As we seek to make intelligent decisions and choices using Lot as our example of what we should not do, we need to realize that we are human, weak and frail creatures. However mature we are as God’s people, we need to be aware that we will fail Him in our choices from time to time. These failures will cause us pain and suffering as well as guilty consciences. Having said this, we must at all costs seek to increase our spirituality and pursue holiness. Our glorious Lord is our example. Following Him includes following the way He made choices and decisions. So as the story of Lot unfolds … Lot gravitated from the valley to the city.
Gen 14:12 … Abram’s nephew Lot … since he was living in Sodom.
Another wrong choice! If you are able, please read Genesis chapter 14. At first reading you might think Lot’s move to live in Sodom was a good one … a decision that took his safety and that of his family to heart, but cities of that day we not as safe as today. In fact, they were fair game to kings at war because annexing “city states” created extra revenue and man power for the victorious king. In Chapter 14 we find an alliance of kings (v1) going to war against another alliance of kings (v2). The latter alliance grouping had been subject to king Kedorlaomer for 12 years. In the 13th year they rebelled. So Kedorlaomer and his alliance partners first warred against a number of other kings before they went and defeated the kings listed in verse 2 and 8, taking all their possessions and food. What is significant is that Lot was caught up in the middle of it all!
Gen 14:12 They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom.
Remember Lot chose to gravitate into Sodom. He made his home there. He became part of the fabric of the society. He was one with them. Don’t think Lot and his possessions were the only things captured. There were others captured as well as we shall see in verse 16. Someone escapes the capture and flees to Abram who immediately acts upon the intelligence:
Gen 14:14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.
We can’t say what the size of the armies were, but possibly they were far smaller than what we see in the Books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. It also seems the events of kings gathering for war in the shape of raiding “city states” was popular because why would Abram have a small army of trained men for protection? It seems as though these men were skilled because under Abram’s leadership they understood dividing into two groups and night attacks would result in victory … and it did. Verse 16 informs us what was recovered … “all the goods, Lot and his possessions … women and the other people.” Abram and his men secured a great victory, seeing the recovery of much possessions, women and people, apart from Lot … but Abram’s intention was to secure the release of Lot and his possessions.
1) Where was Lot living? Verse 12 informs us that he was living in Sodom. When uncle Abram offer him the choice of land for his flocks and herds, he chose the fertile, lush, grassy fields of the Plain where there was much water for his animals … he chose the best … and soon his eyes were on the city and its offering. We must not be naïve here … the attraction of Sodom was not just Lot. He had two daughters and a wife. As we see later, Mrs. Lot was a worldly woman and what Sodom offered was far better to her than being a travelling cattle farmer’s wife. Their daughters were also captivated by the city life. It was there they found men to whom they became engaged. Sodom as a “city-state” and with a king meant it was a sizeable place … which would also include vice.
We shall also see the morality of the citizens … especially the men! What was Lot thinking when he moved his family into Sodom? Any visitor would have seen it was not a moral place to be.
2) The choice of Sodom was disastrous. If Abram had a trained army outfit, Lot would have known something about kings forming alliances and going to war. If Sodom was so attractable to him, why would it not be to king Kedorlaomer? The decision to live in Sodom was one of a chain of bad choices because he became as vulnerable as was the king and his subjects.
3) Abram put everything he owned at risk to save Lot. This operation was equivalent to an international defense force operation. The focus … Lot … yet Abram left his family, staff and cattle at risk because raiding parties could easily have looted his possession, wife and staff! It was not just that part of the protection and security Lot left was Abram’s personal army … this army was not available to protect his assets as they were away looking for Lot. The choice of Lot to live in Sodom led to Abram’s life and that of his men being put at risk. Our bad choices could easily put other people’s life and livelihood at risk. Lot moved from the choice lands in the valley … from living in tents … to living in the city which resulted in him becoming a captive in war. I am sure the “women” of verse 16 included his wife and daughters becoming captives.
We are nowhere near the end of the story, but where did it all start? It started when Lot chose the best lands his eyes could see for himself … in seeing distance from the City of Sodom … which led to living in that debauched place. When you look back over your life and the choices you made, are you able to see the bad choices you made … some leading to repeated bad decisions … and even disaster? Did you put family members in difficult positions as they came to your aid to try and assist you out of a terrible mess … because of wrong choices?
Dear God, forgive me for every time I have made poor decisions, putting my life, assets and family’s wellbeing at risk. Forgive me for compromising our security and protection You placed us in because of my stepping away from consulting Your Word for advice and guidance for me and my family. Grant me faith to move forward trusting Your Word, seeking Your Word and doing what it says … for Jesus’ sake … Amen.