Wednesday, January 15, 2014

WE CAN LEARN A LOT - FROM LOT (2)

(Continued from previous post. Scroll down to read part 1)

Of course, we cannot enter into the mind of Lot to see all of his thinking, but there are a couple of events in his life that may show us some of the things that caused Lot to find himself in such an unfortunate state of affairs.
          Lot was Abraham’s nephew, being the son of Haran, the brother of Abraham. Haran had died back in the family’s home area of Mesopotamia, and Abraham and Sarah took Lot into their household to care for him (Genesis 11:27-28). When God spoke to Abraham about leaving Mesopotamia and journeying to a distant land that God was to show him, Lot also went with the family.
          We do not know if Abraham and family were wealthy when they left their home area, but if not, they soon did acquire great wealth in livestock, silver and gold (Genesis 13:2). However, even though he was rich, having possessions never seemed to be a priority to Abraham. Abraham’s greatest wealth had always been in his walk with God.
          With Lot, however, worldly wealth seemed to play a larger role in his personality. He also had large herds of animals, along with the herdsmen to take care of them. In fact, Lot’s herds and Abraham’s herds were both so large that there began to be opposition between the herds of the two men for grazing lands. Strife arose between the herdsmen of the two.
          Abraham saw this situation as being entirely unnecessary, since there was no shortage of land if they would just separate from one another a little. He gave Lot the opportunity to choose first where he wanted to go. Speaking strictly from the perspective of a livestock person, the best land to be found was in the Jordan Valley. It was well watered and green everywhere, “Like the garden of the Lord,” it was said.
          However, also in that valley lie the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. This was before they were destroyed. But even at that time they were known for the wicked lifestyles of their inhabitants.
          This seemed to be not so troubling to Lot, however. The potential to increase his flocks apparently was more important. In fact, we are told that he pitched his tents even as far as Sodom, perhaps sensing a good market for his livestock produce.
          Now, when the two angels arrive at Sodom, we see Lot living right in town and even sitting at the gate along with the rulers of the city. Somehow, Lot must have rationalized his presence in the midst of such wickedness.
          To his credit, I believe that part of his rationalization was that he might have a positive effect on the life of the city dwellers. The apostle Peter has an interesting commentary concerning Lot. Peter was making the point that God will rescue the godly people from extreme trials. In this context, Peter speaks of Lot. It is interesting that Peter goes out of his way to declare the righteousness of Lot, calling him righteous three separate times in a single sentence:


He [God] rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. (2 Peter 2 7-10 ESV)


          However, it would be a mistake to say that Lot was unaffected in his own life by what went on around him. His act of offering his virgin daughters in order to appease the demands of the men of the city is a clear indication of that. Appeasement is the correct word to describe Lot’s attitude toward the men.
          “I beg you, my brothers,” Lot had said to them. His attitude was clearly one of conciliation.
          Lot’s attitude may have been one of conciliation, but that desire was certainly not reciprocated by the Sodomites. “Stand back!” They said to him. “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.”
          If indeed Lot was in a position of leadership in the city, in his better moments, he perhaps thought that he was beginning to have a positive influence on the citizens. He may have even thought that he was introducing the concept of righteousness. It is clear that in calling them his brothers, he identified with them and hoped to persuade them to act in a more righteous manner.
Sodom and Gomorrah, by John Martin

But Lot was only deluding himself. Even his own future sons-in-law, the fianc├ęs of his two daughters, thought that he was jesting when he later warned them to flee the city before it was destroyed. In the city of Sodom, conciliation with wickedness did not work.
The apostle Peter, in the same passage where he called Lot, “righteous,” also had something to say about the Sodomites. It is quite an indictment. He calls them...


Those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones…These, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. (2 Peter 2:10-12 ESV)


          Despite what Lot may have done to convinced himself otherwise, the men of Sodom were not gradually coming around to his way of thinking. With their decline of moral absolutes, they had also gradually lost all sense of spiritual life.
          In most cases in the Bible, when men are confronted by an angelic being, they either prostrate themselves completely to the ground in a sign of humility before such power (as did Lot), or else faint on the spot, falling to the ground like dead men (Matthew 28:3-4).
          But the men of the city had instead become like “irrational animals and creatures of instinct.” They did not even recognize the great power that they were confronting in the angels. Like fools, they did not even tremble as they blasphemed the glorious ones.


They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you [As they had done with Lot]. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! (2 Peter 2:13-14 (ESV)                                  

          We underestimate the power of the sexual drive. When a society gives in to any kind of sexual perversion, it will begin to mark a decline in its spiritual life. The quest for pleasure becomes the focus of desire, not the quest for God. Much sooner than we may believe it could happen, all sense of the spiritual is lost in the thoughts of depraved sex. This includes any type of perversion from what should be the true intimacy between a man and a woman in marriage, such as God has intended from the beginning of time.
          A few weeks ago on this blog site, I spoke of the sanctity of the marriage relationship (The Sixth Day, parts 6 and 7). In a way that we do not fully comprehend, this relationship of a husband and wife illustrates and typifies the relationship Christ is building with his church, that is, with his people.
Since this is the case, it is no wonder that this marriage relationship, one that is to be pure between a husband and a wife, should be attacked at every level by Satan and the workers of iniquity. If we think that appeasement in any way to this attitude will bring lasting harmony, like Lot, we are only deluding ourselves.
In the end, the angels at Lot’s doorway struck the men with blindness. So driven were these men of the city driven by their sexual instincts, even this would not have stopped them, except for the fact that they could not find the door.
The physical blindness with which the Sodomites were struck was only emblematic of the spiritual blindness that had already come to them. That blindness very soon led to their complete destruction.

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