The plain of Jordan

Genesis 13:10-12
10 And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar.
11 Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other.
12 Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom.

How do we end up in sin? We like to think that sin sneaks up on us and takes us unaware, that sin finds us rather than us seeking out sin. Or perhaps we justify ourselves by saying we didn’t know any better, that we had no example to follow. Some folks might even go so far as to say that they couldn’t get away from it once they got into it, or that they didn’t recognize it once they got there. We all end up there, and when we come to Christ we are finally able to escape. But to avoid sin in the future, it would help to know how we got there in the first place.

In today’s verses, we see how Lot ended up going to Sodom. The story actually starts back when Abram and Lot are on their way back up to Canaan from Egypt, where they had fled to escape a famine. Their possessions and herds were great, and their herdsman were now fighting. So Abram asked Lot to go his own way, to choose any place that seemed suitable.

Lot chose the place that looked the best to him. The plain of Jordan was “well-watered”, it looked very enticing. In fact, to Lot it looked “like the garden of the LORD” and “like the land of Egypt.” (v.10) That is where it begins, that’s how we begin our journey to Sodom: we see a place that seems most desirable, we are fooled by what appears to be wealth and vitality.

Genesis 3:6
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

The forbidden fruit LOOKED good for food, it LOOKED pleasant to the eyes, it LOOKED like it would make one wise. The plains of Jordan LOOKED well-watered and fruitful, LOOKED like Eden, and LOOKED like Egypt. But even then the plains of Jordan were known for that den of iniquity, Sodom. (v.13) Lot went there anyway.

James 1:14
14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

It all starts with desire. We desire love and comfort when we seem to find none at home. We desire an easier way to provide for ourselves. We desire pleasure. We desire more time for ourselves. We desire knowledge, money, fame, honor, glory, or even a loaf of bread. Giving force to our desires, we will be tempted by any place that is well-watered, that seems like a place where we could relax and live a good life – at least a better life than the one we have right now. So we turn aside from the place God has led us, giving in to our desires, allowing ourselves to be tempted. In that “fertile” place, our desire grows, turning into sin, and the sin leads to death – unless Someone comes along to save us.

How do we end up in sin? By following our flesh like Lot did. Let’s not be like Lot. Let us examine things more carefully, look beneath the surface. Let us not be enticed by visions of fame or wealth or wisdom or pleasure or worldly glory. Perhaps even more importantly, let us not get so well off and complacent that we feel like we need to find a “better” life than the one we have. The life that matters is the one where the Lord guides us, the place where we then build an altar and call on the name of the Lord. Don’t seek the well-watered plains of Jordan. Instead,”seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”

Lord God in heaven, Your Word is truth, and we praise and thank You for that. Lead us, O Lord, past the plains of Jordan into the blessings of the Promised Land. Teach us to know the right path, and help us to be content with where we are. Let us seek Your will above our own desires, so that all the blessings of Providence will be added to us. Amen.


About Glenn Pettit

I am a deacon at The Well of Iowa, and a father and grandfather. Called to teach and to preach, I write fresh messages about the Bible every now and then.
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