The word “crossroad” probably brings up a certain mental image with you. I envision a dirt road out in the middle of nowhere that comes to a four-way intersection with three other dirt roads. The person who comes to such a place must make a decision. He can go straight, right, or left. I guess he could also turn around and go back if he was too afraid or indecisive to choose. But make no mistake, he’s got to make some kind of move.
There are times when we come to a different kind of crossroad. I’m talking about a crossroad in life. One fellow who came to such a place was Lot, the nephew of Abraham (who was then known as Abram). The story is found in Genesis chapter 13. I’ll give you the highlights.
Abraham and Lot lived alongside each other in the land of Canaan. Each of them was very wealthy. In particular, they both had large flocks and herds. This became a problem when their region could no longer support the combination of their flocks and herds. Strife arose between the herdsmen of the two men, and it became obvious that something had to be done.
That’s when Abraham cordially, and with the love of an uncle, asked Lot to separate from him. He said, “Please, let’s put a stop to this fighting over grazing and watering territory. It’s a big land. If you take the left, I will take the right. If you take the right, I will take the left.” It was a simple and godly solution to the situation.
But here’s where Lot made two mistakes. Mistake #1: He didn’t humbly and graciously pass the choice back to Abraham. Abraham was the elder. He was the one to whom God had given all of Canaan. If it wasn’t for Abraham, Lot wouldn’t have even been in Canaan. Mistake #2: Lot made his choice based solely upon what looked good to him at the time. He looked down upon the plain of Jordan, which was well watered like a beautiful garden, and quickly said, “I’ll take that part of the land.” He didn’t pray about his decision. He didn’t seek God’s will in it. He didn’t ask Abraham for advice. He just latched himself onto something that was appealing to his eyes.
That old saying “all that glitters is not gold” hadn’t been invented yet, but it would have helped Lot to hear it. Sure, that vast plain of Jordan was desirable in appearance. It was abundant, lush, and fertile. The problem was that it was also dotted with vile, wicked cities. You’ve heard of Sodom and Gomorrah, haven’t you? Those twin cities were located squarely in the heart of that region.
Not surprisingly, Lot, being the spiritually and morally weak person that he was, soon came under the tempting influence of Sodom. He started by setting up his camp and staking down his tents near Sodom. Next, he left behind his shepherd’s tent and formally moved into Sodom (Genesis 14:12). Once he was settled there, he then rose to a place of prominence and political prestige in the city. Genesis 19:1 speaks of him “sitting in the gate” of Sodom. Since ancient cities conducted their business at their gates, it was quite an honor to carry a fixed position at such gates.
You say, “So, where’s the downside? It sounds like Lot did well for himself.” Oh, there was plenty of downside. As a matter of fact, there was enough downside to cancel out any upside that Lot’s choice brought him. First, Lot was living in Sodom when an enemy army came into town and looted it (Genesis 14:1-11). Lot was actually taken as a prisoner of war (Genesis 14:12). Abraham had to take 318 of his trained men and go and rescue Lot (Genesis 14: 13-16). Second, Lot was still living in Sodom when God sent two angels to utterly destroy the city by way of fire and brimstone. Lot lost all of his possessions as well as most of his family in the destruction (Genesis 19:1-26). Third, Lot and his two surviving daughters ended up living in a cave in the mountains above the city of Zoar (Genesis 19:30). While they were in that cave, Lot’s life hit absolute rock bottom as he, on two separate occasions, got drunk and slept with one of his daughters (Genesis 19:31-35). The products of those incestuous relationships were two sons who grew up to father the Moabites and the Ammonites, two enemies of Israel (Genesis 19:36-38).
Do you see how Lot’s wrong choice back at life’s crossroad eventually brought catastrophy to his life? He stupidly embraced what looked good to him, failing to understand the dark vein that ran beneath it. Beware, my friend, that you don’t make Lot’s mistake. Even being a Christian isn’t enough to shield you from the results of going down the wrong road. After all, Lot was actually a saved person in the sense of being an Old Testament believer (Second Peter 2:4-8). I encourage you to pray serious prayers over your decisions. Commit your ways to the Lord. Seek His will and not your own. He knows the best path for you, and He will gladly share that knowledge with you if you will just slow down and ask Him.