This article is part of a series about the Bible’s bad boys and girls.
When Abram (later called Abraham) was called by God to leave his homeland and start His chosen nation of Hebrews, or Israelites, he not only packed up his family, servants, possessions and livestock. He also took his nephew, Lot, and his entire household.
As the two groups travelled throughout Israel and Egypt, they grew wealthy. The land they’d chosen to settle in could no longer support their huge flocks and herds. And, worse, their servants quarrelled over wells.
Abram proposed a solution. “Let’s not have any quarrelling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left” (Genesis 13:8-9).
Viewing the lush valleys to the east watered by the Jordan River, Lot selfishly chose to settle there, near the city of Sodom. The Bible tells us that the people who lived in Sodom “were wicked and sinning greatly against the Lord” (Genesis 13:13). According to the Apostle Peter, their disregard of God’s standards tormented Lot day and night (see 2 Peter 2:8). Yet he chose to remain in that raunchy neighbourhood. He even raised his two daughters there.
Don’t Look Back
But the day came when the people of Sodom and its neighbouring town, Gomorrah, became so wicked that God sent an angel to destroy them. The angel warned Lot to take his family and not walk but run away from his old neighbourhood and not look back.
Soon fire and brimstone—burning sulfur with poisonous fumes—fell from heaven. Every person in both cities died a painful, horrible death. Lot and his two daughters fled from God’s wrath pouring out on those evil ones, looking forward to their new destination. But Lot’s wife disobeyed the Lord’s command. When she looked behind her, she instantly turned to a statue of salt. Lot and his daughters fled from the horror and started their new life in a neighbouring region.
We Can’t Fix Our Own Messes
Although the Apostle Peter tells us that Lot was a righteous man (see 2 Peter 2:8), he made some bad decisions.
Moving to a city filled with wickedness had terrible results, not only for him but also for his family. His story shows how people who are trying to live for God can still make foolish choices. We go in the direction that looks best, that seems ideal, the “greener grass” on the other side of the fence. And when our environment turns evil, we feel stuck. The truth is, on our own, we can’t fix the mistakes we’ve made in the past. But when we ask for God’s help, He will always give us a way out.
It’s probably an accurate guess that Lot couldn’t imagine how God would rescue his family when He sent the angel to warn them of Sodom’s destruction. But he still obeyed the Lord and became a perfect example of God’s faithfulness to His children.
What About Lot?
Read Genesis 12-14, 19
• Who: The nephew of Abram
• When: Around 2,000 BC
• Where: The land of Canaan (now Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Jordan, and the southern portions of Syria and Lebanon)
Illustration: Woodcut by Gustave Doré (1832-1883), courtesy of The Doré Bible Gallery
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