“And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.” Gen 14:11-12
Where and how you live will be controlled by what is in you heart. If you are looking for an opportunity to enrich yourself and live easy, living close to Sodom may appeal to you. Certainly we understand that Sodom is a type of wickedness. There is scarcely a city so attached to evil as to have a sin named after it. Lot chose to live in close proximity to wickedness because he felt that there were certain advantages. But when the unconsecrated choose a life that suits their style, in the end their future is shaped by their choice.
When the way you live is dictated by material concerns, the way you die might be also. While you are examining the advantages of a fast and loose lifestyle, shouldn’t you also observe the dangers as well?
For example, if you live too close to the world, you are certain to become entangled in their disputes. The warfare of kings always involves innocent bystanders. The battle of wills always includes the unwilling. Also, it is impossible to live at the gates of Sodom without being touched by the type of life lived inside the walls.
The godly are not so encumbered. The godly chose their battles. The godly chose their level of involvement. The godly do not have their lifestyle, their home life, or their warfare dictated to them by the world.
What Is Important to You?
“And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.” Gen 13:10-11
Ultimately one’s lifestyle is a heart issue. Where your heart is will determine the lifestyle you chose. They say that home is where the heart is, but Jesus said it a little differently - “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt 6:21). In other words, the things that are important to you will influence your emotions. A corrupt heart instead of sound thinking drives many.
That which you treasure will influence your thinking and can short-circuit your logic. If what you treasure can cause your heart to go in a certain direction, it can also bend your ability to reason as well. The things that are important to you will influence your emotions and your logic. Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also, and eventually your life will conform.
Notice how this worked out in Lot’s life. For Lot, what was important was his material wealth. His wealth was treasured more than his immediate family, more than his spiritual condition, and more than his relationship with Uncle Abram. The fact that Lot maintained a his-and-mine attitude toward the blessings that came as a result of his association with Abram caused conflict between herdsmen.
“And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.” Gen 13:7
At a time when Abram was able to dwell in the land beside the Canaanite and Perizzite, Lot and his bunch could not get along with Abram. Because of this, Abram suggested that they separate.
“And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.” Gen 13:8-9
I believe this strife was more a product of the his-and-mine attitude than the ability of the land to support the flocks. I have personally witnessed this even in the work of God. Two churches cannot exist in the same area in peace because one or more of the pastors is not kingdom minded. When the work of God becomes an us-against-them proposition, even God’s work can involve strife. On the other hand, I have observed situations were several churches exist peacefully in one town. What is the difference? Because the pastors and leaders are committed to dwelling in the land peacefully with each other, and the saints exemplify the spirit they observe.
If unity, fellowship, and serving God had been more important to Lot than his material treasures, Lot would have dealt with his herdsmen. The problem would have vanished if Lot had the right spirit. Instead of the his-and-mine attitude, we should cultivate a His-and-ours outlook. When the primary consideration in important decisions is not spiritual but material, this betrays misguided priorities and improper treasures.
“And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.” Gen 13:10
Lot’s primary concern was his livestock, because that was what he treasured. Lot is not the only believer that struggled with misguided priorities. I heard of a family who after many years in a certain church, suddenly informed their pastor that they were moving away. They were moving to a secluded town and had already bought and sold property before ever speaking to their pastor. When the pastor asked them where they were going to attend church, it became apparent that they hadn’t even thought about their worship. You guessed it; there was not a church that preached the truth within a hundred miles of where they had already bought a home. Where was their treasure? It wasn’t in the things of God!
The things that you treasure reveal the condition of your heart and will influence your ability to reason.
An Unconsecrated Lifestyle Has Hidden Dangers
And so Lot became entwined with the people and the city that he joined himself to. In Genesis 14:12, Lot is said to dwell in Sodom. What began as a business decision, later became a lifestyle choice. The unconsecrated lifestyle is wrought with many hidden dangers.
- Lot’s daughters end up married to wicked men of the city. Living an unconsecrated life threatens your children.
- Mrs. Lot perished in the fire and brimstone storm that came. The unconsecrated life threatens your marriage.
- Later, Lot ends up getting sucked into the battle of the kings. The unconsecrated life threatens your peace.
- Lot loses his treasure in the battle. The unconsecrated life threatens your possessions and livelihood.
- Lot lost his legacy. His name is a byword. His sons were also his grandchildren and their progeny became bitter enemies of God’s People. The unconsecrated life threatens your legacy.
- Lot even endangered his own soul - “(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)” (2 Peter 2:8).
None of these dangers were evident when Lot looked down at Sodom while thinking about his flocks.
What are the hidden dangers of an unconsecrated life today? The same. The hidden dangers are those we have just mentioned and many more of the same nature. You will never know the dangers that lurk around the corner before you make a decision to draw back on your spiritual progress.
The only answer to these issues is to put God first in your life! He will provide and take care of you. Always make decisions based on what you think the Lord would have you do. Put your spiritual welfare first and you will avoid many of these hidden dangers.
Peace Depends on Those Around You
You might ask, “But shouldn’t we try to bring peace to those that don’t know God?” The answer is yes. But peace comes by knowing the Lord, not through an imposed behavior. The only way you can help others find peace is by introducing them to Jesus. You will not introduce them to Jesus while living in their world and playing by their rules.
When you live too close to unbelievers, you run the danger of being sucked into their disputes. This is what happened to Lot. It is hard to mediate a dispute while ducking flying beer bottles! There is the story of a young man that does not drink but went “clubbing” with some buddies as a designated driver. A fight broke out and he was badly injured. Some people are gluttons for punishment and if you hang around them enough, you will have a taste of it also.
Two drunks in a bar have words and are about to throw down big time. One of them stands up, whips off his timing-chain belt, doubles it up, and raps it hard against the wooden table. “Boy, you ever been beat up aside the head with a Ford Mustang timing-chain?” The other narrows his eyes and asks through clenched teeth, “What year?”
I love that story. In fact, I think I used to know both of those guys!
So later we find Lot dwelling in the wicked city of Sodom and trying to mind his own business. And yet the five kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, and surrounding cities, were brewing a rebellion against the four kings that had them in subservience. This squabble had absolutely nothing to do with an unconsecrated man named Lot. Lot was just doing his own thing, busily vexing his own soul by living too close to the world. But since he lived where he did, Lot had to do nothing at all to get sucked into the battle. That is just the course of nature, the natural progression of events for the unconsecrated.
Your peace has everything to do with those around you. And it doesn’t matter who starts the fight, if you end up losing teeth. Now, let me ask you again, do you really want to live in Sodom? Do you really want to live close to the world? You do understand that for every dispute, every squabble that comes along, you will be expected to choose sides. And if you try to remain neutral, chances are that you will end up an enemy of both sides!
Meanwhile, Up On the Mountain
Abram was completely unmoved by the battle of the kings. Since his life was separated, the dust of the battle was not even noticed.
“But didn’t Abram get involved?” Yes, but only on behalf of Lot. You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family. So, … pick your friends well. Chances are you and your family will need some good friends some day. Abraham picked his friends well.
“And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eschol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram.” Gen 14:13
According to Genesis 14:24, these three friends, Mamre, Eschol, and Aner went to battle with Abram. Abram went to battle for Lot because he had no choice. Mamre, Eschol, and Aner went with Abram because they wanted to. When Abram went to bat for his kin because he had to, it was his friends that helped him pull it off. And the lesson we draw from this is for every unconsecrated relative, you need at least three good strong friends that can swing a sword.
Before we conclude, I want to point out something regarding Abram’s life. Almost every conflict Abram faced that is recorded in Genesis is related to his own failure. Take this situation with Lot. If Abram had left this nephew with his father, Terah, when God first spoke to him, Abram would not have been involved in the battle of the kings. Abram was supposed to depart from his family. Because he waited to bury his father, Abram felt obligated to bring Lot along. If we will follow God early and completely, we will avoid many needless conflicts in our lives.
Where and how you live will be controlled by what is in your heart. Lot chose to live in close proximity to wickedness because he felt that there were certain advantages. But were these things really advantages?
When the way you live is dictated by material concerns, the way you die might be also. The dangers of unconsecrated living are often hidden, but very real.
If you live too close to the world, you are certain to become entangled in their disputes. The warfare of kings always involves innocent bystanders. The battle of wills always includes the unwilling. You can’t live at the gates of Sodom without being touched by their lifestyle.
Things are different with the godly. They chose their battles. The godly chose their level of involvement in conflicts that are not their own. The godly do not have their lifestyle, their home life, or their warfare dictated to them by the world. We must all chose between living on the mountains or in the valley. The high life certainly has its advantages. The advantages offered by the low life are only an illusion.
© 2008 Nevin Bass. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced for the purpose of resale without written permission.