Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedinglyGenesis 13:12-13
In verse 1 of Genesis 13 we find Abram and Lot going up out of Egypt. Egypt, of course, being a country in the natural, physical world that we inhabit. Spiritually, however, Egypt represents the world and all of it’s trappings. Jesus tells us in John 17 that He will send those that believe on Him into the world but that they are no longer of the world, just as He is not of the world. Abram, like all of us that follow after the Lord God, has been called to come out of the world. As 2 Corinthians 6:17 tells us, Wherefore come out from among them And be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you. Abram answered the call and brought along his wife and his nephew Lot with Him.
When we are turned from the world to the Lord (from walking the broad path of destruction leading to death to the narrow path of righteousness leading to eternal life with God) we will automatically be led to bring people along with us. We will share our faith with others naturally- we will tell them of the LORD and His mighty works- it will bubble up in us like a bursting stream of life- we will be compelled- and others will be drawn to our zeal. Some will follow along with us as they seek to find what it is we have found; others will come along simply because they have no choice (.ie family members); some people will come in an effort to try and disprove the Truth; and still other individuals will join us in our walk just to try and sabotage the work of the Lord. Whatever their reason, there will be plenty of people that walk along with us on this path to righteousness. Some will stay, but most will go.
Back to Abram: He’s headed out of Egypt, out of the world, and he’s naturally brought his wife Sara along with him along with his nephew Lot, whose father died some years before. As a result, Lot had become like a son to Abram. So, it too was only natural that Lot would follow his uncle on this journey out of Egypt (out of the world) into the wilderness in search of the promise land. As they journey along there came a point where their herdsmen begin to argue with one another over the land because there was just too many cattle for the two of them to try and keep separate while sharing the same land. Abram decides it best if they separate so as to avoid strife amongst each other and their herdsmen.
Abram gives Lot first choice on where he would like to lead his flock; his herd. This is where our scripture reading for today comes into play. Lot surveys the land and instead of looking to the wide-open spaces before him as the safest, best place for those in his charge he is immediately drawn to the cities of the plain and decides to pitch his tent towards Sodom. Sodom, that wicked city, that proves to be the ruin of Lot’s family; ultimately leading to the death of his wife. Lot was drawn back towards the world and all of it’s trappings. He had left the world for a little while but his heart was still bent towards it. As we keep reading his story, we will discover that he was daily tormented by the wickedness of the people and their behavior in the city of Sodom.
If only Lot would have resisted the temptation to return! If only he would have stayed focused on the Lord- the troubles he would have avoided! Perhaps Lot was persuaded by his wife to return to the world, to pitch his tent towards Sodom. After all, that is common with our families. If we were the ones called out of the world and we take our family along with us, it is certain that they will continue to tempt us, try to persuade us, to return. They will not see why we are so persistent on letting go of fleshly wants and lusts. They will find us foolish, some will even think that we have gone mad, no matter how much they care for us.
Lot tried to protect his family in Sodom. He remained righteous despite constant exposure to evil wickedness. He would have done them a much better service, and saved himself much heartache, if he would have only resisted the pull to return- whether it originated inside himself or if it were brought upon him externally by his family members. I pray we learn from Lots decision to not set our eyes towards the world. To pray that our hearts be cleansed of any desire to return to the trappings thereof. The worlds offerings appear beautiful and satisfying on the surface but let us always remember that just a layer underneath is destruction.
Perhaps we can withstand the pull when emerged in the way of wickedness and sin, but we need to think of those in our care, those who are watching us, those that are walking the path with us as they may not be as strong in the faith as we. If we truly are following the Lord, if we have truly surrendered to Him, the world will loose its attraction to us and we will have no desire to turn back to it again. We will pitch our tents towards the promise land; our eyes will be set on looking above and our hearts on doing the will of God.