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Each week there are endless lessons and individual studies that can be gleaned from the portion. For instance, was it right for Abram to instruct his wife to lie to Pharaoh? What was the “severe plague?” What was a “bitumen pit” and why was it significant to mention them?

This week, however, my focus is discussing a lesson about walking in faith and humility.

Abram noticed the strife between his herdsmen and his nephew’s herdsmen. The potential cause of this dissention may be found in proceeding verses where we learn Abram was “very laden with livestock, silver, and gold” [Gen. 13:2] and Lot only had “flocks, cattle, and tents.” Perhaps scripture mentions Abram’s wealth because he was able to pay his herdsmen and Lot was unable to do the same. However the strife could have simply been caused by the struggle to maintain separation between Abram’s livestock and Lot’s livestock. After all, “the land could not support them dwelling together..” [Gen. 13:5]

Regardless, in order to resolve the issue Abram humbly proclaims that Lot may decide where he would like to settle and Abram will dwell opposite his choice. What a guy! We just read about the severe famine in the land so it wasn’t as if all the land around them was inhabitable. It was possible that Abram may have ended up in a harsh, deserted part of the land. Nevertheless, Abram selflessly humbled himself and gave Lot the amazing opportunity to settle anywhere. Lot’s decision is significant.

“So Lot raised his eyes and saw the entire plain of the Jordan that it was well watered everywhere – before HaShem destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah – like the garden (גַּן) of HaShem, like the land of Egypt, going toward Zoar.” Genesis 13:10

Here we see several reasons for Lot’s choice. The land:
• was flourishing and well watered.
• was in close proximity to the large, wealthy city of Sodom.
• resembled the Garden of Eden (בְגַן־עֵדֶן). (most likely because it was the most lush and fertile region they had seen thus far)
• resembled Egypt. (most likely because of the immense wealth of the city)

Lot’s choice was completely selfish, lazy and self-serving.  It is no mistake that scripture mentions the Garden of Eden. Lot would have certainly known the story of Creation and here he disgracefully compares a plain to the Garden of Eden AND Egypt.  I believe that was an insult. He draws a comparison between something holy and common. In addition, he chose a land that appeared to require little to no work since it was well watered and also a land close to cities in which he could easily acquire any earthly possession. He heeded the call of fleshly lusts and desires. In fact, Lot ends up dwelling in Sodom!  The very epitome of wickedness and sin! I am reminded here of the verses,

“The L-RD lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground.” Psalm 147:6

“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12

The L-RD indeed supported Abram and blessed him. The land in which Abram dwelled at that point, the land of Canaan, is the Promised Land! Here we read a demonstration of G-d’s ability to use any situation, even the wicked decisions of men, to accomplish His will. We also see the fulfillment of G-d’s just words in regards to humble and wicked people. Abram did humble himself and he received blessing and victory. However Lot exalted himself and received shameful incarceration.

Abram had faith that G-d would provide for and sustain him in any part of the land. He knew that G-d would never leave him nor forsake him. Abram walked out that faith in bestowing to Lot the ultimate choice of dwelling place. Also in this portion we see Abram’s humble decisions to put his life and the lives of his disciples at risk by rallying to rescue Lot and refusing wealth from the king of Sodom. May we be able to refuse wealth and self gratification for the sake of G-d’s glory. May we be willing to not “stand idly by the blood of our fellow” and rescue those who are in distress. Trust in the L-rd this day for His plan is perfect. Be encouraged and follow Abram’s example!

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