NEVER HAVING GOD’S APPEARING
Lot never had God’s appearing. As I read through the verses about Lot again and again, I could not find a hint that God ever appeared to him. Although God and the two angels visited Abraham, only the two angels came to Lot. Does this mean that God is unfair or a respecter of persons? Of course not. God is fair and is no respecter of persons. God did not appear to Lot or reveal Himself to Lot, because Lot was passive, not actively seeking God, and was living in a wicked city. He did not follow God in a direct way but in an indirect way and did not walk in the way of God. Unlike Abraham, Lot had no direct relationship with God. God does not respect persons, but He does respect behavior, respecting whether or not we are active or passive in seeking Him. If you seek Him, He will appear to you. But if you do not seek Him, He will not waste His time. That God did not appear to Lot was not God’s fault; it was Lot’s. God wants to appear to you, but are you seeking Him and walking in His way? Do you have a heart to seek God positively and actively and walk in the way of God? If you do, God will not fail you. He will certainly appear to you.
NEVER TAKING THE INITIATIVE IN TAKING GOD’S WAY
Lot never took the initiative in taking God’s way. I have been unable to find a verse which indicates that Lot ever took the initiative in this matter. The Bible says that Lot’s grandfather took him to Haran; it does not say that Lot followed him. There is a great difference between the two. I am somewhat concerned for the young people among us. Many of them are in the church life because someone brought them here. They did not take the initiative to come into the church life. As I look back upon the past fifty years, I can testify that those who showed initiative in taking the way of the church are still strong today. However, those who took no initiative but who were passively brought into the way of the church have gradually fallen away. I can give you a hundred names of those who were intimate with me and who were helped by my ministry who gradually fell away because they did not have a strong start by actively taking the initiative to follow the Lord. Lot should have said to Abraham, “Uncle Abraham, whether or not you take God’s way, I will take it. Even though I am younger than you, I would be the leader in following God and would ask you to follow me.” To say this is not to be proud; it is to be active.
HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD BEING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF OTHERS
Lot’s relationship with God was under the influence of others (13:1). When others were up, he was up. When they were down, he was down. Lot was like a piece of driftwood. When his spiritual leader drifted into Egypt, he drifted there after him. He was altogether under the influence of others. When Abraham was drifting southward toward Egypt and the world, Lot should have withstood him and said, “Abraham, if you go downward, I’ll go upward.” But we see no such tendency in Lot’s life. I am concerned that in the church life today there is this kind of driftwood. Is your relationship with God under His direct appearing or under others’ influence? Do not think that Lot suddenly drifted into Sodom. No, it was a gradual development starting from a very weak beginning. If as you read this message you feel that you have not had a strong beginning, be encouraged for it is still not too late to lay a solid foundation.
LEAVING OTHERS’ SPIRITUAL INFLUENCE BECAUSE OF MATERIAL SUBSTANCE
Lot left others’ spiritual influence because of material substance (13:5-13). When there was only the spiritual influence, Lot kept himself under it. But when Lot was faced with the choice between spiritual influence and material substance, he chose material substance. The principle is the same today. Material substance, that is, worldliness, is a test to those who follow the spirituality of others. Like Lot, they may be righteous but still choose material substance.
The Bible does not indicate that in the strife between Lot and Abraham in chapter thirteen Abraham was wrong. However, I believe that in a very deep sense Lot’s feelings were hurt. Here I would say a word to the leading brothers. It is a very difficult matter to deal with the brothers. Abraham did nothing wrong in dealing with Lot, but simply because he dealt with him, Lot would never return to him. Abraham never forgot Lot. When he heard that Lot had been captured by Chedorlaomer, he led the fight against the kings and rescued Lot. When Abraham learned that God was about to destroy Sodom, he interceded for Lot. In 19:27 and 28, Abraham rose up early in the morning and looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah because he was so concerned for Lot. Nevertheless, because of his hurt feelings, Lot would not return to Abraham, but could say, “I have nothing to do with you. Even though you brought me back from captivity, I will never return to you.” When Lot was delivered from the city of Sodom, he did not consider returning to Abraham. If he had returned, his life would not have had such a pitiful ending.
I am burdened that the young brothers and sisters will see that it is dangerous to dissent with and to leave the older generation in the Lord. When as a child I was rebuked by my mother, I would turn my face away from her for several days. I was wrong and I knew that she had rebuked me in love, but simply because she rebuked me, I refused to see her face. The principle is the same in the church life. Although others may love us, we do not like to be rebuked by them. I have learned that rebuking others builds up enmity. I spoke a frank word in love to certain brothers, and my frankness offended them. This might have been the reason why Lot would not return to Abraham. There is no indication in the Word that Lot thanked Abraham for delivering him from captivity. It might have been that he would not give up his hurt feelings and humble himself. We should not insist upon holding on to such human feelings. We, unlike Lot, should humble ourselves, lose our face, and return to Abraham and remain with him. The sooner we do this and the more we do it, the better.
(Abraham—Called by God, Chapter 16, by Witness Lee)