Lot the nephew of Abram, has been the topic of many sermons I have heard over the years. In thinking about him I realized many of those sermons really were not about him but how the people he was with interacted with him. Most of those teachings also have been on the negative side and probably did a Lot of bashing. Ok, he had problems but 2 Peter 2 calls him righteous and Jesus in Luke 17 uses him as an example, at the least he is a very complex character.
While pondering this post I heard a sermon by Pastor Carter Conlon entitled Please God, Don’t Ask Me to Do One More Thing! Lot was not the object of this sermon but the Church at Laodicea (Revelation 3) was. I realized that Lot and Laodicea had a similar problem – they were lukewarm.
Wait a minute aren’t they suppose to get spit out?
Yes, but here is where a praying family member comes in. Abram and possibly Terah, his father, had followed God’s leading (Genesis 11: 31). Lot, like Terah, may have heard God’s call to go to Canaan but only Abram actually did it, so Lot had pray support. I get this idea from Genesis 19:16 “the Lord was merciful to them” (Lot’s family) and 19: 29 “He (God) remembered Abraham.” It is the first use of the word mercy in the Bible, the word is hemlâ and it is only used twice in Scripture. The other usage is in Isaiah 63: 9 it also has a distressed Lord, a “saving angel”, and God lifting and carrying people. (There are other words for mercy but it is the first one.) In his sermon, The Right People by Joel Osteen (February 15, 2015) the point is made that Abraham had to release Lot from his life. Abraham needed this separation so he could focus on God not because Lot was a heathen. Would the story have been different if Lot had not taken the Jordan Valley? Remember 2 Peter 2.
Peter calls Lot a righteous man who was vexed by his surroundings. First, why this statement could be made:
- He was at the gate of Sodom and insisted the angels go to his house, – he knew what would happen to them, he was protecting them.
- His daughters knew Lot’s standard of living – they had to get him drunk.
- The men of Sodom said he was “judging” them – they knew he lived differently.
- Lot knew the angels were speaking the truth and preached the first “fire and brimstone” message (Gen. 19: 14) – his son-in-laws thought he was joking.
Now, for the lukewarm problems:
- He went from camping near Sodom to living in it.
- Why did he not move?
- Was he honored more because of Abram and the rescue?
A friend of mine compared Abram and Lot and the state of their houses by how each treated the angels. Abram had his household prepare the food while Lot seems to do all the work in Sodom.
- Usually being at the gate of a city showed a position of authority and prestige.
- Where did Lot’s wife come from?
- Where were his flocks, herds, and herdsmen?
- Why were singular nouns used in 19: 18 +19? This referred to himself (not family) and the angel/Lord.
When He Left
The night of the attack (Genesis 19) must have been horrible. Neighbors wanting to rape your guest, offering your daughters to appease an angry crowd, and your family laughing at you about their pending death was just the first scene of this tragedy. In reading several translations of the Bible (Moffat and Knox among others) verse 15 could give the impression that there were other family members besides the two daughters who were “with him.” When Abraham was bargaining with God (Genesis 18: 16 – 33) did he count all of the children/family of Lot – 50? You can count the four in the house and two sons-in-law with parents and get ten but what if Lot had other family members living in and around Sodom and then there are his herdsmen. Did they get out? That could have been some of the hesitations!
Finally out of the city, Lot does some bargaining of his own (must have run in the family). He gets permission to go to Zoar. Was there family there or maybe his herds? Maybe the problem with the mountains was that would have taken him to Abraham, who wants to hear I told you so! But the tragedy continues when his wife looks back. The “looking back” carries the idea of longing for what was left; after all, she was married to the person who got everyone rescued and there still may have been family.
Jesus in Luke 17: 28 uses Lot as a warning, he and Noah are examples of righteous people saved before a judgment. Noah is from water and Lot is from fire and Lot’s wife is added to help adjust attitudes about physical goods and their hold over our lives. Luke 17, 2 Peter 2, and Jude carry the same messages and examples which just goes to show that a good sermon needs to be repeated.
Cave Over Family
I understand Lot and the girls leaving Zoar because they would have been looked at as the cause for the destruction of the valley. But a cave over family? Ok, some families I might understand, but the caves in that area always seem small and dusty. Where were his resources coming from to live? Where the girls right in that NO ONE was around? Abraham lived in Hebron at this time, which is west of the Dead Sea and Jordan while it may appear Lot went east. The thought behind this is God honored Moab and Ben-Ammi by giving them land in Ar and not letting Moses and Israel bother them (Deuteronomy 2: 9 +19), this area is to the east of the Dead Sea. Ruth, a grandmother of David and Jesus, was also a Moabite so Lot still had a part in the salvation story. The boy’s descendants became enemies of Israel and are even mentioned in Psalm 83 as trying to destroy their family.
Lot’s daughters should be the ultimate symbol of guarding your family by whom you choose to be around. They were well trained in the thoughts of Sodom probably having been born after the rescue. Being in Sodom and living with Lot must have been confusing.
Their stories will always be intertwined and comparison will always be made which may or may not be fair. So I am directing my thoughts to the boundaries of Genesis 19. Did Abraham send men to look for/rescue his nephew? Since it was burning (vs. 27) he knew God had not found ten righteous people so had he assumed the worst? It is apparent that somehow they meet again because Chapter 19 was written with all of its gory details. The only comparison I want to make is that Abraham refused the goods of Sodom and Lot hesitated because of Sodom.
Sermon by Carter Conlon: Please God; Don’t Ask Me to Do One More Thing! – http://www.tscnyc.org/media_center.php?pg=sermons&mi=25512