Choices Have Long- and Short-term Consequences: Genesis 13

“Here’s your wife back—take her and get out!” (Genesis 12:19)

In Chapter 12 we watched a marriage pull apart as a result of circumstances, fear, lack of communication, and assumptions that the promises God said did or did not apply to themselves. Yet these two people, Sarai and Abram, are listed as heroes of faith (Hebrews 11:8-12). Like us, they charged ahead of God or forgot that He holds them in His hands. Instead, they let fear and self-reliance build a roadblock between them and God. Let’s see what happens next.


  • A great drought divided the Early Bronze Age from the Middle Bronze Age… The highlands of Canaan were dry, but the deep depression of the Jordan Valley and the Sea of Galilee still contained springs flowing from deep aquifers. The presence of these aquifers can be seen in Genesis 13:10. (This is the area that Lot chose to live in.) This 300 year drought had preceded Abraham’s arrival in Canaan. Despite the fact that the tar pits on the bottom of the Dead Sea were exposed to the air, the region around Sodom was at a lower elevation and still well-watered. Due to the prolonged drought, most of Canaan was depopulated. Very few people remained.
    ~ Dalman, Rodger, Genesis and Israel’s Wilderness Generation: How Moses Used History to Teach a Rebellious Nation (Studies in Historical Theology),2014, pg 41
  • Sodom, where Lot chose to live, was one of five cities referred to in the Old Testament as the “Cities of the Plains.” These cities were not mythical places but historical sites, and there is evidence of their destruction precisely as described in the Bible.
    ~ Archeological Study Bible, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 2005, pg 24


1-2 So Abram left Egypt and went back to the Negev, he and his wife and everything he owned, and Lot still with him. By now Abram was very rich, loaded with cattle and silver and gold.
3-4 He moved on from the Negev, camping along the way, to Bethel, the place he had first set up his tent between Bethel and Ai and built his first altar. Abram prayed there to GOD.
5-7 Lot, who was traveling with Abram, was also rich in sheep and cattle and tents. But the land couldn’t support both of them; they had too many possessions. They couldn’t both live there—quarrels broke out between Abram’s shepherds and Lot’s shepherds. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living on the land at the time.
8-9 Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have fighting between us, between your shepherds and my shepherds. After all, we’re family. Look around. Isn’t there plenty of land out there? Let’s separate. If you go left, I’ll go right; if you go right, I’ll go left.”
10-11 Lot looked. He saw the whole plain of the Jordan spread out, well-watered (this was before GOD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah), like GOD’s garden, like Egypt, and stretching all the way to Zoar. Lot took the whole plain of the Jordan. Lot set out to the east.
11-12 That’s how they came to part company, uncle and nephew. Abram settled in Canaan; Lot settled in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent near Sodom.
13 The people of Sodom were evil—flagrant sinners against GOD.
14-17 After Lot separated from him, GOD said to Abram, “Open your eyes, look around. Look north, south, east, and west. Everything you see, the whole land spread out before you, I will give to you and your children forever. I’ll make your descendants like dust—counting your descendants will be as impossible as counting the dust of the Earth. So—on your feet, get moving! Walk through the country, its length and breadth; I’m giving it all to you.”
18 Abram moved his tent. He went and settled by the Oaks of Mamre in Hebron. There he built an altar to GOD.
Genesis 13:1-18, MSG


Retell the story in your own words, as if you were the story teller in a class of 5th graders. Let the listeners tells you what they thought about the choice that Lot made, and what that reflected about him.



  • Why do you think God showered Abram and Lot with blessings of wealth (including livestock) during the Egyptian escapade instead of punishing him for taking matters into his own hands with depending on God?
  • In verses 14-17, God repeats and expands his promises to Abram. What is God’s emphasis in the promise this time?


  • Why do you think Abram returned to Bethel to the first place they camped?
  • Based on Abrams interactions with Pharoah in chapter 12 and Lot in today’s reading, what character trait stand out to you? Is there a similarity or a pattern in these interactions?
  • What do you learn about the relationship between Abram and Lot in these verses? How does Abram treat Lot?


  • Sarai isn’t mentioned in these verses, but what do you suppose she was doing?


Lord, help us to remember to turn our eyes on you instead of our problems that can seem insurmountable. You have promised us that we can never be separated from you, and I cling to your promise. Thank you that we have experienced Pentecost—your Holy Spirit lives in each one of us. We present our lives as living sacrifices to You. Amen

Tune again tomorrow for what I am learning about Abram and Sarai. As always, I’d love to hear from you. There is space for your comments below or email me at

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