When I was a kid, pinatas were all the rave at birthday parties. You remember how it worked. You were blindfolded, turned around and around till you felt sick, handed a stick, and sent on a mission to free the candy from inside the pinata. Sounds easy, but in practice, it’s much harder. Being blindfolded and disoriented isn’t exactly a recipe for a crushing candy freeing blow, but it was an opportunity to walk by faith. Since you couldn’t see and had no idea where the pinata was at after the dizzying spin, you had to rely on your friends to tell you where to swing. You had to walk by faith, which is the exact opposite of what Lot did.
Lot’s Walk – By Sight
In Genesis 13, due to a conflict between their shepherds, Abraham approached Lot and gave him the opportunity to choose what land he would want to inhabit. After Abraham gave Lot the choice of which land to take, we are told that:
“…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.)
“…Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.” (Ge 13:10–13)
As I read through the commentaries, I discovered that when Abraham offered Lot the left or right, he was offering him a place in the land of Canaan. Lot, however, looked out and saw something he considered to be much better than the Promised Land. He saw that the land to the East was well watered, and had plenty of fertile soil for crops and cattle. As well as he saw cities, cultural centers that would prove useful for trade, entertainment, and other resources. Seeing all this, Lot decided that was the better land. So Lot left the Promised Land and settled near Sodom, a city of great sinners.
While Lot started out in a tent outside the city, he eventually traded in his tent for a townhouse in the city, and he eventually ended up sitting in the gate as a leader of these wicked people.
Lot paid for his choice. He was corrupted by the people he lived among.He lost his wife when she was turned into a pillar of salt. And his daughters eventually committed incest with him. All this started because of Lot’s choice to walk by sight and not faith.
Abraham’s Walk – By Faith
Abraham, on the other hand, chose to walk by faith. Starting in verse 14 we are privy to a conversation between he and God.
“The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”
With the Lord’s promise fresh off His lips, Abraham responded in faith.
So Abram moved his tent and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.” (Ge 13:14–18)
Abraham’s actions show us that he trusted the Lord. He believed God would take care of him. We know he trusted God because he stayed in the land of Canaan, settling by the oaks of Mamre, as well as he built an altar to the Lord. When Abraham built the altar, he was essentially saying, “Lord, I don’t know how you are going to do it, but I trust that you can and will give me this land and a great nation to inhabit it.”
Abraham, then, walked by faith, trusting the Lord to provide, while Lot walked by sight, trusting himself to pick the best path forward. Unlike Lot, because Abraham walked by faith, he was continually blessed by the Lord.
The Take Away
- Those who choose to walk by sight and not faith will more than likely end up like Lot, paying the price for their choices.
- But those who choose to walk by faith and not sight will more than likely end up like Abraham, experiencing God’s leading and blessing.
Question for Reflection
- Do you find that you trust in the Lord or self more?
Post adapted from my sermon Do Our Choices Matter?