A Devotion for 5 February 2021 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
5 ¶ And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. 6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. 7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. 8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. 9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. 10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly. Genesis 13:5-13
We have all made bad decisions over our lifetimes. Most often, they are decisions made based on inadequate knowledge of the circumstances; or those made based on the recommendation of a dishonest fellow; or those made impetuously and without consideration of the consequences. But the ‘Bad Decision’ that Lot made in the leading text was none of those. He made his decision with deliberate speed based upon a savage inclination to GREED.
Blinded and motivated by greed, Lot made a terrible mistake that led to a loss of all of his possessions to include his wife. His uncle, Abraham, was a wealthy herdsman whose standing and leadership had profited Lot to no end. But Lot found himself in the company of Abraham (Abram) in Canaan owing to an earlier disobedience of Abraham. What had God commanded of Abraham (Abram) over in the Land of Ur of the Chaldees? “1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.” Genesis 12:1-2 Did God command Abram to take Lot with him out of Ur? No, he was to depart that land and “his kindred.” God also added the blessing to that command: “I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.” One thing God demands – complete obedience prior to the blessing given here. Bringing his nephew along would result in sorrow and war for Abram, and a final separation from Lot and his family.
Under the tutelage of Abram, Lot, too, had grown wealthy in flocks and tentage. He would have been considered by my dear mother as a boy ‘too big for his breeches.’ This would bring the first pain to Abram from his nephew – there arose a strife between the herdsmen of Abram and those of Lot. Moreover, Lot did not hold the God of Abram in such high esteem as did Abram even though it was obvious to him, and all others, that Abram was richly blessed by God. Lot was perfectly satisfied to enjoy the fruits but not the obligations. We have many luke-warm professors of Christ today who are of like mind. So, Lot became a burr under Abram’s saddle. So, “Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.” Divisions in the church are generally born of selfishness, pride, and greed. The church body too often is not centered on her Lord. For them, the works of men demand more of their focus and leading than doing the Will of the Father.
Abram was a man of peace, and such men will strive for peaceful solutions where such are possible: “Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.” Note the total absence of greed in Abram’s offer. He was the grantor able to choose for himself any part of the land he desired, yet he gives his junior the choice. I do not believe Lot suddenly became covetous of wealth and prestige – I believe it was a hidden quality of his nature that was provoked to the surface by Abram’s generous offer. How did he respond?
“Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.” It would have been far better if Lot had lifted up his eyes above the pleasant pastureland of Sodom and further up to God for counsel. But God was not part of Lot’s decision-making process. The wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah were well known to all. Lot was also aware of their depravity; yet, he chose ‘all the plain’ over toward Sodom. “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.” He was, as well, willing to make his family and possessions contingent upon the destinies of those wicked cities. Compromise is never a good idea. Parents today often take their children into environments unwholesome for the soul and unfruitful for future promise. Compromise with the devil is the same as complete surrender.
Here is a fateful statement indeed: “Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom.” This sealed the doom of Lot’s family and future satisfaction. I am sure the carnal and lustful music of the city drifted across the open prairies of the tents of Lot, and finally, the tents of Lot were struck and residence was made in the very gates of that sinful city. We cannot move away from God without moving toward the devil. This, Lot did with a mind compromised by greed and a longing for prestige. Does this not happen in the modern church as the sacred Word is abandoned for polished and error-filled new Bible versions; or the classical hymns of the Church are rejected in favor of light and worldly music? What of Lot’s uncle, Abram? “Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.” Abram remained where God had posted him while Lot departed for ruin and disgrace.
Do we hear any further favorable record of Lot and his family being blessed by the Lord in our Bibles? Does the favorable mention of his name not disappear in following texts? There are three references in the New Testament to Lot – none too commendable. “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.” Luke 17:28-29. This does not refer to the sins of Lot directly but rather to the company he kept. Lot would be protected because he was of the family and lineage of Abram. And, “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” 2 Peter 2:4-9 Note: This is the Lord’s manner of delivering “the godly out of temptation.”
When all his possessions were destroyed, his sons and wife destroyed, Lot was no longer vexed by “the filthy conversations of the wicked” because they were destroyed by fire and brimstone. There is a consequence to be paid for our ungodly decisions. I have a good Christian friend who was promoted to the office of school principal, but when the superintendent’s position came open, he was not chosen. He felt himself more qualified than the one promoted above him, so he resigned. He was out of work for many months though he sought work all over the Southeastern United States. He had tithed earlier in church, but when he had become a school principal, he felt he was making too much money to tithe fully – so he didn’t. One day as he was driving back from a job interview, bankrupt and penniless, he realized, “Now I am tithing the right amount.” God will remove temptations from the believer if bad choices, like Lot’s, are made out of wrong motivations.
We see God’s promise repeated to Abram after Lot had been separated from him according to the will of the Lord: “And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.”
It may seem to disadvantage us to make the right and equitable choice, but, believe me, the right choice is always the right choice. Ask Lot.