Looks can be deceiving.

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

Abram had departed from his father’s household at God’s leading and headed for the land of Canaan with his family and that of his nephew, Lot. During their time together both men became quite wealthy in gold, silver, and livestock, so much so that the land wasn’t able to support all their herds. Thus, quarrels broke out between the hired hands of Abram and Lot. Then, Abram told Lot to choose whatever land he wanted and go there. Abram would go in the opposite direction of the way Lot chose, which was appealing to eye but filled with terribly evil people.

Lot was a righteous man (2 Peter 2:7) and chose to dwell in the abundantly resourced Jordan Valley with all its water sources and vast fields of plenty. However, Lot didn’t know that the “grass-greener-on-the-other-side” was filled full of spiritual vipers, continually evil people so evil that their sins rose to heaven as a stench in God’s nose. What appeared to him as lucrative for his farming business actually cost him everything in the end. The angels sent from God delivered a fiery judgment on the cities of the Jordan Valley reducing them to an ash heap. Lot barely escaped with his life and that of his daughters.

We need to look at this story and walk away with the wisdom found in it – NOT everything that appeals to us is good for us. When Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days and was tempted of Satan (Matt. 4:1-11), he was tested in the three basic lusts of life: the eyes, the flesh, and pride (1 John 2:16). From the account of Lot, we can ponder that he may have succumbed to the temptation of the beauty offered by the lush Jordan Valley and thought to himself that his flocks deserved the best resources over that of his uncle’s herds. We may never know for sure, but we can speculate. His men argued with his uncle’s men over grazing land for their herds. He saw the lush valley and chose it for himself, even though his uncle gave him first pick.

When Lot had lived in Sodom for sometime the Bible tells us his soul, as a righteous man, was vexed daily because of the evil of his neighbors (2 Peter 2:8). If Lot had reconnoitered the land more thoroughly and learned of the debauchery of the region, he may have been less inclined to dwell there. It’s like the old adage of looking before you leap. His first inclination of the richness of its resources may have blinded him to the truth of the situation that lay in front of him and eventually cost him all he had including his wife (Genesis 19).

What in the world is staring you in the face and tempting you with the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life? Jesus showed that there is only way to combat these temptations: believing in God and quoting the Word to satan, “It is written…” (Matt. 4) and then finish with the Spirit-given Word He quickens in you. Like David, we need to learn to memorize God’s Word and hide it in our hearts that we might not sin against God (Ps. 119:11). It is also our spiritual weapon that’s sharper than any double-edged sword able to separate spirit from soul and bone from marrow and reveals the innermost parts of our hearts (Heb. 4:12). You don’t have eternal life because of believing in the Word but because of the One of whom they speak (John 5:39), Jesus the incarnate Word  (John 1:1). Don’t be fooled and think that you can withstand temptation on your own. Mightier than you have fallen. First Corinthians 10:13 tells us that with every temptation God doesn’t allow to bear more than we’re able and provides a way to avoid it.

Look before you leap. If something entices you, ask God in prayer about it. You may find God telling you to run and “flee…lusts” (2 Tim. 2:2).

Father, sometimes I have encountered situations that seemed appealing and lucrative for various reasons and have chosen to follow that path only to end up on the path away from You. Please be to me, as David said, ” a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I acknowledge You in all my ways and ask You to direct my paths. I know that You order the steps of a righteous man. Because I have righteousness in You, You lead me where to go and tell me what to do. I trust in Your judgment because the human heart devises evil and can lead men astray. Help me to stay on the narrow path leading to Life. Help me to point others toward that same path, as a witness of Jesus sharing the Good News of Your saving grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.