Gen. 19 – Making Good Choices
Dear Family and Friends, Genesis Chapter 19 shares the peril and tragic events of Sarah’s brother, Lot, his wife, Eeris, their children, and grandchildren. Their disaster was avoidable. The outcome could have been entirely different if Lot had made good choices. Some of us may struggle with decisions that will impact our lives and the lives of those we love. We can improve our lives immensely by making good choices!!
Lot made some bad choices! The Lord God Desires that we always make ‘Good Choices.’
Lot inherited a great deal of wealth in cattle and servants when his father, Haran died. Lot was like his father. Haran gambled with his life at the fires of Chaldees. He died there in flames.
Nimrod cast Abraham into the flames saying, ‘let the God who you adore come and save you from it.’ Haran, Abraham’s brother, was standing nearby. He was undecided. He thought if Abraham is victorious, I will say that I am of Abram’s belief. On the other hand if Nimrod is victorious I will say that I am on Nimrod’s side. Abraham descended into the fiery furnace. The Lord saved him. Afterward, Nimrod asked Haran, ‘Of whose belief are you?’
Haran replied, ‘Of Abram’s.’ Thereupon he was seized and cast into the fire. He gambled with his life and lost. He died there in the presence of his father.’ Beresheit Rabba 38.13
Genesis 12.8 – 11
And Abram said to Lot, Let there be no strife, I beg you, between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? I beg you, separate yourself, from me; if you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you depart to the right side, then I will go to the left. And Lot lifted his eyes and saw the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before The Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, like the garden of The Lord, like the land of Egypt, as you come to Zoar. Lot chose the valley of the Jordan; for himself. Lot journeyed east, and they separated themselves, one from the other.
Shortly after Lot joined himself to the wicked city of Sedom they were attacked by Nimrods armies and carried away into captivity along with all their wealth. Abraham and 318 men trained in Torah Observances in his home pursued and defeated Nimrod’s armies. Even though Abraham was entitled to take all of the pillages from the war, he took NOTHING. Lot and all the captives returned safely to their homes. Abraham went to Jerusalem to seek forgiveness for the enemy lives that he and his students had killed. Then he gave ten percent from all of his wealth to Shem/Melchizedek king of Shalem.
There are four instances highlighted in The Holy Scriptures of great significance.
First, when Abraham instructed Lot to separate himself, he said, if you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you depart to the right side, then I will go to the left. What was the message Abraham’s pointing out to Lot? “We are going in the opposite direction.” Abraham loved Lot as if he were his son, yet it was necessary to deliver that stark message. Are we aligned with Torah Observances?
Second, Abraham did not take any of the spoils of war for himself. The king of Sodom said to Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom,’ I have lifted my hand to The Lord, The Most High God, The Possessor of Heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, I have made Abram rich.’
Abraham did not want to mix his righteous wealth with king Sodom’s wicked gains. Abraham guarded the blessings that The Lord God of Israel had Given him. Abraham wanted it to be clear that his blessings were ONLY from The Lord. He did not need the money.
Third, Abraham paid for his costs of going to war. Abraham did not charge for anything. Lot should have learned it is righteous to pay from one’s pocket to assist with the needs of others.
Fourth, Abraham had gained a great deal of wealth and wanted to give a tenth to The Holy Priest, Shem, the righteous son of Noah. Shem was known as Melchizedek. Abraham was teaching all of us by example to give 10% of all our wealth to The Holy Priest. Abraham contributed after he was on a firm foundation. Abraham could afford to give from his wealth. Abraham’s gift would not cause any hardship for him or those he loved. Abraham wanted to show his appreciation to The Lord God of Israel.
Learning Lessons from our Mistakes
Lot was delivered from captivity. Lot’s wealth was recovered. Lot had an opportunity to leave that wicked place with his wealth restored. Lot had another opening to follow the righteous path of his uncle Abraham. Lot had the option to leave all the false religions of that region. He had another chance to turn away from gambling with his life. Lot was not married at that time. He did not have any children. The circumstances were right to STOP following what appealed to his own eyes. He had a moment in time to stop following what attracted him. Instead, he gambled a second time that he could separate from Abraham and remain holy. Initially, Lot permitted his herdsmen to cause strife with Abraham’s herdsmen. Then out of nowhere, everything he owned was taken from him. Then everything was restored. Again Lot allowed the desire of his eyes to guide him. Again, Lot chose to reside in a wicked country for financial gain. Then he married into wickedness. He chose his wife from wicked people of false religions. He chose husbands for his daughters from the same corrupt people. Unfortunately, Lot positioned himself to repeat his mistakes.
Lot messed up! He had the opportunity to learn with his Uncle Abraham but did not value that time together as he should have. He left Abraham’s household. That is so very sad. Why? They split up! Lot and Abramham went their ways. Things did not go so well for Lot. He stopped enjoying the promise of Abraham whom God Made a covenant with. Let’s qualify Abraham’s standing. God Spoke with Abraham. Angels visited Abraham. Abraham was a Prophet. Kings honored Abraham like a prince. Abraham was a battle-tested General. He was a nomadic shepherd that thousands of people attached themselves to. Abraham is the father of three major religions. He learned with Noah and Melchizedek, i.e., Shem In the Academy of Shem and Evier.
He who walks with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm.
Summary: Lot made some bad choices. Lot separated himself from Abraham. Lot chose to reside in a wicked city.
If a man spends his time in a perfume shop, he will leave with the scent of perfume clinging to his clothes, even if he did not purchase at all. If a man chooses to stay in a tannery, an evil odor will cling to him also if he is not a tanner by profession. One who adheres to the company of those who study The Torah will inevitably benefit, while those who stay with people who ignore The Teachings of The Torah are bound to be affected. Lot, who settled in Sedom, a vicinity of sinners, almost lost his life on their account.
Lots sunk to levels that Abraham did not realize. How do we know that? Abraham pleaded with the Lord to spare Sodom If there were ten righteous among them. Abraham thought at least ten righteous people were living in Sedom. He calculated, there is Lot, his wife, Eeris, their two married daughters and husbands, and the two engaged daughters and their prospective husbands.
Two Angels visited Lot. They warned him of the coming destruction. Lot still had time to leave Sedom With all his wealth if he reacted immediately. Lot hesitated and, as a result, lost everything but his two unmarried daughters. Lot would not listen to his uncle, the prophet Abraham. He would not listen to the voice of Sarah a prophetess. He would not listen to the message the two angels shared with them. As a result, He barely escaped with his life. He was broke. Penniless! All he had was the clothes he wore. He lived in a cave. All the bad things that came upon Lot was out of his own doing. Lot made many bad choices. Lot was given many opportunities for guidance, which he ignored.
May we avoid the pitfalls of Lot. We have an opportunity to change our lifes course to align with Torah Observances beginning this very minute. Will we?
May this coming Sabbath and every Sabbath be a blessed Day.
Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk