Monday, January 7
Lot’s sad lot
Scripture: Genesis 18-19, Psalm 3, Luke 7
Lot was nothing but trouble for his uncle Abraham from the beginning. The story starts in Genesis 12 and ends here in Genesis 19—and then Lot disappears—a story of bad choices and sad results.
Early in the story (Gen. 13), Lot’s herdsmen and Abraham’s herdsmen clash, so Abraham suggests that they separate, and gives the honor of choosing first to his nephew. Even though Lot should have deferred to his uncle, he chose first and selected the lush Jordan Valley, with the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah. He not only moved his extensive flocks into the valley, but he moved his family into the city of Sodom. Bad choice.
When regional warfare breaks out (Gen. 14), Lot and his family are taken captive by a marauding army. He is a victim of his own choice to live in Sodom. Abraham has to rescue them at great personal risk and cost. Foolishly, Lot returns to Sodom.
In today’s passage (Gen. 18-19), God lets Abraham know about the impending judgment on Sodom. Abraham intercedes, presumably for the sake of his nephew. God sends two angels to rescue Lot and his family. Everything about Lot is broken. His warped sense of hospitality leads him to offer his two daughters to the crazed men of Sodom—it seems that not only does Lot live in Sodom, but Sodom has gotten inside Lot. His sons-in-law don’t take him seriously; this is what happens when you compromise. When the angels tell him to flee, he hesitates and has to be forcibly removed from Sodom. Then when they tell him to flee to the mountains, he negotiates! He still wants to stay in the valley, where he’s had nothing but trouble! As they are fleeing to Zoar, his wife turns back and is killed. (I think it’s safe to assume that his vast flocks and herds were also killed in the brimstone and fire eruption.) Finally, he flees to the mountains and lives in a cave with his two daughters, who get him drunk, sleep with him and become pregnant by their father.
Lot has lost everything. All because of one bad choice after another. And the story ends there. Lot is barely ever mentioned again.
Lot stands as a warning about the power of our choices. By moving into Sodom, Lot chose to live in the midst of evil, and was unable to keep himself free. Sodom got inside him and his family. God gave him a chance to get free when Abraham rescued him, but Lot went straight back to Sodom. God gave him another chance when the angels came, but Lot had to be forced. He was too compromised.
So many people believe they can “live in Sodom” and stay free. It isn’t true.
Where am I compromising? Where am I tolerating evil in my own life? Where have I grown comfortable with sin? Where have I “moved into Sodom?”
Our choices shape us. Choose wisely.
Prayer: Lord, show me any place I’m playing with fire and thinking I can’t be burned. Show me where I’m compromising.