Lot and his daughters
Remembering back to my Sunday school days, I seem to recall two things about Lot, the nephew of Abraham. Firstly, that when offered a choice of land, he greedily took the best land in the Jordan valley leaving the stony hills to Abraham, and secondly, when surrounded by sex-crazed men, he offered his virgin daughters to satisfy them.
On the face of it, not a nice guy.
But there is more to his story than this.
This is God’s view of Lot:
2 Peter 2:7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the wicked 8 (for by what that righteous man saw and heard as he lived among them, he was vexed in his righteous soul day after day with their lawless deeds),
Somehow we have to reconcile this with the story of Lot. The last word on Lot is God’s — that he was a righteous man.
Not only that, but when Jesus himself chose a parable of the state of the world at his coming, he chose the world of Noah and Lot, and Noah and Lot each represented the saints of God.
Luke 17:28 Likewise as it was in the days of Lot — they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built, 29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom fire and sulphur rained from heaven and destroyed them all — 30 so will it be on the day when the Son of man is revealed.
Lot forever will be remembered as our Lord’s symbol of the faithful saints.
So, if we believe that we are living in the last days, we’d better heed the two examples Jesus left us — the saints of the ‘last days’ — Lot and Noah.
Let’s look more closely at the life of Lot.
Gen 11:26 When Terah had lived seventy years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran. 27 Now these are the descendants of Terah. Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran was the father of Lot. 28 Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chalde'ans. 29 And Abram and Nahor took wives; the name of Abram's wife was Sar'ai, and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and Iscah. 30 Now Sar'ai was barren; she had no child. 31 Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sar'ai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chalde'ans to go into the land of Canaan; but when they came to Haran, they settled there. 32 The days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran.
Gen 20:11 Abraham said……12 Besides she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.
God calls Abram (or Terah) when they were in Ur in Mesopotamia.
The family splits. Abram goes to Haran, then Canaan, whilst Nahor stays in Ur.
With his father dead, Lot’s choice is between his two uncles, Nahor and Abram. To stay in Ur, or to go on an unchartered journey. But the choice between uncles is unequal. Lot’s sister Milcah was Uncle Nahor’s wife. Lot had no such connection to Abram.
It seems Lot turned his back on Nahor and his sister, to follow the uncle with the promise.
Follow Uncle Abram and Granddad Terah to Canaan – for a promise which was not his.
Stay with Uncle Nahor, and his sister
in Ur with friends, land, money, family.
Lot chooses to follow Abram’s promise - a promise afar off. This shows a faith even exceeding Abram’s, as the promise Lot followed was not his.
John 20:29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."
Abraham believed because he heard God’s promises, but maybe Lot is more blessed in that he did not see or hear, yet believed.
But disaster unfolds in Gen 12:10. Lot followed Abram to Canaan, and his choice led to catastrophe. A drought, so severe, that the family had to leave Canaan. Lot could have interpreted this as a sign that his choice had been wrong. Now he is faced with the choice; either go back north to Haran, to known safety - back to the family and cancel out the adventure as a mistake, or south to Egypt, following Abram’s promise to even more uncertainty.
Lot’s choice is an expression of his faith.
Now they return and their follows the Sunday School story.
Gen 13:1 So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb. ….5 And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, 6 so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, 7 and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's cattle and the herdsmen of Lot's cattle. ….9 “Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left." 10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and saw that the Jordan valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zo'ar; this was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomor'rah. 11 So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan valley, and Lot journeyed east; thus they separated from each other. 12 …..Lot dwelt among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. 13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the LORD. 15 for all the land which you see I will give to you and to your descendants for ever. 16 I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your descendants also can be counted. 17 Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you." Then Abram said to Lot, …. The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward;
Who asked for the separation? Abram. Lot was content to stay. Lot needed Abram. Lot had followed Abraham’s promise – he didn’t initiate the separation.
Did Lot’s choice show greed? Maybe; but Abraham sinned and we don’t remember him for that act. But there was another reason why Lot ‘pitched his tent toward Sodom’ – and we will see it was a reason full of compassion and caring.
And, why did Abraham ask for the separation. Was it solely because of the quarrel of the herdsmen?
Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you………”
You see, the promise was contingent on Abraham leaving everybody – all relatives – all kindred. Whilst ever Lot was with him, Abraham had not fully obeyed that call. So, immediately on the departure of Lot, “The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward;…”
God renewed the promise, because now Abraham had fully obeyed God’s direction.
Our encounter with God depends on our seeing Him as our only strength, our only hope.
No friends or family can save us – when it comes to our promise, our salvation, we are alone with God.
Gen 18 tells the story of Abraham’s encounter with three men.
1:And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. 2 He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men stood in front of him…. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the earth,
These men were God’s representatives – a priestly role. The Lord spoke through these men (Gen 18:1). There is no reason to believe they were spiritual angels despite Gen 19:1. Almost universally, in the Bible, spiritual angels are referred to as ‘angels of the Lord’ (Gen16:7-11). These were almost certainly mortal angels, messengers, men. Where did they come from? Very probably they were from Melchizedek, the King-Priest of God.
As well as promising a child to Sarah and Abraham, they went to Sodom to test the city and to pass God’s judgement on it.
Now Abraham seems to bargain with God. "Will you indeed destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt thou then destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it?
Why did Abraham do this – because he knew that at least Lot was righteous.
We may well ask, what was the point of Abraham rescuing the King of Sodom (Gen 14), if he and his city were destined for destruction? Maybe their destruction was not yet due! Maybe their iniquity was not yet complete (Gen 15:16). Or was there another reason?
Maybe Lot’s preaching was not yet complete.
Gen 19:1 The two angels (I believe Melchizedek’s men) came to Sodom in the evening; and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed himself with his face to the earth,
Many have assumed that ‘sitting in the gate’ implied some eldership role in the city. No so. The tradition of the leaders of the city sitting in the gate was in Israel, which was not to develop for many hundreds of years into the future. No – Lot was NOT an elder of the city, in fact he was not accepted as ‘one of them’. The men of Sodom said, Gen 19:9…."This fellow came to sojourn, and he would play the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them” showing he had never been accepted.
So, why was Lot sitting in the gate of Sodom? To warn newcomers exactly as he did to these two men. But there could be another reason:
Think of all the judgements God had executed on men. Every single one came with a warning.
The Flood – Noah preached a warning.
The threatened destruction of Nineveh – Jonah warned.
The destruction of Israel – the prophets warned.
The fall of Jerusalem – Jesus warned.
God would not plan the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah without due warning.
This was Lot’s job. That’s why he ‘pitched his tent towards Sodom’.
He sat in the gate of the city crying Gen19:7, "I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly”.
He preached God’s warning.
But he went unheeded.
Lot then offered his virgin daughters to the homosexual men at his door. We may well wonder at this act. Maybe it was that Lot knew very well that as homosexuals, they would reject his offer, and his girls would remain safe.
These men were cursed with blindness, and the angels (God’s messengers) offered salvation to any who would listen to their voice. Only Lot, his wife and two daughters believed the warning – and were led from the city by the men. Even then, Lot asked if he could shelter in the little town of Zoar.
Gen 19:20 Behold, yonder city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there--is it not a little one? --and my life will be saved!" 21 He said to him, "Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken.
Lot’s righteousness saved the city.
Gen19:29 So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt.
God remembered Abraham’s prayer that the righteous may be saved – and Lot and his girls were saved.
Then we come to Gen 19:31
31 The older daughter said to her sister, "Our father is getting old, and there are no men in the whole world to marry us so that we can have children. 32 Come on, let's get our father drunk, so that we can sleep with him and have children by him." 33 That night they gave him wine to drink, and the older daughter had intercourse with him. But he was so drunk that he didn't know it. 34 The next day the older daughter said to her sister, "I slept with him last night; now let's get him drunk again tonight, and you sleep with him. Then each of us will have a child by our father." 35 So that night they got him drunk, and the younger daughter had intercourse with him. Again he was so drunk that he didn't know it.
A story which may revolt us.
Let me state that incest was not nearly as abhorrent in those days as now. Abraham practiced it (Gen 20:12), and presumably it was how the human race started, as Adam and Eve’s sons and daughters married each other.
But – the girl’s motives are what needs analysing.
I have read commentators who say that what these girls did was born out of desperation and loneliness. I would reply that that is rubbish.
The girls were motived by the most noble cause of all – a love for their father.
We cannot comprehend the importance of a man having a line and lineage in the ancient world.
These girls knew that Lot could tolerate losing his possessions, his house, his wife and finally reduced to living as a caveman, but they knew he would crave heirs. Every man in the ancient world wanted a son to carry on his name.
They knew they could not get married – as so they sacrificed themselves to give their father the greatest possession.
Each bore a God-blessed son.
Here the story gets more and more beautiful.
The girls gave Lot his sons Moab and Ammon.
Lot had followed Abraham’s promise – a promise that was not his.
Lot heard Abraham was promised to be a father of a great nation. But he had no such promise.
But look what God does for him.
When Israel came into their land – God specifically says;
Deut 2:9 The Lord said to me, "Don't trouble the people of Moab, the descendants of Lot, or start a war against them. I have given them the city of Ar, and I am not going to give you any of their land.' "
. 19 You will then be near the land of the Ammonites, the descendants of Lot. Don't trouble them or start a war against them, because I am not going to give you any of the land that I have given them.' "
How beautiful – Lot who followed a promise that was not his – receives his own promise.
He also received a people and a land.
But, just like Israel – the descendants of Lot forgot their father – sinned – and were displaced.
But it gets even better than this.
What was the greatest of the blessings offered to Abraham?
Gen 12: 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves."
The blessing was to come to all nations. We now know that was Jesus the Christ.
Lot may well have shared in Abraham’s promise of land and a people – but how could Lot share this promise?
Because Jesus was part Moabite!
The line and lineage of Jesus came through Israel and the Moabitess Ruth.
Lot and Abraham are finally joined in the child of promise.
Some concluding comments:
We often see the Flood on the ancient world, and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as God’s judgement on the wicked, but they were more than this. They were acts of salvation and love.
God could not bear to leave his servants, Noah and Lot one moment longer in a hate filled and sinful world. The very flood that destroyed the wicked, bore Noah and his family up to salvation
The very fire that rained destruction on Sodom, saved Lot’s tormented soul.
2Peter2:5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven other persons, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomor'rah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and made them an example to those who were to be ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the wicked 8 (for by what that righteous man saw and heard as he lived among them, he was vexed in his righteous soul day after day with their lawless deeds), 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,
This gives new insight into the coming Judgment:
Why is Jesus returning to this world?
To save Israel…yes, but that’s not what Peter is saying…
To establish his world-wide kingdom…yes, but that’s not what Peter is saying…
To establish peace and justice…yes, but that’s not what Peter is saying…
…Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial….
He is coming for you, because he loves you and cannot let you suffer one moment longer.
It is for you he will return.
Living in Sodom.
We may wonder why Lot chose to live in a city of homosexuals.
We had better be careful.
I live in Sydney – the No 1 homosexual capital of Australia.
Sydney is the most popular homosexual holiday destination in the whole world and I live there.
My excuse – I had better be doing what Lot was doing. I am here to preach Jesus and him crucified.
Sins of Sodom
Some “fundamentalist Christians” have taken a violent hatred to homosexuals, matched only by their hatred of abortionists. These “Christians” often love the death penalty, love the US military and their murderous attacks around the world, love the USA gun lobby, but passionately hate gays and abortionists.
These fundamentalist right wing ‘Christians’ love to quote the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah!
Look what God does to homosexuals!
He consumes them in fire!!
But they fail to recognize that homosexuality was not the besetting sin of Sodom and Gomorrah.
I believe that they are wilfully ignorant of Sodom’s profound sin.
See Ezek 16
48 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters. 49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.
What were the sins of Sodom?………
Pride, full of food, idleness, neglect of the poor and needy.
Luke 17 Jesus says of Sodom:
28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
What was Sodom’s sin ??
They ate, drank, married, bought, sold, built, planted.
So why do some fundamentalist Christians wilfully neglect the truth of the Bible, and say homosexuality was the main sin of Sodom?
Because it’s not their sin !!
They can stand aloof - and from a distance - condemn homosexuals as Godless.
Luke 18:11The Christian stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, homosexual, gay, queer, or even as this publican.
We don’t want to recognise the sins of Sodom, of pride, full of food, idleness, neglect of the poor and needy - because they are all our sins.
We need the grace of God for forgiveness, as homosexuals also do.