Have you ever regretted a decision you made? Sure you have! We all have. Yet, we make decisions every single day. Some we can anticipate the results, but most are based on the present circumstances and no indication of what the future might hold.
In my recent study of Genesis 13, some things occurred to me about decisions, how we make them, and why we make them. The results depend on those involved, the reason for the choice, and circumstances that surround the making of those decisions.
In Genesis 12, God sent Abram away from his home to travel toward a new land, Canaan. His journey took him to Egypt and then north to a place called Bethel.
Abram’s nephew, Lot, travelled with him, along with their families, servants, and livestock. There was considerable wealth for both Abram and Lot. They had substantial livestock, and Abram is said to have also been rich in silver and gold (Genesis 13:2).
Because of the great number of animals and the size of their households, the land would not support both of them. Their herdsmen began to argue, and Abram became concerned about the trouble brewing in their camp.
Abram approached Lot and said, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen” (Genesis 13:8).
Notice that Abram first approached Lot by presenting the problem and then reminding him of their relationship. Abram and Lot were joined by nature, by blood relationship, and by faith in God.
Seeing the difficulty of the situation, Abram made a suggestion. “Is not the whole land before you? 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” (Genesis 13:9).
Abram wanted a good relationship to continue with Lot. He knew there would be trouble if things continued as they were, so he decided to give Lot a choice of the land before them. Abram had the right to send him away rather than allow him to choose on his own, but he permitted him to make the choice.
So Lot looked around, and this is how he made his decision. “He 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” (Genesis 13:1)). He chose what he thought was the better land.
With the decision made, Lot and Abram separated; Abram settled in the land of Canaan, and Lot settled close to the cities of the valley. Lot pitched his tent toward the city of Sodom where the men were “great sinners against the LORD” (verse 13), but Abram settled at Hebron, “and there he built an altar to the LORD” (verse 18).
Do you see the difference? One moved in with the sinners, and the other one drew himself closer to God.
When we make decisions, we need to look at the big picture. We need to look at how our decision will affect our future. Will it take us into the paths of a sinful life or bring us closer to the Father?
There is no mention of Lot having a wife until we read about the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19. There we find that Lot had a wife. He also had sons and daughters, and some of his daughters were married (Genesis 19:12). Two of them were not (verse 8).
In verse 15, angels instructed Lot to take his wife, his daughters and sons-in-law and get out of the city before the Lord destroyed it. Evidently his sons-in-law were not interested in leaving, and verse 16 says that the angels had to take them all by their hands and take them out of the city.
The angels also instructed them not to look back, but Lot’s wife couldn’t resist. She turned and looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
Lot’s decision to turn his tent toward Sodom caused him nothing but heartache. His wife, most likely, came from the people with whom he settled. At the least, his family settled into a place where the people were “wicked, great sinners against the LORD.” They loved this wicked place so much they didn’t want to leave it.
When we settle into a wicked lifestyle, the devil makes it very difficult for us to walk away. This is most definitely a reason to look seriously at the decisions we make.
Sometimes we find ourselves in compromising situations that can’t be attributed to our decision. In that place, with those people, we must make a decision. We must remember the words of James, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:17).