Destiny, what a powerful word. Meditating afresh on the story of Abraham as I put the finishing touches, hopefully to my new book, I was struck again by the bizarre fate of Lot. It is an object lesson for all.
Lot had followed Abraham into Abraham’s promise. However, they had to separate because their respective employees were not getting along. The land could not support the massive herds of both men. Abraham magnanimously proposed that Lot choose wherever he wanted to go and Abraham would take what was left. Lot took a long hard look, saw the well-watered regions, the lush vegetation, saw potential for ease and good living for himself and chose. Here’s what the Scriptures say :
Gen 13:10 And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)
After he left, God came to speak to Abraham and reassure him that all the land would be his.
What is the problem here in terms of Lot’s destiny?
- That Lot was drawn by the appearance of things, things looked good, the area looked better than where he was, plus it would be all for him, and he chose. Lot followed his own lust, avarice got the better of him. The problem is that it meant he had to dwell in close proximity with some of the vilest characters on the face of the earth.
- Lot did not consult the Lord
- He did not give honour where honour was due.
- He did not choose his new associations wisely
Now let’s unpack this.
First, all that glitters is not gold
How many times in our lives are we drawn by external factors, convenience, apparent ease in making life changing decisions; where we live, what job we do, where we worship, who we make friends with, etc, etc. We all know the adage ‘all that glitters is not gold’ but we, like Lot are often shortsighted. We enthusiastically embrace things, situations that in the final analysis draw us away from the will of God. Lot was drawn to a place that ended up destroying him.
No, he did not die, however, he was in the wrong place and he knew it. He never had any peace living outside or in Sodom. The book of Hebrew says that his righteous soul was tortured day and night. Even after he was captured and released, he still went back. He ended up living in a cave and committing incest, unwittingly with his own daughters.
Remember, there is a way that seems right to a man, says Proverbs and the end of it is destruction.
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Secondly, ask God
Abraham stayed in the will of God. It seemed that the place where he was in was not as outwardly successful or prosperous as where Lot went. But that was where God was. And God proved it to him. He appeared to him there, spoke to him, encouraged him, reiterated his promise. If we will make a success of our lives, we must learn to see with the eyes of the spirit and not the eyes of the flesh.
- Who should you marry? Ask God. His bank account, good looks, charm and even love for you are not sufficient guarantees of a happy life together.
- Where should you go to school? Ask God.
- Where should you work? Ask God. The extra pay will not bring joy if you are compelled to lie and cheat or face unemployment.
- Where should I worship? Ask God. Many years ago someone told me how they loved a particular church because the pastors spoke English. No, you do not go to a church because the pastors speak English, or Greek, or German. You go because God sends you. In fact, and this many believers do not know, you do not choose your church, God does. So how do I find a church? Ask God. What if they do not have the facilities I need? The only facilities you need are the Word of God, prayer and the presence of God. Those who look for something else to choose a church are consumers and not disciples, and they risk the fate of Lot.
- Where should I live? Ask God. Moving to another city because you got a better paying job will not be to your advantage if you end up drifting spiritually because you left the church God put you in and you cannot fit in elsewhere.
The church you are a part of is more important than the job you do. It could mean life or death. Before going into ministry, a number of times opportunities came my way professionally that would have set me on another level financially, and in at least one case, it involved moving to another country. I knew where I was called to, I would leave neither my city nor the church I was a part of. Today I am glad I did not.*None of the things we have done in our ministry would have happened had I gone in that direction. None of the people whose lives have been changed in Abba House church and through our international outreach would have experienced that grace from us had I been swayed by the lush vegetation. I can only thank God for it. And whether or not you are called to ministry, you must consider God’s will in every choice you make. The appearance of things is not a criterion for choosing.
There is no satisfaction greater than being in the will of God, in the right place, doing the right thing. So in making life changing decisions ask God for His input.
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Third, honour your benefactors
There is no indication that Lot hesitated to leave nor is there any indication that he felt bad at moving away from Abraham. He left with no qualms and without showing proper respect for his uncle. He should not have presumed to choose first, he ought to have deferred to his uncle. He thought only of himself and did not honour Abraham. He forgot that it was thanks to Abraham that he was where he was. Do not be like that.
Everyone has a person or persons God has used to take them to the next level in their lives. You do too. They must be sacred in your eyes. Even if you must move on, show proper respect. Give them the honour due to them. It will serve you well later.
In fact, unless absolutely necessary, do not disconnect from the Abrahams of your life. You may need them later to rescue you from captivity, as Lot did. That connection may even save your life, as it did for Lot. the Bible clearly says that God saved Lot from sharing the fate of Sodom for Abraham’s sake.
The apostle Paul stated in his letter to the Philippians that God healed Epaphroditus out of mercy for Epaphroditus and also for himself Paul, to save him from sorrow. There are things that will come into your life because of who you are connected to, because of who is praying for you.
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Finally, look before you leap
Choose your next connections very wisely. Also choose your neighbours wisely. Lot chose the lush regions, however he paid scant attention to the neighbours. If you join a new company whose parent company is in trouble, you are in trouble. If you move to a neighbourhood where your neighbours are thieves, you may be in trouble.
Lot moved to the vicinity of Sodom, then to Sodom, pretty nasty neighbours, and he paid for it. Once, he was taken captive; and finally, he escaped death by the skin of his teeth but he lost his wife who could not turn her back to Sodom and became a pillar of salt. And it was the old connection he had left behind that at both times came to his rescue. Unfortunately his daughters had been contaminated by the neighbourhood and their actions have marred their father’s reputation till this day.
So learn from Lot, do not be moved by the appearance of things, choose wisely, walk in honour, listen to the Lord and safeguard your destiny.