Scripture Discussion and Application
As you teach the following scripture passages, discuss how they apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.
1. Abraham and his family settle in Hebron, and Lot and his family settle near Sodom.
Teach and discuss
You may want to give a brief overview of Abraham’s travels to this point in his life. He was raised in Ur of Chaldea, then was led by the Lord to settle in Haran (
Genesis 11:31; Abraham 2:1–5). The Lord later led him from Haran to the land of Canaan and promised, “Unto thy seed will I give this land” ( Genesis 12:7). Because of a famine in Canaan, Abraham and his family went to Egypt ( Genesis 12:10). Genesis 13 begins with Abraham and his family returning to Canaan from Egypt.
Why couldn’t Abraham and Lot and their families live together when they returned to Canaan from Egypt? (See
Genesis 13:5–7.) What do we learn about Abraham from his comments in Genesis 13:8–9? How can we follow Abraham’s example when we have conflicts with family members or others?
Where did Lot choose to live? (See
Genesis 13:10–12.) Point out that the people of Sodom were extremely wicked ( Genesis 13:13), but Lot still chose to live near them. What made the land near Sodom appealing to Lot? (See Genesis 13:10. It was “well watered” and beautiful.)
At first Lot “lived in the cities of the plain,” outside Sodom, but he “pitched his tent toward Sodom” (
Genesis 13:12). Later he lived in the city of Sodom itself ( Genesis 14:12). What things might we do that are the spiritual equivalent of pitching our tents toward Sodom? (We may associate with evil things instead of shunning them, or we may allow ourselves to commit small sins without thinking that they may lead to bigger ones.) How can we change our behavior before little problems or sins become big ones?
Like Lot, the people of King Benjamin in the
Book of Mormon also pitched their tents facing a specific direction. What did their tents face? (See Mosiah 2:6.) How can we point our homes more toward the temple instead of worldly places?
2. Abraham rescues Lot, pays tithes to Melchizedek, and refuses to accept the spoils of war from the king of Sodom.
Teach and discuss
Genesis 14:1–2, 8–24.
While Lot lived in Sodom, the kings of several city-states, including Sodom and Gomorrah, began warring with one another (
Genesis 14:1–2, 8–9). What happened to Lot during this war? (See Genesis 14:10–12.) How did Abraham help Lot after Lot was taken captive? (See Genesis 14:13–16.)
Whom did Abraham meet with after rescuing Lot? (See
Genesis 14:17–18.) Who was Melchizedek? (See Genesis 14:18; see also D&C 107:1–2.) What did Abraham give to Melchizedek? (See Genesis 14:20; see also Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 14:36–40.)
Why did Abraham refuse to accept even a thread as a reward from the king of Sodom? (See
Genesis 14:21–24. He did not want to receive anything from an unrighteous king.) What might be considered a “thread” of immorality in today’s world? What might be a “thread” of dishonesty? How do we sometimes compromise in the amount of unrighteousness we are willing to accept in the entertainment we seek? Why is it important that we try not to let even a small amount of worldly ways into our lives? (See 2 Nephi 28:20–21.)
What can we learn about Abraham’s commitment to the Lord by comparing his reactions to Melchizedek and to the king of Sodom?
3. The Lord destroys Sodom and Gomorrah.
Teach and discuss
Genesis 18:16–33; 19:1–29.
Because of the iniquity of the people in Sodom and Gomorrah, the Lord planned to destroy the cities (
Genesis 18:20–21). What did Abraham ask of the Lord after learning of this plan? (See Genesis 18:23–32.) What can we learn from the fact that the Lord was willing to spare the cities if righteous people could be found within them?
Why was Lot instructed to leave Sodom? (See
Genesis 19:12–13, 15.) How did Lot’s sons-in-law react when he urged them to leave? (See Genesis 19:14.) Why do some people refuse to remove themselves from bad influences even when they are aware of the danger?
What counsel did the angels give as Lot and his family left the city? (See
Genesis 19:17.) Point out that the Savior has given similar counsel to his followers ( Luke 9:62; 17:29–32; D&C 133:14–15). What does “looking back” represent? (Reluctance to give up what is asked of us; a less than complete commitment to following Christ.) How might we sometimes “look back”?
What happened to Lot’s wife when she looked back at Sodom? (See
Genesis 19:26.) What can the story of Lot’s wife teach us about repentance? (To repent we must change our hearts and our behavior. To do this we must sometimes choose a new environment and new associates.)
What did Lot lose because he “pitched his tent toward Sodom”? What do we stand to lose when we put ourselves in positions where we know we will be tempted? How are we affected when we allow ourselves to be surrounded by evil, even if we are not directly participating in sinful acts?
Genesis 19:29 suggest was the reason Lot was spared when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed? (The Lord remembered the righteousness of Abraham.) How can our righteous behavior benefit others?
President Spencer W. Kimball said: “Our world is now much the same as it was in the days of the Nephite prophet who said: ‘ … if it were not for the prayers of the righteous … ye would even now be visited with utter destruction. …’ (Al. 10:22.) Of course, there are many many upright and faithful who live all the commandments and whose lives and prayers keep the world from destruction” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1971, 7; or
Ensign, June 1971, 16).
Testify of the importance of keeping ourselves free from sin, even when evil is all around us. Encourage class members to strive to be a righteous influence in the world instead of letting worldly things influence them.
You may want to conclude with the following statement from Elder M. Russell Ballard:
“In the Church, we often state the couplet, ‘Be in the world but not of the world.’ As we observe television shows that make profanity, violence, and infidelity commonplace and even glamorous, we often wish we could lock out the world in some way and isolate our families from it all. …
“Perhaps we should state the couplet previously mentioned as two separate admonitions. First,
‘Be in the world.’ Be involved; be informed. Try to be understanding and tolerant and to appreciate diversity. Make meaningful contributions to society through service and involvement. Second, ‘Be not of the world.’ Do not follow wrong paths or bend to accommodate or accept what is not right. …
“Members of the Church need to influence more than we are influenced. We should work to stem the tide of sin and evil instead of passively being swept along by it. We each need to help solve the problem rather than avoid or ignore it” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 100–101; or
Ensign, May 1989, 80).