A “Lot” of Choices
• We have a lot of choices in this life.
• Everyone remembers the choice Joshua laid out for the Israelites.
• Jos 24:15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
• Some of our choices are big, life-changing, and clearly monumental in our lives.
• However, some choices in life (and you can ask any elder among us), seem to be small but end up having a major impact on our lives.
• Maybe that is because of the motives behind our choices as much as it is the choices themselves.
• Ill. Two business partners were having a huge argument about the direction of the company.
• One of them accused the other of making very poor business and personal decisions.
• The argument seemed to be going nowhere.
• Exasperated, the first one said, “I just don’t understand you. What in sam hill do you based your decisions on? What is it that drives you to make such poor decisions all the time.”
• The second one answered, “Let’s just keep my wife out of it and talk about the company.”
• What motivated Lot in his departure from Abram? What drove his choice?
Gen 13:1 So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb.
Gen 13:2 Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.
Gen 13:3 And he journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai,
Gen 13:4 to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the LORD.
Gen 13:5 And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents,
Gen 13:6 so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together,
Gen 13:7 and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were dwelling in the land.
Gen 13:8 Then Abram said to Lot, "Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen.
Gen 13:9 Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left."
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.)
Gen 13:11 So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other.
Gen 13:12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom.
• Abram made out in Egypt like a bandit.
• He kept the riches Pharaoh gave him for Sarai, but brought Sarai back with him.
• The wilderness of Negeb, or Negev, is in South Israel, kind of due east from Egypt.
• The then turned north and went towards Bethel and Ai, north of what later became Jerusalem.
• He was probably generous with his new found wealth.
• Probably there were more animals than Abram’s servants could manage, so his nephew Lot also had a lot of wealth.
• But Lot’s servants and Abram’s servants began to quarrel about grazing land.
• Abram jumped in with a solution.
• “Lot, you take your bunch whichever way you want to go and I will go the other direction.”
• Lot looked at the rich land of the valley, Sodom, the lush valley of Jordan.
• Abram went the other direction, the more rugged territory of Canaan.
I. Lot’s choice was selfish.
• God had blessed Lot for being around Abram.
• God was blessing Abram and it was overflowing into Lot’s life.
• Now he had lots of livestock, animals and servants.
• He was now a wealthy man.
• So when Abram asked which way he wanted to go, he had three choices, same as we often have.
• Could be selfish (take the east), fair (take the north or south), or he could have been appreciative and sacrificial (take the west).
• In other words, he could have done the fair thing, or the righteous thing.
• He could have looked the way he did and said…..
• “Abram, since all I have is because of God’s hand in your life, and you were so generous with me….
• Why don’t you go East to the fertile valley of the Jordan.”
• But he didn’t, did he? Given the choice, he knocked over Abram from the buffet line.
• Ill. A year and a half or so ago, Laura and I broke down and went to Golden Coral, the Jordan Valley of all restaurants.
• Just when we were paying, getting our trays and silverware, and looking for a good booth close to the fried chicken, a high school sports team was coming in.
• I believe it was a baseball team.
• I told Laura, “Oh no, party over. Those guys will plow their way to the good stuff and there wouldn’t be any left.”
• Now, for several years, I have really worked on my Christian attitude and demeanor in public situations.
• So, when I got up there, there were several boys crowding around the fried chicken.
• One of the guys turned and saw me standing there.
• I smiled and nodded, indicating, “Take your time. If I starve to death waiting on you, my wife is here to claim the remains.”
• The boy punched the other boys and pointed at me.
• I always wondered what it was like when the children of Israel were at the Red Sea and it parted.
• I kind of experienced similar. The boys scurried out of my way, offering me the first choice (and there were only two chicken legs left).
• I declined. “No, you guys go right ahead. You look like you have had a hard day.”
• But they insisted. I believe, if I had not taken my chicken, they would have started piling on my plate.
• I returned to Laura and said, “Those are the most polite kids I have ever seen.”
• I later tracked down the coaches at their table and complimented the team.
• One of the coaches said, “Yeah, these are great kids. They were raised right.”
• Somehow, Christian principles got instilled in their lives, either through their parents, teachers or coaches, or maybe all of them.
• Rom 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
• Outdo one another in showing honor? Wow, that would change how church member treated one another, wouldn’t it?
• Ill. The first year we went to World Changers, a bus pulled up and the kids were being rude and saying ugly things to everyone within ear shot.
• Another Church bus pulled in and the kids were waving, smiling, and being nice to strangers.
• I hope and pray when our van is filled with our youth, people will say, “Somewhere along the way, those kids were raised right.”
II. Lot’s choice was indicative.
• If we are given enough information about Lot to show how he reached his decision, one thing stands out.
• Abram was building alters and worshiping God everywhere he went.
• There is no mention of Lot having a devotional life, a relationship with God, or anything like it.
• His choice seems to indicate worldly values with no godly influence.
• If you do not have a quiet time with God regularly, you are going to make terrible choices.
• If God is not part of your day every day, Satan is directing your steps.
• 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
• If you are not daily connected to God with a devotional time, you will step towards what looks good to you, Jordan Valley, and find out it starts a fall you cannot stop. See….
III. Lot’s choice was costly.
• We are not going to get into all the trouble that visited Lot this week because I want to get into the line to get birthday cake before you do. Just kidding.
• I want to save that for another week.
• But let me tell you, that first step was a costly one.
• It eventually cost him his marriage, his kids, his happiness and joy, and filled his life with misery.
• A seemingly innocent decision, a simple step towards danger, and his life starts in a downward spiral that he could not control.
• That is exactly why God, through Peter, said “be watchful, be alert, don’t be lured into a sleepy mistake.”
• Stay awake. Stay close to God. Stay connected to God.
• That doesn’t mean you will be perfect in every decision.
• Ill. Matthew 14, beginning with verse 22 tells a very interesting story about Peter.
• Jesus calmed the storm as he walked on water coming to the boat full of disciples.
• Peter saw Jesus walking on water and did what I would probably do.
• “Jesus, can I try that and walk to you?”
• “Yes, Peter, come on out here.”
• Peter got out of the boat to be close to Jesus, but after several successful steps, began to lose his nerve.
• He looked down at the water.
• There was a big difference in what Peter did and what Lot did.
• Peter made a mistake when he was trying to go near Jesus.
• Lot looked at what would prosper his wealth.
• There was a big difference in how they ended up.
• Peter was pulled out of the water by Jesus. He ended up a little wet, but in Jesus’ arms.
• Lot lost everything that was most important to him.
• You are going to make mistakes.
• But make them when you are trying to get closer to Jesus, not when you are walking away from Him.
• Ill. I heard a story of a ship that was sinking in the middle of a storm, and the captain called out to the crew and said, "Does anyone here know how to pray?"
• One man stepped forward and said, "Yes sir, I know how to pray."
• The captain said, "Wonderful, you pray while the rest of us put on life jackets--we're one short."