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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15

The Trap of Compromise

E. L. Bynum

From the Plains Baptist Challenger, March 2014

Lot is one of the prime examples of the devious trap of compromise that ensnares individuals and entire families. How a man like Lot, with such a great heritage and so many grand opportunities, could go so wrong and lose almost everything is no mystery if we will carefully study the Bible.

He descended from a notable family headed by Terah the father of Abraham, Nahor, and Haran. He was the son of Haran who died in the land Ur of Chaldees. Lot went with Terah and Abraham when they migrated to Haran. Terah died in Haran and there we take up with the narrative. “And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls 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 12:5)

As far as we know, God did not specifically command that Lot go with Abram into Canaan, but Lot may have been young enough to simply be living with Abram. Nevertheless, he made the trip with Abram.

The Decision of Lot

The Bible is silent on the time of Lot's marriage and we do not know his wife's name. Whether they met in Haran or in the land of Canaan we do not know, but 'Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran." (Ge 12:4) So Lot may have been married in Haran or Canaan, but it seems from the record that he may have made a mistake in his marriage. At least we do not know anything good about Lot's wife.

Abram built an altar unto the Lord everywhere he dwelt in the land of Canaan.

"And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD." (Genesis 12:7-8)

"Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD." (Genesis 13:4)

"Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD." (Genesis 13:18)

These Scriptures show us that Abram was a faithful and a passionate worshiper of the God of the Bible.

We do not know of a single instance where Lot built attar either in Haran, Canaan, or Sodom. Since he was a part of Abram's clan, he may have worshiped at Abram's altar. We know that once he left Abram there is no mention of an altar where Lot could have worshiped. So he raised his sons and daughters without any thought of an altar or the worship of God.

Many men and women marry without any concern about having a biblical church home or a place of worship. Many modern families may be church members, but only have a casual relationship with their church. Most families do not establish a family altar where the whole family gathers together to read the Word of God and discuss it, and neither do they pray together at the same time.

No wonder so many marriages go bad and end up in misery and divorce. Then their children grow up to follow the same mistake of their parents. Families usually sleep late and have their meals at different times. Then, in the evening they have their meals around the TV and often have their TVs in separate rooms. Nevertheless, the family spends their time around the TV or games, leaving no time for the Bible or family worship. Then parents wonder what went wrong when their children abandon the church and God, and go out in the ways of sin.

After Abram and Lot were in the land of Canaan, they both prospered so much that their herdsman began a conflict over their grazing rights. Abraham was a reasonable man, so he suggested that they should go their separate ways, and he offered to let Lot have the first choice of any part of the land. So Lot chose the well watered plains of Jordan which led him later on to move into Sodom.

No matter which part of the land Lot chose, we can be sure that Abram would not have moved to the well watered plains of Jordan. There is no evidence that Abram had ever visited the cities of the plain, but both he and Lot had no doubt heard of the extreme wickedness of Sodom, yet Lot moved in the very direction of these celebrated cities.

Why did Lot move in that direction? Lot saw the well watered plains of Jordan as a place of prosperity.

“And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other" (Genesis 13:10-11)

Many people choose the hope of prosperity in making a move, never considering how it will affect their family, or whether they will have a scriptural church where they can take their family to worship. I remember a young man years ago that was gloriously saved along with his wife. He was on fire for God and came to visitation at the church and was active in all the services. He came to me and said that he was moving to a small town in New Mexico because an employer there had offered him a few more dollars a week.

I knew there was no scriptural church in that city, so I asked him where he would take his family to worship. The prosperity bug had already bit him and he would not listen to reason, but said that he was sure he could find a church. Well he made the move and found no church; after a time he became dissatisfied and moved back to Lubbock. We could never get them back into church. After a while, we lost contact with them. We can only hope that he eventually got right with the Lord and started serving Him somewhere.

It would be better to live in a humble home and eat beans and cornbread and have God's blessing, than to live in a mansion and eat the dainties of the rich without God's blessing.

"Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith." (Proverbs 15:17) Remember the rich man and Lazarus and their different destinies. (Luke 16:19-23)

The Descent of Lot

Very soon Lot left his tent, moved into Sodom, and lived in a house. No longer was Lot a pilgrim, but now he was a city dweller. In spite of the reputation of Sodom he moved right into the city of sin. "But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly." (Genesis 13:13)

In spite of knowing this he made this tragic move. “Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom."(Genesis 13:12) Apparently Lot moved into one of the cities of the plain before moving into Sodom. Nothing is said of his flocks and herds as he had likely sold them and invested in the things of Sodom.

He had another chance to escape from the wickedness of Sodom, when the confederated kings of the east won the war with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and took Lot captive. (Genesis 14) Abraham gathered a small army and rescued Lot and his family along with the other citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah. This should have provided Lot a ready excuse to leave Sodom, but unfortunately he chose to move right back in.

We can only speculate on what caused Lot to be infatuated with Sodom. It may well have been his wife and family that pulled Lot toward Sodom. Perhaps the social life, the wealth, or the advantages for their children pulled them in that direction.

Many professing Christian people today want to do things for their children, but end up being the means of their destruction. Some parents want to help their little girls to be graceful, enroll them in dancing classes or gymnastics or some other kind of worldly exercise. Of course they end up dressing in a sinful worldly manner. Parents think that's cute when the children are small, but the kids get used to dressing that way and continue the practice as they get older. When their parents encourage their children in this way of living, they are leading their little ones down the road of sinful dress and destruction.

It pays to bring up your children in the admonition of the Lord, to see them saved and living for the Lord. This cannot be done by wishful thinking, but by being an example for your children to follow the road of righteousness.

The Destruction of Lot

God revealed to Abraham that he was going to destroy Sodom and the cities of the plain. Abraham began his intercessory prayer for Lot and his family and the people of Sodom. He finally asked God to spare the plain of Jordan if only ten righteous souls could be found there. "And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake." (Genesis 18:32)

This would have saved the city if Lot had been serving the Lord, and had been raising his children in the right manner, but unfortunately this had never happened. A careful reading of Genesis 19 reveals that Lot and his family made up the ten who could have saved Sodom. Lot and his wife were 2, he had 2 sons-in-law's, 2 married daughters, 2 unmarried daughters, and 2 sons, which equal 10 people.

When Lot went to warn his sons-in-law, they made fun of him. "And Lot went out, and spoke unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law." (Genesis 19:14)

When the two angels came to Lot's house, the disgusting homosexuals intended to sodomize them. Lot even offered to send out his two virgin daughters for the men to rape and sodomize. Only the angels of God saved him from doing this. Always remember that the devil wants your children, and he will use any means to get them into his grasp.

When it came time to escape, Lot could only persuade his wife and the two unmarried daughters to leave the wicked city. Even then the angels had to take them by the hand, and almost drag them out of the city.

"And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed." (Genesis 19:16-17)

Even then Lot wanted to stop in one of the small cities rather than flee into the mountains as he was told to do. While the Lord rained fire and brimstone on the cities, Lot's wife looked back, no doubt with regret, and was turned into a pillar of salt. This event proves that she was a wicked unbeliever. Consider the stern warning that Jesus gave: "Remember Lot's wife." (Luke 17:32)

Even though he got his two daughters out of Sodom, he did not get the morals of Sodom out of them. They ended up getting Lot drunk on wine and having incestuous relations with him which resulted in the birth of two sons whose descendants were radical, vicious enemies of Israel for many generations. These two sons produced the Moabites and Ammonites which we read about many times as they fought against Israel.

After reading the sad story of Lot we would be almost led to believe that he was a lost man. Lot is not mentioned in God's hall of fame in Hebrews 11. If Simon Peter had not told on Lot, we would never know the truth about him.

"And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.)" (2 Peter 2:6-8)

How significant is the statement that he was a righteous man and that he vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds. How sad it is that Lot was vexed, but didn't have the godly courage to take his family and leave Sodom.

A Summary of Lot's Mistakes

•  He made a mistake in marrying the wrong woman.

•  He failed to build an altar and properly worship God.

•  Lot moved away from God and took his family toward Sodom.

•  He chose prosperity over righteousness.

•  He chose not to move out of Sodom when rescued by Abram.

•  He did not properly teach his family.

•  He became a government official in Sodom. (Genesis 19:1)

•  He offered his daughters to the sodomites.

•  He wanted to disobey God and move into one of the small cities.

•  He chose to take wine and get drunk.

•  He committed incest with his daughters.

•  His two sons born of incest, founded two nations that became bitter enemies of Israel.

•  He left no godly heritage.

•  He knew what was right, but did not do what was right.