Lessons From Lot PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kris Brewer   
Friday, 27 January 2012 21:07

As I have been reading from the book of Genesis over the last couple of days, several thoughts occurred to me. In Genesis 13, Abraham and Lot separated from one another, with Lot choosing to move his family toward the city of Sodom. Abraham, in the meantime, moved toward the Oaks of Mamre, near Hebron,  and continued to live in tents. By Genesis 18, God decided that He would destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness. Abraham, in an effort to save his nephew, Lot, bargained with God about saving the cities. He started by asking if God would save the cities if there were 50 righteous persons located there. He eventually whittled that number down to just 10, but even that could not be found, and God proceeded with His plan to destroy these wicked cities. Of course, God did make provision for Lot, making a way to escape the destruction that was to come.

 

Righteous people sometimes make bad decisions. When Lot and Abraham got to a point where their herdsmen could not get along, they Abraham told Lot to choose where he wanted to go. In the New Testament, Lot is called a righteous man (2 Peter 2:7), and yet the choice he made here was not a wise one. He moved his family to the close proximity of the extreme wickedness of Sodom, and it is evident that the wickedness affected his family. His own daughters were engaged to be married to men who would not heed the warning of God. During the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot's own wife looked back at the city. Perhaps this was just a sign that she couldn't help herself, and turned back because of the noise of the destruction going on behind her. Or, perhaps, it is a sign that she was longing for the things available in that city, things she was not ready to give up yet. And finally, after the destruction of the cities, Lot's daughters did a most despicable thing, lying with their father so as to get pregnant and have children. Perhaps all of these things could have happened without the evil influences of Sodom, but it seems more rational to think that the influences of those around them contributed to their disobedient acts! Overall, I'm pretty sure that Lot, if asked, would say he made a pretty bad decision in moving his family to Sodom. That one decision set of a series of events that left his family in shambles.

 

We can remain righteous even when surrounded by wickedness. The description of the wickedness of the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah and those of the plains around them is quite extreme. We may think of New York City, or San Francisco in our world today. There seems to be no redeeming qualities for those cities. God could not even find 10 righteous souls in all the cities of the plains! And yet, through all of that, Lot remained a righteous man. Sometimes, we find ourselves surrounded by wickedness, and have little chance to escape. Often, when on the job, or in a public school situation, wickedness is daunting. It becomes easy to think that we, like Elijah, are the only ones left trying to serve God. And, while that is certainly not true in the grand scheme of things, it very well may be true in our own place and time. It was true for Lot and his family, and it was true for Noah and his family (on an even broader scale). Despite what might be going on around us, we can still remain faithful to the Lord. In fact, God expects us to remain righteous, regardless of how wicked the world around us becomes! One important goal is to measure ourselves by God's standard, not by comparing ourselves to the world. It is not difficult to be better than the worldliness around us, but that does not mean that we are living up to God's expectations! While we should not intentionally surround ourselves with wickedness, we should be committed to righteousness regardless of the environment we find ourselves in.

 

It is good to have brethren to intercede for us with God. It is evident from the Genesis account that Abraham's intercession for Lot contributed to God's decision to spare him (Genesis 19:29). Abraham was willing to petition God on behalf of Lot, and God answered Abraham's petitions (even if it was not in the way that Abraham anticipated). We do not know what God's dealing would have been without Abraham's petitions. Perhaps He would have spared Lot and his family in exactly the same way. What we do know is that God listened to Abraham, and that He did respond. When we are struggling today, it is good to have loving brethren who are willing to petition God on our behalf. We can ask for such help on our behalf when we are struggling with sin (Acts 8:18-24) or when we are suffering from illness or injury (James 5:14-15) as well as any number of other circumstances. James tells us that the "effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16). We should want the righteous praying to God on our behalf!

 

God punishes wickedness. One of the recurring themes throughout the Old Testament is the punishment or judgment of God. God often warned the people of the impending destruction that was to come because of their sin, if they refused to repent. The situation was so bad in Sodom and the cities of the plains that there is no record of God's call for repentance, but the judgment that was to come is obviously tied to their sinful practices. Even when the angels made their way into the city of Sodom, they found the men clamoring for homosexual relations. There is no doubt from the context that Sodom and her sister cities were destroyed because of the rampant sin of homosexuality. The lesson that should be taken from this for us today is that God will punish wickedness. There are many who view God as too loving to punish those who are wicked. But He is very clear in scripture that He will send those who refuse to obey Him into everlasting punishment. For example, in Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus describes a great judgment scene. The end judgment for those who refuse to submit to God, to be obedient to His commands, is that they would be cast into eternal destruction, a fire prepared for the devil and his angels. The many examples of judgment throughout the Old Testament emphasize the faithfulness of God. When He said He would come in judgment, punishing the evil doers, He did just that. When He tells us today that He will punish those who are disobedient (Colossians 3:6), we can trust that He is faithful and will do just as He has promised. God's promise of a reward for the faithful means nothing if His promise of punishment for the wicked is not true!

 

God is merciful, even in times of judgment. Even though the story of Sodom and the cities of the plains is a graphic one, emphasizing the judgment of God against wickedness, His mercy cannot be overlooked. For those who were righteous, God provided a way of salvation. They had to do just as He commanded, or else they would suffer a similar destruction to those consumed by the fires of the plains. God has provided for us a way to avoid the destructive judgment depicted in Matthew 25. He has given us His plan of salvation, so that all can be redeemed by the sacrifice of His Son. And yet so many, much like the sons-in-law of Lot reject the message, and treat God as if He is "only joking." Others, like Lot's wife, are unable to leave behind the cares of the world, and turn back to its spiritually destructive view. God's mercy is not doled out by Him lightly. He expects for us to be striving to serve Him. But, when we do that, He is there for us! Consider what the apostle Paul wrote concerning our times of trials and temptations:

 

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

God provides for us a way of escape, just as He provided a way of escape for Lot and his family. We have to make the decision to take advantage of what God has provided, else we will lose that hope of salvation.

 

There are many lessons that can be drawn from the account of Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is my hope that the lessons drawn in this study will help us to understand the need to submit to God, and to strive to serve Him as faithful servants no matter where we might be. We need to prepare ourselves for the coming judgement, and we should be thankful for the great mercy of God that provides for our salvation. In that, we must also realize that God has reserved His mercy for those who are diligently seeking to serve Him according to His will, and not for those who are rebellious, determined to do things their own way. So, as you are fleeing from the destruction that is to come, are you a Lot, or are you a Lot's wife, or son-in-law?

Last Updated on Friday, 27 January 2012 21:14
 

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This is the personal page of Kris Brewer, who currently works with the Gallatin Valley church of Christ in Bozeman, Montana.

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