy. He chose the broad way, while Abraham chose to follow the kingdom of God. Two men stood on a mountain top, and each had a choice to make. The strait gate that leads to the narrow path, or the broad way that leads to destruction. Lot could have chosen to submit to the authority of Abraham and enter at the strait gate by repenting of his envy. Abraham could also have pushed Lot aside and occupied the watered plains of Jordan. These choices did not occur. Lot chose the broad way while Abraham yielded to the demands of the strait gate.
Path of Fear
Prov 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (KJV)
Prov 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. (KJV)
The Bible teaches that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. The fear of God is to hate the things that God hates.
John 12:42-43 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: (43) For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. (KJV)
Gal 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. (KJV)
Eph 6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; (KJV)
The is another fear that motivates the men of God and that fear is the fear of the face of man. Being a manpleaser is the heart of moral compromise, and the root of the fear of the face of man. The greatest sin in the pastoral ministry today is manpleaser attitude. As long as that attitude governs our lives we cannot be the servants of Christ.
The path we follow in live is not determined as much by our faith as it is determined by our fear. Those who truly fear the face of man will follow the broad way out of their need for conformity and moral compromise. How they love the praises of men. Those saints who honestly fear the Lord will enter at the strait gate to follow the narrow path. Human beings put their faith in people they fear. Those who fear God trust Him, while those who fear the face of man put their trust in human flesh (Jer 17:5).
The paths selected by Abraham and Lot were determined by the fear that motivated them. Abraham feared God and chose the path of humility, while Lot feared the face of man and chose the watered plains of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Lot's envy and strife resulted in his total destruction. He lost all his wealth and most of his family. Lot's desire to be a manpleaser resulted in his moral compromise with the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot chose the broad way that eventually lead to his destruction. Often the broad way looks like the easiest path to travel, because its human nature to look for the easiest path (comfort zone) in our walk with Christ.
Each and every day we are confronted with choices that determine the path we will encounter. Should we make our choices based on envy and strife, then the broad way lies before us. The strait gate that leads to the narrow path can be found in every facet of our lives; from our personal walk with Christ, to our marriages, to our children, to our employment, and to our church life. We must choose!
Let's conclude with a brief comparison between the choices made by Abraham and Lot.
Path of the Cross
Path of Conformity
Fear of God
Fear of Man
Josh 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (KJV)