Thursday, April 14, 2011

Genesis 19:1-16

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”

But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” (vs.1-5)

Okay - here is a really ugly passage of scripture! God does not candy-coat the truth! Note, first, that the two angels who had been with Abraham have come to the city of Sodom without the LORD. God is holy and will not come near sin! And, just in case we’re not clear here, the sin of Sodom is NOT that the men were not hospitable!! The grossness of their sin is why the angels have come to destroy the city. (v. 13) Note, also, that Lot was sitting at the gate. This would indicate that he has a place of honor within the city. Yet, we know from the rest of the story that Lot did not make a moral impact as a leader. In fact, the effects of living in Sodom are seen in the complete dysfunction of his family. The reality is that, no matter how hard we try, we will most likely NOT be the good influence if we’ve surrounded ourselves with wickedness. Instead, if we put ourselves in the midst of people who are blatantly living apart from God, sin will get the pull us down. Remember that Lot chose to live in this city, when he and Abraham agreed to split up, because he liked how it looked!

This does not mean that we stay away from everyone who is not a believer - we are told to be light in the world - to be in it, but not of it. So, we need to be in the world, loving people for Jesus’ sake, and sharing the gospel when given opportunity, but we certainly don’t need to go with the world into the bar or anywhere else where we will most likely trip up.

Lot rushes to meet these two strangers, because he obviously senses there is something special about them. He does offer his home to them, and when they say they will just stay in the square, we read he “insisted so strongly” that they do go with him. My guess is that he knew it was not safe to leave the men out as prey to the evil men of Sodom, for it doesn’t take long for “all the men from every part of the city” to seek out Lot’s guests!

And I’m not sure who is the more evil - the men seeking to rape Lot’s guests, or the father willing to have his virgin daughters gang-raped! We cannot even imagine this! I would not want to see it in a movie, because it’s bad enough having to read it! Yet, we know that even today there are parents who will sell their daughters into sex slavery. There are parents who, themselves, abuse their children. There may be some of you (and statistics tell us it would be so) who have been victims of such abuse, and I am certain this would be a hard passage to read.

Why is it here? Because God wants us to know that He has a limit to how much He will tolerate. He doesn’t mess around with sin. He judges it! Abraham had “bargained” God down to saving the city it there were 10 who were righteous, and God had agreed. Within this city, there weren’t even 10. Heck, Lot wasn’t even righteous! He was not spared here because of his righteousness - he was spared because of God’s amazing grace! We must not presume on God’s grace and keep fooling around where we know He has clearly told us to get out! We try so hard to justify our behaviors or apply relativity to our morality. God has a standard of perfection, which we clearly do not meet. This is WHY we need a Savior - this is WHY Jesus came to die for us. We cannot meet God’s standard, and there is coming a day in which sin will be finally judged. We need to be “grasped” by the hand, even as the angels had to “grasp” Lot’s hand and the hands of his wife and daughters and DRAG them out of the city, because Lot actually “hesitated!” (v. 16)

We’ll pick up here tomorrow... so much more to think about! On this happy note, have a great day! :) 

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