J.N. Darby: “The Conduct
of Abram and Lot”

J. N. Darby (1800-1882) was the leading of the Plymouth Brethren in the 1800s. A linguist, he translated the Bible from the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic into English, German, and French, and the New Testament into Dutch.

After this [i.e., the sojourn of Abram in Egypt, as recorded in Genesis 12, and his return to the good land, as recorded at the beginning of Genesis 13], we have, in the conduct of Abram and Lot, the disinterestedness and self-renunciation of true faith on the one hand, and, on the other, him, who, though a believer, had, as regards the walk of faith, only followed that of another, and was now put to the test by circumstances which arise: and this, remark, is when they have together left their unbelieving connection with the world as an outward refuge. Lot had done so with Abram, but his inward heart and will clung to the ease of it. Abram had returned in spirit genuinely, perhaps with a deeper experience, to his pilgrim portion in Canaan. Yet the advantages he possessed in it led to the difficulty, for treasure here is not heaven, even if the possessor of it be heavenly-minded: an important lesson. Still Abram behaves beautifully. Lot chooses the world, fair in appearance, not as Egypt, the world as such, but as self-ease, and what did not seem, was not outwardly, separated from, Canaan; but which was soon after the scene and object of what did not appear—the sure judgments of God.

The renunciation of a present portion down here, and of self in it, by Abram, is the occasion for him of a much clearer knowledge of the extent, and a still firmer assurance of the certainty, of the promise. It is when he gives up all to Lot as he might choose it, that the Lord says to Abram to look north, south, east, west, from where he was, adding he would give if to him and to his seed for ever. In a word, we have the believer acting in the spirit of the heavenly calling—the faithful believer, and the worldly-minded believer.

Adapted from Darby’s Synopsis of the Bible.