OT 09 Abram and Lot Separate


Psalm 117:2, ESV

For great is his steadfast love
toward us, and the faithfulness
of the Lord endures forever.


Genesis 13:2-7, NIrV

2 Abram had become very rich. He had a lot of livestock and silver and gold.

3 Abram left the Negev Desert. He went from place to place until he came to Bethel. Then he came to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier. 4 There he called on the name of the Lord at the altar he had built.

5 Lot was moving around with Abram. Lot also had flocks and herds and tents. 6 But the land didn’t have enough food for both Abram and Lot. They had large herds and many servants, so they weren’t able to stay together. 7 The people who took care of Abram’s herds and those who took care of Lot’s herds began to argue. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.


In Genesis chapter 12, God asked Abram to do a big thing: leave his family and go to a place that God would show him. But God also gave Abram a mountain of big promises: to grow Abram's tiny family of two into a great nation, bless him with all sorts of good gifts, and use his family to bless the entire world. When Abram reached the land where God guided him, God promised to give that place to Abram, too! Just one chapter later, we see God already beginning to keep his promises. God blessed Abram and his nephew Lot with so many animals, they ran out of room to hold them all!

+ How did God keep his promise to bless Abram? (vs. 2)

+ What was happening between Abram’s servants and Lot's servants?


Genesis 13:8-13, NIrV

8 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not argue with each other. The people taking care of your herds and those taking care of mine shouldn’t argue with one another either. After all, we’re part of the same family. 9 Isn’t the whole land in front of you? Let’s separate. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right. If you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”

10 Lot looked around. He saw that the whole Jordan River valley toward the town of Zoar had plenty of water. It was like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. 11 So Lot chose the whole Jordan River valley for himself. Then he started out toward the east. The two men separated. 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan. Lot lived among the cities of the Jordan River valley. He set up his tents near Sodom. 13 The people of Sodom were evil. They were sinning greatly against the Lord.


Abram was Lot's uncle. He didn't like seeing his family fighting over space. So he came up with a plan to fix this problem: split up! One of them would go left and the other would go right. That way, their huge herds of animals would have plenty of grass to munch on! Abram kindly gave his nephew Lot the chance to choose first. When he saw the beautiful and well-watered Jordan Valley, Lot said, "I'll take it!" He took his family, his servants, and animals and headed in that direction. Abram went the other way, to the good land of Canaan, the land God had promised to one day give to his family.

+ Why did Abram and Lot decide to split up? (vs. 8)

+ Lot moved near Sodom. What were Sodom's people like? (vs. 13)


Genesis 13:14-16, NIrV

14 The Lord spoke to Abram after Lot had left him. He said, “Look around from where you are. Look north and south, east and west. 15 I will give you all the land you see. I will give it forever to you and your family who comes after you. 16 I will make them like the dust of the earth. Can dust be counted? If it can, then your family can be counted. 


After Abram left Lot, he received a special visitor: God! "Look in every direction," God told Abram. Everything the old man could lay his eyes on, God promised to give to Abraham’s family But that wasn't all. Abram only had a tiny family of two. But God promised, in the far-off future, the land of Canaan would be stuffed full with his family members. Trying to count old Abe's family would be like trying to count all the bits of dust in a handful of dirt! As Abram strolled across the land, I bet he could almost picture all his promised future children building their homes all over this promised land!

+ After walking through the land, what did Abram do? (vs. 18)

+ Read Genesis 15:5. What does God compare the size of Abram's future family to?


Genesis 17:1-7, NIRV

1 When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him. He said, “I am the Mighty God. Walk faithfully with me. Live in a way that pleases me. 2 I will now act on my covenant between me and you. I will greatly increase the number of your children after you.”

3 Abram fell with his face to the ground. God said to him, 4 “This is my covenant with you. You will be the father of many nations. 5 You will not be called Abram anymore. Your name will be Abraham, because I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will greatly increase the number of your children after you. Nations and kings will come from you. 7 I will make my covenant with you last forever. It will be between me and you and your family after you for all time to come. I will be your God. And I will be the God of all your family after you. 


24 long years after God guided him to a far-off land, the Lord spoke to Abram again. This time, instead of giving Abram some place to go, God gave him a brand new name: Abraham. Why did God pick that name? Because of what the name “Abraham” means: “father of many.” Abe's new name was a picture of what God was planning to do. He would take this 99-year-old man's tiny family of two and grow it into an uncountable country of people! This future nation would be unlike any other. How? Because the Lord would make an unbreakable covenant promise to be their God!

+ What does the name “Abraham” mean? Why was it a good new name for Abram?

+ What covenant promise was God going to make with Abraham’s children? (vs. 7)


Genesis 17:15-17, NIRV

15 God also said to Abraham, “Do not continue to call your wife by the name Sarai. Her name will be Sarah. 16 I will give her my blessing. You can be sure that I will give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations. Kings of nations will come from her.”

17 Abraham fell with his face to the ground. He laughed and said to himself, “Can a 100-year-old man have a son? Can Sarah have a child at the age of 90?” 


Is it smart to laugh when God says he's going to do something? No way! But that’s what Abraham did. After giving Abram a new name, God did the same for his wife, Sarai. Her new name, Sarah, meant "princess." God chose that name for a good reason. Sarah would soon have a child. From that boy God would grow a great nation of people, including kings! So why did Abraham laugh at God? Because the idea of his wife having a baby sounded ridiculous! Sarah had never been able to become pregnant. And at 89 years old, she was was too old to be a grandma, let alone a new mom!

+ What did God say would come from Sarah? (vs. 16)

+ What did Abraham do as he laughed? (vs. 17)


Genesis 17:19, NIRV

19 Then God said, “Yes, I will bless Ishmael. But your wife Sarah will have a son by you. And you will name him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him. That covenant will last forever. It will be for Isaac and his family after him. 


When Abraham first received a visit from the Lord God himself, he was a 75-year-old man. On that unforgettable day, God asked Abraham to do a big thing: leave his home and his family behind and travel to a land that God would show him.

But God also gave Abraham some pretty big promises, too. He promised to grow Abraham’s tiny family of two into a great big nation. He promised to give Abraham lots of good gifts. He promised to give his family a great land to live in. And he promised to use his family to be a blessing to all the nations of the world. Abraham believed God would do what he promised, so he packed up everything he owned, kissed his mom and dad goodbye, and started walking.

At this point in the story, twenty-four long years had passed. During those days, God had blessed Abraham with a huge herd of animals and piles of gold and silver. Abraham had walked all through the good land that God had promised to give to his family. But after all those years, Abraham’s tiny family of two was still just a tiny family of two! And you can’t really call two people a “great nation,” can you?

It certainly seemed like God had missed his chance to keep his promise. It looked like it was too late to grow Abraham’s family into a country as uncountable as the dust on the ground or the stars in the sky. After all, it’s impossible for 89-year-old ladies like Sarah to have babies. But there’s no such thing as “too late” or “impossible” when you have universe-creating power like God has!

The idea made Abraham laugh in disbelief, but God promised that Sarah soon would become a mother, even though she was old enough to be a great-grandmother! When that amazing miracle boy arrived, God had a name ready for him: Isaac. That name means “laughter,” which was exactly what Abraham did when he heard God's outrageous promise!

In our journey through the book of Genesis, we’ll watch in wonder as God did the impossible to keep his promises. At the old age of 89, Sarah became pregnant and when he was 100 years old, Abraham finally became a dad. I’m sure old Abe couldn’t help but laugh with joy as he held little Isaac in his arms!

Starting with the miracle birth of Isaac, God grew Abraham’s family into a great nation of people, a country we call “Israel.” And almost 2000 years later, another miracle child was born to Mary, one of Abraham’s many-times-great granddaughters. This child was given the name Jesus, which means “savior.” And it was the perfect name for him. This little miracle man was the very Son of God, sent from heaven to save us all from our sins!

+ Why was the name “Isaac” a good name for Abraham and Sarah’s miracle child?

+ Who was the miracle child born to Abraham’s family about 2000 years later?

© 2023 Andrew Doane. All rights reserved.