I had a dear friend years ago who gave me great advice from time to time as a parent of three who were competitive and fought over who got the biggest and best piece of whatever they were given to share. She had raised two boys to adulthood. In teaching each of her boys with perspective in “fairness”, she would tell one son to divide what was to be shared, but the other boy would have first choice of the two pieces. Impressive, right?! What wisdom! The son dividing the treat thought twice about making the cut, knowing his brother would get first choice. Peace between brothers was the result.
Abraham divided the land God gave to them, but Lot had first choice of where he would go and settle. Lot chose Sodom.
We all have that relative that seems to be followed by a black cloud hanging over their heads. They assume that bad luck follows them wherever they go. Lot seems to be that relative of Abraham. Abraham graciously allows Lot to choose which land, but he didn’t choose well. As Lot looked over the land, he chose what he thought was the best land, greener, more pasture for stock, the land of Sodom. Lot thought he “had it made”. The downside was that Sodom had the reputation of “being full of evil.”
Abraham was a man of God, guided by God, worshiped God and listen to His direction. Lot, his nephew, followed his own desires and instincts. Lot knew of God through watching Abraham relate to God but Lot doesn’t seem to have the relationship with God that Abraham has. Lot’s faith is based in knowing his uncle. Abraham is told what will happen to Sodom and Gomorrah and has asked God to save his nephew and family as we read yesterday in Genesis 18.
I confess. I was in Lot’s position of weak faith in my early twenties. I was raised in church where my parents and grandparents served with strong, committed faith and relationship with God. In a crossroads experience, I learned I was merely hanging onto the “coattails” of their faith. I needed to commit to a faith in God in relationship to Him myself. I was glad for this crisis of faith-believing for only then did my relationship with God become real, binding, growing and complete.
Pause to read, think, pray…
Is my relationship with God based merely on the faith of those I believe to have faith or do I have faith, trust and hope in God no matter what they believe and do?
Do I really believe what God says really real?
Does my behavior show what I believe about God?
Our real belief will always show through our “first thought” behaviors. What is in our hearts will eventually flow out through what we do. Many leaders do not realize that what is in their hearts comes out of their mouths. In other words, “What is in a man comes out of the man.” (Proverbs 12:14) If one’s heart is filled with evil, accepting evil; then he will speak evil. If one’s heart is filled with God, then he will think, speak and do what God says. We have only two choices.
Evil that includes all sexual perversions of evil have created victims who have cried out to God for help. God is responding. He will destroy these cities of evil in such a way nothing will ever grow there again. Lot is living in the middle of it all with his family.
How does evil progress to this point? Evil flourishes where it is given free rein to do so. Evil has one purpose—to destroy every living creature and human in its path. What looked good to Lot is now threatening his faith as well as his very life. Is it any wonder Lot is sitting at the gate? Is he avoiding the corruption and turning his head from what is happening inside the gate? Abraham’s faith and relationship with God saves his nephew, Lot. Reading this story of God’s power at work, it seems Lot, being submersed in a city of evil has actually learned to live with it, accepting the life he chose to live. He knows it is wrong but evil has taken over to the point he feels he cannot fight it. Then God shows up to rescue him and his family.
Lot recognizes the angel messengers from God and welcomes them, even tries to protect them who came to protect him! So, there is some faith left in Lot. He takes them in. Evil comes knocking at the door, Lot offers his daughters as a sacrifice to evil. Has he resigned himself to evil, played the games of evil, to the point of accepting its power?
The angels have the power to cause the evil gang of men to go blind. Is Lot awakened from his stupor of acceptance of evil to recognize God at work? Not quite, yet. The angels, sent by God to destroy the city, now warn Lot to get out with his family, but he drags his feet! Lot, what are you thinking?!
Pause for a minute…how many times has God tried to pull us from the fires that seek to destroy us? How many times as God sent a lifeboat and we said, “No, I’m good, I can handle the storm and choppy waves that are drowning me.” How many times have we drug our feet while He is trying to rescue us from what is bad for us?
That dark cloud hanging over our heads probably isn’t “bad luck” at all. It might be our unwillingness to follow the One and Only who loves us most, has our name written on the palm of his hand, knows what we need and provides all we need with our best interest in His heart.
Lot questions his rescue, bargains with God’s messengers, but has enough faith left from his observations of Abraham’s life to finally make his escape.
Genesis 19, The Message
1-2 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening. Lot was sitting at the city gate. He saw them and got up to welcome them, bowing before them and said, “Please, my friends, come to my house and stay the night. Wash up. You can rise early and be on your way refreshed.”
They said, “No, we’ll sleep in the street.”
3 But he insisted, wouldn’t take no for an answer; and they relented and went home with him. Lot fixed a hot meal for them and they ate.
4-5 Before they went to bed, men from all over the city of Sodom, young and old, descended on the house from all sides and boxed them in. They yelled to Lot, “Where are the men who are staying with you for the night? Bring them out so we can have our sport with them!”
6-8 Lot went out, barring the door behind him, and said, “Brothers, please, don’t be vile! Look, I have two daughters, virgins; let me bring them out; you can take your pleasure with them, but don’t touch these men—they’re my guests.”
9 They said, “Get lost! You drop in from nowhere and now you’re going to tell us how to run our lives. We’ll treat you worse than them!” And they charged past Lot to break down the door.
10-11 But the two men reached out and pulled Lot inside the house, locking the door. Then they struck blind the men who were trying to break down the door, both leaders and followers, leaving them groping in the dark.
12-13 The two men said to Lot, “Do you have any other family here? Sons, daughters—anybody in the city? Get them out of here, and now! We’re going to destroy this place. The outcries of victims here to God are deafening; we’ve been sent to blast this place into oblivion.”
14 Lot went out and warned the fiancés of his daughters, “Evacuate this place; God is about to destroy this city!” But his daughters’ would-be husbands treated it as a joke.
15 At break of day, the angels pushed Lot to get going, “Hurry. Get your wife and two daughters out of here before it’s too late and you’re caught in the punishment of the city.”
16-17 Lot was dragging his feet. The men grabbed Lot’s arm, and the arms of his wife and daughters—God was so merciful to them!—and dragged them to safety outside the city. When they had them outside, Lot was told, “Now run for your life! Don’t look back! Don’t stop anywhere on the plain—run for the hills or you’ll be swept away.”
18-20 But Lot protested, “No, masters, you can’t mean it! I know that you’ve taken a liking to me and have done me an immense favor in saving my life, but I can’t run for the mountains—who knows what terrible thing might happen to me in the mountains and leave me for dead. Look over there—that town is close enough to get to. It’s a small town, hardly anything to it. Let me escape there and save my life—it’s a mere wide place in the road.”
21-22 “All right, Lot. If you insist. I’ll let you have your way. And I won’t stamp out the town you’ve spotted. But hurry up. Run for it! I can’t do anything until you get there.” That’s why the town was called Zoar, that is, Smalltown.
23 The sun was high in the sky when Lot arrived at Zoar.
24-25 Then God rained brimstone and fire down on Sodom and Gomorrah—a river of lava from God out of the sky!—and destroyed these cities and the entire plain and everyone who lived in the cities and everything that grew from the ground.
26 But Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.
27-28 Abraham got up early the next morning and went to the place he had so recently stood with God. He looked out over Sodom and Gomorrah, surveying the whole plain. All he could see was smoke belching from the Earth, like smoke from a furnace.
29 And that’s the story: When God destroyed the Cities of the Plain, he was mindful of Abraham and first got Lot out of there before he blasted those cities off the face of the Earth.
30 Lot left Zoar and went into the mountains to live with his two daughters; he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He lived in a cave with his daughters.
31-32 One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is getting old and there’s not a man left in the country by whom we can get pregnant. Let’s get our father drunk with wine and lie with him. We’ll get children through our father—it’s our only chance to keep our family alive.”
33-35 They got their father drunk with wine that very night. The older daughter went and lay with him. He was oblivious, knowing nothing of what she did. The next morning the older said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Tonight, it’s your turn. We’ll get him drunk again and then you sleep with him. We’ll both get a child through our father and keep our family alive.” So that night they got their father drunk again and the younger went in and slept with him. Again he was oblivious, knowing nothing of what she did.
36-38 Both daughters became pregnant by their father, Lot. The older daughter had a son and named him Moab, the ancestor of the present-day Moabites. The younger daughter had a son and named him Ben-Ammi, the ancestor of the present-day Ammonites.
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
When we’re in a bad place and God sends a rescue—GET OUT!
Even though the way out seems unlikely and foreign to us, heed the red flags of warnings, don’t succumb to the evil around us–just GET OUT!
Don’t bargain with God, asking for our will and way to be done. Just Trust God.
“Now run for your life! Don’t look back! Don’t stop anywhere on the plain—run for the hills or you’ll be swept away.”
Avoid being the one who looked back and regretted it. Too salty for you? Don’t mess with God!
There are so many faith lessons to be learned from your story of your rescue of Lot. What a mighty God you are! What power you have over evil! What loving, longsuffering patience you have with us. How gentle you are in our crisis of faith. You hear and answer prayer from victims of evil. You save us from ourselves. You forgive us for our sins. You deepen our faith. Thank you for teaching me, helping to see that accepting evil leads to death. Thank you for rescuing me. Thank you, Jesus for redeeming my soul. Thank you for getting me out of situations that would harm me. Now help me to live what you have impressed on my heart. Our relationship is real and for my part, it is growing stronger deeper still. You are Hope. You are my life.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen