When We Linger in the Wrong Places

“Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord…

“The enemy took all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah… They also took Lot, who was dwelling in Sodom, and his possessions, and went their way... When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he… went in pursuit… [and] brought back all the possessions, and his kinsman Lot…

“The men said to Lot, ‘Have you anyone else here?.. bring them out… For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord…’ So Lot said to his sons-in-law,.. ‘Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city.’ But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.

“As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, ‘Up! Take your wife and two daughters.., lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.’ But he lingered. So the men seized [them] by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him outside the city… ‘Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley… lest you be swept away.’ And Lot said, ‘Oh, no, my lords… I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die.  Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there— and my life will be saved!’

“Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt... Now Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar.” Genesis 13:12-13; 14:11-12,14,16; 19:12-18,19b-20a,26,30a

From first gaze at the well-watered valley, then pitching his tent on the outskirts of wickedness, Lot was lured to wrong places by wrong motives. He settled in Sodom, reaping the misery that comes with camping his heart in pleasure alongside sensuality and lawlessness. He skirted disaster, escaping as though through flames, and lost his family’s respect. Though vexed and tormented by the wickedness, he could not loosen its stronghold on his will, grew weak, and had little influence. (Genesis 13:2-11; 1 Corinthians 3:13-15; 2 Peter 2:6-8)

There is a time for action and a time for rest, a time to move and a time to linger. But each must be weighed in prudence and centered in God’s will for His blessing. We make decisions every day where we’ll go and where we’ll settle- in motion and in mind. We walk, ride, drive, meander, and ofttimes, linger. We dream, plan, and process. Our heart’s allegiance determines where we stop, get off, and stay a while.

Beside and around our normal work and service, what Sodoms do we closely edge that magnetically draw our hunger away from righteousness? Are there movies, books, ideas we entertain that pull us to dark places, unsettle our sleep, and mess with or sully holy affection? Perhaps we rest in perfect peace… until we allow our thoughts to run to worst case scenarios, and worry and fretting envelop hope and happy. (Isaiah 26:3; Matthew 5:6)

Lord, may I linger in Your sanctuary over any other place, and with You over any other lovers. (Psalm 27:4; 63:2)

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