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Disastrous Decisions
Scripture: Genesis 13:10-13; Genesis 39:6-12; Genes...
Track 5 of 11 in the Abraham series
Running time: 1 hour, 05 minutes, 58 seconds.
The story of Lot is a good one to remember because it lays out the foundation for disastrous decisions. If a person really wants to learn and know what causes people to make foolish decision that end up bad, study Lot.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Disastrous Decisions

We all know people who made some disastrous decisions in life. Some were totally destroyed by what they chose while others were able to recover and come back to the faith. Some are still paying heavily for what they did wrong. There are a lot of sad stories out there, too many actually. What is really sad are the innocent who get hurt when these types of decisions are made. Why is it that it is the innocent who really get hurt the most? A young person is killed by a drunk driver while the drunk driver escapes the accident free from injury. I never understood the fairness in that kind of story. But we hear about these all the time, don’t we?

I went on the Internet to see what was out there about the reasons why people make bad decisions. I was amazed and yet disappointed at so many excuses and ideas on why people make poor decisions. I was hoping to find a top 10 list but couldn’t find one that made any sense. In fact, there is so many opinions on this problem but none of them seemed to make any sense to me. There has got to be a simple reason, a core issue to deal with to help us to stay away from such a bad practice. I couldn’t find it.

Have any of you ever made a mistake or ventured into a bad decision? How did you get there? Was there one thing that you can point to that caused it? Are bad decisions all that bad? Are there good things about bad decisions?

“I’ve learned so much from my mistakes…I’m thinking of making a few more.”

Do any of you relate to this quotation? Is it wise? Why or why not?

True or False: When one bases his life on principle, 99 percent of his decisions are already made.

Decisions become easier when your will to please God outweighs your will to please the world.”

I think this passage says a lot more about the problem than anything I saw or read on the subject. Last week we talked about the skeleton in Abraham’s closet, his nephew Lot. At the time Abraham didn’t realize it but when the situation was just right, the true nature of Lot appeared. It took something good to cause a bad decision. Both Lot and Abraham had grown too wealthy to live together. Their stuff couldn’t be fit in the space in which they lived. Abraham realized that they no longer could live together so he gave Lot the first choice on where to move and claim land for himself. Lot’s choice was a bad one.

The story of Lot is a good one to remember because it lays out the foundation for disastrous decisions. If a person really wants to learn and know what causes people to make foolish decision that end up bad, study Lot.

Brick #1: What Lot saw
Genesis 13:10 Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)

How powerful are the eyes of a person? What can the eyes reveal about a person’s soul? What are the things that attract your eyes?

For Lot, his eyes triggered selfish desires that caused him to forget or ignore everything his uncle ever done for him. Now I doubt this happened over night, in fact it had been going on for some time. Lot’s decision was the result of a process Lot had been going through. He had already tasted the good life and like many who are wealthy, what they have is not enough so they want more. The desire to want more causes bad decisions to be made.

Brick #2: What Lot heard
Genesis 13: 12-13 Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.

Sodom was the ancient version of our city Las Vegas. What is the theme motto of Las Vegas? What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas. What does that mean?

Lot knew what Sodom was like. It had a reputation for evil and from what we know due to archeology, at one time over 500,000 people lived in the plain of the Jordan. It was a place of sin and fun and it attracted many people to it, including Lot. But what was going on there didn’t escape God’s eyes; He hated Sodom and had plans to destroy it.

Brick #3: What Lot thought

Can you give me the rationale for why Lot wanted to move near Sodom? What are the reasons we use to rationalize the bad decisions we make…or better yet, how do we talk ourselves into sinning? What reasons do we give to play with sin rather than turn from it?

Whatever Lot used to trick himself into believing this was a good move for him and his family, the foundation to this was plain ole selfish desire.

The Bible really doesn’t tell us much on how Lot decided to move near Sodom but the Bible is clear that Lot left out a few things. What were they? God, How this would affect Abraham, how this would affect his wife and kids and eventually, himself.

Unfortunately, there are so many examples in the Bible of the same disastrous decisions that involved the eyes and a person’s thought process…Eve, David, Samson, But we also have some great examples in the OT that give us a good understanding on how to handle temptation when attacked. Joseph was one of those examples.

Genesis 39:6-12 Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.

“Decisions become easier when your will to please God outweighs your will to please the world.”

Turn in your Bibles to Genesis 19. This passage is a careful record of the consequences Lot experienced because of his bad decision. When God inspired Moses to record at length all that followed Lot’s decision, God wants all of us to take note and not make such a stupid mistake. The details are rather graphic but the Bible is an honest book of what happens in real life.

Genesis 19:1 tells us a stunning transition that took place in Lot’s life, God had decided to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah in a horrible way. The sinfulness of the city was too much for God to bare. Their sins had grown beyond the grace of God and now judgment was on the way; except, there was a problem.

Genesis 19:1 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city.

What stunning transition took place in Lot’s life? He no longer lived outside the city, now he and his family lived inside the city. They were now citizens of Sodom. The gateway of the city was also the place where the elders or leaders of the town sat when making judgments or conducting city business.

What was the problem? Lot was in the direct path of destruction.

What kind of friends do you have? Describe them to me? Why are they your friends? Are friends important in life to make life healthy and balanced?

Lot had visitors staying at his house. The two angels agreed to go with Lot and stay with him. When his neighbors found out that Lot had guests, they too wanted to meet them.

Genesis 19:4-9 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.” “Get out of our way,” they replied. And they said, “This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

Think a minute here, Lot’s ability to discern right from wrong has gone inconsistent and confused. What evidence is there that Lit lost his ability to make moral judgments? He wanted to save strangers he didn’t know by giving up his daughters to the crowd.

The angels had enough of the crowd so they struck everyone, young and old with blindness so they couldn’t find the door. This wickedness was not just kids having fun; it infected both young and old. Immediately the angels instructed Lot to gather his daughters, son-in-laws and other family and flee from the city because very soon the angels were going to destroy the city. What I find fascinating is that Lot permitted his daughters to marry men from Sodom. He allowed wicked men to join his family.

Genesis 19:14-15 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking. With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”

I can’t imagine how scared Lot and his family had to be at this point. If two angels were standing next to you saying get out of your house because in a few seconds an airplane was going to fall on it, how long would it take for you to run and leap out of the house?

Lot had no credibility within his family. The sons-in-law didn’t believe him and didn’t take his words seriously. They decided to stay in the city. After it was certain that only Lot, his wife and two daughters were left, they urgently told them to run for their lives.

Genesis 19:16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them.

Are you kidding me? Why is Lot hesitating when disaster is about to strike? Why would his wife hesitate? Why his daughters? What is the real problem here? How serious does a disaster have to be before you actually believe it is real and take cover? Why?

Lot was so lucky that God is merciful. In all his hesitancy, when Lot argued over where he was to flee causing the angels to wait to destroy the plain until Lot and his family could flee to Zoar, God waited. I think he waited because of Abraham, not because Lot deserved it. Again, Lot is blessed because of his uncle Abraham.

Genesis 19:23-26 By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

There is a lot of commentary and speculation about Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt. Today, in the area of the Dead Sea there are many salt pillars due to the environment found there. Just by turning around, did this really cause God to strike her? God did say not to look back but was the command really about seeing or was it about returning back to Sodom? Many scholars suggest Lot’s wife was returning and because of that she was destroyed right along with the cities. What is important about this, obeying God is not an option for his people and when we disobey, there are serious consequences to deal with.

But this is not the end of the story. Not only had the influence of the sinful city cost Lot his wife, his choice to move to Sodom will also corrupt his daughters. As we read this passage, I want you to think to yourselves where the daughters came up with this plan? Did they learn this when they were with Abraham or when they lived in Sodom?

Genesis 19:30-38 Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth. Let’s get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father.”That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and lay with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I lay with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and lie with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went and lay with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today.

Let’s look at the end of this story, when Lot was with Abraham, his life was full and rich but when he decided to get more and move toward better land, Sodom, in the end he had nothing left. All he had was a cave to live in and two really perverted daughters and two sons who later on would become the enemies of Israel…the nation from Abraham.