When you pitch your tent toward Sodom, it’s only a matter of time until you’re living in downtown Sodom.” — John Edmund Haggai

Every leader faces that moment when they have to make a decision that affects them and their entire team, and perhaps others. Sometimes, it doesn’t even appear to be a major decision, until you begin to see the benefits or consequences of the decision long after it’s made. Sometimes, we consider certain factors when making decisions, while overlooking those factors that appear irrelevant.

We find this to be the case in the book of Genesis, where Abram and his nephew, Lot, had too many possessions to remain in the same land together. Their herdsmen began to clash, so Abram asked Lot if he would be willing to separate himself and relocate. Abram told him that he could choose whatever land he wanted, and that Abram would go in the opposite direction, giving them both all the space and nourishment for the cattle they needed.

Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.” – Genesis 13:12 KJV

It was really a no-brainer to a logical thinker. Lot looked toward the east and saw how healthy, well-watered and fertile the land was in the plain of Jordan, it looked to him like “the garden of the Lord” and like Egypt. He wasn’t thinking about how it looked through God’s eyes; he never seemed to consider what God had just brought him through and what this move could mean for his family or their future. He looked with his natural eyes and saw that the land to the east would provide an abundance of nourishment for his cattle. So he made what most would consider to be a good business decision and chose the land that would give him the most opportunity for success. Lot decided to head east and pitch his tent toward Sodom. It would prove to be one of the worst decisions he could’ve made. The land Lot chose looked good, but it wasn’t good to the Lord.

Downtown Sodom

Verse 13 tells us that the men of Sodom were wicked and “exceedingly great sinners against the Lord.” In the next chapter, we find that Lot is caught up in the middle of a war, is taken captive and loses everything he owned. Fortunately, Abram learns of Lot’s misfortune and is able to go and rescue him. Shortly thereafter (Genesis 19), the evil men of Sodom visit his home while he’s entertaining angels. In order to appease the men, who surrounded his house, demanding that the angels come out, Lot offered his virgin daughters to them. With the help of his angelic guests, Lot and his family just barely escaped the perverted wrath of Sodom’s men.

He ended up having to leave everything behind just in time to escape the fire and brimstone God sent on the city, while they were making their dramatic escape, his wife looked back only to be turned into a pillar of salt, and later after he and his daughters took shelter in a cave, they got him drunk so they could get pregnant by him.

I’m not one for adding to Biblical stories, but after all that, I’d be surprised if Lot didn’t reminisce on the day his uncle asked him to move and wonder “what if….” I’d be surprised if he didn’t kick himself for not asking his favored, wise, older uncle for advice. Having left everything behind, and losing his wife along the way, I can’t imagine that he wouldn’t want to turn back the hands of time just a little bit and pitch that tent toward the west. I once heard an acquaintance quote, “if the grass looks greener on the other side, you can bet the water bill is higher.” Lot chose the greener grass, and paid quite a price for it.

Don’t Just Go for the Obvious

So today, I remind you that no matter how sound and reasonable your decision appears to be, if you set up camp close to disaster, just to gain irresistible benefits, could end up costing you everything you’ve worked for. When given a choice, we must keep our eyes on Jesus, and not fix our eyes on what looks best to us. Pitching your tent toward Sodom isn’t just about making a choice to move here or there. It’s about self-indulgence, hasty decision-making, failure to obtain wise counsel, and failure to consider the promises of God. Even the greatest expertise won’t lead us the right way, if our eyes aren’t focused on God and His plan. Don’t just go for the obvious. Pray about it, explore all the possible scenarios, consider all the possible consequences, ponder the benefits, and count the cost… then pray some more.

But whatever you decide in the end, know that if you pitch your tent toward disaster, it’s really only a matter of time before you end up living there.