Yesterday started this blog series about changing the direction of the country by becoming a person of positive influence. While there are many self-help books that try to use psychology and psycho-bable to get people out of the rut they may be in. The good news is there is one source of sound advice that can help anyone, if they choose to listen.
I know this may surprise many of you, but the bible has the answer. The bible has the answers of how to get yourself out of a position of rest or no movement and into a state of motion. Now in the Bible, usually you will hear about the heroes of the faith. Paul, Moses, David, Abraham. Today, I want to look at a different biblical character. I want to look at learning the lessons from Lot, who was the nephew of Abraham. Surprisingly, there is a lot we can learn from Lot. What is unique about Lot is he is the first example in the bible of a person who was righteous and had a faith at rest. Sometimes it is good to look at failures and learn from them versus looking at the successes. So today we will look at Lot’s failures and learn what we need to do to get our faith in motion again.
The story of Lot happens mostly between Genesis 13 and Genesis 19. There are other passages, but between those six chapters we get a fairly complete picture of Lot and his family. I want to recount the story of Lot for those who need a refresher or for those who might be reading about him for the first time.
To set the stage, Lot is the nephew of Abraham. Abraham and Lot were born about 8 generations after Noah and the flood. That is roughly 400 years since the population of the earth was destroyed by water. It is believed that many places knew God as the one true God, but in the land of Ur, where Abraham and Lot lived, they had already started worshiping false gods. So God spoke to Abraham and told him to go to a land that God would show him. Out of obedience, Abraham packs up everything and heads out in a South-westerly direction. He didn’t know where he was going, but knew God was with him. Abraham’s nephew, Lot, decides to go with him on his adventure. So they left Ur, which would be modern day Iraq and headed towards Cannan. They wander around for a number of years. Likely between 5-10 years. They finally end up in an area east of the Dead Sea. God had blessed both Abraham and Lot. They were wealthy by the standards of the day. Both of their flocks and herds had grown so big that they could not stay together. There just was not enough pasture land to support both of them. Abraham gives Lot his choice of locations to move to. He tells his nephew, if you go right, I will go left. He put it in Lot’s hands to choose first. My own personal belief is God had a hand in Lot choosing his destination. God clearly wanted Abraham to be in Hebron. So it makes sense to me that God would direct Lot to shift is gaze onto the valley of the Jordan. This was a very fertile area south of the Dead Sea. It was green and lush with vegetation. Some scholars suggest it may have looked like the Garden of Eden or at least the land of Egypt. We know it as Sodom and Gomorrah.
Sodom was a well know city at this time. In fact Josephus, the historian writes that Sodom was the major city in the area and was very wealthy and influential. Unfortunately, not only was it wealthy, it was known for its wickedness. Genesis 13:13 tells us straight up that the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord. Regardless, Lot chooses Sodom to settle in and it is likely he lives there 15-20 years.
During those years, we know he gets married and has two daughters. The daughters are old enough to be engaged to men of Sodom. So Lot settles in this city that is known for its wickedness. Though we know that he does not like what he sees. In fact, we know that it tormented him to see what was going on in the culture. In 2 Peter 2: 7-8 we are told “and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)” So it bothered Lot to see what was going on around him. But it did not bother him enough to do anything about it. It did not bother him enough to leave or try to change the city.
Over the next few days we will explore what was going on in Sodom and why Lot did not do aything to make a difference. By this exploration, we will be able to learn some great lessons from Lot. That way we will not have to repeat his mistakes.