Thursday, October 1, 2009

Like a Dog to his Vomit

After the death of his father, Lot went to live with his uncle, Abraham. When the Lord commanded Abraham to move to the land of Bethel, Lot also went. They separated their households and Lot had first choice of the land he and his household would possess. Abraham settled the remaining area.

The land Lot chose was fertile and beautiful and it appeared he made a wise decision about where he would establish himself. But Lot pitched his tents near the city of Sodom while Abraham took his household in the other direction toward the land of Canaan.

Lot was a good man and tried to teach his children the gospel but he lived in one of the most evil cities on the earth. The city was so wicked the Lord prepared to destroy it. Abraham was worried for Lot and his household because he knew Lot was a good man and he plead with the Lord to spare the city if 10 righteous people could be found. The Lord agreed that if 10 righteous people could be found He would not destroy the city. Sadly, 10 righteous people could not be found.

The Lord sent two angels to destroy Sodom but first they met with Lot and warned him to take his family and quickly leave the city. Lot’s married children refused to listen and would not leave. Only his two unmarried daughters were obedient and agreed to leave the city.

In the morning the angels told Lot to “Arise, take thy wife and thy two daughters, which are here, lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.”

Lot hesitated. Maybe he thought about his home and possessions, but more likely he was thinking of his married children who refused to leave. The angels knew there was no time to waste so they took Lot, his wife and his daughters by the hand and led them out of Sodom.

The angels commanded them, “Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.”

Despite being commanded not to look back on the burning cities, Lot’s wife could not resist the temptation. Unwilling to surrender her will to the Lord’s, unwilling to let go and turn away from the thing she had been commanded, she looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.

We may look at the example of Lot’s wife and say, “what was she thinking? How foolish. I would never do that.” And hopefully we never would.

But are there things in our lives from which we have been commanded to turn away or give up, that we just can’t bring ourselves to fully eradicate from our lives? Do we turn back to our bad habits or sins longingly, like a “dog to his vomit”?

The image is pretty disgusting, but it’s supposed to be. Why in the world would we want to return to our sins like a dog returns to his vomit. Returning to our sins is just as foolish, but we do it.

To go out of Babylon we must turn away from our sins and not look back. We must be willing to give up anything that the Lord requires.

Maybe we are asked to sacrifice our favorite TV show on a Sunday afternoon when we should be doing our home teaching. Or maybe it is sacrificing an addictive habit or behavior, or the pride of a grudge we are holding. Maybe we need to sacrifice leisure time and money to attend the temple or invite a non-member to a family home evening. Maybe we find it difficult to sacrifice our money by paying tithing and a generous fast offering.

Is it safe to say we all have a habit or behavior or maybe even an attitude that we need to turn away from? I think it is. I know it’s true for me. As long as we refuse to turn fully away and not look back, we are keeping our foot in the battlefield of Babylon and Satan has us in his sights. We think we are at a safe distance but we’re not.

We may think our sin is small or insignificant. We may think that even with our faults we are still more righteous than others, but the truth is if we refuse to remove ourselves out of Babylon we are susceptible to the ravages of battle. Because of our carelessness or curiosity or maybe our stubbornness, we are too close and we are in danger.

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