“Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.’” (Gen 13:9)
I remember an issue that often seemed to arise when I was small. A last piece of cake would have to be divided between my older brother Steve and myself. Steve always said the same thing: “I’ll cut, you choose.” It prevented many a fistfight.
There was no need for a quarrel between Abraham and his nephew; there was enough cake for both. But why did Abraham let Lot choose? He wanted to solve the problem peacefully, and maybe lose today in order to keep the peace tomorrow. Family is important! And perhaps he believed that God would take care of him no matter what happened.
So: “Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the Lord.” (v. 10). Spot the motivation! On being invited to choose, Lot chose the biggest “slice of cake”. He made his choice, it seems, based on the availability of water. As they separated, Lot moved toward Sodom while Abraham moved toward Hebron in an East/ West divide.
But who made the better deal? It certainly looked like Lot won. After all, he got the best land and Abraham had to take what was left. But the Bible says that Lot “pitched his tents near Sodom.” He made three vital errors: He chose himself over others. He chose his occupation over his family. He chose the immediate over the future. By choosing to live near Sodom, Lot was exposing himself and his family to gross moral evil. There was trouble ahead.
Moral compromise often begins with a tiny step in the wrong direction. James 1:14-15 graphically pictures the steps to spiritual death: “But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
See the steps: Temptation… Desire…Sin… Death.
And then –once Lot has moved off towards the Good Life – God speaks. Note that God does not speak until Lot has left. God has nothing to say to a compromising believer. You can have Sodom or you can have the Lord, but you can’t have them both. And God promises abundance, blessing, everything that Abraham thought he had just given away. God gives his best to those who leave the choice to him.
I hear conflicting voices here, Lord.
You want me to take responsibility for my choices
And yet leave the choice to you?
You bid me turn away from worldly things
And yet you seem to promise them to me anyway?
You command blessing and desire obedience,
But I think I see that my blessing is for your benefit
And my obedience is for my benefit.
I begin to see that the way you bless me brings glory to you and the way I follow is of enormous significance.
This is taken from Friend of God; A Month of Journeying with Abraham.
Message me if you’d like a copy or visit here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/dr-ken-baker/friend-of-god/paperback/product-21887057.html