“Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company. Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom.”
Genesis 13: 10-12
What were your thoughts as you read that snippet of Lot’s life? Did you want to shout, “Don’t do it, Lot! Turn around! Go back to your uncle!”? Or, did you think, “Well, it’s dangerous to be around that much temptation but if he’s careful...” Maybe, like me, you read that short passage with a self-assured air, “I can see how Lot was drawn in, but that wouldn’t happen to me. Besides, didn’t Jesus say something about letting your light shine?”
What’s a Christian to do?
I don’t think the question is, should a Christian go to a dark place. While we, God’s children, are strangers in this dark, broken world, here we are. So, I think the question is, how does a Christian venture into the darkness of this world?
Re-examine that brief glimpse into Lot’s reasoning as to why he, a servant of the Sovereign Lord, should live near such deep darkness.
Flip the page before verse 10 and we discover that Abram and Lot had acquired wealth plus their herdsmen were causing dangerous division between the uncle and his nephew (vs. 5-8). When Lot examined the land, what he saw was pleasing. He may have thought, “My herds/wealth will increase on that well watered plain. Yes, those people of Sodom are sinning -- a lot – but I’ll just be near that. I won’t be a part of it.”
A couple of Lot’s character flaws are revealed here: He chooses the best land for himself, even if it means that his uncle Abram is left wanting. Lot’s non-discerning eye (and heart) doesn’t see the true danger to himself, his wife and his daughters. Clearly, he stops seeing light vs. dark, but can only make out the gray.
Lacking in Lot’s thoughts – from what God allows us to see – is any acknowledgement of God. When Lot makes his choice, he doesn’t seem to consider how, or if, that choice will honor God. Lot’s focus is solely on himself, what he can gain, exposes an immature faith. Such faith quickly crumbles in the overwhelming darkness.
We have an advantage over Lot. While he could only look for the future promise of the Savior, we have the benefit of a risen, living Jesus and His Words. Jesus did counsel to “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven"(Matthew 5:16).
Do you see the answer? While we are the light of the world, we are called by our Savior to keep the focus on Him. As long as we, through our actions, are focusing on God, He will help us reflect the Light that shines in the darkness, the True Light that gives light to all.