The Sin in Lot’s Choosing

Genesis 13:10-11 (ESV)

10 And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)
11 So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other.

There are so many sermons that attribute sin to this event in Lot’s life.  Mostly though they are just speculative ideas.  Scripture doesn’t itemize the sins of Lot.  Actually there is very little said about what Lot did right or wrong and without 2 Peter 2:7-8 we might would have to wonder if Lot was even a believer.

The ESV Study Bible has this note for Genesis 12:10-20:

The events described in this section raise many questions that go unanswered, creating a sense of ambiguity as to how the behavior of everyone involved should be judged.  As is common in biblical stories, the narrator gives no direct evaluation of the participants’ actions, leaving the reader to figure out the ethical questions.

We could speculate Lot sinned by:

  • Taking the first choice
  • Letting his herdsmen and animals interfere with his Father figure’s livestock and herds.
  • Not choosing to stay with Abraham
  • Choosing the “best” portion
  • Choosing an evil area

However there is one definite we are given “Lot chose for himself.

Lot didn’t choose what the Lord would have him do.  Lot didn’t choose what would be best for his family.  Lot didn’t choose what would be best for Abraham.  Lot chose for himself.  What appealed to Lot was the criteria for the selection.

Later in the Bible the Jewish people are told by Joshua to choose whom they will serve, either the foreign gods or the Lord.

Joshua 24:15 (ESV) And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Was Lot serving the Lord?  No, Lot served himself.  Being in Sodom was not the sin.  Why Lot was in Sodom was the sin.  Lot was in Sodom to serve himself.  Lot saw that the area around Sodom was fertile and well watered which would help increase his flocks and his wealth.  Was the choosing an area due to the potential wealth the sin.  No.  Not seeking the Lord’s will was the sin.

Lot did not seek the Lord for help in deciding what should be done about the situation between him and Abraham.  Lot did not seek the Lord for wisdom in making a decision.  Lot did not seek the Lord’s will nor did he seek the kingdom of God.  Lot sought for himself.

Matthew 6:33 (ESV) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Lot also didn’t seek what was best for his family, if he had one at the time, nor did he seek what would be best for his future family.  Lot sought the potential of the area of Sodom.  Lot was after financial gain and ease.  He took the easy way out to wealth.  Later in Genesis we start seeing mention of wells in Abraham’s portion (Genesis 21:25) and Isaac is known for his well digging (Genesis 26:18). But Lot chose the well watered portion that reminded him of Egypt.

Lot, the orphan who followed Abraham to a new country, failed to trust in the Lord.  The Lord that had made Abraham “very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold” (Genesis 13:2) and had also made Lot very rich in “flocks and herds and tents” (Genesis 13:5).  Lot couldn’t trust the Lord to continue to sustain him.  Lot must help himself to get and keep his wealth.

Where was Lot’s fear of the Lord?  If Lot had feared the Lord he would have been instructed in what he should choose.

Psalms 25:12 (ESV) Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.

Lot was in Sodom because he chose for himself instead of seeking the kingdom of God.  The Lord might have sent Lot to Sodom anyway as a witness to the people similar to a Jonah to the Ninevites.  But our first goal in any decision should always be to seek first the kingdom of God. (Matthew 6:33)


3 thoughts on “The Sin in Lot’s Choosing

  1. I agree fully with this post, of course. Choosing for oneself is definitely the road to disaster more often than not.

    Lot vexed his righteous soul for the sake of wealth. How many believers today are doing the same?

    It is worth noting though that when the time came for Sodom to be destroyed, Lot was considered righteous and was spared, along with his family.

    But the price he paid for his temporary comfort was a steep one indeed!


    Berean Wife Reply:


    We do stray into all kinds of sin and troubles when we take our focus off of the Lord. 🙁 Concern for ourselves, our finances and our own things will cause us to do things to protect ourselves without considering the Lord’s will. I’m afraid there are many believers who are doing things that vex them for the sake of wealth and the security they think that wealth will bring.

    It is so wonderful to know that those the Lord calls, He will also protect even despite our sin and unworthiness. Thankfully keeping our salvation isn’t dependent upon us or else we would have all lost it.

    Berean Wife


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