LOT. Genesis. Ch 13. Genesis Ch 19. Luke Ch 17 v 28 – 30.
In this story of two men and their progress through life’s circumstances, there is a glimpse something of the grace of God, the providence of God, wisdom or lack of it, the judgement of God for sin, the role of angels in the purposes of God, the control of principalities and powers, the dangers of compromise with the Word of God and the outworking of the plan of God.
The grace of God. Abraham was described as the friend of God. A friend is someone who is really committed to another and gets involved in his life – its joys and difficulties. Abraham believed in God and their friendship was born. The two men Abraham and Lot faced a difficult decision. They could not go on as before. The pasture was not enough for the two herds. Tensions and strife were breaking out between the two families. Abraham sought a peaceful solution and offered Lot the choice of land. They had to divide and go their own ways. God in Abraham freely gave the choice to Lot. It is a sign of grace, when a believer lets others choose first and does not seek his own advantage. It takes self-sacrifice to release grace into the situation. Abraham had every right to choose first. God gives man free choice. He will not force man. Life is all about facing choices and reaching decisions. Sometimes they are forced on a man. When King Saul was leader of the army of Israel he was challenged by Goliath. He was forced to make a decision. He said: “This is not a situation of my choosing nor to my liking.” He fudged the issue.
Lot accompanied his uncle Abraham and Abraham’s father from Ur in Babylon to Canaan. Ch 13 v 5. Lot was the nephew of Abraham. Ch 13 v 5. Lot was quite wealthy. The family unit was too big. The members were falling out with one another. Sometimes a Church is too big and needs to be split. Abraham and Lot talked it over. It is good to talk over problems before they develop into a crisis and not sweep them under the carpet. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ cannot afford to fall out. Ch 13 v 8. Close relatives must present a united front. It is a disgrace for believers to fall out in public.
Abraham gave Lot the choice. What motivated Lot in making his decision? v 10. Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the River Jordan. These were the better and more profitable lands. His motivation was money and profit. There was a risk involved, because in that valley lived the Sodomites. They were unusually wicked and hated God. It is reasonable to assume that Lot knew that. If not, he should have made enquiries before reaching such an important decision. Nearly all decisions involve a degree of risk or uncertainty. A man can never be sure exactly how things will work out following the decision. The decision is made in light of the facts known. It is the same when a man makes a decision to follow Jesus. Who would ever have imagined the consequences? If a man travels abroad, it is a simple matter to make enquiries as to the dangers in any of the lands where he proposes to go. Travellers today are advised to avoid certain countries. There is no evidence that Lot sought the guidance of God before reaching his decision. He lacked wisdom. The beginning of wisdom is reverence for the Lord. In all major decisions the believer should seek the will of the Lord for his life. Lot reckoned the risk was worth taking in view of the fertility of the land. Jesus advises people to weigh up the consequences before making decisions. Lot had to live with the consequences of his choice.
Lot took the best land but the people there were unusually wicked and hated God. Was that a good choice? Choose carefully. God gives man free choice but he lives with the consequences. Ch 14 v 11-16 and v ch 18 v 20. Destruction was coming to Sodom. Believers are not immune from punishment when a nation comes under judgement. There is no point in a believer feeling hard done by. Abraham, by faith, looked to the city with Heavenly foundations. Lot looked to the city with Earthly foundations. He was living for today only. C. S. Lewis said: “Some things are worth doing, if we are going to live forever.”
Ch 19. v 1. Angels are used by God as His instruments of destruction and as his messengers to bring salvation and blessing to those who are being saved. The men of the city had no shame. There were many of them. Many people today have no shame. Heb ch 1 v 14. How many believe in angels? How many believers take the role of angels seriously? There was but one righteous man in Sodom. The angels soon found him out. Wickedness was universal in the town.
v 6. Was Lot brave or foolish in going out to speak to them? What should a believer do in the circumstances, when people want him to become involved in their sins? Speak out or keep silent?
v 8. Lot offered his two daughters to the men, rather than let them touch the angels. Did Lot know that they were angels? Should Lot have offered up his own daughters? Perhaps they were not of great repute as v 34 seems to imply. Even so they were his daughters. The men were under Lot’s protection. Perhaps it was the culture, which demanded a greater loyalty to visitors than family. These men were under the protection of Lot. There are countries today which practise polygamy, where fathers are quite happy for daughters go and live with a man who already has several wives – to save him looking after his own daughter.
v 9. Strangers are not expected to speak out in their early days. “Who are you – a newcomer – to tell us what to do?” Lot was in real trouble. He did not really belong to the community. He was not one of them.
v 10. The Lord gave Lot an opportunity to escape. He temporarily blinded the men of Sodom. What grace, despite the way Lot had ignored God. God’s mercy is very deep. The angels temporarily blinded the men of Sodom. Perhaps it was physical or just confusion of purpose – arguing amongst themselves. God may even have used a supernatural situation to assist Lot in making an escape. Note the urgency of making the decision. If a believer is involved in an area of life where he should not be, he should get out as quickly as possible, before he becomes engulfed in the snare of the enemy. Peter warns about giving the Devil a foothold. How many in life find themselves saying: “I never thought that it could happen to me.” They had given the enemy a foothold and he took full advantage. Lot had given the enemy a foothold by living in Sodom. Now he was paying the price.
v 12. If a believer is in deep trouble with enemies all round, there is a time to beat the retreat. The battle is not lost, if a man retreats for a while. It is an exercise of warfare. The believer can let the enemy have a round, until he re-gathers his strength.
v 13. The angels would destroy the place. Does God use angels to bring about earthquakes? Rev ch 16. The angels poured out the bowls of wrath on mankind. Often the timing of an earthquake is an act of grace – not at a time of great movement of people, when the consequences could have been so much worse. God always comes to man with a word of judgement and a word of mercy.
v 14. Those who are being saved ought to do what they can to help rescue others from what they know is about to happen. Judgement day was coming to Sodom. The young men looked at Lot as if he had lost his mind. They made a jest of his warning. Homosexuals look in disbelief that anyone accepts the Bible as the Word of God. There are some who just want a good laugh in life – even at the most serious of questions – “What think you of this man Jesus?” How do people today respond to the question of judgement? Tell people today that the World will come to an end one day and they too will look as if the questioner has lost his mind. The people of Noah’s day laughed at him – building a ship in the desert. The idea that the World will end is met with scorn today. By faith believers believe that it will. There are 318 references in the New Testament alone referring to the public return of Jesus.
v 15. Note the word of urgency about the situation. “Get out of the World before it is too late.” Then they grabbed Lot’s hands and pulled him away. God had been merciful to them. Do believers see the urgency of the situation in their land? Will people listen to them? Satan is out to rob, kill and destroy. It is real.
v 17. Do not look back. A believer should leave the old life and its sins well and truly behind or he will get caught up in them again. They will be snares to him and he will die spiritually. There is a battle within a believer between the old nature and the new creation. Part of a believer longs for the old life, with its security and ways of the world.
v 18. Lot did not want to go the whole way. He was afraid of the seriousness of the situation. “Let me go some way only and not the whole way.” Is that the response of a believer? Jesus warned about someone putting his hand to the plough and looking back. He is of no use. To compromise is deadly. The one who compromises falls out with both parties. He is not accepted within the family of God, because he is not fully committed and he is not welcome in the World, because he makes the people of the World feel uncomfortable. Joshua ch 24 v 15. “Choose this day whom you will serve.” God uses this story to impress on believers the urgency of doing to death the old self and the ways of the World. It is a very vivid picture to portray the urgency of the situation.
v 26. Lot’s wife looked back – longing for the old life in Sodom. Perhaps it was her lovely house and furniture or the garden or her car or her neighbours. Women tend to be more attached to home and possessions – perhaps they find security in them, especially if they are unsure of the loyalty of their husband. Luke ch 17 v 31 – 33. Jesus gives a clear warning from the life of Lot’s wife. She clung to her old life and lost it. She was caught up in the volcano and covered in ash. Local tradition in that area today refers to salty crags by the name of Lot’s wife. A man’s physical actions betray what is in his mind. Satan is concerned to control a man’s mind, so that he can control his actions. If he can fill the mind of a man with hate, then he can use that man to plant a bomb or kill a child. Man is called to love the Lord God with all his soul and with all his heart and with all his mind. It is essential that a man guards what thoughts he allows to enter his mind. There was after the day when the thoughts and imaginations of the people were evil continuously and God was sorry that He had made man. Gen ch 6 v 5. Television is the greatest instrument for influencing the minds of human beings. If a man allows it, it will brainwash his mind. Satan put a thought into the mind of Lot’s wife and she stopped to look back, lingering in her mind for the old way of life. That led to her being overtaken by the eruption and she died there and then.
v 29. The pleas of Abraham had saved Lot. That very morning Abraham was praying for Lot, just when he needed it. The prayers of a believer matter. He can make God change His mind about judgement. The prayers of the believers release the angels to spring into action and carry out the purposes of God. How many angels are standing idly by, because no believer has prayed about the situation?
v 30. Zoar does not seem any better than Sodom and Lot was afraid of the people there. He should have gone to the mountains in the first place. It is always better to go the whole way and be done completely with the old life than go part of the way and keep one foot in each camp. God had prepared a place for Lot as he escaped from the World of sin. That place for the sinner is the Church or Fellowship – called sinners anonymous – a family, where there is rest from the stresses and pressures of the World in which believers have to earn a living. Lot had to learn from his own experiences that God’s plan is best after all. Zoar was not a failure but a learning experience for Lot.
v 32. Proverbs ch 22 v 6. Train up a child the way he should go and, when he is old, he will not depart from it. What sort of training had Lot given his daughters that they thought up that plan? They had become immersed in the sexual climate of Sodom and had only one thing on their minds. Drink again played a part – as with Noah. When a man is drunk he surrenders his will to someone else – anyone who wants to use it for their own purposes – Satan would like to control a man’s will. Drunkenness is a great sin in itself, but it also allows other sins to have free operation in the life of a believer. 95 % of crime is committed under the influence of alcohol. Look at the result of the plan by the two girls. Their children were the founders of the Moabites and the Ammonites, who were long-term enemies of the Israelites. For 3,500 years the children of Israel have been molested by the Moabites and the Ammonites. Sin can have long-term consequences. Unless dealt with it can lead a soul into eternal darkness.
The moral life of the whole nation had sunk to an all time low. Decency will not preserve a rotten society. Lot had collapsed morally. Lot hesitated. Perhaps he loved his possessions. Perhaps he was ashamed at what he had done to Abraham. Perhaps his disobedience had robbed him of grace and wisdom as well as fortitude. There are a lot of fine people who are moral slobs.
It seems that Abraham believed in God. Lot was close to him and no doubt had heard Abraham speak of his relationship with God in the cool of the evening in the tent – but was Lot also a righteous man? 2 Pet ch 7 confirms that Lot was a righteous man. He was not comfortable with his environment in Sodom. There are degrees of relationship with God. Abraham was in closer contact with the Lord than Lot. That situation is always capable of change. The providence of God. Even though Lot had free choice, he chose the land, which left Abraham with that area God had already promised him. God knew the end from the beginning, while allowing Lot free choice. It was not a question of God electing Abraham at the expense of Lot. The two truths of free choice and election have to be held together.
Ch 18 v 20. God told Abraham what He was intending to do to Sodom. God has told His people about the judgement, which will take place when Jesus returns. Amos ch 3 v 7. God always tells man through the prophets what He plans to do before He acts. That is kind of God to give man advance warning, so that he has an opportunity to repent. Destruction was coming to Sodom. The destruction of an island like Montserrat is a clear picture of how through an earthquake or volcano, God can empty a place or area and claim back the territory, which the enemy has had under his control. Lot and his family were in deep trouble. Lot was living for today only. The horizon of his life was limited by what he could see. As God’s friend Abraham talked it over with God, as friends do. How many righteous men would God find in any town, if the time was right for judgement?
The situation in Sodom seemed unthinkable – until recent times. This story is understandable for the people of Britain. The men of the city had no shame. When Lot intervened on behalf of the visitors, they were rude and abusive to Lot. They lunged at Lot. The city was ripe for destruction. There were many of them. Many people today have no shame – some are prepared to appear naked on television before the whole nation. Some are streakers at sporting events. Few people are shocked. Some government ministers admit to be homosexual. There are many things happening in the World, which previously seemed unthinkable.
In Argentina mothers were dropped out of planes alive, while the soldiers took their babies for their own.
In Switzerland the money of the Jews was accepted and then secreted into the vaults of the bank.
In East Timor the nation was captured by Indonesia without a word of protest by the powers in the World, who knew very well what was going on.
There are instances of sexual abuse of children in a home run by religious people when those in authority knew what was happening.
What lay behind this unnatural lust of men for other men? Paul explains that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers. The principality of homosexuality was controlling the areas of Sodom and Gomorrah. This was from the very pit of Hell. Perhaps the best evidence that homosexuality is from Hell is the fact that all these people want to talk about is themselves, their sexual activity and their right to do exactly what they want, without any regard for anyone else. That is their sole topic of conversation. When things are unnatural and illogical, the problem is usually spiritual at source.
What a lesson Lot had learned. Not so long ago he could not find enough room for all his cattle and sheep as well as his servants, and now he is glad of a hole in the rock where he can barely turn round. It took God 40 years to strip Moses of all his Worldly ways, so that he was fit to be used by God. Lot was stripped of everything he once had. It is not known what became of Lot? Perhaps Abraham set him up again in life. Perhaps he drowned in the sea of self-pity and drunk himself to death. What is important is the lesson to be learned from his life. The Bible poses many questions. What will become of a believer, if he reaches that place where the only thing he can do is to throw himself on the mercy of God? The Bible does not paint a good picture of the people of faith. But it uses their experiences to teach succeeding generations truth.
ABRAHAM. Genesis chapter 20 – 26. All a man’s actions – even sensible ones – have spiritual consequences. There is always a tendency to repackage the truth in an attempt not to tell a lie. Blessings are not necessity immediately recognisable as desirable. Abraham found out that God wants obedience rather than sacrifice. But sometimes obedience leads a man to sacrifice.
Genesis ch 13 v 1 – 18. It is essential to ask the Lord: “Where are you going?” Otherwise how is it possible to be walking within His will? The best life is to be totally within God’s will. A man needs a vision or a dream and needs to see it fulfilled in his lifetime. The runner heads for the tape at the start of the race. So it is in the spiritual life. Whatever a man looks at or focuses on will be his goal. That applies in both the material and spiritual realm. What a man sees is what captivates him. That is why advertisers seek to captivate a man’s thoughts and motives by what he sees in their adverts. The adverts are often linked with a deep emotion within the heart – such as success or sex. God asks a question: “What is the focus of your life?”
There was a choice set before Abraham. When God touches a man’s life he is never the same. The things of the World are never so attractive again. A believer knows of the dangers inherent in them – that they will draw his affection away from God. Whatever impregnates a man will be what he gives birth to at a later date. Whatever a man sows, he will reap in both the secular and spiritual realms. If there is a seed of adultery planted in his life it will bring forth the fruit of adultery. The spirit will pass through the generations. The sins of the father will be visited on the sons, unless it is confessed and broken. It is the father’s sins, which are passed on. The father is the head of the household and as such responsible to God. Lot was too close to Sodom. He chose the fertile valley of Jordan despite the presence of Sodom. He was blinded by profit and material gain and paid too little attention to the dangers of immorality in close proximity. A man has to choose his company carefully. A man’s friends will lead him into the ways of the World, if he is not careful. Lot became impregnated with the ways of the World and in the end lost everything – including his wife. Lot looked and chose what he thought was the best for him. God invited Abraham to look in all directions and gave him the whole land.
It is necessary for a man to know who he is and where he is going in life. If God lets a man have his own way, he will destroy himself. When the Holy Spirit is driven out of a life or person, there is danger. The enemy is given a free run. A believer should let God decide. God ensured that Lot made the wrong choice and Abraham the right one.
It takes everything to fulfil a man’s dreams in God. Abraham left everything behind him. It was dangerous going into the new land. Strangers were not welcome and there was no human agency to assist him. Abraham should not have taken Lot. That was Abraham’s decision and not God’s decision. A believer should make sure that his companions are chosen by God. “I shall build my Church.” Abraham called on the Lord every day for guidance.
The Church cannot cope with strife any more than an individual or business or political party. A Kingdom divided against itself will fall. Strife is opposed to the atmosphere of peace, which is necessary for growth. Unless there is peace in a home or a marriage or a business there cannot be growth and success. The Holy Spirit is love, joy and peace. If there is no peace, there is no Holy Spirit. A dove is a picture of the Holy Spirit. A dove will not nest in a dirty place, such as a rubbish dump. It likes quietness, peace and calm.
Be careful. A man will tend in the natural to go for what captivates his heart. A believer should think well on it before making the decision. Is it within the will of God for his life?