If You Take the Left, Then I Will Go to the Right

 6And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.

 7And 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.

 8And 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.

 9Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.

 10And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.

 11Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. (Genesis 13:6-11, King James Version)

This passage speaks volumes.  Yet, on my initial reading of this when I was young, I got the impression that Lot was simply wrong.  There is a case to be made that he should have been respectful towards his older uncle and gave him the first choice.  However, what is God’s verdict?  Simply put, Lot isn’t condemned (although he does pay a penalty for bad choices).


1. Did either Abraham or Lot sin in this exchange?  If so, where is it documented?

2. Are both listed in the “hall of faith”?

3. Is it necessarily sinful to have disagreements?

4. Is it necessarily wrong to go separate ways when everything else seems to fail?  Remember, Abraham and Lot were relatives.

I want to give credit where credit is due.  Dennis Luker twice has said that he doesn’t view anyone in the Church as an enemy.  I think that is rather commendable.  Hopefully others feel the same about the Church with a capital ‘C’.


  1. Did either sin in the exchange? Not that I can see. Abraham was the more gracious of the 2 though.

    Of course Abraham is listed in Hebrews 11. Lot is called just in II Peter 2:7

    Is it sinful to have disagreements? Not necessarily. Mostly depends on how they are handled.

    Is it wrong to go seperate ways? No in addition to Lot you could use the case of Paul and Barnabas. However not all choices are equal or wise. In Lot's case his choice led to an inability to distinguish the evil of his society, as witnessed by his reluctance to leave Sodom. It also cost him his wife and those possessions he had when he went to Sodom.

    His choice, while not wrong, dulled his spiritual senses and led to a slew of problems. Not all choices are equal.

  2. I will also add that there's no evidence that Lot plotted to steal Abraham's flocks.

  3. There is a lot that could be said about this situation–however I do not have the time to write it all.
    We can glean from this some powerful Spiritual insight –if willing. Christ said by their fruits you shall know them. Abraham was tremendously blessed–the fruit of this incident shows when God is the blesser–the bless-ee does not need to concern them selves with the physical. What great blessing did Lot recieve for his choice? it looks like he lost it all–with the exception of eternal life.
    It looks like it pays when someone obviously wants the best of everything–to just step back and say–go ahead take what you lust after.

    Anony Jon

  4. It can also be concidered how the testimony has recorded the decisions made between Paul and Barnabus.

    " there came, therefore, a sharp contention, so that they were parted from one another, and Barnabas having taken Mark, did sail to Cyprus and Paul having chosen Silas, went forth, having been given up to the grace of God by the brethren" (Acts 15:39-40 YLT)

    Notice the info given on Barnabus' choice is only a destination while something more is related about Paul's decision.

    I'd only say be careful what you read into that, but the difference is there.

  5. Norbert wrote: "I'd only say be careful what you read into that, but the difference is there."

    I'd be very careful about that, actually, seeing as John Mark later comforted Paul and wrote the Book of Mark.

  6. Do these scriptures answer questions 3 and 4 adequately, do you think?

    1 Cor 1:10-13; 3:1-23
    Phil 2:1-11,14-15; 3:15-16; 4:2

  7. Kevin McMillen from West Virginia

    John, 🙂 I hate to say it but question one is a red herring. Sure it doesn't say in the text they sinned, but that proves nothing.

    If you, as I, believe the Sabbath was instituted from creation, I could ask, "where is it documented" 🙂

    We know that Sodom was destroyed because of its wickedness. What made them wicked? I see no list of commandments prior to Sodom's destruction. Nothing that documents that sodomy was a sin. Nothing that documents that adultery was a sin.

    I've counted about five direct commands documented from God prior to Sodom being destroyed, and none were worthy of death. IMO

    Not arguing here, just pointing out that just because it wasn't documented that Abraham or Lot didn't sin, or even that Paul and Barnabas didn't sin, that doesn't mean they didn't.

    All four were sinners, just as we are, so there's no point trying to make their disagreements out to be righteous.

    Just saying…… 🙂

  8. @Kevin: I'd like to point out that in their exchange and separation, no sin is recorded. Like I said in the article, it's too easy to fall into the notion that Lot was being sinful, and we don't have all the facts.

    And, yes, it does prove something. It proves that judging people on either side of a separation is probably not a good thing, if you get my drift.

    "If you, as I, believe the Sabbath was instituted from creation, I could ask, 'where is it documented' :-)"

    Actually, I believe that is quite adequately documented. God rested the seventh day and "sanctified it". Moses wrote that was one of the reasons for the command. It was written to "remember" not to start something new.

    As far as a list of commands that Sodom broke, why do we need them when the Bible clearly says they are wicked. So, as far as I'm concerned, that too is adequately documented. After all, who judged them? Not I.

    No, it isn't a red herring to challenge your assumptions.

  9. @Craig: And yet, even Paul and Barnabas had a falling out and separation. How do you reconcile that against those passages?

  10. Kevin McMillen from West Virginia

    @ John, I've never assumed Lot or anyone sinned, but you haven't proved they didn't. It doesn't matter if it was documented or not.

    Once again John, just where is the command to keep the Sabbath from creation on documented?

    Believe me, I'm not saying it wasn't commanded. All the evidence I need is Jesus said the Sabbath (Sabbaton) was made for man, and the fact God rested (sabaton) on the seventh day, to prove to me it was to be kept.

    I'm not questioning this fact. What I'm saying is we have no documented command to prove it.

    You asked where is the documentation that Abraham or Lot sinned, I say that's a red herring, because there is also no documented command to keep the Sabbath in Genesis.

    I'm going to bow out of this specific discussion now because generally this sort of disagreement goes down the hill of pride, I'm right, no, I'm right, which leaves logic way behind. Yes, it even goes down to, my view is more logical, no mine is.

    We disagree. I'm fine with leaving it right there brother. 🙂

  11. @Kevin: I'm scratching my head. Am I trying to prove that Abraham and Lot did not sin? Or, am I trying to prove something related but very different? Perhaps you need to re-read the article?

  12. Kevin McMillen from West Virginia

    John, hope you don't mind my linking the shininglightblog here. There's a lot of information there for people who might be troubled by what's going on in the COG there.


  13. While you mention Genesis 13, I was reminded in Bible study this morning of Numbers 16 — Korah and his "posse" challenging the leadership established by God in Moses.

    Should we pray for God to make vividly clear which group really is His, as He did in Korah's case? What Bill Glover of LGM has been calling a "Mount Carmel moment?"

  14. I really caution anyone on reading the ShiningLight, there is a lot of mixture of truth and opinion. However, the opinion is divisive, biased, and quite frankly based on derived assumptions.

  15. Kevin McMillen from West Virginia

    Sorry, apparently I was thinking Hebrew and writing Greek when I said Sabbath (sabbaton) and rested (sabaton, don't know where that came from 🙂

    I meant to say Sabbath (Hebrew Shabbath) and rested (shabath).

    Too bad there's no edit on here. 🙂

  16. Kevin McMillen from West Virginia

    @Richard, one thing I've always gotten a kick out of is how Korah's rebellion has always been mis-aplied in the past.

    Remember, Korah was a Levite wanting to be in the Priesthood.

    Today we have a group of men claiming to be spiritual Levites, who continue to seek power over the Royal Priesthood!

  17. @Kevin: I've posted a couple of links to his site before. I do have some doctrinal differences with him, and sometimes he's a little abrasive. He was right about UCG splitting up, though.

  18. @Richard: Why does Lk 9:53-56 come to mind?

  19. Kevin McMillen from West Virginia

    @John: Believe me, I'm not pushing any of James teachings. I probably disagree with him on the same things as you (restaurants on the Sabbath, false predictions he's made, etc.)

    But it's a good site to read people's comments on, plus it seems he knows a few people in the know.

  20. Kevin McMillen from West Virginia

    @Jeremy. A mixture of truth and opinion. I find that in every sermon that I've heard in the COG over the last 43 years.

  21. @John: Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement over a practical matter which they couldn't/didn't resolve between them. However:

    * The implication is that they didn't see each other as, or declare to the brethren that the other was: unethical, untrustworthy, sinning, etc.
    * They didn't split the church over it.
    * Although I don't think we have a record of them later working together, but we do of Paul and Mark working together (Col 4:10).

    Maybe at their disagreement, Paul saw Mark as a heathen, but I think it's more likely that Paul simply saw Mark as being unsuitable *at that time and circumstances* for their mission–and was happy to work with him later in life after Mark had matured.

  22. Having been baptized in 1988 and studying the Church material for about 7 years prior, I continue to be reminded as this ugly situation has that paid or not, elders are just as human as the rest of us. Having researched and studied thoroughly every bit of information available from every possible source, I'm convinced that these men will all have a difficult time explaining this rebellion on judgement day. God forgive them.

  23. @Craig: The current split seems to be mostly about procedural stuff, though, when you really look at it. The two "papers" on the Sabbath and fasting seemed to be the exceptions (not that they are trivial concerns, mind you).

    "They didn't split the church over it."

    No, but the work was divided. Ironically, that might have meant covering twice the territory.

    Furthermore, it isn't impossible that some form of reconciliation can come down the road. It just might not be in the form we expect it.

  24. Kevin: I believe the reasons for the destruction of Sodom include the sins of:

    1) Pride;
    2) Fullness of food (gluttony);
    3) Abundance of idleness (laziness);
    4) Not strengthening the hand of the poor and needy;
    5) Haughty; and
    6) Committed abomination (loathsome things) before God.


  26. Ah…gotta love those quilty brats. All that stitching about the current situation.