Bible Society of South Africa
Louise Gevers

Walking with God – Day 3

Walking with God – the importance of keeping focused: Lot

Bible text(s)

Shining as Lights in the World

12So then, dear friends, as you always obeyed me when I was with you, it is even more important that you obey me now while I am away from you. Keep on working with fear and trembling to complete your salvation,

Philippians 2:12GNBOpen in Bible reader

Parents usually instruct their children, for their own protection and well-being, to be good when they have to be left alone and Paul, like a parent, likewise instructs the Philippians. He knows that it is essential for a person to be able to independently make the right choices for survival and salvation, and that each person is ultimately responsible for his own choices.

In this context, looking at Lot’s life may seem obscure, as he was working out his survival and salvation long before Paul, but because it is Jesus who uses Lot’s situation as an example to explain what will happen on the day that he returns (Luke 17:28-32), we take seriously the importance of understanding God’s purposes in Lot’s far from perfect life.

Lot was much like us: a person journeying through life with its blessings, difficulties and choices. When given first choice of the land by Abram, Lot chose for his own gain. “Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD … so Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan, and set out toward the east” (Genesis 13:10-11). But he was not discerning in the location he chose and “pitched his tents near Sodom” where the men “were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD” (Genesis 13:12-13).

Although he succeeded there in business and became a prominent citizen, his self-centred choice exposed him constantly to this sinful environment, which slowly dulled his values. How do we know his spiritual life had lost its cutting edge? He was willing to sacrifice his two daughters’ virtue when the depraved men of the city become violent, demanding sexual gratification from the two angels who were inside his house, whom God had sent to destroy Sodom.

Unsurprisingly, he lacks credibility with the men: “this fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge” (Genesis 19:9) and with his future sons-in-law too: “Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking. (Genesis 19:14)

Even when required to make the crucial choice to leave, he clung to what he would have to give up, ensnared by affluence and compromise; it was only God’s grace that snatched him and his family from destruction. “When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them.” (Genesis 19:16)

This is not the end of the story. Although Lot escapes, because God shows extreme patience with him, even afterwards it is evident that his choices leave him with an unenviable life. What is remarkable is God’s grace throughout and how he still works his good purposes through a flawed human life. May this encourage us as we humbly work out our own salvation.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.21.9
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