One of my favorite things to do is catch up with a friend who I haven’t talked to in a while. “How’s life? How have things been going?” I’ll ask, waiting with excitement to hear the latest developments. I love to hear about people’s lives and what’s happened to them lately. So it’s with interest and expectation that we turn the page to Genesis 19. It’s been almost five chapters since we’ve heard from Lot, Abraham’s nephew. Last time we saw Lot, Abraham was still Abram! We’ve got a lot to catch up on.
It seems at first that Lot is doing well in the area he moved to after Genesis 13. He decided to move closer to the city and closer to sin, BUT he didn’t actually sin. Really all he did was move to a better area – that doesn’t mean sin has control over him! Things are good! He’s managing! We can tell because Lot is super nice to two men he finds walking through the city late at night. He refuses to take no for an answer when he offers them a place to stay for the evening. They eventually accept and Lot brings them home for a meal.
But everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah is not as good as Lot. Soon a bunch of men are pounding on Lot’s door, wanting to have sex with the men (angels) that Lot had taken into his home. This is way over the line for Lot; much too wicked for him to stand (verse 7), so he suggests something much less sinful – that the men gang rape his daughters instead. I mean, really?
Lot’s neighbors take offense at Lot calling them wicked and get really aggressive, until the angels strike them with blindness and decide that it’s about time to wrap this up. They take Lot, his wife, and his two daughters (after a failed attempt at convincing the daughters’ betrothed – oh, if only missionary dating was successful!) and send them out of the city, instructing them to run to the mountains so that they will not be harmed when God destroys the unrepentant sinners in Sodom. Unfortunately, Lot is too scared to run all the way to the mountains, so the angels let him and his family run to a town named Zoar instead. Just like Abraham had asked, the town would be spared for the sake of Lot and his family, even though they were much less than ten people.
Once Lot is safe, burning sulfur is rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah. Everyone and everything dies – including Lot’s wife. She is turned to a pillar of salt for looking back towards her home. Now it’s just Lot and his daughters left, and this time they actually do run to the mountains. There, Lot’s daughters decide that they deserve children like everyone else (verse 31), so they take turns raping their father in order to get them. They each give birth, one to a boy named Moab and the other to a boy named Ben-Ammi, who will become the fathers of the Moabites and the Ammonites, respectively. We don’t know what happened to Lot and his daughters after this episode, but we’ll be hearing from the nations of Moab and Ammon soon enough.
The Treasures Within:
One of the few Casting Crowns songs I like talks about how slowly but surely sin invades our life. It moves quietly, yet aggressively. We, like Lot, might sidle up close to sin without outright participating in it. We hang out with certain crowds without exactly doing what they do. Or we allow things to go just far enough with our boyfriend or girlfriend without actually having sex. We think we’ll be okay as long as we haven’t violated the letter of the law. But we, like Lot, will soon find out that isn’t true.
Lot was a good man, and even in this chapter we could see him trying to remain that way. Yet as time went on example after example revealed to us the undeniable influence sin had over his life. Lot had the audacity to suggest that his daughters be defiled by the mob outside of his house – even if he was trying to protect his guests, what but sin would cause him to offer up his children like that? Also, Lot and his family had to practically be dragged from Sodom and Gomorrah, even after being told that God was destroying the city. Not only did this show Lot’s distrust in God’s word, but it revealed that the city, sin and all, had a tight hold over him. His wife was so attached to that disgusting area that she was unable to completely let it go. She looked back, physically and emotionally. A place so terrible that she had almost witnessed a gang rape was so beloved by Lot’s wife that she couldn’t bear to leave. It sounds absolutely crazy. It is crazy.
Lot and his wife were not the only ones deeply influenced by sin. So were Lot’s daughters. What they did to their father was unspeakable; completely unnatural. To even consider the idea, let alone carry it out, reveals how thoroughly Satan had poisoned their minds with sin. It reveals just how far gone they were. And it had all started with a move across town.
Sin is not a game. It’s not a joke. It’s not a light topic for us to abstractly discuss and then remove from our minds. It is dangerous. It will take dominion over us, our emotions, and our lives. We must take it seriously. We must not go anywhere near it. That’s easier to write than to do – sin is seductive, fun, and easy at first. That’s why God put Lot’s story in the Bible. He wants us to take heed. If we don’t, our lives will end up completely destroyed.
While reading this story I wondered how the angels taking Lot & co. out of the city kept their cool. I would have been screaming at Lot to get the heck out of the city, before eventually giving up and leaving him to whine and drag his feet on his own time. I couldn’t have put up with him, but God could and did. God didn’t give up on Lot or his family even as they doubted Him. God has that same persistence towards us today. That same mercy is extended to us everyday. God does not give up on us. Even as we whine and complain and doubt and take our time, God doesn’t give up on us. He continues to pursue us. He continues to love us. He continues to intercede for us. That is His goal and His daily work, to bring our hearts and lives to Him. We may continue to reject Him, even until the very end, but He won’t stop trying. That’s the sort of supernatural love we are blessed to receive.
God’s Message To Us:
“I will chase you to the ends of the earth, but you must take My hand and draw away from sin.” God will never give up on us. He will not disappoint us. The only one who can drop the ball on you is you, by ignoring His calling. Sin is tantalizing, (momentarily) satisfying, and so incredibly tempting, yet it is so absolutely opposite God. We cannot hold onto Him and it at the same time. It is impossible. As God calls to us, He tells us this. As He chases us, He reminds us of this. We must choose. The One who continuously woos us to Him, imploring us to live life abundantly? Or the temporary pleasure and the honey-dipped poison that sin offers? Love or lust? Life or death?
There Are Always Questions:
- I have always wondered why it was a pillar of salt that Lot’s wife turned into in verse 26. It feels so random. Why not just strike her dead? Why turn her into a pillar of salt? Is there even a reason for that?
What do you think? What truths about sin do you see in this chapter? What do you think God wanted to tell you through this chapter?