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What will you leave behind? (II)
( Lessons from Lot )
Jun 1997 Alan S.L. Wong

Lessons from Lot

What did Lot leave behind? A salt pillar which was his wife (Gen. 19:26) and two grandsons who were the children of his daughters. Or should I say, "sons" since Lot fathered them (Gen. 19:36).

Before you conclude that Lot was perverted, remember that this was the same man who was concerned about the safety of two visitors to Sodom and tried to protect them from being sexually abused by the townsmen (Gen. 19:4-7). The Bible describes Lot as a righteous man who was disturbed by the immorality of the people in Sodom and Gomorrah (2 Pet. 2:7-8).

If Lot was greatly distressed by what he saw and heard then why didn't he leave? Even after being told the night before of impending judgment on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, he was still hanging around by daybreak! He was actually reluctant to leave and had to be dragged out of the city (Gen. 19:15-20). Why was Lot reluctant to leave? We need to go back to the beginning in an attempt to explain Lot's dilemma.

An unwise decision

When the land could not sustain the herds of Lot and Abraham, the latter offered Lot the first choice of the land to maintain peace (Gen. 13:6-9). Lot chose the Jordan valley. It was well watered. It was like the garden of the LORD ... good and beautiful. It was like the land of Egypt ... with plentiful food (c.f. Gen. 12:10). Wasn't the Jordan valley a wise choice?

Moses, the author of Genesis, gave his readers "advance information" in Gen. 13:10 (that the LORD subsequently destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) and "a divine viewpoint" in Gen. 13:13 (that the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the LORD) to tell us that Lot's decision to set up his tents NEXT to Sodom (Gen. 13:12) was unwise. Since the men of Sodom were known to be wicked, Lot was "playing with fire" (c.f. Prov. 6:27-28) by choosing to live near them.

The good life

The next time we read about Lot in Genesis, he was living IN Sodom (Gen. 14:12). The life of abundance and ease in Sodom (c.f. Ezek. 16:49) proved to be too captivating for Lot to resist.

By the time of the visit of the angels, Lot was at the city gate ... probably officiating transactions taking place there (c.f. Gen. 19:1; Ruth 4:1-2; 2 Kgs. 7:1). His official position was probably conferred by the king of Sodom because of Lot's relationship with Abraham who rescued the people from the kings of the north-east (Gen. 14:13-16). It was the enjoyment of the good urban life in Sodom that held Lot back despite the great turmoil over the lawlessness in the city. This was confirmed by his plea to flee to a town (even a small town) when told to flee to the mountains (Gen. 19:17-22).

Too high a price

We all want "a good life" for our family but what is the cost? Lot and his family were told to flee and not to look back but his wife did ... indicating the difficulty she had in giving up her lifestyle in Sodom (Gen. 19:26 c.f. Luke 17:28-33). She was turned into a pillar of salt.

Lot's daughters sexually manipulated him to preserve the family line (Gen. 19:31-32). The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was so extensive that they thought that they were the last survivors on earth (Gen. 19:24-28). Moreover, they were in the mountains (Gen. 19:30) ... cut off from other people. But there is another possible reason for the incest ... GIGO ... garbage in, garbage out ... Lot's daughters were influenced by the immorality of Sodom; even though they had left Sodom physically, the mentality of Sodom remained with them.

Lot paid a high price (the destruction of his family) for nothing because all that he gained by living in Sodom was burnt up.

Conclusion

We all have a life to live. What do we really wish to accomplish? What would we like to leave behind? From the story of Lot, we learned that all of our decisions are significant ... decisions we make today influence our future and our families. What commitment, decisions and actions must we take to ensure that we leave behind a good name and a godly heritage?

For all of us who have made some bad decisions, remember that nothing is irredeemable with our God. We may have to live with the consequences of our past decisions but God will guide us as we look to Him for help.