One devotional I read this morning spoke about Lot's decision making. It made me want to look at Abraham's decision making and compare it to Lot's.
"And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were dwelling in the land.
Then Abram said to Lot, 'Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.'
And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other." - Genesis 13:5-11 ESV
Lot was smart enough to associate Himself with Abraham, then Abram, and as long as he did that he was successful. The new testament scriptures call Lot righteous (see 2 Peter 2:7) even though the accounts do not record Lot doing very much that would qualify as righteous... except that he attached himself to Abram. Lot did what he did to be successful.
Abraham was a grace man. He did what He did for redemption's sake in faith. Instead of choosing what was best for himself he often choose the path of redemption. He wanted peace over profit. He valued redemption over conquest.
"When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan... Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people... And the king of Sodom said to Abram, 'Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.' But Abram said to the king of Sodom, 'I have lifted my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich.' ' " - Genesis 14:14, 16, 21-23 ESV
Abram went to war when he needed to but He fought for souls not goods. He operated that way towards people but he also operated that way towards God.
"Then the LORD said, 'Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.'
So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD." - Genesis 18:20-22 ESV
Abraham stood before the Lord to make a bid for the souls in Sodom.
"And they called to Lot, 'Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.'
Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, and said, 'I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.' '' - Genesis 19:5-8 ESV
Evil will always lust after the beauty of God. Lot was willing to negotiate the souls of his daughters to preserve his honor. His daughters then learned from his example and later compromised to get what they wanted.
I believe it is grace that enables us to make the shift from self to souls. Our hearts become established in God's favor apart from our performance and instead of being focused on winning in a situation we become focused on winning Christ. We become friends of God and aligned with His cause.
Abraham was a successful man. He was far more successful than Lot. God choose to prosper Abraham. He had his priorities straight so he was a man God could trust with success.