Genesis 12:4 “So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him…”
God had called Abram out of his country and away from his father’s house to journey to the land God would show him. I don’t know why Lot decided to go with him—maybe Abram was his father figure after his own father died. Perhaps Abram encouraged him to go along to seek his fortune, much like folks in the days of the American Wild West. Whatever the reason Lot went West with his uncle, one glaring fact seems to surface: Lot was following Abram, not God’s calling.
This wasn’t so bad in itself. I’m glad Lot chose Abram for company—he could have done worse. I’m glad Lot was willing to leave his homeland and family to follow his uncle’s example of following by faith. The problem appears when one considers that he went riding on another man’s vision and never learned to seek one of his own.
God had spoken personally to Abram, but we don’t read about God speaking to Lot. Abram received divine directions for his future and obeyed those directions; Lot just seemed to tag along because he didn’t have anything else better going on. Abram was promised blessing from God for his obedience, and when he was blessed, it trickled down to Lot by sheer proximity. Lot was riding on another’s blessing. Eventually, he became so prosperous that he and Abram could not dwell together as one household; it was time for someone to move on. So Abram gave Lot first dibs on the choice of land—quite amiable of him, since Lot was his young nephew and did not merit such generosity from Abram’s seniority.
This was a moment of eminent ponderance—probably the first time Lot had had the opportunity to make his own decisions and choose his own direction since leaving Haran. One would think that after all those years living with Abram, journeying when he journeyed and watching him make choices led by God, Lot might have learned a few things about seeking a vision from the Lord to guide his family and his future in a strange land. But apparently walking by faith still was not a habit for him. Instead of looking to God for wisdom to choose his next step, Lot used his own compass and settled for what his eyes told him was wise. He had not yet developed the all-consuming desire to seek the invisible promise like Abram had. Physical prosperity and security were the extent of his vision.
Lot chose the cities of the plain and set up his tents toward Sodom. Abram waited for God’s direction and obeyed his command to walk through the land he had been promised. Lot’s choice looked the most logical—he found a place in a well-watered valley, near the commerce and protection of several prosperous cities. His family would be cared for, living in an environment most conducive to a comfortable future. At least, that’s what we would expect.
But although we are free to make our choices, we are not free to choose the consequences of our choice. Lot left God out of his decision to move to Sodom, and thus left Him out of the aftermath of that move. Without the Lord’s hand of direction and blessing on his life, Lot’s secure existence soon spiraled out of control. His family were victims to the capture of Sodom by Canaanite kings, his daughters married heathen men, he lost his home when God destroyed Sodom, and his grandchildren were the product of incest. His life ended in shipwreck.
I would like to submit the reason was his failure to seek a clear vision for his life from God. There is no mention of Lot consulting the Lord at all in any of his decisions. And that can be a danger to which we all are vulnerable.
As a college student, I especially should ponder the tragic story of Lot. On my own, living 7,000 miles away from my parents, in a city completely foreign to me, it could be easy for me to act like Lot and plan my life based on my own vision of a successful future. I was raised in a Christian home, by missionary parents; watching them look to God’s Word for everyday decisions as well as life-changing ones was as common as breathing—probably much the same as it could have been for Lot growing up around his uncle Abram.
But now that I am no longer under their roof (though still under their authority) I need to quit riding on the vision of my parents and quit being content to ride on their blessings. I need to seek God’s face and develop my own personal relationship with Him—He needs to be my God, not just my parents’ God. I need to listen for His commands and obey them so I can be blessed for my faith, not just my parents’ faith. I need a vision from Him to direct my future. It’s my turn to search His Word for a specific set of principles to live by, standards to uphold, a purpose to fulfill, a mission to complete. I don’t want to be like Lot, wallowing in the mire of Godless decisions, all because he neglected to seek God’s will for his life.
Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”