A Tale of Two Choices: Faith or Sight

Illustration 86487206 © Ctitze | Dreamstime.com

The leather thongs bit his flesh. Lot stole a quick look from his one good eye, the other swollen shut from a soldier’s fist. His girls huddled near their mother, tears streaking through dust cast by the frenzied ride. Warriors strutted past, stroking the cheeks of his daughters. They smirked at him, laughing as his lips bled from the anger he bit back.

Five royal tents poked their heads above those of the common soldier. Servants scurried and the smell of roasted meat brought a rush of saliva to his parched mouth. The guard handed him a gourd of warm water. It sloshed against his bound hands as a piece of old bread landed at his feet. He offered the gourd to his wife first and she sucked greedily, water dribbling down her embroidered robe. His heart hurt at the sight of blood on her sandals. 

The move to town had been one of convenience. Closer to the market and that silly circle of friends she kept. Lot sighed. Hadn’t seen this coming. Caught in the crossfire of opposing armies, they had been swept away. Plunder. Spoils for the victor. He thought of Uncle Abram and, not for the first time, wished he’d stayed far away from Sodom.

In the fictional story above, I imagined what it may have been like for Lot to be captured as part of Sodom’s plunder when he was caught between two warring armies. You can find the biblical account in Genesis 14. It need never happened.

Lot had accompanied Abram, his uncle, when God first called Abram to Canaan. Both men owned numerous flocks and herds and eventually parted ways so each had adequate grazing and water. Though Abram was the elder, he allowed Lot to take his pick of the land. 

Let’s examine Lot’s choice, “Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. (Genesis 13:10-11)

Lot chose what looked good.

Lot chose what made sense.

Lot chose what looked easy.

Yet Sodom loomed nearby.

Why did Abram let Lot choose first? God had Abram’s back, and Abram knew it. It didn’t matter where he went, whether there was lots of water or little, God had promised to provide for him. Giving up first pick was easy. Abram walked by faith. 

While the land Lot chose promised richness, nearby Sodom promised something else. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” We read nothing about Lot’s relationship with God, nor do we read that Lot sought God’s guidance. Lot walked by sight. He leaned on his own understanding, and it cost him dearly.

It will cost us dearly too, because our understanding comes with defects. Only God’s wisdom proves true. He knows what the future holds. We can only guess. 

Always check with God first, because how you decide determines where you abide. Don’t let Sodom seduce you.

Activities:

1. See who can come up with the longest list of biblical paradoxes: Ex. The first will be last and the last will be first. Have a prize for the winner. What does this show us about depending on common sense?

2. Watch the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when Indiana Jones takes a step of faith and finds solid ground under his feet. How does walking by faith compare to this scene?

3. Have volunteers share times when they leaned on their own understanding and times when they walked by faith. How did the results differ?

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