Let’s take a look at Lot’s life as an example. We can read about it in the book of Genesis, chapters 11 through 19. Lot is Terah’s grandson. Terah’s family was settled in Ur. Ur was once a coastal city-state in ancient Mesopotamia, situated near the mouth of the Euphrates River on the Persian Gulf. Ur was probably a thriving business hub. So Lot was a city slicker! He was raised in the city and accustomed to life there, and probably had no idea what life outside a big metropolitan area looked like. Well, thanks to his grandfather Terah, his horizon was about to widen!
Out of the blue Terah decides to leave their hometown with his son Abraham and his grandson Lot to embark on a journey into the unknown. A life-changing experience for Lot! Together they move away from Ur and follow the caravan route to Haran, a major city near modern day Baghdad in Iraq. They temporarily settle there until Lot’s grandfather passes away. Soon after his death Lot’s uncle Abraham picks up where Terah left off and leaves Haran for good. For the second time in his life Lot has to say good-bye to city life. Of course he could have stayed behind but he decides to go with Abraham. And what prompts him to go? Probably the same inner voice that prompted his grandfather and his uncle! God is the change agent behind all this. He puts the desire in their hearts to continue on their journey; and God is the one guiding them to their destination: the land of Canaan, a region bordering the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
After arriving there Lot and Abraham need to go separate ways in order to settle a conflict. Their herds and flocks have grown exponentially to the point that the land no longer provides enough food for both Abraham’s and Lot’s livestock. So Abraham gives Lot a choice by asking him where he wants to settle. Lot’s choice: the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley near Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot, the city slicker is now back in his element, and for the rest of his life he will be torn between his affinity to city life and his heart’s desire to follow God’s prompting. He sees Abraham for one last time – after he was captured in a lost war incited by the rebel kings of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot and his family were carried off with everything they owned when Abraham comes to their rescue. Yet Lot still chooses to remain in Sodom.
When God’s angels arrive in Sodom, Lot practically urges them to follow him home and then dishes a meal fit for a king. Abraham showed the same appreciation and hospitality earlier when the same angels met with him before leaving for Sodom. Both Abraham and Lot recognize an angel when they see one! However, although Lot recognizes and respects God’s angels he is still hesitant to follow their lead. He is so attached to his adopted hometown Sodom that he seems blind to the fact that the people of Sodom have never adopted him but consider him an outsider. Even after warning his daughters’ fiancés about the impending disaster they just ridicule him. Lot never belonged there and Sodom meant nothing but trouble to him!
Lot’s life is a vivid example of a conflict of interests: Lot’s wishes against God’s. The Holy Spirit wants to guide our lives, but we often think we know better; for various reasons we fight that inner voice and end up in precarious situations. We all have our hang-ups. We know the right thing to do but we delay because we are so attached to something or someone. There is a recipe for leading a good life, a life that leaves a legacy: Listen to the Holy Spirit and don’t hesitate to follow through. He wants to guide you on a journey into the unknown, into all the things that God has planned for your life – and God always dreams big. May His will be done and may all God’s dreams come true!