Lot [Lŏt]—concealed or myrrh. The son of Haran, Abraham’s brother, who accompanied Abraham from Mesopotamia to Canaan (Gen. 11:27, 31; 12:4; 13:1).
We deem it necessary to spend a little time with this character because we believe Lot to be a representative man. Perhaps there is no Bible figure who represents so many men of today as Lot of Sodom. Where you can find one Abraham, one Daniel or one Joshua you will find a thousand Lots.
Lot started out well. But he acquired riches and with his wealth came trouble. He and his uncle, Abraham, came out of Egypt with great possessions. Then came the strife among the herdsmen of both men. Lot could not pick a quarrel with his uncle, so he separated from him and made the greatest mistake of his life in doing so. If determined to have the well-watered plain, Lot should have asked Abraham to choose for him. But no, when he lifted up his eyes and saw the fruitful land, his decision was made.
The moments of solemn, decisive choice reveal the character of the two men involved. Lot’s choice was a bad and selfish one, ending in disaster. Abraham’s choice was lofty, unworldly, superior to all petty consideration. Although, as elder of the two, he had the undisputable right to precedence in the choice, Abraham behaved like the high-minded, noble-hearted gentleman he was and so left the choice to Lot. The meanness of Lot is seen in that he took the best. The crisis of that moment was decided by the tenor of Lot’s life. In spite of his general righteousness, Lot must have had a vein of great selfishness within.
In one of his unique speeches—The Subject of Salaries—Benjamin Franklin said, “There are two passions which have a powerful influence in the affairs of men. These are Ambition and Avarice: the love of power and the love of money. Separately, each of these has great force in prompting man to action; but when united in view of the same object they have in many minds the most violent effects.” It was thus that Lot became “a bad lot.” In his choice ambition and avarice became one. Points to ponder are:
III. His righteous soul (2 Pet. 2:8). Lot did many things that were inconsistent with his true character and that were dishonoring to God. He sat down with the ungodly. Yet he showed some good qualities. He entertained the angels—believed their message—endeavored to restrain the wicked Sodomites. His good, however, was mixed with evil.
IV. His loss (Gen. 19:17-28). Lot narrowly escaped judgment. He lost everything, his wife was turned into a pillar of salt, he lost his wealth, he sacrificed his influence, for the people of Sodom despised him, his relatives mocked him, his two daughters shamed him. Lot offered no prayer for Sodom and manifested no desire for the salvation of its people. His only concern was for his own safety, and angels delivered him.