Pitching tents


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11So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD. – Genesis 13: 11-13

Lot was the favorite nephew of Abraham, a wealthy man from the land of Ur. When Lot’s father, Haran, the brother of Abraham, died, Abraham became the father figure in Lot’s life. After all, Abraham and his wife Sarah were childless for a significant number of years before their son Isaac came along. They treated Lot as their own. Being the only heir to his father’s riches, Lot became as rich as his uncle Abraham.

Time came however, when Lot and Abraham had to make a crucial family decision. The land could no longer sustain the needs of their growing number of flocks and herds. There was also too much fighting among their slaves.

Although the relationship between Abraham and Lot remained cordial, they eventually decided to part ways.

Being the generous and loving uncle he had always been to Lot, Abraham allowed him to make the first choice. Looking at the vast land, Lot decided to pitch his tents in the plains of Jordan which was a well-watered area and so much more inhabited and developed.

Abraham, however, chose the less civilized area of Canaan.

Although it seems that Lot made the better choice than Abraham, it turned out that Lot’s decision resulted to many misfortunes in his life and in the life of his family.

Lot built his home very near Sodom, a city known for its great wickedness and perversion. Lot was deceived by the beauty of the city, and the comfort he thought it could provide.

What he failed to realize was that by choosing to live near Sodom, he had exposed himself and his family to great harm and eventual destruction.

The city of Sodom was ultimately destroyed by God because of the wickedness of its people. In the process, Lot lost his wife. By a sheer act of God’s grace, Lot and his two daughters were able to escape.

Unfortunately, Sodom had an irreversible effect on his daughters. At one point after they escaped that day of destruction, the two sisters took advantage of their father’s drunkenness so they could engage in intimate relations with him.

Attracted to the material prosperity of Sodom

Lot’s decision to settle near the city of Sodom was obviously caused by his ardent desire to seek prosperity for himself and his entire household.

As someone who was raised up in the provincial life of Ur, Lot was understandably attracted to the glitter and glamour of the city.

What he failed to see, however, was that the sinful and immoral lifestyle of Sodom would eventually destroy the most precious treasure of his family — their relationship with God.

We do not have to look far to realize that we are living in a world that has become too materialistic. The standards we use to measure the success of a person is often based on two things: possessions and positions.

The life of Lot should send a powerful warning to us all that in the very end, all our earthly possessions and human achievements mean nothing if our hearts are far from God’s favor and God’s nearness.

Wanting to get ahead of Abraham

Being young and impulsive, Lot’s inner motive for deciding to live near Sodom was to secretly place his family in a better situation than the household of Abraham.

But his plans backfired. You see, this is what happens when we allow our greed and selfish ambitions to get the best of us.

Out of respect, Lot could have allowed Abraham to make the first choice. But he took advantage of his uncle’s kindness to pursue his personal agenda.

Obviously, God saw the deepest motives of Lot’s heart. In his appointed time, Lot’s sins caught up with him. He reaped the consequences of his selfishness. God destroyed the very city that Lot had so admired.

On the other hand, Abraham reaped the rewards of his faith in God, and his genuine and unconditional love for Lot.

In the simplicity of his life in Canaan, Abraham experienced the nearness of the Lord, and his faith grew in leaps and bounds.

The Bible is silent as to the other events in Lot’s life. But what we know is that in the New Testament, particularly in 2 Peter 2: 7, Lot’s name was mentioned by Peter as the “righteous” man whom God had saved from wickedness.

How did that happen? Certainly, somewhere along the way his journey, Lot had a change of heart.

Every so often, friends, we make crucial decisions that impact our lives forever. It is good to realize that there are greater things to consider than financial gain or prosperity when life’s choices are made.

Every so often, too, we come face to face with our own greed, our manipulative tendencies, our cunningness, and our secret desires to get ahead of everyone else.

It is good to know that when our lives are in order before the Lord, when we truly pursue a life that is just and righteous, when we truly know how to care for others beyond ourselves, when our heartfelt motives are pleasing to God, there is no need to scheme or wiggle our way to security. God looks after those whose hearts faithfully look to him.

Be careful. Be discerning. Be wise in the ways of the Lord. It was not entirely Sodom that ruined Lot and his family. It was really his heart and his inward desires.

More than our physical tents, we need to be very watchful where we pitch our hearts. It is a very dangerous thing to be far from God. Stay close. Stay near. You and your family will not regret it.

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