Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Lot received so much mercy

Picture by Violet Nesdoly, patterned after
“Escape for thy life” by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld
The story of Lot is an interesting one. Abraham's nephew, we're familiar with Lot's origins from Genesis 11:27,

Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran; and Haran became the father of Lot.

When Haran died, Terah took in Lot and raised him. Later when Abram heard God and prepared to leave his home in obedience, Lot went with his uncle Abram. (Genesis 12:4).

Much later as their joined herds grew so large that the pastures would not feed them all, Lot chose the plain toward Sodom and Abram let Lot have that choice and Abram went the other way. The two separated. It wasn't long after that Lot was living IN Sodom and had become one of its elders sitting at the gate. You know all this. Lot received mercy through all these choices and his downward spiral.

Now, when the outcry against Sodom had grown terrible, God sent Jesus and two angels to destroy Sodom and the other 4 cities of the plain (Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and tiny Zoar). Abram pleaded to save Sodom for the sake of ten righteous people that may live in it. Unfortunately, the city was so wicked, ten righteous could not be found, and its destruction was scheduled. The Lord again offered mercy to Lot and here are the examples.

He sent the two angels into the city to warn Lot, his wife, and any family members. We see again that Lot's character isn't the best. Lot knew the angels were from God and he understood that judgment was coming. He even had seen the angels perform a miracle by striking all the men of the lustful mob blind. Even at the very last moments of Sodom's life as a city, Lot was still making incredibly bad choices.

Pleading with the mob, he offers them his virginal daughters to rape instead. That was a craven and unconscionable thing for a father to do.

Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof. (Genesis 19:8).

Then when Lot attempted to warn his sons-in-law, Lot's witness was so poor that they thought he was joking. Lot was not spiritual convincing in the least.

So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, "Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city." But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting. (Genesis 18:14).

Even then, Lot lingered. We all know that Mrs Lot turned her head and looked back, violating the angels' command, but Lot lingered in Sodom too!

But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. (Genesis 19:16).

Even through all this, the Lord is still offering Lot mercy. But when the angels told Lot to run and go fast away from Sodom to the hills, he whined and complained that he couldn't! He asked instead to be allowed to run to Zoar.

I'd like to think that if two of God's holy angels arrived and told me to leave because the place where I lived was about to be destroyed, I'd listen. Moreover, I'd like to think that I wouldn't disobey, and would not be bold enough to negotiate the terms! But Lot did.

Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. 20 Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved. (Genesis 19:20).

And finally, even though the angels told Lot that they would not overthrow the little town Lot spoke of, Lot was still afraid!

Now Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar. So he lived in a cave with his two daughters. (Genesis 19:30).

In 2 Peter 2:7 Lot is called righteous. Three times.

Take comfort from Lot's string of decisions. I am sure that I have made such poor decisions in my Christian life, one after another. I surely would have deserved death. But the Lord strove with Lot and allowed the angels to grant him favor after favor. The Lord loves whom He loves and He has mercy upon whom He has mercy.

Do you know why Lot was called righteous by Peter under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit not just once but three times in the verses from 2 Peter?

"because he was oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men, for by what he saw and heard that righteous man while living among them felt his righteous soul tormented day after day with their lawless deeds."

Lot hated sin.

That's it. The Lord has mercy on fathers who fail their daughters, on morally weak men, on stumblers and whiners and bumblers. Like I am, and you are. When we hate sin, our own and others', we are on the right side of God - for He is holy.

Take comfort in Lot's example. Hate sin, love God, and trust that He has mercy for those who strive to holiness and fight against sin.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Word of the Week: Propitiation

We're losing the meaning of our uniquely Christian words. Biblical illiteracy is high. People don't understand the meaning of founda...