Tag Archives: Sodom

Jordan Valley Choices

When Abram and Lot had conflict arise because God blessed them with so much, Abram initiated the separation of the two. He gave Lot the choice of the land to select. He basically said, “You go one way, and I’ll go the other.” Verse 9 notes that Abram said, “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” (ESV).

The narrative tells us that Lot made a choice. He “looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered.” Seeing the great land, he made his selection. While choosing the Jordan Valley, he disregarding what was happening in the area. He was taking residence in the area of Sodom and Gomorrah. Sadly, we all know these choices. We see what looks amazing, but it’s too good to be true.

We often make Jordan Valley Choices. We sacrifice for the sake of temporary pleasure. We choose to participate in things that get us close to crossing the line. We spend time near those who will cause us to move in the wrong direction. We pick what looks good from what we see on the outside, thereby missing the better choice. Today, focus on the choices you are making. Are you trying to select what you think would be most rewarding to you, no matter where it leads? Well-watered land isn’t always the most refreshing.

“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.)” – Genesis 13:10 [NIV]

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Nearby Village

As I was reading about Lot and his journey from sinful Sodom, I couldn’t help but note the interesting plea Lot made to his escorts who led him away from the area. God was destroying Sodom. Because of Abraham, Lot was saved. As he and his family were exiting, Lot’s wife looked back and lost her life. The group traveling onward included Lot and his two daughters.

As they continue onward, rather than go where he was being led, Lot begs to go to Zoar. He sees this small village. It’s nearby. It seems like an easier place to stop and find shelter. Instead of going onward, separating himself further from Sodom, he asks to remain in this “small village nearby.” But then what happens? Not so much further along in the text, we read that he “left Zoar because he was afraid of the people there.” He begged to be somewhere and yet had to leave in fear.

Imagine where he may have been led. Imagine if he would have not begged to stay in this small nearby village. We often think our plans are best. When we get an idea in our head, that’s what we want. God has something better. Perhaps we want the small village but He wants to bless us with a larger one. Perhaps we want a small thing, but He has something much bigger in mind. Today, look at the nearby villages you continue to beg for God to provide. Consider He might have something else for you. Consider the moments you drag your feet to stay near where you already are, and the possibility that God wants to move you further then you ever imagined.

“’See, there is a small village nearby. Please let me go there instead; don’t you see how small it is? Then my life will be saved’… Afterward Lot left Zoar because he was afraid of the people there, and he went to live in a cave in the mountains with his two daughters. – Genesis 19:20, 30 [NLT]

Tobiah

In Nehemiah, we often hear about this fellow Tobiah, who was an Ammonite. The Ammonites were people who descended from the sin of Lot and his daughter. The other group were the Moabites (see Genesis 19:37-38). These groups were the ones responsible for denying the Israelites bread when in need (Deuteronomy 23:3-4). The Moabites led Israel to worship Baal (Numbers 25:1-3). Both the Moabites and Ammonites were the ones who tried to get Balaam to curse God’s people (Numbers 22). There was a lot of trouble with these groups of people.

Tobiah is mentioned numerous times in the Book of Nehemiah. We read that Tobiah was mocking Nehemiah when the great work was discovered (2:19). Later in Nehemiah 4, we read that Tobiah was ridiculing the work done for the wall (v. 3). Tobiah was angry as the work on the wall continued (4:7). We read in Nehemiah 6, that he was sending letters to try and intimidate Nehemiah from finishing the work God called him to complete (v. 19). Even so, we read in Chapter 13, that Eliashib the high priest allowed Tobiah to reside in the Temple in a storeroom, due to intermarriage.

All of this is a long history of trouble between these groups; however, in Nehemiah 13, we read that the group infiltrated the Temple of God. The sin that occurred back with Lot and his daughters, has now invaded the Temple of God. It was not something that just happened. It reminds me that as we shut the door so the devil cannot sneak through, he so often sneaks through the cracks. Here we have Tobiah desecrating the Temple and no one seems to blink an eye until Nehemiah returns and sees what has happened.

Today, let us remind ourselves that sin can slowly creep in and we may not always see so clearly what is happening until we have a great desecration. Be reminded of the importance to be in God’s Word. Cling to the Truth. Don’t allow yourself to be closely aligned with those who are deeply involved in the things of the world, or you may find yourself becoming involved in the world, rather than working on the Kingdom God has for you. Remember, your body is a Temple. Don’t allow the Tobiahs to reside in your storeroom. Instead, allow the Spirit of God to be the ever-present force within you.

 

 

Only Chance

I’ve lost count of how many times I listened to the words “only chance.” Time and time again, we get to a point when we have the opportunity to trust God to do something big in our lives. At times we hear these words – “it’s our ONLY CHANCE.” We listen. We take things into our own hands. We make heaps of messes.

In Genesis 19, we read about Lot settling in the mountains with his daughters. They had been safely escorted out of Sodom only for Lot’s daughters to cling to these words – only chance. They design a plan of drunken relations to continue their father’s bloodline. We also read of Abraham and Sarah caving to what they perceived to be their only chance for a child. This only chance became an interaction with Hagar, which was not part of God’s plan for the promised decedents that would be numbered as many stars that fill up the sky.

Following God’s will is difficult, especially when we start believing it is our only chance to do something we desire. What if we miss our one opportunity? Understand that God has a better plan that you can ask or imagine. You may believe that this is your only chance; however, if this chance isn’t coming to surface at this moment, perhaps God is working on something better. There is always a good reason. Trust and patience are increased as we continue to rest in Him.


I have been reading The Message 100: The Story of God in Sequence by Eugene Peterson. I am grateful for the opportunity to review this new release from NavPress. I received this Bible free for review thanks to Tyndale House Publishers. I have read The Message (NavPress) twice and I have read the NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible (Tyndale) as well, so I was eager to dig into the Message 100 to read this new version.

I am enjoying the chronological layout with the trusted paraphrase from Eugene Peterson. Reading in this order allows for a deeper understanding of the Bible, but written at a level that builds bridges for any reading level. It is a pure pleasure being able to sit and read God’s Word in the evening. During a recent message I preached, I recommended this new Bible, because I know that the Message paraphrase is a great translation to read along with a daily reading Bible. I always recommend having a few different translations to read for a deeper understanding. A chronological Bible is a blessing because it helps the reader to see things in an order that is not easy to understand when not in sequence.

The Message can be understood by any type of reader. This new Bible displays the verse numbers so you can look to your daily reading Bible for further study. As well, there is a guide to show where the books can be found as the order is chronological. The 100 readings are designed for a great progression through the books, without any loss to the message of the Gospel. The Bible allows for anyone to encounter Jesus and be moved by how He reveals Himself to us through His Word. There is plenty of room to write in the margins of this Bible as the Spirit leads.

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With Hesitation

Many people can remember Lot’s wife getting turned into a pillar of salt in Genesis 19, as God was destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. We cannot only consider Lot’s wife looking back, showing that she could not leave her sin behind. We also need to note the hesitation of Lot. He was commanded to leave with his daughters, but verse 16 notes that he hesitated, causing the angels to grab him.

Lot was not jumping for joy to leave Sodom—the angels grabbed him and took him from Sodom. He hesitated. He considered what he would be losing by leaving Sodom. He considered if he should go or stay. We do the same thing at times when we are living in sin. We consider if we really need to give up certain sin. We hesitate.

Today if there is something that God is trying to weed out of your life, don’t turn around, don’t hesitate. God knows what is best for you. Trust Him and walk forward with confidence.

“Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.” – Romans 6:16 [NLT]

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Prayer of a Righteous Man

When the Lord told Abraham that He planned to destroy Sodom, Abraham prayed. James wrote that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (5:16). We see this to be true in our own lives, and we see this when the angels come escort Lot out of Sodom to safety before the Lord brought destruction upon Sodom and Gomorrah for their great sin.

God hears prayer and He answers. Never doubt the power and effectiveness of prayer.  Abraham pleaded for Sodom. He first asked if God would save Sodom for fifty righteous people. Then he asked for forty-five, for forty, for thirty, for twenty, and then finally for ten righteous people. We see the great mercy of God as He says He will save Sodom for only ten people.

Nonetheless, there weren’t ten righteous men in Sodom, but Abraham’s prayer did not go unanswered. Lot and his daughters were escorted out of Sodom by angels. There is great power in prayer. Abraham’s prayer didn’t change God’s mind (His mind cannot be changed) but it did allow Abraham to see the mercy of God. Prayer changes us. Keep on praying.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16 [NIV]

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God Choices

GoodchoicesareGodchoicesWhen Abraham and Lot decided to part ways, Lot was given first pick of the land. Having first choice gave him the option of selecting the better land. Lot selected the better land, but that did not mean it was the best choice. The better land was located near Sodom, which meant that in selecting this prime land, he was choosing to live near a very sinful area. This would create a great temptation for Lot.

We later learn that Lot did not do so well with selecting the better land. King Kedorlaomer captured Lot and the others after a battle. Abraham then went out to rescue Lot but Sodom was so evil that God had to destroy the land and the people of Sodom. Lot never considered the people of Sodom as a problem—he based his choice of land on what was better from his vantage point.

Good choices are God choices. Good choices are those made considering God, His character, His Word, His will. Today as you are faced with many decisions, aim to make God choices.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2 [NIV]