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The Lot Story


Why Good People Make Bad Choices Series




Copyright 2017 Abayomi Adeosun

abayomi.adeosun@gmail.com



Book Edited by:

Grace Adejuwon

Opeyemi Fabunmi


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CONTENTS

PREFACE TO THE SERIES

PREFACE TO THIS EDITION

CHAPTER 1: EARLY LIFE

CHAPTER 2: LOT’S BIG ERROR

CHAPTER 3: THE OMEN

CHAPTER 4: ANOTHER BIG ERROR

CHAPTER 5: THE AVALANCHE

CHAPTER 6: LIKE FATHER LIKE DAUGHTERS

UNHAPPY ENDING

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

PREFACE TO THE SERIES

Every day we are faced with multiple choices, some are trivial and some have long lasting consequences. We are all products of the choices we made and the influence of the choices made by people around us. Why Good People Make Bad Choices is a series of true life stories of good people with good intentions who took the wrong turns at the crossroads of life decisions. Understandably, it's hard to predict where a road leads unless you have been there or you are in touch with someone who has been there. Underlining wrong choices is the inability to accurately predict the future. Starting with Bible characters, this series takes a closer look at the lives of good people who made choices that seemed best to them but ended up where they did not plan to be, and gives us an insight into decision-making.





PREFACE TO THIS EDITION

Contrary to widespread belief, Lot was by all means a good man. Having seen his father and grandfather die without fulfilling their dreams, he grew up with a strong drive for success, and he became successful in his own right. In addition, he was a good man who managed to raise chaste daughters in a pervert culture, yet, he ended up as the father of incest and his name does not readily bring inspiring memories. How did such a good man end up so badly? This book closely examines the choices he made and how those choices marred him forever!



EARLY LIFE

Many centuries ago, when the earth was still very young, humans were just about ten generations from the global flood pandemic that annihilated everything and everyone except a small family and a pair of each animal species. Men were moving and spreading on the face of the earth. A man, named Terah, set out to a land called Canaan. Terah had three sons – Abram, Nahor and Haran. Haran had a son, Lot, and then died an untimely death, while his father was still living. Abram had no child. Lot grew up in the arms of his grandfather and uncles. The loss of his father must have come to him as a shock. His story began with an unfortunate incidence that he knew nothing about.

Terah took his son Abram, Abram’s wife, Sarai and his grandson Lot and set out for the land of Canaan but he got tired and settled on the way. He must have been so grieved by the loss of his son that he gave up his dream of going to Canaan, settled in a place and named it Haran, after his dead son. He eventually died there himself, never completing his journey. Lot was there all the while; he saw his father and his grandfather die without achieving their dreams. That must have birthed in him a strong desire to ‘make it’ in life. After Terah’s death, Lot continued to live with his uncle Abram, who inevitably became his guardian.


A Little Gist about Uncle Abram

Abram had his own issues to deal with. Equally bereaved by the loss of his brother and father, he still had to take responsibility for his nephew. In addition, he had no child and had concerns about who would take after him. After his father’s death, Abram received a divine instruction to leave the land and continue on the journey. He set out with his wife and nephew, along with all the servants and maids he had acquired.

Abram was known for his relationship with God and prompt obedience to God’s instructions. When God told him to set out, he did, not knowing where he was going, but he was assured that God would take care of him. Abram did not allow his family issues and childlessness to cloud his judgement. He made a conscious decision to follow God. Evidently, he didn’t come from a believing family in that sense, and little wonder God told him to leave his people and walk with Him.

He built altars and prayed to God a lot, as a result, he had some glimpse into the future. For instance, as they approached Egypt, Abram knew that his wife’s beauty would appeal to the Egyptians and they would kill him and present her to their king. He therefore told his wife to present herself as his sister, so they could spare his life. Indeed, things played out exactly as Abram had predicted. As soon as they arrived in Egypt, word of Sarai’s beauty quickly made its way into Pharaoh’s palace. The king invited her in, and gave gifts to Abram, presumed to be her brother. Of course, the truth later came out that Sarai was actually Abram’s wife and Pharaoh sent Abram and his wife away, but not without the gifts (smiles). Abram always knew things ahead before they happened. Without an impending battle, Abram had a 318-man army in his house, trained to war. He saw a future need for an army and he created one in his own house. Abram’s walk with God even affected his name. God changed his name to Abraham (father of nations) to reflect His promise to him.

Abram’s relationship with God also impacted on his character. He was an easygoing man who would avoid strife by all means. He was very hospitable; he knew how to honour guests. He had an incredible ability to pass across instructions to his household. He taught his immediate family, his servants, maids, herdsmen, and everyone living with him to keep the terms of his covenant with God, he commanded respect and kept his family in order. When God instituted male circumcision as a token of His covenant with Abram, Abram circumcised himself and every male in his household the same day and no one protested. Eleazar, Abram’s chief of staff, learnt to pray to God from Abram, and that helped him to carry out the task of finding a wife for his master’s son much later. Even God commented that Abraham could pass instruction down generations. He was that kind of tough but gentle old man.


And our Dear Lot

Lot was a shrewd and hardworking farmer. He was a smart and confident young man who wouldn’t let his background put his back on the ground. He had watched his father and grandfather die without achieving their dreams, and had developed a strong hatred for (or fear of) poverty and mediocrity that he was determined to be a success by all means. While living with Abram, Lot had his own tent, his own servants and a growing cattle business with employed herdsmen. His cattle business soon became a symbol of success for him, and he became obsessed with growing the business.

With Abram’s God-confirmed reputation of enforcing discipline in his household, one would expect that Lot, being Abram’s next of kin, would pick up some traits from his uncle. Of course he did, but somehow he seemed to have missed the very important ones. My guess is that he spent much of his time going about his business and had little significant contact with Abram, thereby missing his uncle’s mentorship. I would like to think that Abram tried to reach out to him but he was an ‘independent’ nephew who didn’t want an old school uncle poking his nose into his matter.

He did not seem to pay much attention to developing a relationship with God, he was just a good easygoing man, who wouldn’t hurt a fly. But like his uncle, he was a very hospitable man; very welcoming and accommodating. Hospitality seemed to run in the family so much they would persuade a stranger to accept their offer of hospitality.

Abram and Lot lived together in harmony as they sojourned from one land to another on their way to where God said he would show Abram. The two men saw remarkable increase in their wealth and influence. Their agribusinesses thrived with large herds of sheep, goats, donkeys and camels, that they acquired more servants and herdsmen to manage their resources as their caravan grew very large.

Despite coming from the same family and background, Abram and Lot had very different outlooks. Abram’s desire for success drove him to subject himself to God’s guidance, and that produced faith and peace; faith was his impetus. Lot’s desire for success seemed to drive him to believe in himself and his ability to make things happen, and that produced self-reliance; Lot was self-made. Fear of failure – ending like his father and grandfather – was his motivation.

LOT’S BIG ERROR

Then, there came a time that it was practically impossible for them to live together. The physical space and resources could not support their cattle and their herdsmen began to quarrel over space. Being a goodly gentleman, Abram suggested that they parted ways amicably, and offered Lot the opportunity to choose wherever he wanted to go first, proposing that he would go the opposite direction. Lot was pleased with the offer. He quickly spotted the plain of Jordan – a land of green pastures, lush and well-watered. It was a perfect grazing site for his large herd of cattle. He was sure his business would thrive there. Also Sodom and Gomorrah were close by, a ready market for his cattle. Without hesitation, he opted for the plain of Jordan and left uncle Abram to sort himself. Abram, also a successful farmer with a growing business had need for green pastures, but he was such a man who depended solely on God’s guidance and direction. Just before He set out in the opposite direction however, God told him to look around – north, south, east and west – as far as his eyes could see, that all that land would belong to him and his descendants. Abram recognized that though he was smart and sensible, there is a limit to how far his senses could take him.

Many have said that Lot’s choice was out of greed, but I think he did what he thought was best for his business. No businessman would resist the offer to plant his business in a location with free and abundant resources, a stable economy and a large population of potential customers. His decision was a smart business move. The problem was not his separation from his uncle either, it was inevitable as their businesses grew. His big error was to make the decision of where to go solely on what he thought would make his business thrive. Needless to say, this is an indicator of the bad little choices he had been making while with Abram

There obviously is a dimension beyond the physical realm. A realm that goes beyond what the eyes can see, what the ears can hear, what the tongue can taste, what the nose can smell, what the skin can feel and in fact, what the finest of minds can fathom. Unfortunately, many people ignore this realm and make decisions entirely based on physical impulses.

Many years ago, Babylon, the world’s superpower, fought a battle with Israel and took some captives. The king of Babylon, a lover of wisdom, had plans to surround himself with the world’s finest minds. He selected among the captives, young men who were healthy, smart, good-looking, and who had capacity to learn; supplied them the best of diet and subjected them to a 3-year training in the cultures and civilization of Babylon. He would conduct a personal examination for them and absorb the successful ones into his cabinet. Among them were four men who, being loyal to the God of their nation, would not partake of the king’s sumptuous diet. They quietly made a deal with the king’s officer over them to substitute the royal meal with vegetables and water. The deal entailed a ten-day observation period, after which the officer would examine their appearance and health, and decide whether to continue with the deal or force the king’s food down their throats. At the end of their probation period, they looked far more radiant and healthier than their colleagues who fed regularly on the king’s diet, so the official allowed them to continue on water and veggies. Moreover, they performed better in the king’s personal examination after three years of schooling than their colleagues and even their tutors. A diet of water and veggies doesn’t seem to me like a balanced diet, but this men lived on it for 3 years and came out healthier, stronger and smarter than those who had the best of diet. How in the world did they know that water and veggies would be just fine for them?

Lot was never aware of that realm and made no contact with it. He could only make his decisions based on what was available to him – his business sense. Abram on the other hand, built altars and prayed consistently to access that realm. Lot’s error had its root in his inability to learn about this realm from his uncle all the while they lived together before the time came for their inevitable separation.

THE OMEN

Lot arrived in Sodom and settled there. Being an easygoing and accommodating man, he was quickly accepted by the people of Sodom to live with them. His cattle grazed the entire plain of Jordan without obstruction. His business was booming, just as he had imagined it. But what was cooking underneath was entirely out of his control and he wasn’t prepared for it.

Bera, the king of Sodom, along with four other kings, rebelled against king Chedorlaomer under whose rule they had been for twelve years. They got fed up of paying tributes and rebelled against his authority in the thirteenth year. In response, Chedorlaomer and three other kings who were still loyal to him came against all the rebellious kings. The battle was fierce against the rebellious kings as they couldn’t stand Chedorlaomer’s force of vengeance. Their lands were raided and everything – man and cattle – was taken captive. Lot who of course knew nothing about the kings and their rebellion was taken captive as well, with all that he had laboured for all his life. He came into Sodom as a young smart businessman but left as a helpless captive of war.

The news soon reached Abram about his nephew’s captivity. He got up, took his 318-men army, and went after Chedorlaomer. Abram was not embittered by Lot’s separation from him, nor was he jealous that Lot took the best of the land for himself. Abram had a different mindset, he had been hanging out with God. The old man strategized with his army, hit the enemy at night, and rescued everything and everyone that was taken captive from Sodom, including Lot and all his possessions. Lot owed his life to his uncle’s gracious act. He had thought that was the end of his life and business, but hope was restored and he was brought back to Sodom, where his cattle business could again thrive on the plain of Jordan. Of course, he couldn’t go back with Abram, the available land still wouldn’t suffice for them. Besides, Chedorlaomer and his allies had been killed; hence, there was no imminent threat to the peace of Sodom, and no obvious reason to reconsider his choice of location. However, if Lot had been taking his cue from the spirit realm, he would have considered the incidence as an omen to rethink his choice.

People who are not led by the spirit will have to be guided by circumstances. You hear people say, “Let’s give it a try, if it’s God’s will, it would work, otherwise, it wouldn’t work.” Circumstances are not a perfect way to be led; the fact that something works does not mean God is backing it. However, circumstances do serve as omens especially for people who would not be led by the spirit. In many cases, people still encounter challenges while on the right part, hence, a roadblock is not necessarily an indication that you are on a wrong path, but it is always an opportunity for a good reevaluation and be certain that you are on the right path.

You have to come to God believing that He exists and He wants to hang out with you. If all of your prayer time goes into making request about things, blessing, promotion, protection, breakthrough, you’re shortchanging yourself. There is a lot more to relating with God than asking for things. He wants to relate with you as a Father and as a close Friend, showing you deep stuff and providing guidance and comfort along the way. A good way to draw close is by spending time reading the Bible, and don’t just read it, think about what you’re reading and how it applies to you. It’s the way to keep in touch with the spirit realm.

ANOTHER BIG ERROR

In the following years after his return from captivity, Lot reestablished his business and continued to grow it, he wouldn’t let the setback put him behind. He acquired more herdsmen and servants. Lot was content with his life, he had everything going on fine for him; well established business, a beautiful wife, lovely and obedient children; he was living his dream. At last, he had worked his way out of the misfortune of unfulfilled dreams that plagued his predecessors. He was a self-made success. Lot had two lovely daughters, who took after him in many ways; good people, morally upright and sexually chaste, despite the wickedness that surrounded them. But like their father, they did not know God. How could they? Their father could only pass on to them what he had; morals and good intentions.

The people of Sodom were wicked people, men and women, young and old. The vilest perversions on earth at that time were the norm in Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot however, ensured that his family’s integrity and business were preserved in the midst of the rottenness around. Very likely, he had guards to protect his cattle from robbery and a high fence to shield his house from unlawful invasion. His chariots even had draperies and tinted glass to prevent his eyes from beholding the corruption around. Simply put, Lot painstakingly ensured he was different from the people of Sodom, and that’s commendable. However, the isolation was his second big error because the lifestyle of the people he did not influence had attracted a big disaster, and it was such that the uprightness of his family alone couldn’t avert.

The wickedness of the men of Sodom had reached its peak and God was fed up. He was so disgusted that He wanted to wipe out every living thing in the entire land – it was going to be a genocide. God gave his friend Abraham a hint on this plan, and Abraham quickly took the chance to intercede for the land. He had rescued the people of Sodom from the hands of Chedorlaomer and he was trying his very best to rescue them from the hands of God. Abraham negotiated till God said He wouldn’t destroy the land if it had ten righteous people. Abraham knew that Lot and his family were good people, and was certain that there would be at least ten righteous people in the household of Lot, for whose sake the land would be spared. But Lot had not been evangelizing!

This attitude is quite common. People drive big cars, live in big houses, wear expensive cloths but care less about the man on the street. Of course, you are not responsible for the people on the street, but lending a little hand to help can go a long way. What these beloved folks really need is not just money, but eternal life – the same life that keeps you off the street. You should not just rejoice at your salvation and ignore the call to reach out to other people for whom Christ died as well. On the surface, it doesn’t look like a big deal, but in the big picture, this selfish attitude boomerangs; the young boy you didn’t lead to Christ today might just become the terrorist who would prohibit freedom of worship in your city.

Unfortunately, God didn’t find up to ten righteous people in the entire lands of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot’s uprightness did not even impact the servants in his house nor the herdsmen of his business, not even his daughters’ fiancés else they would have been counted among the righteous and there would have been more than ten of them. He only preserved his immediate family. The moral decadence of the land was quite bad and Lot’s moral influence was quite weak.

THE AVALANCHE

When someone tells a lie, another lie would be needed to keep the first one from leaking. When someone attains a height by gimmicks or bribery, more tricks and plots would be needed to keep him there. Same goes for people who neglect God’s wisdom and make things happen for themselves, except God’s mercy finds them, they would have to struggle by their own power to keep their heads above water – and sometimes, the tides are just too overwhelming; calamity comes down like an avalanche.

Two angels of God arrived in Sodom one evening, they came as men. Their mission was to observe the attitudes of the people before annihilating them (I believe God was really reluctant to destroy them). They planned to spend the night on the streets where they could have a good grasp of what went on in the city. Being a hospitable man, Lot invited them to stay in his house, and they consented after much persuasion. Lot gave them the finest treat you could get from a rich man but before they retired to bed that evening, the people of Sodom brought their perversion to Lot’s doorstep; they wanted to have sex with his guests. Angels are beautiful creatures and when they appear as men, they really look good. The men of Sodom couldn’t resist. Lot tried his very best to save the situation, he even offered his two daughters – virgins – but the men of Sodom wanted the gorgeous celestial men.

The angels needed no further observation on the streets. They moved to execute the wrath of God upon the land. At their request Lot went out to speak with his would-be sons-in-law, so they could leave with him and be preserved, but he couldn’t even convince them all night. At dawn, the angels hurried Lot and his family out of the city. The destruction was at the command of God and had to be carried out in a hurry. They were taken outside of the city and instructed to run to the mountain and never to look back. The angels assured them that the destruction would not begin until they had arrived on the mountain. Lot and his family hesitated, it was like a dream to them. Lot was being hurried helplessly out of the land a second time, and again, it was for a cause he knew nothing about. He had ignored the warning of his first exit. Even worse this time, he was leaving behind his cattle business, herdsmen, servants, neighbours, everything he had acquired in several years, and he knew he would never see them again. It was worse than an economic meltdown or a sudden loss of means of livelihood. He was going to sink deeper than when he came into the land. Lot’s wife also knew the implication; the empire she had built with her husband for several years and all the comfort they had enjoyed would vanish in a couple of hours. Lot’s daughters, amongst other things would never see their friends and fiancés again, for life. Everybody they knew, aside their parents, was going to die.

Making a wrong choice is like making a wrong turn. Retracing your steps is easier at the onset of the divergence, but the farther you go, the more difficult it is to make amends and the more grievous the consequences.

Lot began to fear. Fear of the future, fear of the unknown, and low self-esteem all came upon him as he realized how helpless his intelligence and business acumen were to him at that point in time. Afraid that evil would befall him where the angels asked him to go, he requested that they should allow him to go to Zoar, a small town nearby, repeating his typical error of choosing what he thinks is best for himself. No sooner had Lot and his family arrived at Zoar than a rain of fire and brimstone fell upon the entire landmass of Sodom and Gomorrah, destroying everything and everyone. In a couple of hours, everything Lot worked for and all that his life represented vanished – and he couldn’t do anything about it. Lot’s wife took a last look at their mansion, their herds of cattle, their lush pasture, but alas, it was all smoke and ashes. And with that disobedient look (remember the angels instructed them not to look back), she turned into a pillar of salt – adding to the horror of her already bereaved husband and daughters.


LIKE FATHER LIKE DAUGHTERS

Lot and his daughters arrived at Zoar but did not settle there. Fear of people had been added to Lot’s catalogue of phobias. Having lost everything he had due to the lifestyles of the people around him, he would rather live alone. He left Zoar and went up the mountain – same mountain the angels had told him to go at first – and settled in a cave with his daughters.

Lot gave up on life and on all his dreams. He made no attempt to restart his agribusiness; lost his passion for cattle farming, lived on the mountain where cattle couldn’t graze and where there were no people he could do business with. Lot settled in the cave and was ready to spend the rest of his life there, ending up just like his grandfather Terah, though he did his best to have a different story.

His daughters soon contracted his despair. The elder called the younger one day and told her what was supposed to be the obvious, ‘there is no man on earth to marry us’. There was no man with them on the mountain but how couldn’t there be any man on earth to marry them? That statement suggested that they too had learnt to live by their senses. Since they had lost their fiancés to Sodom’s destruction, they had also lost hope of getting married altogether. They hadn’t learnt to see beyond the moment and trust God. Like their father, they made decisions based on what their minds could figure out.

The elder suggested that they made their father drunk and slept with him so they could have children and preserve their family, and they did, having two sons, Moab and Ben ammi, by their father, Lot. Moab and Ben Ammi, who did not deserve to be borne by incest, became extensions of Lot’s error. Their descendants would later contend with the descendants of Abraham.

Nothing more was recorded in the Bible about Lot since he moved to the mountain. He must have died there. He was succeeded by 2 sons born by his 2 daughters. I wonder what the family was like before he died.

UNHAPPY ENDING

At significant crossroads of his life, Lot made decisions based on what he thought was best for him, but the road that seemed right to him, ended in destruction. His bad choices had their roots in the fact that he did not learn the ways of God when he had the chance to, which would have been his greatest takeaway from Abram. His ignorance of God’s ways led him to make bad choices, generate terrible results, influence his daughters and end up the father of incest. Abraham’s choices on the other hand, were significantly influenced by his relationship with God. He wouldn’t move an inch unless he was sure the move was God’s leading. He ended well as the father of faith. Till today, millions of people globally claim to be Abraham’s children – people just want to be associated with him.

The greatest mistake a child of God can make is to be lethargic about walking with God and learning His ways. It is one thing to seek to enjoy God’s goodness, it is another thing to quest and follow after Him. You may enjoy His goodness without really knowing Him, but you can never enjoy some depths of His goodness. But if you thirst after God, truly seek to know Him and walk with Him, you will enjoy His goodness, to no end.

Lot’s mistake and choices are not uncommon today. Many people innocently make significant life decisions on their own and end up managing avoidable calamities. I hope this story serves as an example for you today. You shouldn’t repeat his mistake and expect a different result. Make conscious efforts to walk with God daily and learn His ways. Make out time daily to commune with Him, let Him guide you on life issues. He is the only wise God, any counsel contradicting His can only be one thing – foolishness.



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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Abayomi is a proficient public health researcher and an insightful storyteller. In this series, he combines his analytical thinking and storytelling prowess to help you avoid pitfalls in decision making.



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