We are faced with decisions on a daily basis, and the example of Lot, beginning in Genesis 13, tells the story of a life fraught with difficult decisions. These decisions are not trivial or inconsequential. Rather, many of the decision with which he is faced that have deeply impacting ramifications on his life and that of his family members.
The Consequences of Lot’s Choices
In the beginning of Genesis 13, some tension was growing between Abram’s and Lot’s estates due to the size of their herds, and, in verse 9, Abram proposes that the separate. Here, Lot is faced with a major choice: where to go. His choice is between good lands or great lands, and he chose the lands that appear better to him rather than settling. Lot chooses to dwell in the plains, and his tent is near Sodom – a city defined as wicked before God.
As we move into the next few chapters, consequences of his decision begin to appear. In chapter 14:12, we discover that Lot is taken captive by individuals invading Sodom, and he is now living within the borders of Sodom. Then, in 19:1, Lot is recorded as one of the city elders who sits at the gates. He has progressed from living on the outskirts to being entrenched in city decisions and politics.
Consequences begin to accumulate as two angels come to stay with Lot and his family – when violent individuals come to attack and probably rape the guests. In desperation, Lot offers this mob his virgin daughters to protect his guests. (Fortunately, the mob does not take him up on this offer.) His entire moral structure is crumbling, and all is hinged on his decision on where to take his herds. He loses his wife. He loses his sons-in-law.
We think about the jobs we choose and the activities we engage in or that our families engage in. We justify some of our choices based on secular reasons, and we ignore the danger we may be opening ourselves to. Lot surely knew the reputation Sodom had, and he chose to move in that direction despite the present risks.
We may choose to take a job in a location where worshipping faithfully may be difficult. We may choose to consistently associate with individuals who will test our spirituality. We may be willing to take a job that will keep us away from family and our congregation. In all of these, we justify our actions and ignore potential ramifications. Whether we are talking about sports, jobs, social circles, we want the best – like Lot.
When we put our secular desires first and God second (convincing ourselves we will be okay), it is usually a sign that we are rejecting contentment with what we have and where we are. Lot thought he could handle Sodom. Samson thought he could handle a woman as did David. Solomon thought he could handle ungodly influences. All of these failed these tests.
Our spiritual principles need to guide our life decisions. We should first consider our families, our brothers and sisters in Christ, our spiritual salvation, before we thank about what we have or how much we make. I John 2:15 warns us not to love the things of this world, not to let this world hold us back from God. (Remember the rich young ruler of the gospels.) In Matthew 6:19-20, Jesus speaks to the temporary nature of our worldly possessions, and he redirects us to focus on those spiritual things that are permanent.
When coming to major decision, I have to ask: will this make me a better Christian? Is it in my family’s spiritual best interests? Am I honest enough with myself to see temptation in the details? There is a lot that might look good from a secular point of view that can actually impede our relationships with God. Heaven is our ultimate goal, and we need to make our important decisions based on that goal.
lesson by Tim Smelser