Genesis 19

Another lesson on ‘how not to do it’ by Lot. In fact, Warren Wiersbe goes further and shows that Lot can easily be contrasted with Abraham to see someone controlled by worldly desires and Abraham dedicated wholly to God.  Whereas Abraham travelled light and waited on God for his instructions, Lot put down roots and settled in the worldliest of worldly places. He ended up in Sodom not because God directed him there, but because that’s where he settled, thinking he could build a life for himself there – and for a while he was right; although he was an outsider, he achieved a position of authority, spending his time at the town gate where the town’s political business was conducted. This shows how integrated Lot and his family were in Sodom.

Being ‘in the world’ but not ‘of the world’ springs to mind. Something that Lot doesn’t seem to have achieved. Whenever we see Lot, he appears to have his opinions and decisions dictated by worldly interests – possessions, wealth, and trying to live quietly and keep his nose clean.

What’s interesting is that Abraham met three heavenly persons – one of them a theophany – Jesus in his precarnate state. However, in Sodom there are only two angels. Why? Possibly because of the sinful and worldly nature of Lot made it so that Jesus couldn’t dwell with him as he could with Abraham (even though Abraham was imperfect, his faith made him righteous).

The contrasts can be taken further between Abraham and Lot. Whereas Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son to God, Lot was prepared to sacrifice both his daughters to the world, just for the sake of keeping the peace.

It’s very important to remember that just because something’s in the Bible, it’s not necessarily there because it’s a good thing. In this chapter we have Lot attempting to swap his male visitors for his daughters so that the residents of Sodom can rape his family members instead of his guests. Questionable morals there. This passage had confused me for a long time until I realised that there are examples of people not behaving as God intended as well as the reverse. I wrestled for ages with ‘why would God prefer Lot’s daughters to be raped than Lot’s angelic guests?’ The answer is he didn’t want anyone to get raped, that’s why the angels were sent in the first place because things were horribly wrong in Sodom.

Then there’s this bit at the end about incest, with Lot’s daughters getting him drunk and then sleeping with him. Some have considered that as this event occurred before the giving of the Law on Sinai, that incest was OK as perhaps the genepool hadn’t yet been so polluted by sin. However, from reading the passage itself it’s clear that a certain level of morality already existed – Lot’s daughters knew that in order to accomplish their goals, they would have to get their father drunk, otherwise it would never happen. This shows first of all how Lot did have some standards, but it also shows how Lot didn’t inspire a massive amount of respect from his family.

Obedience has its rewards and disobedience has its consequences. A consequence of Lot’s incest with his daughters was the birth of two peoples, the Moabites and the Ammonites who became sworn enemies of God’s chosen people the Jews.

It has been a trendy thing to say ‘I like Jesus, but I don’t like the God of the Old Testament’. The fact is they are the same. God is full of love and because of this he is just. God doesn’t want anyone to perish, and that’s why he sent his only son as a sacrifice (John 3:16-17). Sodom is actually a testament to God’s long-suffering nature – see how bad it had to get before God decided enough was enough! What is also evident in this passage is that Jesus was present throughout the Old Testament as well as before that and ever since. As Jesus himself said: ‘Before Abraham was born, I am,’ (John 8:58 NASB). Jesus was of course referring here to his eternal nature, but also the fact that he was divine – ‘I AM’ was the name of God first discovered in Exodus (3:14), so anyone saying that Jesus never claimed to be God has been misled. This was what Jesus meant, and this is what was understood at the time, explaining why the Jewish authorities hated him so much and ended up accusing him of blasphemy.

So God is long-suffering, but he is also just. We may think sometimes that he takes a long time to act, but he will act, and when he does he will be perfectly just. Love and justice are bound up together. If we claim God is a God of love, then we must also accept that he is a God of justice – after all, if he loves us, why would we expect that he will turn a blind eye to those who want to hurt us? He won’t and he doesn’t. Sometimes it appears that he is disregarding injustice, but actually he is waiting for the perfect timing. There were not many righteous people in Sodom – less than ten, and that’s why it had to be destroyed. But no one can ever say that his judgment is unexpected and unfair. Had the people of Sodom repented, the story would have been different, but as it was, God waited until they had completely rejected redemption before he judged them. He gave them every opportunity and they blew it.

Chuck Missler has suggested that one of the reasons for the destruction of Sodom was the existence of the Nephilim, those beings who were a product of the union between fallen angels and women. This is absolutely possible, and perhaps most likely, as there have been many cities since then that have been as sinful as Sodom, but have not been judged. Chuck’s view is that as the devil was attempting to pollute and distort the line from Adam to the Messiah, God had to remove these people from the earth so that the devil’s design wouldn’t become reality.

 

With thanks to my spiritual uncles: Uncle Warren Wiersbe, Uncle Chuck Missler, Uncle Matthew Henry, Uncle Jacob Prasch and Uncle Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

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