Daily Distinctives, March 21, 2018 – A Whole “Lot” of Trouble

Quite a bit of information in today’s devotional and so I will skip the traditional intro so I can dig in and elaborate on my thoughts and questions as I go through my devotional for today. Well, I do want to add just a little bit of an intro for those just joining. In my devotional yesterday we saw a conversation between God and Abraham. Abraham spoke with God to intercede on behalf of the inhabitants that the LORD had in His sights for destruction. Lot and his family were living in the area at the time and with its impending destruction, Abraham is, no doubt, concerned for his nephew and all of the inhabitants who might be found righteous. Two angels that were with Abraham and God had gone down to investigate the issues that were taking place in Sodom. With that as the backdrop, let’s examine the passage before us today.

[Gen 19:1 NKJV] Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw [them], he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground.

It is presumed that the two angels here are the same angels that had just left the scene where Abraham was speaking with God. Again, most scholars agree that these are created angels, but I sincerely wonder if perhaps they might be the remaining pair of the Holy Trinity. Either way, we have a couple of celestial beings heading down to Sodom and they arrive with the evening to find Lot sitting at the gates of the city.

Now, it is important to consider that traditionally at the gates of the city is where the leaders of the city would go to judge the people. If you had a complaint against a neighbor, or if you wanted to enter into a contract with someone, you would usually go to the gates of the city to where the elders or the rulers would hear your case or witness your covenants. While we are not told specifically that Lot took on the role of judge, the following context gives us a clue (vs. 9) that Lot had indeed lobbied some judgments upon the inhabitants of Sodom, whether through the course of proselytizing or by virtue of actually judging between people on practical matters or at the very least on moral issues. Here is the thing, when you are a believer you will likely be accused of judging others without even saying a single word. When people find out that you are believer they almost instinctually write you off as a judgmental person. This is because as believers we hold to an absolute standard that runs counter to the morality of the world. Their problem is not really with you, but with what you stand for and Who you stand for (John 15:18-25). And so whether or not Lot had actually sat at the city gates in an official capacity is not divulged to us here in Scripture, but it is unlikely. Still, my best guess would be that he officiated in a non-official capacity and this elicited the response we see in verse 9. Some suggest that Lot spent his time on the outskirts of the city simply to avoid being involved in the daily affairs and debauchery of the city. I would suggest that he was there because he knew that is where he could have the greatest impact.

As it applies to believers today, we too are to be involved in civil matters, exercising our rights where applicable and most certainly when it concerns matters of morality. It is said that the best way to sour a conversation is to bring up the topic of politics and religion especially together. But I feel that saying has led to the moral decline that we see rampant in our culture today. It has been said that if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything. As discerning believers, we should be at the forefront of debate, not for the sake of argument but for the posterity of our system of beliefs. We are commanded to make disciples of the nations and there is no better nation from which to begin than our own.

[Gen 19:2 NKJV] And he said, “Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” And they said, “No, but we will spend the night in the open square.”

Lot, upon seeing the strangers enter into this vile city recognized them to be peculiar and unlike the other inhabitants of Sodom. I would like to think that he had a godly discernment and recognized that these men were not ordinary. To the strangers’ response, many scholars believe that this was not a rude decline of an invitation but a manner of testing to see if Lot would persist. Some argue that it was a social grace and a show of respect for them to refuse the offer so as not to put an undue burden on their host. I don’t buy that completely. I think about our own culture. When a host offers an extra helping of dessert a respectful response would be to say, “No thank you, I couldn’t possibly eat another bite,” and then wait for the host’s insistence before making a pig of yourself. I can’t be sure, but I think that it sounds more reasonable that the pair of visitors were testing Lot to see if he was sincere about providing them the hospitality that would be an indication that Lot was unlike the others in the city.

[Gen 19:3 NKJV] But he insisted strongly; so they turned in to him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

If it was, indeed, a test by the celestial pair, then Lot passed with flying colors as they joined Lot for a feast. I think it is interesting that Lot “insisted strongly” that they be his guest. Lot knew that to stay in the open market after nightfall would spell disaster for his guests (had they been mortal of course) and so by inviting them into his home, Lot believes that he is sparing their lives. This act of kindness will be reciprocated as we shall soon discover. Another interesting thing I noted here is that Lot prepared a feast for them and baked unleavened bread for them. Now it would make sense that it was unleavened as the meal was prepared in haste. Leaven or yeast, if you will, takes time for the chemical reactions to cause the dough to rise, and so unleavened bread would have been substituted because of the nature of the meal being prepared without Lot’s foreknowledge that he would be entertaining. What I find significant is that later in the Bible we read of the Hebrew people in their exodus from Israel and the command from God to bake for themselves unleavened bread. And of course, we understand that leaven in the Bible is often associated with sin (Galatians 5:9).

[Gen 19:4 NKJV] Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house.

Like the leaven of sin, the city had time to permeate its wickedness. We see here that the men of the city of Sodom from all ages and from every part of the city surrounded the house with wicked intent. The thing about sin is that a little of it here and a little of it there will spread like a disease. The inhabitants of Sodom likely started with some degree of decency, but over time, sin after sin, they soon became enflamed by their sin until sin became the rule and not the exception. And so they surround the home, no doubt to do something that their hard and wicked hearts lusted after.

[Gen 19:5 NKJV] And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them [carnally].”

Of course, we know now that the city of Sodom is associated with the sin of sodomy. The defiling act earned its name from this very passage of Scripture. Now, I could spend hours on the debate of homosexuality and offer a defense for my views on it, but I have already done this in the corpus of my devotionals on a number of occasions and there are plenty of biblical references that support my view, or rather I support the express views I find in the Scriptures on the matter. But for the sake of those just visiting I want to be sensitive. I understand that we live in a culture that has moved from a passive stance to an aggressive stance with regard to homosexuality. I understand the reasoning and the justifications (they are probably very similar to those during the time of Lot), still, I stand with biblical interpretation of the error of this sin. Now, this does not mean that I do not love or have compassion for those caught up in this kind of sin, my heart breaks for their sin as much as it does for my own. But this one thing I do know, at the heart of every man, woman, and child there is a knowledge that this kind of sin is unnatural, at least until ones conscious is seared and their hearts are hardened against the truth to the point that they deny that it is sin. This does not make it any less of a sin. To me, it is like a bad case of the Emporer’s New Clothes.

[Gen 19:6 NKJV] So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him,

Lot foolishly went out to try to reason with a mob of unreasonable people. But you can almost sense the compassion that he had for the people there, holding out hope that they might come to their senses and repent of their wickedness. In a way, it would seem to suggest that Lot was attempting to intercede on their behalf. Of course, I do not know with any certainty that Lot could ever have guessed just whom he chose to entertain or the capacity they had for the ultimate destruction of these perpetrators.

[Gen 19:7 NKJV] and said, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly!

The fact that he calls them his brethren seems to suggest that Lot had ingrained himself into the community even though his lifestyle was at stark odds with the majority. His language is one consistent with what believers should use when approaching others (Proverbs 15:1). Perhaps this was something that he often found himself saying amongst the company of such sinners. And you can tell that their company had begun to wear upon Lot as well. I know I have shared this with my audience here before, but my mom used to tell me, “Son, birds of a feather flock together.” And what this means is that you will inevitably conform to the company you keep (1 Corinthians 15:33).  And we see this slippery slope of corruption in Lot’s own life as we read the next verse.

[Gen 19:8 NKJV] “See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.”

To prostitute his own daughters is wrong on every level. It is said that when having to choose between the lesser of two evils choose the lesser, but when the choice is of the lesser of two sins we should choose neither. Whether Lot was merely trying to show them how egregious the error of their sin was by stating something so absurd, or whether this was a genuine offer, I cannot say. But if I had to lean one direction or the other, I would have to say that Lot was likely offering up his daughters for the sake of protecting his guests. Lot was in a losing situation and digging himself deeper every word he spoke.

[Gen 19:9 NKJV] And they said, “Stand back!” Then they said, “This one came in to stay [here], and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them.” So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door.

It would appear that the men of Sodom were through listening to Lot. And now they openly mock him. As I mentioned earlier, it would appear that Lot had regularly been about the business of trying to correct the behavior of these men. I would imagine that they openly ridiculed Lot and that Lot had become the laughing stock of the entire city by this time. And so in their impudence, they begin to assault Lot and disregard his plea of reason.

[Gen 19:10 NKJV] But the men reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door.

Lot’s guests now take matters into their own hands. If there was not enough evidence of the wickedness before, certainly this active assault bore witness of the depravity of the city. The two angels rescue lot from being killed at the door of his own home.

[Gen 19:11 NKJV] And they struck the men who [were] at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they became weary [trying] to find the door.

This is quite interesting because it is like the people of Sodom were losing their senses one by one. First, they lost their senses (common sense) and in doing so they became vile in their activities. Then they seemingly lost their sense of hearing, no longer would they listen to reason, and next, they lost their sight, albeit at the working of these angelic beings. But this is the pattern of sin. It causes us to lose our senses until we are senseless. Now, I use the pronouns “we” and “us” because we are not so different, or it least we have the same proclivity for sin as the men of Sodom did. Our sinful nature is such that we must examine ourselves daily to purge ourselves of sinful attitudes where it is in our power to do so. Any remaining sin in our lives must be laid down before Christ to deal with as only He can.

 [Gen 19:12 NKJV] Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city–take [them] out of this place!

The urgency of the matter dictated immediate action. They must flee or experience wrath. Now, at this point Lot might still be thinking the wrath to come was from the mob outside the doors. The reality is that he would technically be safer outside with the Sodomites than inside with these two angels who were far more deadly than the blind mob on the other side of the door. But the angels were not warning Lot of the dangers outside, but rather the imminent destruction that was about to be unleashed on the land and everyone in it. This was made very clear to Lot in the next verse. But before we move on I want to point out how gracious these angels are to allow Lot to include his family members.

[Gen 19:13 NKJV] “For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.”

It is at this point that Lot is given insight into the purpose for the strangers’ appearance in Sodom. He now knows that God has set his mind on the destruction of this wicked place. We could learn a lot from Lot (that sounds funny when I say it out loud) especially as it pertains to what some call missionary dating. The idea behind missionary dating is that a believer engages in relationships with worldly people in hopes that he or she might compel them to become Christians. The problem is that it usually has the opposite effect. Lot and his family had been flirting with the world for so long now that instead of rubbing off on the world, the world was rubbing off on them. This is a dangerous place to be for Lot, and well, for any of us for that matter.

Now, that is all I have time for tonight. I will, LORD willing, pick back up from here tomorrow. This a lengthy chapter with a lot to consider (hehehe – A Lot to consider- See what I did there). Yes, I am getting tired. So, until next time my friends, cheers!

Prayer: LORD, I am exhausted now. What a long day it has been. I pray that You would give me good rest and help me to wake up refreshed and renewed tomorrow, should You be so gracious as to give me another day. I praise You LORD and pray that this study will enlighten me to see my own blindness. LORD apart from You I am destitute. I need You for You are my all in all. I can do nothing apart from You and I am at a place in my life where I don’t want to even if I could. LORD, I pray for my bride and ask that You would touch her heart and quell any anxiety, pain or sorrow that she might be experiencing. LORD, I pray that You would remove all bitterness from our family and cause us to grow towards You. I love You LORD and give You all of my praise. It is in Your name that I pray. –Amen

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