Out of the Garden, part sixteen

As we continue our look at the book of Genesis today we’re still focusing on Abram and his journey. His nephew Lot is with him, and between the two of them they have massive herds of animals. They have so many animals that the land can’t support both groups, so they make the decision to split up. Abram tells Lot that he can choose whatever land he wants, and Abram will then take the other land.

Genesis 13:10-11 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.

One thing that’s clear from these verses is that the Jordan Valley sure looked good. The Bible even compares it to the garden of Eden, so you know this area must’ve looked insanely beautiful. But in this moment the Bible teaches us one of the most foundational and enduring truths in life. Looks can be deceiving.

Genesis 13:12-13 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.

If you continue reading you find that Lot’s choice of area to settle even ends up putting he and his family in danger. This serves as one of those moments in the bible that is so easy to relate to our own lives. Just because a person/place/thing looks inviting doesn’t mean it’s a good place for you to dwell. I immediately think of neon lights and the way some of the most sinful and bad places in our society dress up their exterior in the hopes of drawing people in. If you’re taken in by the fancy signs, you’ll follow them straight into a den of temptation and sin.

The lessons found in these verses go beyond the obvious. I had a job once that I loved. To this day, it’s one of my favorite jobs ever. I was essentially a data entry specialist. The job paid good money and I sat for 8 hours a day listening to whatever music I wanted with headphones on and typed documents into a database. Boring? Maybe, but for me it was perfect. I enjoy typing, I love listening to music, and the job had ZERO nonsense, politics, stress, drama, and all the other things you find at most jobs. One day, I was approached about possibly taking a position in a different department. This department had a reputation. They were loud, offensive, combative, dramatic, constantly at odds with other employees and management. It was the opposite of the position I loved, which paid me far more than I even needed in life. But the offer was made, and it contained a substantial raise. I looked at the dollar signs, calculated how much extra money I was gonna have, started spending it in my head, and said yes to the “promotion”.

I was miserable within about four hours of the decision. All that money sure looked good on paper, but the position I put myself in to earn it was awful on every level. It wasn’t long before I was having issues with co-workers, that I got pulled into a dispute with management, and within two weeks the job that I’d so dearly loved was a place of absolute misery for me. I stuck it out for a few long months, then finally put in my notice and quit.

The money looked nice, but that didn’t mean the promotion was the right thing for me to do. When you study the Bible, you find that God looks at appearances opposite than we do. David was the least “kingly” looking of his brothers, and yet he’s the one God chose to be king. Gideon was not the best warrior, yet he’s the one that God chose to go to war for Him. A manger looks like a pretty terrible place to have a baby, yet that’s where God orchestrated the Lord of Lord and the King of Kings to be born. Looks can be and often are deceiving.

For us as modern believers, I think the takeaway from this is to make sure we pause a little more in life. Something looks great, let’s pause and make sure it is great for us. Something looks enticing, let’s pause and make sure that it’s going to be uplifting and healthy for us to take part in it. Everything that Lot could see told him that the Jordan Valley was a great place to settle. What would Lot have learned had he paused and sent a few of his men down there to check it out? He would’ve learned that it was a land of wickedness, and that no amount of rivers and beautiful trees made it a worthwhile home for a righteous man.
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That’s it for today! I love each and every one of you and I hope the week is treating you well so far! If you have any prayer requests or just need someone to talk to, please feel free to email me at freejenkins@gmail.com.

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