Friday, June 20, 2008

Genesis 13 - Good meaning bad

For me, using drugs wasn't the real problem. I mean the actual taking of the drug and the moments or hours that came after that was not a miserable experience. If it was, if it was devoid of pleasure and completely miserable, no one would ever take them in the first place. No, miserable always waited around the corner. It was never far away. It was always there lurking, but for at least a brief time, the drugs pretended to work. I was numb. I was not sad. I thought I was good.

But much like Lot in Genesis 13, I thought temporary green pastures meant permanent prosperity. Lot didn't plan on ending up in a city that God would destroy. I'm not sure anyone really makes that decision. But that is where he landed. I know this is kind of a spoiler, but things don't work out well for the city of Sodom. So how did Lot end up there?

From first glance, the land he entered is described as looking like "the garden of the Lord." Wow, that's just about the most extreme compliment you can give in the Bible. On the Biblical scale of awesome, the garden is near the top of the list. So I imagine that when Lot saw that, it was an easy decision to head that way.

And everything looked great. He was on his way. He parted company with Abram. He was moving up in the world like the Jeffersons. But, less than 40 words later, he's camping near Sodom. And the men of Sodom are described as being wicked and sinning greatly against the Lord. (By the way, let's talk about that word "against" later. We sometimes think we can be the sinning version of Switzerland, hurting no one.)

The simple truth is that Lot chased green pastures and found Sodom. I chased getting high and found the bottom. You're working a ton of hours and will find that every promotion in the world won't fill that space that needs filling. You're shopping for another pair of shoes without taking the last pair out of the box.

We all have our own pastures. We all find our own Sodoms. Today, as you enter the weekend, my hope is that you'll remember that sometimes, even the places that look like the garden of the Lord, turn out to be the city of Sodom.


Jules said...

"We sometimes think we can be the sinning version of Switzerland, hurting no one."

I think that is the perfect illustration of how I rationalized using drugs. Thank you for your honesty and sharing that part of your walk with all of us.

Christ paid the ultimate price for our freedom, and the fact that I chased drugs (and other things) to carve out temporary "freedom" from the very life God had redeemed is heartbreaking. Thank you for this authentic and genuine reminder of what our lives are designed to be about. You are demonstrating amazing trust in God by being so transparent, and I sincerly hope you are enjoying the true freedom that brings. :)

Joel Frederick said...

wow! Great observations

Bec said...

"the sinning version of Switzerland" - that right there is literary gold :-)

Love it, thanks!

Stacy from Louisville said...

In this story the question that begs to be asked is this: Did Lot know he was venturing toward Sodom when he made his choice? If he did, to me, it puts another application to the story in addition to yours.

The land looked good to Lot so I wonder if he thought, "Yeah, I know Sodom is over there, but as long as I don't get too close I should be fine."

I am Lot. (presumably with less facial hair, but I digress) Everything looks great in the land around the sin and I choose that land, forgetting that sin is my very nature. No matter what sin is awaiting me in that foriegn land, I am not above the tempting lure to explore it. Like a kid putting the tip of his toe in the pool to test the comfortableness of the water before diving in, that's me. I am not so good or so Godly that I am not capable of nearly any sin. Painful to admit, but if I don't own up to it, no one else will either.

My hubby and I have a small amount of money "set aside". We agreed not to spend it and keep adding to it until we can repaint our kitchen. So guess what? I woke up this morning and instantly thought of the money and how I could spend it today. In light of what you've written here Jon, and my own processing of the passage, I HAVE TO stay home today. The temptation is too much: spend money, break an oath with my husband, put my desires above his, in effect saying,"Honey you're stupid."

So I'm home today. Because for me walking into Target is pitching a tent near Sodom.

Ne'er-Do-Good said...

Great stuff, Jon. I'm especially looking forward to hearing more about sinning "against" God. I've experienced the "victimless" sins; committed them time and time again, and found each time that there is no such thing.

Anonymous said...

I'm starting to like this site better than SCL. Well thought out. Keep up the good work.

Lori said...

true, true, true

Michael said...

Great point. I'm sure Lot wasn't thinking, "sodomy and Sodom sound strikingly similar. Oh well!" (I'm not sure the correct Hebrew translation but you get the point). It seemed good at the time but he was way worse off in the end. Happens a lot!

Absolutely sucktacular!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jon,

I have really been enjoying doing this bible study along with you. It's incredible how different your insights are from what I get when I read the same passage, but that's the beauty of God's word - there's something in there for each of us.

Keep up the good work.


Dog snob said...

Hum...something to think about...that's kinda scary.

UTaylor526 said...

I agree with Kim. And I'd like to share something else that I got out of chapter 13.
Abram told Lot to pick a direction and he would take the other. Lot looked up, saw the more promising land and took it for himself. I am reminded of Christ's words years later in mark 10:42-45 of whomever wants to be made first shall be last.
I think that Cain's path to Sodom began when he made that decision.

Flesheater said...

Ahh, yes.

Chasing beauty only to catch pestilence and rot.

We all do this at times with many different things... Drugs, money, vanity... But in the end its all meaningless.

G-d holds the only truth and beauty in the world and we should only pursue Him.

Dustin said...

Hey man.

while doing my research for this Sunday's teaching I stumbled upon this post. Good stuff, and yes, I may just be stealing some of it.