Brian Tate, Edgewood Campus Pastor
Something we have to make everyday. What are we going to eat? What are we going to watch? Which way to work are we going to take? How do I discipline my child with the decisions they make today? What am I going to do with my time? And the list goes on and on and on and on.
What guidelines do you use to make your decisions? What dictates the choices you make? What outside influences have molded the way you think? Which guidelines or influences do we need to hold on to, or let go of, or change just a little?
In Genesis 13 Lot has a decision to make. Abram (later he will be known as Abraham) laid out two options: “The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want the land to the left, then I’ll take the land on the right. If you prefer the land on the right, then I’ll go to the left.” (verse 9) How would Lot choose? What would be the deciding factors that makes it clear to him? The people living in the land? The looks of the land? God giving him an answer? Discussing it with Abram? This is a turning point in Lot’s life. The decision he makes will affect not only him, but his family.
“Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. The whole area was well watered everywhere, like the garden of the LORD or the beautiful land of Egypt.” He looks and thinks that the grass is truly greener on the the other side. Lot focused on two things in order to make his choice: 1. The appearance. 2. The past.
- Appearance – Lot looked at the appearance of the land. How is it going to benefit me? Is it going to make my life easier? Is it going to make me happy? Is it going to make me look good? How prosperous will it make me? Lot looked through his eyes. He did not seek God’s face! We do this all the time. We come to a fork in the road and make a decision. Most of the time our first factor is the appearance. We judge things from the outside. We rarely look at our heart or others or ultimately God’s. We make decisions based on very shallow things.
- Past – Lot thought about the garden of the LORD (Eden). I want to be like that, the ‘good ole’ days!’ Will it restore my life to the way it was? He also compares it to Egypt. “I want my life to look like someone else’s life.” When we make decisions on outside appearance we compare quickly to others. The future does not always hold prosperous gain. Sometimes our past must be burnt down to truly see the future that God has in store for us. We are a new creation, the old has gone! Not only our old self, but our old past. It’s completely made clean by the sacrificial blood of Christ.
What happens because Lot made a decision? In verse 13 it says, “But the people of this area were extremely wicked and constantly sinned against the LORD.” Lot makes a decision and finds out that he lives among people that are wicked and go against everything the LORD says to do. What are the results? Lot is captured in war and saved by Abram. And later Lot’s city is destroyed because of the extreme wickedness and sinning against the LORD by the people (Sodom and Gomorrah). Lot, in the end, loses his wife because she looked back at the past and appearance of their home. The same things that governed Lot’s decision, plagued his wife’s decision to look back instead of listening to God.
So what do we do?
- Look past the appearance of things and deep into the hearts of people. Then, go one step further…look past the appearance of things and deep into the heart of God. If Lot would have scouted out the town and realized the extreme wickedness and sinful acts of the people of the land, I think he would not have brought his family into such an environment. Also that the environment is not pleasing to God. While the appearance looks awesome…the heart is deceitfully wicked.
- Look towards the future. We don’t know the future…so what does that make us do? Rely on God and His decisions for us. God wants to walk us through our decisions, but we must trust Him in the matter, look forward (not back) and trust that He knows best. Even if the appearance of the situation looks horrible.