before the sun goes down

"Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in His sight" (I Chronicles 19:13).

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Learn a Little from Lot

In the Scriptures, we are introduced to a man named Lot.  He was the son of Haran, and therefore the nephew of Abraham.  He is chiefly found in the book of Genesis, though his name is mentioned in several other books as well (examples: Deuteronomy 2:9,19; Psalms 83:8; II Peter 2:6-9).  I will not be attempting an exhaustive work on Lot's life as there are many lessons (quite a lot actually) we can draw from to challenge and warn us in our own lives.  But today I desire to look at Lot as the husband and father.

In Genesis 12 Abram (Abraham) was called of God to sojourn in Caanan, and Lot went with his uncle.  And when Abram went down to Egypt during a famine, Lot did too.

He would have witnessed the unfortunate situation of Abram's lie about Sarai to protect his own life (Genesis 12:10-20).  Afraid that the Egyptians would kill him to have her, Abram told Pharaoh she was his sister (a half truth), opening her up to great danger.  She was taken into Pharaoh's house and Abram was given many presents of sheep, oxen, camels, servants, etc., for her sake.  This gave Abram more wealth, but at a terrible price.  He had lost the wife that was to bare him the promised seed that all the promises of God to him and all the nations of the world were bound up in.  If God hadn't intervened, plagued Pharaoh's house, and exposed this falsehood she would have been gone for sure.

Point 1, from Lot's uncle: NEVER make your wife vulnerable to save your own hide!

This incident was a bad example to the nephew.  Lot should have learned that it was wrong to put others in the way of danger for your own sake.  We are not told what he took away from that event.

Abram returned from Egypt with his wife (thanks to the grace of God), and Lot came too (Genesis 13:1). Both men had their own flocks, herds, and tents.  The land was not enough for them both to dwell together, and Abram kindly and graciously gave Lot first pick of where he'd like to go.

"And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where...Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan...and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom" (Genesis 13:10-12).

Lot chose out what he believed would be best for his family, and flocks.  He was thinking that surely in this well-watered spot, he would prosper.  The problem was that this was the region of the cities of the plain, in the vicinity of their chief city, Sodom.  The Scripture is very forthright about the character of this city:
"But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly" (Genesis 13:13).  But did Lot take heed of the dangers of the wicked city?  Did he consider his ways and stay away from the place of the wicked (Proverbs 4:14-27)?  He not only moved his home amongst the cities, but pitched his tent toward Sodom.  It seems that this was advantageous, because he may find trade there, and you've got to think of your economic good.  I mean won't that be best for my family in the long run?  It wasn't long before Lot was dwelling right in Sodom (Genesis 14:12).  How slippery is the road into iniquity!  But maybe he could have reasoned thus: "It is just more convenient, for business you know, and my wife loves the shopping!"  He may also have rationalized that this way perhaps he could influence the society for good.

When the four kings of Genesis 14 came and judgment fell on the wicked cities, they were carried away as captives.  Lot and his family were swept along with the rest.  Even a beautiful parrot who chooses to fly with crows will fall into the same snare in the cornfield that the crows fall into.  If Abram hadn't heard and attacked the army of the kings, and rescued the people, Lot and his family would have spent the remainder of their lives in slavery.  And yet even after their deliverance, Lot went back and lived in Sodom.  Oh, that he would have "forsake[n] the foolish and live[d]" (Proverbs 9:6)!

Point 2: NEVER compromise what is right in order to find prosperity.

God has sent two angels to Sodom to see the wickedness of the city before it is destroyed by fire and brimstone (Genesis 19).  Lot rightly brings them into his home and shelters them.  When the vile mob of Sodomites come and threaten to attack and rape the visitors, Lot does right in speaking against it, saying " not so wickedly" (Genesis 19:7).  But then he goes on to say, "I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes..." (Genesis 19:8).  God FORBID!  After all this time, being around such evil, his thinking is skewed, and he offers his own daughters to their lust in order to save his guests!  Unthinkable?  It ought to be.  But when someone compromises with wickedness, their understanding can be dimmed.  If not for the intervention of the angels, Lot and his whole household would have been victim to the violence of the men of Sodom.

Point 3: NEVER sacrifice your children for your sake or for others.

I could go on, but you most likely know the rest of the account and when pondering Lot's error continue in discerning danger signs and things to avoid as husbands and fathers.  We as Christians must take warning from all this.

As a father, Lot was indeed a failure.  He went to Sodom, following his own agenda.  He did not consider the detriment it would bring to his wife and children.  He sought prosperity, convenience, and prominence, perhaps even claiming it would benefit his household, but it led to the ruin of his own family.  He may have thought, I can handle it, but failed to think about whether his girls could handle it.  And even when he finally got his family out of Sodom, it was evident that Sodom did not get out of his family.    

Brother, your wife and children are your first priority from God.  They are your FIRST ministry.  It is THAT ministry which qualifies you for other service to our Lord (I Timothy 3:5).  And it is serious (I Timothy 5:8).  God gave your wife and children to you, and you will answer to Him for how you live with, love, labor for, and lead them.