What is Brotherly Love?
1 John 4:11 “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”
Hebrews 13:1 “Let brotherly love continue.”
I am going to use Abraham as an example, for he is the father of all who believe. (Romans 4:16)
Abraham came out from Mesopotamia with his wife, his father, and his nephew Lot and his wife.
He was suppose to come out alone: He and Sarah (At first his name is Abram and her name was Sarai. The Lord changed them later.) (Genesis 12:1-3)
His father died before they reached Canaan, the land God had called Abraham to; but Lot was still with him.
(Lot was a believer in God, but he is a picture of a worldly Christian; who hung onto the world’s illusion till it was too late.)
After a time they both had large herds, and servants. As they were still together, a struggle for pasture and water broke out between the servants of both men.
Abraham called Lot and talked to him. (Notice it was not Lot that sought a solution, but Abraham.)
Genesis 13:8-9 “And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we are brethren.
Is 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.”
To Abraham God had spoken and given a promise concerning the land, and his dwelling there.
But instead of asserting his rights, he gives Lot the choice of what portion of land he thought best.
Genesis 13:11-12 “Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordon; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.”
Lot chooses the plain, and soon pitches his tent toward Sodom. Then next we read, he lives in Sodom.
Then there is war. And four kings come against the cities of the plain. They are a huge army and they attack and loot Sodom. Lot is taken with the captives.(Genesis 14:11-12)
As soon as Abraham hears, he gathers his servants to go and save Lot.
Genesis 14:14 “And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.”
Now these men are not soldiers. But “trained servants”. Ones which probably kept watch at night for any trouble with the herds that Abraham had.
But they went with him, and under cover of night he fought against this large army, by dividing his men on several sides.
Genesis 14:15-16 “And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hoban, which is on the right hand of Damascus.
And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.”
Abraham surely sought the Lord’s guidance and help, for the Lord blessed him in this very lopsided fight.
Later Abraham said, when offered a reward for returning the goods and people to the king of Sodom:
Genesis 14:22-23 “And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have up lifted up mine hand to the Lord, the Most High God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
That I will not take a thread, even to a shoe-latchet, and that I will not take anything that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:”
But you hear nothing from Lot. No Thank you. No word of regret that he had gotten entangled with Sodom. Nothing.
As a matter of fact, Lot goes right back into this evil city.
Time passes. At least 13 years, and the Lord and two angels appears to Abraham. They entertained them with food, and the Lord gives Abraham and Sarah a promise of the child they had been waiting for.
When they are done, they rise and walk east, toward Sodom, and the Lord tells Abraham that the evil of Sodom and Gomorrah is so great that it “cries” out for judgement. (The cries of injustice, and of the victims of it’s evil and abuse, are great cries.)
But before God judges these cities, He is going to send His angels to see if the cries are true.
Abraham thinks of Lot and begins to intercede; not for the cities, but for the righteous that might be in the cities.
Genesis 18:23-25 “And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and spare not the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked; and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?”
Now Abraham knows the Lord, and His goodness, so he feels he can speak to the Lord this way.
First he begins with fifty righteous people.
The Lord said that if the angels found fifty righteous, He would not destroy it.
Genesis 18:26 “And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then will I spare all the city for their sakes.”
But then Abraham thought that in a city so wicked, there might not be fifty. (He was right)
So he prayed; what if there were forty-five righteous persons? The Lord said, He would not destroy it.
Abraham considered, and asked: What if there are forty righteous persons? And the Lord said again, that He would not destroy it.
The Lord was still walking with Abraham, so Abraham says, Oh let not the Lord be angry, (actually, Abraham’s intercession pleased the Lord). He asks, what if there were thirty?
The Lord said He would not destroy it for thirty’s sake.
Abraham goes further and asks, What if there were twenty found there?
I will not destroy these huge cities, for twenty’s sake; the Lord said.
One last time, Abraham lowers the number to ten. What if there were only ten righteous persons in those cities?
The Lord said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.
But after this the Lord “went His way”.
Genesis 18:33 “And the Lord went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.”
Abraham had done what he could for Lot, and his family.
God loves to have His people pray for their fellow believers. That shows their love toward them; to bring them and their needs before God for them.
But the evil of these cities and their victims also needed to be dealt with.
God did save righteous Lot, that he perished not with the wicked.
2 Peter 2:7-8 “And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked,
For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds:”
(The story of this deliverance of Lot is quite horrible. The poor man had prestige, for he was sitting at the gate, as judge of the city. But when it came to influence for good, he had none: he went to tell his daughters and sons-in-law of the coming destruction, but they thought his warning was a joke. “As one that mocked”.)
It is also horrible to think that if there had been just a few more righteous people than Lot’s own family, the cities could have been saved. (Lot, his wife, two daughters at home, two married with husbands. That is eight people! Two more righteous was all they needed; but there was none.)
Abraham had shared the Word of the Lord with Lot, and Lot had believed and followed Abraham into the land, but he became entangled in the beauty, and riches of the world, and his testimony for God was ruined.
Abraham looked to the welfare of his nephew at every turn. No matter Lot’s attitude toward Abraham; Abraham showed brotherly love to Lot.
So we are called to do:
John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”