What should you do as soon as you realise you’re lost? Go back, retracing your steps to the first place you get to that you know where you are and where to go from here? Abram and Sarai did just that – they went back out fo Egypt and back to Canaan, back to where Abram had built an altar to God. It was there that he rekindled his relationship with God.
As time passed Abram was gradually turning into a man of God. When he returned to Canaan with his extended family (including Mr and Mrs Lot) he realised something; Lot was after building a little empire for himself, whereas Abram was discovering this wasn’t compatible with getting closer to God and following him.
It was inevitable that at some point they would part ways. Abraham gave Lot a choice and he chose the apparently more fertile area of Jordan (although it contained the soon-to-be notorious Sodom and Gomorrah). They parted in peace.
After Lot has departed for Sodom, God repeated his blessing to Abram, that he would father a vast nation, and that the land he was now standing in would be given to them forever. Abram in turn built another altar dedicated to God. This signalled his change from leaning on his own skills of manipulation and deception, back to relying on God and putting his faith in him.
Abram’s return was not without its consequences; while in Egypt, Hagar became Sarai’s maid. This was later to cause them much trouble as they sought to fulfil God’s prophecy by themselves. Even though God forgives us and takes us back no matter what we’ve done, there are generally consequences to our sins.
Because of the wealth amassed by Abram and Lot, this caused strife, and emphasised that although Abram was intent on building a relationship with God, Lot was more interested in building more wealth. Abram made the mature decision that these two attitudes were incompatible, and perhaps because of his renewed closeness with God, he recognised that it would be more likely that he would be led astray by Lot’s materialism, than Lot would be to start following God. Abram offered Lot whichever piece of land he wanted, this showed that Abram was more interested in maintaining a healthy relationship at a sensible distance than he was about getting the best land for himself. Lot chose what he considered to be the best land, and off he went. The relationship stayed intact, yet there was a reasonable distance between the two relations which enabled Abram to continue developing his relationship with God without the influence of Lot. Lot wasted his chance of becoming closer to God, he squandered it, being unable to see beyond worldly wealth. Abram was not unreachable, and neither was God, but by leaving in pursuit of more fertile land of his own, he was firmly stating his commitment to the building of wealth, and not God.