Looking for Leaders
Learning NOT to Lean
by Ken Akers
Just how far can a Christian go without sinning? That question has probably been asked more times than any other. Where should we draw the line on our behavior?
In Genesis 13, we read the story of Abraham and Lot (Abraham’s nephew) on their journey to the new land God had promised. Abraham was a man of God, who served Him faithfully and consequently received His blessings. Surely Lot saw his example and had the opportunity to learn from him.
Yet, when the two families arrived at their destination in Canaan, problems arose. Abraham and Lot’s herdsmen had a heated dispute. The region did not have enough grazing land for all their flocks to live together, so Abraham and his nephew agreed to separate into two regions. Abraham gave Lot first choice.
Lot leaned toward Sodom. He had a choice to take the high ground, literally, or settle in the lowlands. He chose to “pitch his tent toward Sodom” in the comfort of the lowlands. This happens to many Christians today. They begin leaning toward the world and its comfort and attractions. They let down their guard against sin, and they allow the influence of the culture to infiltrate their homes and lives.
Before long, Lot began living in Sodom. The city came under siege, and Lot—along with everyone else—was taken captive. It is a good reminder that when we start leaning toward something, it’s easy to find ourselves living there. And being surrounded by sin is always a dangerous place to live. We may find ourselves held captive by the world and its devices. Had Lot not been living in Sodom, he would not have been taken captive in the aftermath of the battle. Thankfully, Abraham, with God’s help, came to his rescue. What an encouraging reminder! Even when we put ourselves into dangerous or compromising situations, God is ready and willing to help us.
Lot’s brush with captivity did not deter him from living in Sodom. When visiting angels enter the city in chapter 19, Lot is seated at the gate. The preceding chapters recount God’s deal with Abraham to spare Sodom for the sake of 10 righteous men, but it was not to be. Rampant evil saturated the city where Lot lived (as illustrated by the sexual assault upon the visiting angels). What reason did Lot, a man of God, have for living in such an evil place? None! By settling in the sin of Sodom, he endangered himself, his wife, his daughters, and their families.
Even when the visiting angels told him to leave, warning that the city would be utterly destroyed, Lot lingered. He did not want to give up the comfort of his life in the city of sin. He wanted to hang on as long as possible. We see this happen to Christians time and again today. People fall away from God and into worldly pleasures. While they know their actions are wrong, they cling to them tightly, lingering in the clutches of ungodly behavior.
As the story of Lot illustrates, lingering in sin leads to losing. He discovered that he no longer had any influence on his daughters and their husbands. In God’s mercy, the angels dragged Lot and his family—kicking and screaming, I believe—away from Sodom before the fire and brimstone fell from Heaven and destroyed the city. Lot’s wife looked back toward the city in defiance of God’s clear warning. As a result, she lost her life, and was turned into a salt formation. Later, when Lot took refuge in a cave, his daughters got him drunk and committed incest with him.
The sordid story makes it clear that Lot was not the spiritual influence he should have been, and it cost him everything—his family, wealth, and reputation. And it all began by leaning toward the world.
I don’t know Lot’s eternal destiny when his days on earth were over. But I am confident he would have been better off if he had stayed close to God, and learned not to lean toward the world.