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Genesis 11:31-19:38--A Lot of Trouble

I donít know if there is a man in the Bible who is more frustrating to me than Abrahamís nephew, Lot. In many ways, I liken Lot to an alcoholic who chooses to live next door to a bar. Heís like a nicotine addict who works for a tobacco company. Nearly every account of him involved some crisis directly attributable to his poor choices.

Weíre first introduced to Lot when Terah takes Abram, Lot and Sarai to Haran (11:31). After Terah died, the Lord directed Abram to leave Haran and go to a land God would show him (12:1). Though the Lord didnít tell Abram to take Lot with him, we see Lot went anyway (12:4). Again in Genesis 13:1, as Abram was heading out of Egypt, Lot was with him. He was the consummate follower.

A few verses later (13:5-11), a problem developed between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. To settle the issue, Abram gave Lot first choice of the land around them. Lot looked the area over and chose what he viewed as the best and richest real estate. But in spite of all the land he owned, where did Lot choose to live? We see in verses 12-13 of chapter 13 that he ďdwelt in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.Ē

In Chapter 14, we find that just because of the close proximity in which Lot lived to Sodom, he and all his possessions were taken into captivity. Basically, he was guilty by association. Uncle Abram learned of his unfortunate circumstances, so feeling a sense of responsibility for his brotherís son, he armed his servants and proceeded to rescue Lot. But did Lot learn his lesson? Hardly. The next time Lot is mentioned in chapter 19, he is actually living in the city of Sodom. So, what exactly happened to all the property he was given?

After Abramís conversation with the Lord about destroying the nearby cities, the Lord remained behind with Abram as the two angels (men) headed toward Sodom. As Lot sat in the gate (19:1), he saw the two angels (men) approaching who were sent by the Lord, and he invited them into his home. His intent at that point was just to offer them hospitality, thinking they would be on their way the next morning. However, the entire situation turned ugly within a very short while. The degenerates of the city had also noticed the two angels (men) enter the city, and they surrounded Lotís home and begged Lot to hand them over for a sexual tryst. In an attempt to take the attention off the angels, Lot offered his two virgin daughters to the Sodomites outside his house. Itís at this point that Iím always left speechless at Lotís willingness to use his daughters as pawns in this situation.

In the morning, the angels escorted Lot and his family outside the city and told them not to stay in the plain, but to escape to the mountain. Lot argued with them. He didnít want to go to the mountain in case some evil would overtake him there. Can you believe that? Hereís a man who was living in the most evil city imaginable, which was about to be destroyed because of its evilness, yet he was afraid to go up to the mountain! As an alternative, he begged the angels to let him escape to Zoar, a small nearby city that was spared because of Lotís desire to escape there. Once Lot and his family entered Zoar, the Lord rained fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah. The irony of Lotís argument was that once Lotís wife looked back and became a pillar of salt, he didnít feel safe in Zoar and left for the mountain. Go figure.

Weíve heard the expression, ďLike father, like son.Ē In Lotís case, we could say, ďLike father, like daughter.Ē In the final verses of chapter 19 we see that Lotís example of making poor decisions has been passed down to his daughters. They made the ridiculous assumption that their father was the only man left on the face of the earth who could give them children. So, they formed an alliance to get Lot drunk, and they took turns sleeping with their father. The seed of their incestuous actions resulted in the birth of the Moabites and the Ammonites.

Itís easy to focus on the poor decisions Lot made, particularly since they are the primary aspect of his life about which we know. In reality, Job wasnít much different from me. I, too, have repeatedly made stupid choices throughout my life that must have surely frustrated the Lord. How the Lord tolerated my idiocy, Iíll never comprehend or understand the breadth of His grace. Fortunately for Lot, he, too, was the recipient of Godís grace. In 2 Peter 2:6-9, Lot is acknowledged to have been a righteous man, though he chose to live among the wicked. It says that dwelling among them, and seeing and hearing them, vexed his righteous soul.

Though a righteous man, weíre not given any hint that Lotís life was fruitful. He had an opportunity to serve God alongside Abraham, and to continue being blessed just by staying near Abraham, but instead, he deliberately ďpitched his tentĒ toward an ungodly society that would vex his soul. That would make some sense to us if his motives had been about influencing the heathen to believe in Jehovah, but weíre not given any indication of that. Instead, he put himself and his family in a constant daily struggle to remain righteous, and this frustrating lifestyle neither benefited himself nor anyone else. How sad.

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