Friday, April 15, 2011

Genesis 19:12-26

Good morning, all! I’m going to back up a few verses this morning, because there are just too many lessons to learn in Lot’s story.

The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the LORD against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”

 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”
When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” (vs.12-17)

God, in his mercy, desires to rescue Lot and any of his family who might go with him, so Lot reaches out to his sons-in-law and urges them to get out of Sodom. But his sons-in-law thought he was joking. See how Lot had lost his credibility in the community in which he was a leader. Not only did the gang of men dismiss his pleadings for his guests, but even his own sons-in-law laughed at what he said. Courson points out that this is a constant danger with fathers who do not walk the talk before their children. When we don’t seem to believe or act on what we are preaching to others as Christians, why would anyone believe us when we try to witness to them about our Savior? Lot’s lack of a credible witness contributed to the destruction of some he loved. There’s a warning! Why would anyone listen to an adulterer who tells his child to save himself before marriage? Or why would someone accept the invitation to go to church with the gal who was partying at the bar?

I mentioned yesterday how Lot hesitated to leave, so the angels had to pull him by the hand, along with his wife and daughters, out of the city. Lot was told to “flee to the mountains.” Instead, Lot whines that the mountains are too far away and he’ll never make it - “Can’t I just go to that little city over there???” Wouldn’t you just want to smack him on the head at this point? God’s mercy is beyond our understanding!!

The angels also warn Lot and his family, “Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain!” God does not wanting us looking back with longing at the past from which He’s rescued us. We are not to be nostalgic about the “good old days” before Christ pulled us out by the hand. Paul even tells us in Philippians 3:13-14, Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

It can be tempting to look back with fondness on some of our previous experiences, even some which brought some pain. God warns us to not look back but to look ahead to where He is leading us NOW. Having grown up in the ‘50s and ‘60s, I LOVE the music of my teen years. And hearing any song from that era takes me right back there. One day I realized that those songs I loved to hear on the oldies radio station were taking my thoughts where they did not need to go. So I flipped to Christian radio and have kept my radio tuned there ever since. It’s not that there is something necessarily evil in those old songs (although the lyrics are truly suggestive in many of the ones we never used to pay attention to), but they do not edify or lift me up like praise music does.

When Lot’s wife looked back to the place where her home had been, where all their possessions were being burned to the ground, she disobeyed the direct command, and turned into a pillar of salt. Jesus reminds us of her consequences in Luke 17: Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. (vs.32-33)

So many lessons. . . and there’s more... we’ll finish this one next week! Have a wonderful, relaxing weekend!

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