A Crossroad in Life
By Russell McKinney
The word “crossroad” probably brings up a certain mental image to you. I myself 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. For that matter, he can even turn around and go back if he is too afraid or too indecisive to choose. But make no mistake, he’s got to make some kind of move.
As we know, there are times when life brings us to a crossroads. One man 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.
Abraham and Lot lived alongside each other in the land of Canaan, and each of them were 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 camps, so much so that something had to be done about the situation.
That’s when Abraham lovingly 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, and if you take the right, I will take the left.” It was a simple and godly solution to a very real problem.
But here’s where Lot made two mistakes. Mistake #1: He didn’t humbly and graciously pass the choice back to Abraham. You see, not only was Abraham the elder, he was the one to whom God had prophetically given all of Canaan. Truth be told, if it wasn’t for Abraham, Lot wouldn’t have even been in Canaan. Mistake #2: Lot made his choice based solely on 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 that decision. He didn’t seek God’s will about it. 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, being lush and fertile. That appearance, however, masked the fact that the plain was dotted with wicked cities. You’ve heard of Sodom and Gomorrah, haven’t you? Well, those twin cities were located squarely in the heart of that plain.
Not surprisingly, Lot, being the spiritually and morally weak person he was, soon came under the tempting influence of Sodom. He began by setting up his camp and staking down his tents near Sodom (Genesis 13:12). Later, he moved out of his tents and formally settled down in Sodom (Genesis 14:12). Finally, once he was settled there, he rose to a place of prominence and political prestige in the city. How do we know he rose to such a place? We know it because 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 earthly honor to hold what we might call a political seat at Sodom’s gate.
You say, “Okay, so where’s the downside? It sounds like Lot did well for himself.” Oh, there was plenty of downsides, enough to actually cancel out any upside that Lot’s choice brought him. First, Lot was living in Sodom when an enemy army came into town, looted it (Genesis 14:1-11), and carried Lot off with them as a prisoner of war (Genesis 14:12). That required Abraham to take 318 of his trained men and go and rescue him (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. Not only did Lot lose all of his possessions in that destruction, he also lost most of his family as well (Genesis 19:1-26). Third, with Sodom now a charred wasteland, Lot and his two surviving daughters ended up living in a cave in the mountains above the city of Zoar (Genesis 19:30). It was there that his life hit absolute rock bottom as he, on two consecutive nights, got drunk and had sexual relations with each 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 of ancient Israel’s worst enemies (Genesis 19:36-38).
Do you see how Lot’s wrong choice back at life’s crossroads eventually brought catastrophe to his life? By failing to understand the dark vein that ran through what looked desirable to his eyes, he stupidly made the wrong choice at the crossroad and in so doing sent his life and the life of his family into a downward spiral. Beware, my friend, that you don’t make that same mistake. Even being a Christian isn’t enough to shield you from the results of going down the wrong road. Lot, after all, was a saved person in the sense of being an Old Testament believer (Second Peter 2:4-8). That’s why I implore you to pray serious prayers over your decisions and always seek God’s will rather than your own. He really does know the best path for you, and He will gladly share that knowledge with you if you will just slow down and ask Him.
Russell Mckinney lives in the English Woods area of Spruce Pine and serves as the pastor of Roan Mountain Baptist Church in Bakersville.
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