Getting a Lot Out of the World

February 15, 2010 at 10:55 am | Posted in Biblical friendship, Genesis | 10 Comments
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In Genesis Chapter 12 God calls Abram.

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

Genesis 12:1

God tells Abram, “Vaya con Dios,” go with God. When you “go” with God, you leave behind the world. Attempts to bring a part of the world along with you will cause trouble. I have heard stories about missionaries who bring someone not called by God to go along on a mission trip, and they say it does not work out well.

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

Genesis 12:1, emphasis added

So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

Genesis 12:4, emphasis added

I wonder if Abram considered Lot’s coming with him as a training opportunity. If so, he learned the danger of disobedience even if your motives are right. Lot was Abram’s nephew, but consider what Jesus said about family.

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:26-27

Abraham is considered to be the father of faith, but he did not pass every test of faith. When there was a famine in the land, Abraham went down into Egypt.

And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.

Genesis 12:10, emphasis added

In Scripture, Egypt is a picture of the world – what we call “culture” or “society” – but which is really a system which operates apart from the will and the Word of God. When you go into the world, you are going “down” spiritually. We might say, in a sense, that this was when Abraham “put a Lot into the world.” Abraham had problems in Egypt, because, the Bible tells us, he was a friend of God. Egypt is where Lot learned to be a friend of the world. Abraham had trouble in the world because he was friend of God. Lot had trouble following God because he was a friend of the world. Friendship with the world is enmity with God.

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

James 4:4

Lot came out of Egypt physically, but his heart never came out. He never forgot the lessons he learned there: the coveting of the pleasures and the material things of the world. Abraham – at least for brief period – was able to “get a Lot out of the world,” but he was not able to get the world out of Lot. Be careful about letting the world get into you. Be careful about leading your friends, your brothers and sisters, your children, into the world. Remember, if you’re trying to get a brother out of the world – only Christ can get the world out of him.

The worldly heart attitude of Lot revealed itself in his actions. He desired the world in his heart, so he began to behave like a worldly person.

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.

Genesis 13:7

Still, Abraham, striving to “get a Lot out of the world” – out of his worldly ways – showed love to Lot.

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.

Genesis 13:8

Abraham knew that the neighbors were watching. The Canaanites and the Perizzites who live around your local church are watching. When “brethren” fight it gives them a bad opinion of God. There are some things that even brethren have to divide over. When it comes to your family, Dad – When it comes to your wife, Husband – these things aren’t up for compromise. You are answerable to God alone for their provision and their protection. But in issues that are not matters of Bible doctrine or of spiritual significance we should try to have the attitude of Abraham toward Lot: Let’s don’t fight; we be brethren; you choose first; in love preferring one another.

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Romans 12:10

But when Abram let Lot choose, we see the proof that he never got the world out of his heart.

Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.

Genesis 13:11

East was away from “Bethel” (house of God), and toward “Hai” (ruins). Should Lot have pitched his tent toward Sodom? The plain was well-watered over there – it made sense from a worldly viewpoint. But what about from a heavenly viewpoint? We can see that Lot’s worldly way of thinking may have given him an excuse, but look at what God says about the people of Sodom:

But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.

Genesis 13:13

We say that, before a holy God, sin is sin, but there was something about the sin of the men of Sodom that made them not just “sinners,” but “wicked.” And not just wicked sinners, but sinners “exceedingly.” This was no place for a man who is following God, but it was a very attractive place to a man like Lot – a man overtaken by worldly desires.

You are probably familiar with what happened to Lot. He wound up going from lifting up his eyes and looking toward Sodom – to lifting up his feet and moving toward Sodom – to lifting his family right inside the city walls, making a name for himself and living right in the gates of the city with the other worldly big-shots. But God – maybe out of love for Abraham – maybe out of mercy on Lot – maybe both – wanted Lot out of the world. So He allowed a war to happen, and many of the people of Sodom were captured, and Lot was with them, and he was taken away prisoner.

Abraham, the friend of God, loving his brother, Lot, and wanting to “get a Lot out of the world,” went into action. There are a couple of interesting things to note in Abraham’s rescue of Lot, because some of us have “put a Lot into the world.” More of us “know a Lot in the world.” These people are our brothers – and we want to get them out of the world.

And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.

Genesis 14:14, emphasis added

First, Abram’s servants, called out on a moment’s notice, had already been trained for battle. Do you have trusted friends in Christ that have been trained in battle? Our weapons are not carnal (fleshly). They are spiritual, but they are still weapons and we are still in a battle. Are you training anyone for battle? Have you yourself been trained for battle?

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

II Corinthians 10:3-6

Verse 4 presupposes that you know how to use a weapon – that you have been trained. The “readiness” in Verse 6 means a preparedness, a time of training.

Every believer ought to participate in discipleship training. This means sacrifice, not just a time of fellowship. There needs to be memorization. There needs to be straight talk about a new level of commitment to God’s Word. And there needs to be training.

And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.

Genesis 14:14, emphasis added

First, they were trained. Second, they were born in his own house. When you want to “get a Lot out of the world” – you are going to be tempted to use worldly programs – or earthly family members – but your first call should be to someone who has been born (“born again”) into the family of God.

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

I John 5:4

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