Development of Lot
Like prominent punctuation marks, the name of Lot is inserted five times (Genesis 11:27, 11:31, 12:4, 12:5, 13:1) into our text which records the early part of Abraham’s story in the Word of God. This is the initial mention of Lot in Scripture. Though the spotlight is on Abraham in the text before us, Lot is mentioned periodically in such a way in the text that the careful reader will recognize Scripture preparing us to focus on Lot later on. This focusing on the life of Lot by Scripture will not come until after Scripture records Abraham returning from his disobedient trip to Egypt. Before that act of Abraham is recorded, the mention of Lot will only be the five brief references to him in our text.
But though these five initial mentions of Lot in Scripture are brief (and to some unimportant), they do give us enough information to show us some important factors affecting the development of Lot. Knowing about these factors will enable us to better understand what is said about Lot later on in Scripture. These factors can be summed up in a threefold way—the tears of Lot, the traveling of Lot, and the training for Lot. These three factors will have a substantial affect on anyone who experiences them. They can affect a person in a good way or a bad way, depending on one’s reaction to them. Lot, unfortunately, did not let these factors affect him in as good a way as he should have. To his credit, Lot did allow the experiences to help him reject idolatry; and so in the New Testament he is spoken of as a saved soul (2 Peter 2:7). But Lot was not a victorious Christian. While his eternal destiny was heaven, his heart’s interest was the world.
God sends many different kinds of experiences to people to train and develop them into strong saints and servants of His. Some of these experiences may be pretty rough, such as the tears Lot experienced. But they are not to destroy the individual. Rather, they are to build one up. However, many, like Lot, do not do well with their Divinely ordered experiences. They either gain smaller blessings than they should from their experiences; or, worse, they turn the experiences into destructive ones. So what should build them up, tears them down; what should strengthen their faith, weakens their faith; and what should warn them from doing evil, encourages them to do evil. This, unfortunately, was too often the case with Lot.
A. THE TEARS OF LOT
Lot drank deeply of the bitter cup of sorrow several times early in his life. He first experienced great sorrow when his father died; then later he again experienced similar sorrow when his grandfather died.
1. The Death of His Father
While we are not able to ascertain from the Bible the exact ages of Lot and his father when the latter died, it is evident from what Scripture does say that Lot’s father died long before his time and when Lot was still in his younger days; for "Haran [Lot’s father] died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees" (Genesis 11:28). Lot’s younger days here could cover any period of time from a small child to a young adult—a time especially hard for losing one’s father. It is hard to lose a parent at any time; but the younger one is when a parent dies, the greater the sorrow. Hence, for Lot, the death of his father would bring Lot heavy sorrow early in his life.
The coming of this sorrow is the first experience which we read about Lot in Scripture. Right after Scripture first mentions Lot with "Haran begot Lot" (Genesis 11:27), we next read "And Haran died before his father Terah" (Genesis 11:28). So Lot hardly gets on the scene in the Bible before sorrow is reported as his experience. The same can be said about his life. He did not have to wait long in life before he became acquainted with heavy personal grief and also witnessed his family experiencing the same. It would be an experience that would be etched deeply in Lot’s memory and heart.
After Lot’s father died, Lot was taken under the care of Terah his grandfather; for when Terah moved to Haran, the Bible says, "Terah took Abram, his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son" (Genesis 11:31) with him. When the man of the house died in those days, the family was left in dire straits. Women did not go into society and work as many do today; and, therefore, when the husband died, the home would be left without support unless some family member took over the care of the family. This Terah obviously did. It was not only a charitable thing for Terah to do, but it was also the logical thing for him to do, for he was the father of the deceased and the one person in the family who materially could best take care of others at that time. In those days folks did not expect and demand that the government assume their social responsibilities, but families took care of themselves as God intended they should. We could use a lot of emphasis on this truth in our day which seems to think government is responsible for meeting all our needs and that we should pray to "Our father in Washington" instead of to "Our father in heaven."
2. The Death of His Grandfather
The second taste of the bitter cup of sorrow by Lot came when his grandfather Terah died. "And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran" (Genesis 11:32). This sorrowing experience would doubtless not be nearly as great as the sorrow from the death of his father, but it would still be painful. Terah, in taking over the care of Lot, would be like a father to Lot; and his death, therefore, would be more strongly felt than had Lot still had his own father alive. Lot’s increased age would also temper the loss, but considerable sorrow would still be his portion in this death.
After Terah died, Lot came under the care of Abraham. This we learn when Scripture reports Lot going with Abraham to Canaan (Genesis 12:4). That Abraham was in authority over Lot is evidenced by the fact that when the two later separated one from another (see next chapter), Abraham was the one who supervised the separation. So again Lot was taken under the care of another relative after a death in the family.
Psychologists and psychiatrists would use these sorrowing experiences of Lot to excuse some of Lot’s later failures in conduct which Scripture reports. It is the habit of psychologists and psychiatrists—even the so-called Christian psychologists and psychiatrists—to try to excuse as many of the failures of men as possible. If there are bad experiences in one’s younger days, then they conclude that this somehow explains and even justifies some of one’s later shortcomings. The loss of parent and later guardian would be deemed enough to excuse Lot from his failures. However, do not buy any of this sort of thinking; for Scripture will never justify it. To the contrary, the Bible shows us men who have had some very difficult experiences early in life and yet have come out champions for God. Such a case is Joseph. At seventeen he was cruelly sold by his brothers into slavery and so was abruptly taken from his beloved father. Yet, Joseph, unlike Lot, turned out to be a man of gallant character.
We make fools of ourselves trying to justify our shortcomings. We need to confess our sins, not excuse them, if we want to improve things in our life. As we have previously noted, difficult experiences can be opportunities to build up our character and strengthen our faith. Letting them do the opposite is not justifiable. Lot did indeed experience some very painful times of sorrowing when tears would flow freely. But these times do not excuse his later sins. These times could have been used to strengthen his character.
B. THE TRAVELING OF LOT
From four of the five brief mentions of Lot in our text, we are informed that Lot did considerable traveling early in his life. This traveling involved three major trips which he took with Abraham. These trips could not help but greatly affect the development of his life. These trips were the journey from Ur to Haran, the journey from Haran to Canaan, and the journey from Canaan to Egypt and back. The third trip was actually two trips—one trip from Canaan to Egypt and one trip from Egypt back to Canaan. But since it was a round trip and is given as a continuous narrative in Scripture, we will refer to it as one trip.
These three trips can be labeled compromise, consecration, and condemnation as far as Abraham is concerned. The reason we label them in reference to Abraham and not Lot is that these three trips primarily concerned Abraham and his calling from God. Lot was not the main person on these trips. He went on the trips because of his subordinate relationship to those leading the trip. But these trips were important events in Lot’s life and had much to do with the developing of Lot.
1. The Trip of Compromise
Many would not call the trip from Ur to Haran a trip of compromise. But comparing Scripture with Scripture leaves us with no other conclusion. This trip from Ur to Haran was the beginning of Abraham’s move to Canaan as a result of God’s call to him. Although the first time Scripture reports God’s call to Abraham (Genesis 12:1–3) is after it had reported the trip from Ur to Haran (Genesis 11:31), Stephen, in his Spirit-inspired (Acts 6:10) speaking before the Sanhedrin, said the call came in Ur, not Haran. "The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran [Haran] and said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall show thee" (Acts 7:2,3). "Before" says the reporting of the call in Genesis 12:1–3 is either a review of the call (cp. "had" in Genesis 12:1) to explain Abraham’s move to Canaan or a repeat of the call to prod Abraham to continue on his way to Canaan. Either way, the trip from Ur to Haran was a compromise. We can see the compromise in at least three areas: associations, authority, and achievement.
Associations. The call of God to Abraham told him to "Get thee out of thy country [Ur], and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house" (Genesis 12:1). Abraham obeyed the part of his call about leaving his country, but he did not obey the part about leaving his relatives. Some writers try to excuse Abraham here by saying that the call was originally given to Terah; for Scripture says, "Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth . . . from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there" (Genesis 11:31). But that Scripture does not support the conclusion that Terah was given the call, and other Scripture will plainly state the call was to Abraham, not Terah. Acts 7:2 says it was Abraham who received the call in Ur; and Isaiah 51:2 really emphasizes this fact when it says God "called him [Abraham] alone." God did not call Abraham’s father or Abraham’s brothers or Abraham’s nephew or any other of Abraham’s relatives. Just Abraham was called. So only he, his wife, his servants, and his possessions were to be involved in going to Canaan. But Abraham compromised in regards to his associations. And, as we will see more about a bit later, this compromise was a factor in limiting his achievements. This gives a strong warning to all of us to be careful about our associations. The wrong associations can be ruinous.
This compromise has much to do with Lot and his record in the Scripture, for it is that which brings Lot on the scene in Scripture. Had Abraham not compromised in the matter of associations, Lot would have been left in Ur. The ramifications of this will never be perceived properly by the carnal mind which ever likes to embrace the philosophy that the end justifies the means. They will argue that if Lot had not been taken along on the trip with Abraham, he would never have been saved but would have remained in idolatry all his life. Yes, they will admit that Lot made a mess of his life in Sodom; but they will argue that at least he was saved—something they say he would not have been had Abraham not compromised.
But there is fault in such reasoning. The fault is that the compromise is viewed in this situation as necessary to bring about Lot’s salvation. But such a conclusion severely limits God and is an insult to God. Why would it be impossible for Lot to get saved if he had remained in Ur? Was God unable to save him there as well as in Canaan? To insist that disobedience (Abraham’s in this case) was necessary for Lot to be saved is to try to justify evil because of some good it brings. Such is a very defiled argument which many folk would advance, for the argument helps (in their minds) to justify their own evil. That good comes out of evil we readily admit. But it is only the result of the grace of God! It never justifies the evil. Never!
We do need to point out here that Lot is not to be faulted in being associated with Abraham in the trip. He was under the authority of others, and the decision to make the trip was not his. Where Lot is to be faulted is in his failure to take heed to the warning of this compromise in associations. Not heeding the warning of Abraham’s compromise in associations, Lot later also compromised a great deal in his associations (by living in Sodom) which cost him plenty.
Authority. The second area in which Abraham compromised was in the authority in leading the trip. Scripture said, "Terah took Abram . . . and . . . went forth . . . from Ur" (v. 31). Thus Terah was the one leading the group. Terah had no business being the leader, however; for that was Abraham’s calling, not Terah’s. Both Abraham and Terah are at fault here. Terah presumed the place of leadership, and Abraham neglected the place of leadership.
This problem of presume and neglect is found throughout society. It is found in the school where the school presumes in the care of children while the home neglects in the care of children. It is found in the feminists’ movements where women presume position in society while men neglect position. It is found in the home where wives presume leadership while husbands neglect leadership. This problem of presume and neglect is also seen frequently and prominently in the church. Church dissidents presume authority while church leadership and the other church members are negligent in that they do little to hinder the presumptuous ways of the dissidents. Many a pastor, even though he tries to exercise the leadership and authority which his calling gives him, runs into much distressing opposition by those members in the church who presume authority and who, like Terah, think they are the ones to lead the church instead. As the trip to Canaan was not successful until the right person was in charge, so the work of the Lord in the church will not be successful until the right person is in charge and is given due respect and authority by the church members.
Lot’s life will later reflect this problem of presume and neglect. He presumed honor over Abraham when separating from him, and he presumed in arguing with the heavenly angels about Divine precepts concerning leaving Sodom. The neglect problem is evident in how he raised his family. This is seen in Lot’s experience in Sodom and especially in the last scene Scripture gives of his life in which each of his last two unmarried daughters obtained a child by him through incest.
Achievement. Abraham’s compromise in associations and authority resulted in compromise in achievement. "They came unto Haran, and dwelt there" (Genesis 11:31) describes the compromise in achievement. The call was to go to Canaan. They stopped instead at Haran. In miles, they only went about half way. Compromise does not achieve complete victory. It never reaches the goal.
At first Abraham may have consoled himself in allowing some of his relatives to travel with him, for after all they were willing to leave Ur, and they did give the impression they would go to Canaan (Genesis 11:31). But upon reaching Haran, they stopped. That was far enough. Going to Canaan was too much. How often compromise plays this tune which so appeals to carnality. Full obedience is unacceptable to the carnal. They greet full obedience with a warning not to go too far. Extremism, impractical, unnecessary, and other like words are used by the carnal to describe full obedience to the Lord. But it is never extreme to fully follow the Lord. It is never impractical to obey God in every detail. It is never unnecessary to go all the way with God.
What did Lot learn from all of the compromising regarding this trip? Unfortunately, as we have already noted, Lot learned how to compromise. As his later life testifies, he certainly did not profit by the warning in this experience of the peril of compromise. He did not take to heart the troublesome results of compromise which he could see in Abraham’s life. Rather than be warned by the results of Abraham’s compromising, he seemed only to let Abraham’s compromising instruct him and encourage him to compromise.
Mankind can respond one of two ways when they observe disobedience to God, such as Lot observed. They can either let that disobedience encourage them to evil conduct, or they can let it warn them of evil conduct. The response depends on what is in a man. Low-minded men are always looking for excuses to do evil and pamper their base lusts. But high-minded men do just the opposite. Low-minded men use bad examples to encourage them to do evil. High-minded men will use bad examples to discourage them from doing evil. Unfortunately, as Alexander Whyte says, "Lot was not, and never became, a high-minded man." Lot was a low-minded man; and the older he got, the more readily this fact was seen.
2. The Trip of Consecration
Lot’s second lengthy trip occurred when Abraham ended his delay in obedience and left Haran to go to Canaan. "Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him . . . And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls [servants] that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came" (Genesis 12:4,5). This trip was the result of the consecration of Abraham to doing the will of God. He did exactly "as the Lord had spoken unto him" which is indeed consecration to doing the will of God.
We can especially observe the consecration of this trip of Abraham in the companions on the trip and in the country to which the trip took him.
Companions. On this trip, Abraham did not take along a host of kinfolk as he had done before This was a big and profitable improvement from his first trip. He was not hindered in reaching Canaan this time. Because of his care of Lot, Abraham did, of course, take one relative with him on the trip. With Abraham taking over the care of Lot when Terah died, Lot would be considered part of the household of Abraham in the same way an adopted son would be. Hence, Lot was not an hindrance to Abraham in making this trip successful.
However, in spite of the legitimacy of this exception about Abraham not taking kinfolk with him, it is still true that Lot later became a pain in the neck for Abraham which underscored the value of God’s orders to Abraham in Ur to take no kinfolk with him on the trip. Lot did not hinder Abraham from getting to Canaan, but he did provide some serious trials for Abraham after Abraham got to Canaan. We will see in later studies that Lot and his estate became such a problem to live with that Abraham had Lot move away from him. Then Abraham had to go to great lengths to rescue Lot from being a prisoner of Chedorlaomer. Also, it is apparent that Lot, living in Sodom as he did, was a real burden upon Abraham’s heart—a burden a parent has for a child who is living far from God and mingling much with the ungodly. But had Abraham obeyed God about the kinfolk from the start, Lot would not have been with Abraham and thus the problem he later was to him. Oh, that we would learn to obey God completely. How many headaches and heartaches we carry with us because somewhere back in the years we compromised and did not obey God fully. Some will not like this emphasis of ours, but it is time we began to point out the great perils—and they are great—of incomplete obedience. Incomplete obedience can leave great scars. Think about that the next time you are tempted to compromise, to hedge, and to dip the colors a bit.
Country. The end of the first trip spelled compromise, for it stopped at Haran. But the end of this second trip spelled consecration, for it did not stop until it came into the land of Canaan, the country to which God had told Abraham to go: "Into the land of Canaan they came" (Genesis 12:5).
Consecration, unlike compromise, will complete the mission. It will not stop short of the goal. The trip from Haran to Canaan was not an easy trip. It was 500 miles or more and involved moving flocks as well as family and furnishings. But Abraham kept going until he was in the land. In fact, he kept going after he got in the land. That is, he looked over the land. "Abram passed through the land unto the place of Shechem, unto the plain of Moreh . . . And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent . . . And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south" (Genesis 12:6–9). Abraham did not enter Canaan and stop at the northernmost border just as he crossed the border (he came from the north). No, he passed through all the land. He would see it all. His heart was in the task. This is consecration.
This trip would give Lot an excellent example of consecration to the will of God. In this trip, he would see in Abraham a man fully surrendered to doing the will of God. When they got in the land of Canaan, he would see Abraham unashamedly build altars to worship God right before the Canaanites (Genesis 12:7,8). Lot would also know of the reward of Divine revelation which came to Abraham for his obedience (Genesis 12:7). But, unfortunately, as we noted earlier, Lot was a low-minded man. Though he did profit enough from Abraham’s life and testimony to become a saved man, he did not profit enough from Abraham’s good example to follow it. As is true of carnality, he followed Abraham’s failures much more earnestly than he followed Abraham’s faithfulness.
3. The Trip of Condemnation
The third major travelling experience Lot was involved in during his younger years was the trip to and from Egypt which Abraham made after he had moved to Canaan. We do not learn that Lot was in on this trip until Scripture reports Lot returning from Egypt with Abraham: "And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him" (Genesis 13:1). This trip was wrong from the very beginning. Unlike the previous two trips, nothing was right about this trip. Abraham’s first trip was a compromise, but he was headed in the right direction. His second trip was as God ordered. But this third trip can only be entirely condemned. We will note three ways the trip is condemned. It was condemned in Abraham’s leaving of Canaan, in Abraham’s lying in Egypt, and in Abraham’s liability to the Egyptians (for a more extensive study on Abraham’s trip to Egypt, see the author’s book on Abraham).
Leaving of Canaan. God had called Abraham to go to the land of Canaan, not to Egypt. So why did Abraham go to Egypt? The answer is that he went to Egypt because of a famine in Canaan. "And there was a famine in the land; and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land" (Genesis 12:10). To the materialistic soul, this seems a legitimate move. After all, things were pretty tough in Canaan; and one must look out for himself. Yes, that is the world’s philosophy; but it should not be the believer’s philosophy. The believer has more than circumstances to guide his conduct. He has the Word of God. Circumstances may get pretty rough; but unless the Word of God sanctions the move, the move is not authorized. There were a few times when God did sanction the moving of His people to Egypt. Jacob, as an example, was told by God to move with his family to Egypt (Genesis 46:3), and Joseph and Mary were also instructed to flee to Egypt in order to provide safety for the Christ child (Matthew 2:13). But normally Egypt was forbidden. It represented the world, corruption, and godlessness.
God tests His own as to their commitment to His will. He sends troubles, and sometimes severe ones, to His people to see if they will do His will though hard times come. The way the world (and carnal Christians) think today, outward success is the big determiner of the will of God. If things go well, we stay put. If they do not, we move on. You may indeed move on in the will of God but make sure it is the will of God. Do not look at circumstances alone as the determiner of your conduct. The final authority is the Word of God. Abraham did not have his trip to Egypt sanctioned by the Word of God. He should have stayed in Canaan. God is not so weak that He could not have provided for Abraham in the famine. He Who fed Elijah by ravens and the Israelites in the desert with manna can take care of us in any place.
Lying in Egypt. One sin leads to another. When we get out of the will of God and do not let the Word of God guide us, we will get into more and more trouble. So it was with Abraham. Going to Egypt caused him some consternation about his own safety. He was afraid that some Egyptian might kill him in order to gain Sarah for a wife. So he had Sarah agree to tell folk she was his sister, not his wife. It is true that she was his half-sister (Genesis 20:12). But a half-truth is still a whole life. His intentions were to deceive.
The lying led to Sarah being "taken into Pharaoh’s house" (Genesis 12:15) which was the preliminary move for her becoming Pharaoh’s wife (cp. Genesis 12:18,19). Had God not intervened, it could have been a moral mess. Sarah would have become Pharaoh’s wife, and we would never have heard of Abraham. Her life would have been destroyed and his as well. But the grace of God intervened—and it was the grace of God! Abraham did not deserve the deliverance, for he had deliberately lied. He deserved the troubles that could have come to him. It is only Divine grace that delivers in a situation like that. We get ourselves in great trouble when we fail to honor truth properly. We think we can lie ourselves out of our troubles, but all that lying will do is put us into more trouble.
One of the things Abraham’s lying demonstrated was that he had at this time very poor priorities. In lying, he said that character was not as important as his physical and material well-being. Though corrupt this attitude is, it is not an unusual attitude. Abraham’s priorities here are the same as those of multitudes in our society. Our society gets very concerned about their physical and material well-being. But they care little about their moral health. So, as an example, our society pushes gambling because it supposedly helps the economy of society though it destroys the morals of society.
Liability to the Egyptians. Abraham’s conduct brought great troubles upon the house of Pharaoh. "And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife" (Genesis 12:17). Abraham did not sin just to himself. No one does (cp. Romans 14:7). Not only must Sarah have experienced much anguish of heart, but the plagues upon Pharaoh’s house caused pain and problems for many. So again we have that which emphatically condemns this trip from Canaan to Egypt, the third major travelling experience of Lot.
What did Lot learn from this trip? How did the trip affect him? Again we have to say that Lot, being a low-minded man, only picked up the negative practices. Later in Lot’s life, we can see in Lot’s poor behavior the three ways we saw Abraham’s conduct condemned in going to Egypt. First, Lot’s choosing the plain of Jordan (where Sodom was), because the plain was "like the land of Egypt" (Genesis 14:10) where he could get plenty for his flocks, copied Abraham’s leaving Canaan to go to Egypt where he could find plenty of food. This copied Abraham’s leaving of Canaan in that, like Abraham, Lot was more concerned about material well-being than moral well-being. Second, Lot’s willingness to give his daughters to the homosexuals to do to them as they wished (Genesis 19:8) reminds us of Abraham who, through his lying about Sarah being his sister, gave Sarah to Pharaoh to do to her body as he wished. And third, Lot’s living in Sodom, where he should not have lived, brought many troubles to his family just as Abraham’s living in Egypt, where he should not have lived, brought serious troubles to his family.While Lot cannot justify his conduct as a result of Abraham’s bad example, all of this does remind us forcefully that a Christian’s poor conduct can be a very harmful example for others. We need to frequently examine ourselves to see if our conduct is a stepping stone or a stumbling block to spiritual growth in others. Does our conduct encourage folk to live holier lives or more sinful lives? David’s sin with Bathsheba encouraged many to blaspheme God: "By this deed thou has given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme" (2 Samuel 12:14). Let us so live that we will always be a good example to others of holy living.
C. THE TRAINING FOR LOT
Though Abraham was, on some occasions, a poor example for Lot, he did, however, provide Lot with much good training. Abraham was not one to be negligent in training of his household. This fact is seen in several places in Scripture. We first see it in the report that Abraham had 318 "trained servants" (Genesis 14:14) who were able to go to war. These were the 318 men who attacked and defeated a powerful coalition of five kings who had just sacked Sodom and taken Sodom’s residents captive (Genesis 14:11–16). How good it was that Abraham had placed such an important priority and emphasis on this soldier training. In another place in Scripture we read that God said of Abraham, "I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment" (Genesis 18:19). While "command" emphasizes the authority Abraham exercised in leading his home, leading his home in the way of God also involved and required training the home in spiritual matters.
With Scripture making it very evident that Abraham gave much attention to training those under him, we are justified in concluding that Lot was given much good training since he lived in Abraham’s home for a number of years. We note two areas especially where Lot would be trained by Abraham. One area would be spiritual, the other would be vocational.
1. His Spiritual Training
Lot came from a family of idolaters. Joshua 24:2 affirms this when it says, "Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood [the Euphrates River] in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham . . . and they served other gods." Abraham was called out of idolatry to worship and serve the true God. Lot came with Abraham and so while living with him would profit by the spiritual training in Abraham’s household.
What a privilege to be in the home where the head of the household worshipped and served the true God and encouraged others to do so. This was not the situation in the homes of Lot’s other relatives. In fact, when Jacob went back to Haran, in fleeing Esau, he found the other relatives engaged in idol worship. His favorite wife Rachel even went so far as to take idols with her when they fled her father Laban. Finally Jacob, under the urging of God, had to tell his family to "Put away the strange gods that are among you" (Genesis 35:2).
Lot benefited enough from this spiritual training so that he became a saved man. We have to go to the New Testament to verify this, however. Peter speaks of Lot as "just" (2 Peter 2:7), as a "righteous" man (2 Peter 2:8), and as having a "righteous soul" (Ibid.). If Peter had not said this, we would never have concluded that Lot was a saved man; for Lot’s conduct did not manifest that he was a child of God. But three times Peter states Lot was saved.
This testimony of Peter not only confirms that Lot was saved, but it also confirms what we have been saying; namely, that Lot was given some very valuable spiritual training from Abraham. However, as we have noted before, Lot was not a good steward of his spiritual opportunities and advantages. Though excellent his spiritual training by Abraham, Lot did not grow much spiritually.
Many folk in every age have been like Lot in that they have not been a good steward of their spiritual opportunities. Our generation especially is guilty of not using our spiritual opportunities. We have had so many more spiritual advantages than previous generations such as easy access to church services, many more Bible preaching churches and services (old timers were often limited to one service a month by a traveling preacher), a host of Gospel radio broadcasts, a number of Christian radio stations, many Christian colleges, and a multiplicity of Bible teaching books. Yet, spiritual ignorance abounds more today in our land than it did when it had far less spiritual opportunities. We will certainly have to answer to God for not using our spiritual privileges as we ought.
2. His Vocational Training
Not only did Lot receive good spiritual training from Abraham; but it is also evident that he received some good vocational training, too, particularly in the raising of livestock. When Scripture begins to focus especially on Lot, he already was doing well in the business of raising livestock; for it reports that Lot "had flocks, and herds, and tents" (Genesis 13:5). Over the years in Abraham’s home, Lot had obviously, through the helpful tutoring of Abraham, learned well the livestock business. Abraham would be a good one to teach Lot this business, too; for Abraham was a good man in this area. He oversaw a very successful ranch (to use the vernacular of our day) that had hundreds of servants (318 alone were trained for war which indicates he could have had as many as a thousand servants, for he had women servants as well as men servants, and many of the men servants could not be spared for war). Lot’s success in flocks and herds and tents surely owed much to his training by Abraham.
How did Lot use this training? Like he used every other opportunity. Being low-minded, he used it selfishly. Someone has said that Abraham had flocks, herds, and tents; but flocks, herds, and tents had Lot. Trained with valuable skills, Lot unfortunately used them to pamper carnal desires. He is not alone, of course. The world is just like him, and a great many members of our fundamental churches are no better. They, as we will see more about later in Lot’s life, would leave the fellowship of godly Abraham to make an extra buck in Sodom because they put more priority on material gain than spiritual gain.
Lot had plenty of help in his early days to develop into something better than he turned out to be. In grace, God gave Lot many opportunities to help him do well. But he was a worldly Christian. The spirit of the world gripped his heart, and he did not use his opportunities to improve spiritually. This is true of all worldly Christians. Spiritual improvement does not have priority with these folk. Their interests are chiefly material. They may be saved; but they never develop into strong, victorious saints.