The contrasts that the Bible presents are powerful. The lessons that are to be learned by the dramatic contrasts that the Word presents are incredibly valuable when one is able to recognize those contrasts. Many times it can be helpful to learn to do right when righteousness is placed next to unrighteousness. The value of righteousness seems to increase when its sized up next to unrighteousness the consequences thereof.
For example, in Genesis 13:12-18 the Bible quickly contrasts the circumstances between Abram and Lot. As the two men split up in order to make room for each other, the details of the Bible show that Abram and Lot ended up living two very different lives. Though they came from the same place and were likely raised in similar ways, one chose to live seeking the Lord and the other chose to live to seek to fulfill the desires of his flesh. Genesis 13:12-18 begins by explaining the circumstances of Lot. Abram allowed Lot to choose the land that he desired. The scriptures reveal that as Lot examined the Jordan Valley, he was pleased with it since it resembled the land of Egypt and what he thought the Garden of Eden was like. Immediately, the Bible reveals that Lot's perspective is distorted. The Bible often uses Egypt as a symbol of bondage in sin. When God delivered the children of Israel from Egypt, it served to be a picture of the work God does to free His children from the bondage of sin. When Abram and Lot and their families were in Egypt during the famine, the trip was motivated by fear and foolishness and resulted in difficulty. From the perspective of God, there was nothing to be desired in Egypt. God wanted Abram and his family in Canaan. Nevertheless, the Jordan Valley's resemblance of Egypt enticed Lot.
The scriptures go on to describe the physical location, surroundings and environment of Lot's new home. The Bible explains that Zoar (where Lot chose to live) was close to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Bible then goes on to explain that those cities were wicked cities where the men of Sodom were evil in the sigh of the Lord, as they sinned greatly against Him. Yet this is the place that Lot desired to live. As Lot examined the land, he looked at the outward appearance, not really considering the substance of his surroundings. He justified his choice to live in the Jordan Valley because it was "well-watered" as if his decision was based purely on the practicality of the circumstances and had nothing to do with the wickedness that was drawing him in. The Bible explains that Lot first desired to live dwelling in the whole region of the Jordan Valley, but "coincidentally" built his tent near Sodom where sin was ruling over the land. Lot's future does not turn out so bright as scripture will later reveal.
In contrast, Genesis 13:12-18 explains that Abram "separated" himself from Lot. Whether Abram knew of the dangers associated with living close to Sodom or not is not mentioned. Nevertheless, the scriptures clearly state that Abram went in a different direction and by extension, had very different life experiences. The scriptures show that Abram stayed in Canaan according to God's will. Though Lot got the land that appeared on the outside to be better, Abram was the one who was more blessed since he sought repentance by leaving Egypt, going back to Canaan, and dwelling in the place God desired - regardless of appearance and "practicality." Genesis 13:12-18 explains that while Abram was in Canaan, God spoke to him. The scriptures show that God told Abram to look out to the north, south, east and west, so that all the land that he could see, God promised He would make the possession of Abram. Abram didn't do anything to warrant God's confirmation of the promises made a chapter before. Abram was simply in a place where he could hear the voice of God. The Lord also confirmed that Abram would be a great nation - such that his descendants would be as the sand on the shore. Thus, as Abram stayed in the place God commanded, he was able to hear the voice of God, which confirmed that Abram would receive a great land inheritance (Israel) and be a great nation by having many offspring. Both of those promises have since been fulfilled, and continue to be fulfilled today. The Lord instructed Abram to walk the land that he would be given in order to know the land that would be his. The scriptures show that Abram obeyed the command of God, packed up his family, moved north, and pitched his tent in Hebron, then built an altar to exalt the name of God again.
The contrast is pretty clear in these scriptures. One man makes a decision based on what he sees rather than seeking the will of God. As a result, Lot made the decision to dwell in a place that he felt had practical value, though it put him in a position of compromise in regards to sin. Since Lot sought to do things according to his own wisdom and understanding, without considering the Lord, and without consideration for the sin that sought to trap him, the scriptures do not show Lot hearing the voice of God. Conversely, Abram separated himself from Lot and sought to do the will of God. He moved away from the sin and even though the Jordan Valley might have looked better on the outside, he stayed where God originally wanted him. Consequently, Abram was privileged to hear the voice of God repeat and confirm the promises that God had made previously. One man makes up his own mind to do his own thing and doesn't hear the voice of God. Another man makes up his mind to do as God said, and hears the voice of God AND receives confirmation of God's everlasting promises of grace! There are powerful lessons to be learned in the Word of God! Praise the Lord!