Daily Distinctives, March 26, 2018 – Keep It In the Family?

When we last left off on our journey through Genesis we saw the utter destruction of the plains which included Sodom and Gomorrah. The swift destruction of the cities of this plain came as the result of the vilest sinfulness of mankind. While we are told by a number of commentators that sodomy (from its namesake Sodom) was likely a cause of the destruction, we know that this was just one of many sins that brought about their destruction. When we last saw Lot, he and his daughters were fleeing from Zoar to the mountainous area where upon arrival they took up domicile in a cave. And so coming to verse 31 of Genesis 19 in my devotional for today we read…

[Gen 19:31 NKJV] Now the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father [is] old, and [there is] no man on the earth to come in to us as is the custom of all the earth.

From the perspective of the older daughter, she was quite accurate in noting that their father was an old man. It was likely that Lot was getting up there in age. Perhaps he was even beyond the age where having children was a possibility. It is unlikely that Lot nor his daughters were aware of the promise God had made with Abraham to bring him a son in his old age. With no promise or hope of ever having children of their own, the oldest daughter points out what seemed obvious to her. With their mother gone, preserved as a pillar of salt, and Lot being at an age where it was unlikely that he might remarry, the world literally crashing in around them, the oldest daughter recognizes that they are likely to become “old maids” and never have children of their own. We can take note that she suggests that there is no man on earth by which to conceive (come into us –the act of sex). After seeing the utter destruction of their homes and people, perhaps they really thought that this had occurred all over the earth and that Lot was the only man left. The use of the phrase, “the custom of all the earth,” refers to sexual reproduction in case you missed that. My only question would be their brief stay in Zoar. Surely there were other men there. We are not told, but I would venture a guess that any town in the area would likely have a man or two in it at the very least. Perhaps they were ugly old men with a handful of teeth between them? And so with a grim future ahead of them and no prospect of conception, the oldest daughter conceives a ridiculous plan completely based on irrational fear.

[Gen 19:32 NKJV] “Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father.”

While at the onset, this might seem like a practical solution and the way in which she couches the justification for the deed seems somewhat noble. If indeed, Lot was the sole male survivor on the earth, then it would be up to them to carry on the human race. Still, I question the sincerity of the plan because they introduce the element of wine into the equation. I mean let’s face it, they no doubt knew the inebriating effects that wine would produce. Perhaps they believed that the only way they could accomplish this deed was if they got good old dad blitzed out of his mind. But notice how they justify the act. The oldest daughter says, “…that we may preserve the lineage of our father.” Whether they were sincere in their belief that what they were doing was to somehow preserve humanity, we know they were sincerely wrong. This goes to show us as believers today how making impetuous decisions can have future ramifications that are costly.

[Gen 19:33 NKJV] So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.

Now, this is where the plot thickens. Who is truly culpable for this sin of incest, the daughters or Lot? I believe the answer is “yes.” The daughters were wrong for hatching such a plan, but Lot was wrong in so many more ways. First, Lot was living in a pattern of backsliding. He had incorporated himself into the city of Sodom even judging and making judgments (whether in an official capacity or not I can’t say) at the city gates. He turned out his own daughters as one would a prostitute and seemed to have no remorse for doing so. It is apparent that he was not a candidate for the Father of the Year Award, and it is likely that he did not raise his daughters in the WORD. He lingered at the command of the angels to flee. He barters to save his own life. And now, he accepts wine from his daughters and gets drunk. It would seem to me that even though Lot was found conditionally righteous (as evidenced by God sparing him after Abrahams plea to preserve any of the righteous ones in Sodom), he was obviously living in a backslidden state.

Now, the verse above tells us that the daughters made their father drink wine that night. We can be pretty certain that they did not waterboard their father with wine. He was more than likely a willing participant in the drinking. He had to have brought it with him from Zoar when he was there. As men who partake of the intoxicating effects of alcohol often do during times of emotional distress, it is not hard to see why Lot would imbibe copious amounts of wine following the recent events. His entire city was destroyed, he lost his sons-in-law and likely some of his daughters who remained with them, his wife was transformed into a pillar of salt, and he had to flee for his life into a small town that was nothing like the rich lifestyle that he had become accustomed to (this is starting to sound like a country-western song). It would not surprise me if during his stay in Zoar that Lot did not rename Zoar to Margaritaville “HOLD THE SALT PLEASE” in the days following the destruction of Sodom. Now, some would argue that the circumstances justified the drinking. After all, Proverbs 31:6-7 seems to encourage drinking under such harsh circumstances. And then there are the verses like Ecclesiastes 9:7, 1 Timothy 5:23 and Psalm 104:15 which seem to be very much for the use of alcohol. Still, the prohibitions for drunkenness seem to far outweigh those which recognize the remedies which alcohol brings. For example, Leviticus 10:9, Numbers 6:7, Judges 13:4, Proverbs 20:1, Isaiah 5:11,22. The one that seals the deal for me comes from Ephesians 5:18. One of the things that I stopped doing when I became a Christian is drinking to get drunk. Now, I may enjoy a beer or two from time to time (A Tout le Monde) as the occasion allows, or perhaps a glass of wine with a meal but one thing that convicted me when I was a new believer was that drunkenness separated me from the Truth. When I was in various leadership positions in the church I did not drink anything at all. Period. I refrained for the sake of others so that I would not become a stumbling block to anyone.

But the most disturbing part of this passage is far worse than the sin of drunkenness (degrees of sin –from a consequential perspective) and that is the sin of incest. Some ardent critics of the Bible will use this as a proof text to show that there are contradictions in the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16 clears any of that up for me personally, but common sense precludes their misinterpretations from having any merit whatsoever. They will argue that something that was once necessary and later condemned is sufficient argument to question the veracity of the whole body of Scripture. They will argue that incest was condemned in the law of Moses, but then point out that the descendants of Adam and Eve intermarried kinsmen, Abraham himself married his half-sister, Isaac, and Jacob both married near relatives. While the issue here could center around incest I believe the greater sin was not relying on God. In their defense, these kinds of relationships were not uncommon in that day, nor were they officially condemned by God at that time as the Levitical law had not yet been pronounced (Leviticus 18:6–18). Still, the manner in which the deed was perpetrated and the pretense in which it was couched seem to me to be where the misdeed lay.

[Gen 19:34 NKJV] It happened on the next day that the firstborn said to the younger, “Indeed I lay with my father last night; let us make him drink wine tonight also, and you go in [and] lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father.”
[Gen 19:35 NKJV] Then they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.

Again, the daughters get their father drunk and take advantage of him. And again, Lot gets drunk to the point he becomes the victim. We see here that again he was so drunk that he did not realize his daughters had laid with him. That definitely goes beyond a “casual” or “social” cocktail to something that is expressly forbidden in the Bible.

[Gen 19:36 NKJV] Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father.

And so we see the consequences. The deed of the daughters brought about the grandchildren/sons of Lot. Now, I want to point out something that should be obvious to anyone reading this. The children born of this sin are innocent of the sin that was committed. I hear arguments all the time for abortion in the case of rape or incest and I disagree with the moral arguments for abortion under these circumstances. In fact, it seems to me that the only ones that don’t get to voice their opinions on the matter are the ones that are being slain in the womb! Still, even while the children were innocent of their parent’s sins, the consequences would go on to haunt the children and their children for generations.

 

[Gen 19:37 NKJV] The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab; he [is] the father of the Moabites to this day.
[Gen 19:38 NKJV] And the younger, she also bore a son and called his name Ben-Ammi; he [is] the father of the people of Ammon to this day.

As we will discover, LORD willing, as we continue on our journey through the Bible, that the nations of Ammon and Moab both lay east of Israel and were a thorn in the side of Israel. Israel waged war against both of these nations at various times during their history. we read of the account in Deuteronomy 23:1-6 where God allowed Israel to harass the Moabites because of their inhospitable actions toward Israel during the exodus. In similar fashion, the Ammonites were always at strife with the Israelites as well, not allowing Israel to pass through their lands after they left Egypt. The Ammonites also joined forces against Israel during the time of the Judges.

And so while it may seem that there were no apparent consequences to sin played out immediately that they had somehow dodged a bullet. And listen, sin does not always pay its dividends immediately but we can be certain of two things: 1) All sin will be revealed (Luke 8:17), and 2) Sin always leads to death (Romans 6:23). I find it interesting that this is the last significant thing we hear about Lot in the Bible. I am not surprised considering that his story does not further the timeline of Christ in any significant way, but to end on such a sour note would grieve my heart for eternity if it were the story of my life being permanently displayed in the Bible in such a manner. Still, there are books yet to be opened. And when I stand before the LORD and the books are opened to my name, will my story be as sad as Lot’s or will it end in success and honor to the LORD?

I am reminded of a poem one of my pastors once shared with me. I use this a lot when I preside over funerals. But the poem speaks volumes to me personally and I hope it will do the same for you. I am not sure who originally wrote it, but it is attributed to Paul Gilbert.

You’re writing a Gospel,
A chapter each day,
By the deeds that you do,
By the words that you say;
Men read what you write,
Whether faithless or true;
Say, what is the Gospel
According to you?

Prayer: LORD, I pray that my life would bring glory and honor to You. I am sure that there were some good things that Lot did in his life that were pleasing to You and brought You glory, but I see his story ended on a very sad note. I want my life to end on a glad note. I want to stand before You and hear those words, “Well done My good and faithful servant.” LORD, I depend on You for everything. It is in self-reliance that I find myself lacking and in sin. Help me to be so focused on You that I lose myself. LORD, I want to lift up my pastor, and his family. From what I understand things will have to get worse before they get any better. But You are beyond circumstances LORD and so I pray for Your blessing and healing to be upon this family. May You receive all the praises for the mighty work I am certain You will do. LORD, I pray for upcoming decisions that I have to make as they pertain to my family and ministry. Give me the wisdom to not to do the “right” thing, but to do Your thing so that there is no mistaking You are behind it. I want to thank You LORD for my wife and ask that You would help me to be more sensitive to her needs so that I can walk with her in understanding. Help me to lead my family in the WORD so that they will desire to honor You in their lives with the same heart and passion that I do, and even more. I love You LORD and praise Your name. It is in Christs’ name that I pray. –Amen.

 

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