The story of Lot in the book of Genesis (Genesis 19) is a cautionary tale of how not to live your life. Lot took a series of small steps that led him closer and closer to a dangerous moral situation and he ended up running for his life and losing everything. What are some timeless truths we can learn from the life of Lot?
1. Your direction, not your intention, determines your destination.
I first heard this statement from another preacher and I’ve always remembered it. I think at every single step leading up to disaster, Lot would have told you what his intention was: I’m going to honor the God of Abram, I’m not going to get caught up in the nonsense and the sin of Sodom. I believe that was his intent. But it’s not your intention that determines your destination, it’s your direction.
And where do we see Lot’s direction headed over a number of years? Closer and closer to Sodom, and pretty soon he was a leader in the city. For some of you, the direction you’re heading, you are going to wreck your life. You are on a path that will lead to addiction, you are on a direct path to divorce. Now, you don’t intend to do it. No one intends to wreck their lives. But it’s the direction, not the intention, that matters.
The moment he pitched his tents towards Sodom, he started walking down that path that led him to running for his life with everything around him burning with sulfur from heaven.
2. What you set your eyes on you begin to value.
Let’s go back even a step further and see where Lot determined his direction. It was when Abram gave him the choice of where to live:
10 Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. Genesis 13:10
Lot couldn’t get past what his eyes saw, because what you set your eyes on you begin to value. This is completely contrasted with Abraham, who didn’t go by what his eyes saw. Here’s how the writer of Hebrews put it:
8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. Hebrews 11:8
Abraham lived by faith, Lot lived by sight. The reason it’s so dangerous to simply live by sight is because the eyes are deceptive, and whatever you set your eyes on you begin to value. Once Lot saw the plain of Jordan, he couldn’t get it out of his head.
So, what are you choosing to put in front of your eyes? Is it God’s Word, or is it television? Is it God’s Word, or is it your phone? Whatever you put in front of your eyes, for better or for worse, that’s what you begin to value. So be careful.
3. Sin always has your “best interests” at heart.
Lot felt fully justified making the decision to pitch his tents near Sodom. It was a large plain, which would be much better for his flocks than the hill country. And there’s civilization, which would make it much easier to bring his animals to market.
In his mind, he probably had a bunch of reasons to justify why his choice was the right choice. But that’s the problem: sin always has your “best interest” at heart. You’ve lived this truth out in your own life too many times, and here’s what I mean by that: you’ve managed to talk yourself into every bad decision that you’ve ever made. Every bad decision you’ve ever made in your life has had one common denominator: YOU.
Sin is incredibly deceptive, which is why we need God, why we need the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts, because left on our own, we will deceive ourselves into every bad decision we’ll ever make, and we’ll justify it every step of the way as being in our best interest.
4. If you’re living in Sodom, run!!
This is for those of you who might be living in a bad situation. Maybe it’s a work situation where ethics left the building a long time ago. Maybe you’re single and you’re in a sexual relationship that you know doesn’t honor God. Maybe you’re involved in a habit that you thought you could control but now it’s controlling you in a full-blown addiction.
Whatever the case, if you’re ever living in Sodom, if you’re ever living in a situation where you know it’s wrong, run. Just run! Lot justified and rationalized his decision to live in Sodom for years, but in the end he had to run. You don’t want to want to wait until the fire starts raining down and you lose your business or your family. If you’re in Sodom, I can’t say this strongly enough: run!!
5. Your choices will directly impact those you love and the generations coming behind you.
As bad as things got for Lot, his tragic tale isn’t over. I’ll summarize the end of his life from Genesis 19, and if you want the gory details you can read it yourself. After Lot lost his wealth, his home, his wife, Lot and his two daughters settled up in the mountains and lived in a cave. Oh how the mighty had fallen.
His daughters, the same ones Lot had offered up to the mob, wanted kids so they got their dad drunk and he impregnated both of them. Even Maury Povich wouldn’t touch that one. And the descendants of those incestuous relationships would become tribes that would be at war with the Israelites for centuries. Lot’s life choices didn’t just affect him, because our choices never just affect us. They got his wife killed, it ruined the lives of his two daughters, and his sons/grandsons and their descendants for generations.
Your choices never just affect you. They always affect those you love and the generations to come.