Read Genesis 13:5-13
5 Lot, who was traveling with Abram, had also become very wealthy with flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and many tents.6 But the land could not support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds living so close together. 7 So disputes broke out between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. (At that time Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land.)
8 Finally Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not allow this conflict to come between us or our herdsmen. After all, we are close relatives! 9 The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want the land to the left, then I’ll take the land on the right. If you prefer the land on the right, then I’ll go to the left.”
10 Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. The whole area was well watered everywhere, like the garden of the Lord or the beautiful land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 Lot chose for himself the whole Jordan Valley to the east of them. He went there with his flocks and servants and parted company with his uncle Abram. 12 So Abram settled in the land of Canaan, and Lot moved his tents to a place near Sodom and settled among the cities of the plain. 13 But the people of this area were extremely wicked and constantly sinned against the Lord. (NLT)
Some people shrink from the notion of choice. They would prefer to be told what to do or think. They are fearful of making a wrong choice, fearful of not being able to decide in the first place. This incident involving Lot and Abram helps us understand those fears.
Abram did a very unselfish thing by offering Lot the choice of land. Lot did the obvious thing and chose the fertile plains of the Jordan valley. He must have reckoned he was on a winner. But as we know, he ended up losing.
It is a reminder to us that not all that appears good is in fact good. Appearances can be deceiving. All that glitters is not gold. The fertility of those Jordan plains masked a morally corrupt people. The good land contained bad people. Lot had been deceived by appearances, making his decisions simply on the basis of appearances.
It seems Lot could not fully enjoy the good land he had occupied. People ruined it. Delightful scenery cannot conquer personal corruption. Material prosperity cannot overcome personal immorality. We can make choices that may cause us to live in beautiful places or accumulate much money or attain powerful jobs.
But in the end it is people who will determine the wisdom of such choices.