Who noticed there was no Word Wednesday last week? Anybody? That would be because, well, I went on vacation and I sort of forgot to set up the automatic post. Oops. I am so sorry! But I am NOT sorry for the vacation. I don’t think I’ve ever needed one so badly. The ocean was amazing. The quiet time with God was incredible. The time with my family was wonderful. Yep. It was a great time all around, but more on that in Friday’s post. For now, we choose our favorite verse from Genesis 13. I’d love to hear yours in the comments!
Genesis 13:11 (GWT)–Lot chose the whole Jordan Plain for himself. He moved toward the east. They each went their own way.
I look at the second half of that verse and my first thought is, “truer words were never spoken.” Lot really did go his own way, didn’t he? And his “own way” got him into some hefty trouble later on, but that’s another chapter in Genesis.
I’m kind of struck by Lot here. Abram (soon to be Abraham) steps up and says, “You choose where you want to live. I’ll take what’s left.” So what does Lot do? He looks around, sees that the east is looking like the most amazing choice, and takes it all for himself, even though two of the most sinful cities in the world sit right there. Do you think he thought he could handle it? Do you think there was some “me first” selfishness going on?
(Oh, and isn’t it interesting how many times “east” shows up in the Bible? God kicked Adam and Eve out to the east of Eden… which, incidentally, is a really great John Steinbeck book. Lot heads east here. There are others, too. Just an observation.)
It’s pretty easy to vilify Lot here, but we do the same thing. How often have we chosen the best for ourselves? How often have we thought we could wander close to sin and not be attracted to it? That’s kind of where I want to drop anchor for a minute. Sometimes, we overestimate our own strength, don’t we? It’s almost like we think we can poke the rattlesnake with a stick and jump out of the way before it strikes. Sure, sometimes we can. But how often do we hesitate an instant to long and get fangs sunk into our ankles? It’s easy to look at “little” sin and think we can handle it. But we can be like Lot. “Oh, I can live in sight of it and not get involved.” Then we step a little closer. A small sin leads to a bigger one. We look a little bit longer. And before we know it, we’re living smack in the middle of downtown Gomorrah, wondering how exactly we got there. Trust me, I’ve tripped down that road. And I can point to you the exact moment I turned my feet onto that path. It starts with a peek, doesn’t it?
Let’s not be like Lot. Sin is a powerful force, and temptation is an ugly thing. I often think of the devil in “The Passion of the Christ” when I think of temptation. Mel Gibson took a beautiful woman and shaved her eyebrows, slowed down the frames in filming so that it appears she never blinks, did small things to make Satan at once alluring and repulsive. That’s what sin is like. It draws you in, but it’s ugly and deadly. That’s what got Lot… He was drawn to the good things he saw. The bad came along much later. We’ve all been there, but hopefully we now are a bit more wary of the temptations fired our way.