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Lot was Abraham’s nephew, who accompanied him to the Promised Land. Once there, tensions grew as he and Abraham tried to tend their flocks on limited resources in a land that did not fully belong to them. Abraham proposed they go their separate ways and magnanimously gave Lot the choice of which direction to take—especially remarkable in a culture where the family patriarch’s word was final. Lot chose what appeared to be the best land and eventually set aside the nomadic life in order to settle in one of the nearby cities, Sodom.
Lot seemed to resist the worst of Sodom’s vice, which may explain why he was considered “righteous.” He alone offered hospitality to the angelic visitors. Honor-bound to protect his guests, he attempted to spare them from the angry mob—even though the offer of his own daughters understandably strikes modern readers as detestable. Lot even tried to warn his extended family of God’s impending judgment.
His family, however, did not fare as well. Lot’s wife ignored the angels’ command, looked back on the city, and died as they fled. His daughters, convinced they had no hope of finding husbands, slept with Lot in order to become pregnant.
Nevertheless, Peter held Lot as an example of righteousness—proof that God can deliver His people from difficulty. Lot also benefited from Abraham’s superior righteousness. The writer of Genesis sums up the story of Sodom by noting that:
“ God remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe” (Genesis 19:29).
Lot is famous for choosing what he considered the best land, while leaving his uncle to tend his flocks in a less hospitable environment.
Lot’s choice, however, proved disastrous for him and his family, while Abraham was rewarded with “offspring like the dust of the earth” (Genesis 13:16). The difference between the two came down to faith. Lot based his choice on what he could see, while Abraham trusted in what he could not see.