Updated: Jan 31
Abraham stretched out his hand and said to his nephew, "Lot, see the land before you? Choose where you want to live and it is yours." Lot lifted up his eyes and gazed at the mountains standing tall and mighty over them. He looked north to Mt. Hebron and Mt. Carmel and across to Mt. Nebo. His eyes then fell east down into the valley of Jordan. Its lush, green grass and beautiful terrain was enticing and he felt his heart stir with desire to go and enjoy its beauty. So he separated from Abraham and settled in the plain of Jordan, erecting his tent towards the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. He dwelt there for years and one might say that living in the lush valley was a wonderful choice. In the end though, his decision cost him his home, his wife, his daughters and his integrity.
Mankind seems to always covet the bright green grass in the valley more than the fruitful land of God. It's pretty obvious when you scroll through Instagram pictures and Facebook posts. You'll see plenty of everything and it will look like a virtual Eden flashing in your social media feed. Life is a constant struggle between our soul's hunger for the mountain heights and what seems to be an oasis down in the valley. Lot no doubt wanted to live in a peaceful and blessed land like Abraham but when he glimpsed the plains of Jordan, the sin in his heart caused him to prefer what looked good to his eyes instead of what was good for his soul. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were wicked cities and Lot foolishly chose to raise his family in an area that was bent on destroying righteousness. At first, we find Lot living near Sodom and Gomorrah. Then we find him living in the evil cities. Later when angels came to warn Lot of God's imminent destruction, two of Lot's own daughters refused to believe him and Lot was assumed drunk by his own family. Later while fleeing the cities, Lot's wife demonstrated mistrust in his leadership when she looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. Finally after losing over half his family, his youngest two daughters got Lot intoxicated and committed incest by sleeping with him. Both of them became pregnant and gave birth to two of the most vicious enemies of Israel. Want to know the most sobering part of Lot's story?
It all started when his own heart searched for greener pastures.
Lot was drawn to a place that eventually destroyed him. But don't judge him too harshly. Truthfully, we do the same thing. When I am standing on solid ground, my wandering heart looks to the valley. While Scripture says we have been given everything needed for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), I covet the shadowy figures playing in graveyards. Like Lot, I often try and justify living in close proximity to anything and everything that would bring me lower and lower into the mud. It's human nature. It's the effects of our wicked hearts. We are drawn to immorality. We take a lingering look at idolatry. We toy with perversion. We contemplate adultery. I'm sure Lot must have bragged about being related to Abraham while fiddling with pagan things, but we do a worse thing when we claim to be children of the promise while reaching for every empty and evil thing we see.
Even though Lot stayed in Sodom, he never had any peace there. 2 Peter 2 tells us that his righteous soul was tortured day and night. A true believer and follower of Christ will always be tormented when they choose the green grass irrigated with sewage rather than the green pastures of a gracious Savior. All that glitters is not gold and all that looks green is not life-giving.
To those in search for greener pastures: Stop searching. Let's be real, we covet the grass of Sodom and Gomorrah because we don't believe God will satisfy the hunger in our hearts. We want to separate from the Abrahams in our life because the cities in the plain look more exciting and fun. We want the valley because we don't want to exert ourselves climbing the hills. Lot's problem wasn't merely a lack of discernment, it was the lack of discipline.
Lot's story is a lesson and a warning to us all. If your wandering heart is looking away from the Promised Land, remember friend, outside the will of God, no grass is truly green.
Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.