Abraham’s nephew, Lot, is an interesting character. We first meet him in Genesis 11, when his father, Haran has died, and Grandpa Terah and Uncle Abraham take him with them when they leave the place of their birth, Ur of the Chaldeans. A hard beginning. He finds himself fatherless and pulled away from all that is familiar.
He is treated well, however. Likely because of his family connections, he accumulates flocks and herds and tents, just as Abraham does, so much so that they have to part ways and spread out so the land can support both of their growing wealth. Lot chooses the better part (to his thinking), the fertile Jordan valley. Abraham graciously goes the other way. Before long, Lot leaves his nomadic farming and trades it for life in Sodom. We later learn that it is his wife who craved the city, to the point it cost her life.
Sodom is the original “sin city,” where homosexuality is widely practiced and accepted. God tells Abraham “the outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly great.” The words echo God’s confrontation with Cain when he murdered his brother (Genesis 4:10) – “the voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.” According to 2 Peter 2:7-8, Lot hated the city and “felt his righteous soul tormented day after day” by the lawless deeds and sensual conduct going on around him. Yet he stayed, too weak spiritually to lead his family away from what he knew was the wrong place to be, and perhaps too embarrassed to admit to his uncle that he’d made a poor choice.
God tells Abraham his plans to destroy the wicked cities. Concerned for his nephew, Abraham has enough courage to plead for mercy for the few righteous who may live there. God says He will hold back judgment if He can find at least ten righteous. We know the outcome … only Lot and his two daughters escaped with their lives as God rained down fire and brimstone on the wicked. Literally pulled from danger by the two angels, Lot and his daughters run to a nearby town, and eventually find themselves living in a cave.
I’ve often wondered why Lot didn’t run to Abraham for help. Instead of hiding out in a cave with his daughters, who evidently believed the rest of the world was destroyed as well, he could have come to his uncle in humility. We have every reason to believe Abraham would have welcomed him back into the family, restored him, and made a place for him. Perhaps Lot was ashamed that he had made such poor spiritual decisions it had cost him his wealth, his wife, and his livelihood. He ended up fathering two sons by his own daughters (at their scheming), and we don’t read anymore about Lot after this event.
Lot’s story reminds us that we all make foolish decisions, but we have a choice as to how those decisions will affect the rest of our lives.
We all do and say things we regret. We all have times where we choose sin over obedience to God’s commands. We all are easily distracted by material possessions, desire for comfort, and cultural acceptance. Even when we know, like Lot did, that without a doubt we’re in the wrong place or headed down the wrong path, we find it hard to make our way back. When things fall apart, as they always do when God brings discipline and judgment, instead of running away, we ought to run back. Back to God, back to our families, back to our brothers and sisters in Christ. God will never turn away a repentant heart, and He waits on high to have compassion on those who will return.
Don’t let your pride cause you to end up in a cave. Take God at His invitation to repent, and come home.