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The Spiritual Life of Lot
by Susan Budensiek
1/12/2019 / Christian Living
The story of Lot is well-known but what has always caused me to question is the scripture in
2 Peter 2:7 where it says, “he rescued Lot, a righteous man who was distressed by the debauchery of those unprincipled people;” (CJB) How could Lot be called “righteous” in 2 Peter when Genesis 19 records him doing what appears to be some pretty bad things?
My first question was, why did he choose to live in a place like Sodom if he was a righteous man? Giving the benefit of the doubt, even if he didn’t know Sodom was so corrupt when he first settled there, I wonder why he stayed after finding out. That is a serious question – if it were me, what could make me stay? Maybe Lot just couldn’t be so decisive as head of the household to insist that his family move to a more decent place because they liked Sodom. Families can make things miserable if they are asked to leave a town or neighborhood they like.
Then I wonder, when Lot was sitting at the city gate and the angels came, and he invited them to stay the night at his home, did he know they were angels from the very beginning or was it after they struck the men of the city blind that he figured it out? If he knew they were angels, it says something for his faith and trusting that GOD would do something only He could do to protect Lot’s daughters from the men of Sodom. (I’m really trying to give the benefit of the doubt here.)
We are told that Lot had a wife and two daughters when they left Sodom just before it was destroyed. We also know he had at least two other daughters who were married, because Genesis 19:14 tells us that Lot’s sons-in-law did not take Lot and his warning seriously. Even his wife and two unmarried daughters dawdled when it came time to leave. The angels had to take them all by their hands and lead them out of the city. “When morning came, the angels told Lot to hurry. “Get up,” they said, “and take your wife and your two daughters who are here; otherwise you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he dallied, so the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand and the hands of his two daughters — Adonai was being merciful to him — and led them, leaving them outside the city. (Genesis 19:15-16 CJB).
We read that Lot was “vexed”, “tormented”, “distressed” (depending on which translation one uses) by the lifestyle of the people of the city. Maybe Lot stayed to preach to the people. We know he tried to tell them they were doing wicked things but was ineffective the night the angels arrived.
Or were they all righteous, and since GOD sees our hearts, knew they were simply weak and needed His mercy? Actually, the scriptures don’t describe either Lot’s wife or his daughters as “righteous”. There is an illuminating statement I just love though — “Adonai was being merciful to him” (Genesis 19:16). Instead, the angels warned them not to look back and Lot’s wife did exactly that, instantly turning her into a pillar of salt, and later the daughters get him drunk so they can get pregnant by him, which rather blatantly points to unrighteousness. That immediately causes my next question, where was his integrity when he let his daughters get him so drunk he didn’t know what was going on?
There is plenty of food for thought in the story of Lot, but the point is not to judge him from our place as part of the New Covenant and vastly different culture. Rather, we are to take the story of Lot as it is meant to be taken – a warning to the “righteous” who enjoy this world, this life, this Sodom, a little too much. If it were meant to be a lesson to the lost and “unsaved” the focus would have been on them and the absolute necessity that they repent. But it wasn’t. GOD included it in the book He knew we would need to learn from today.
Remember Yeshua’s teaching in Luke 18:8 (MSG)…”Then the Master said, “Do you hear what that judge, corrupt as he is, is saying? So what makes you think God won’t step in and work justice for his chosen people, who continue to cry out for help? Won’t he stick up for them? I assure you, he will. He will not drag his feet. But how much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?” He told exactly what our condition would be in these last days – just like the conditions in Lot’s day in Sodom. And with a sadness that is evident, asks that question of how much of the persistent faith, like Abram’s, will He find when He returns. It sounds like there will be too many Lots and not enough Abrams.
But why? Surely we aren’t in such terrible spiritual condition since we are “saved” and many of us go to church at least sometimes. No, not all of us are. But there are multitudes with one foot in the Kingdom and one foot in the world, either not giving a thought to “So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives. Don’t lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn’t know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16 MSG)…or simply ignoring its inconvenient conviction.
The focus was on Lot, a man known as “righteous” when Abram prayed that GOD would not destroy the city where he lived if only ten righteous people could be found there. Lot was well aware of his uncle Abram’s faith and obedience to GOD and obviously believed as Abram did in the one and only True God. As the story unfolds we see that “believing” did, as it does now when we are “born again”, secure positional righteousness. This righteousness is not something we can produce. We are sinners. So our Savior had to obtain this righteousness for us. Martin Luther explained it this way: “It is through faith in Christ that Christ’s righteousness becomes our righteousness and all that He has, rather, He Himself becomes ours.”
The other “righteousness” – the one we are to pursue as Matthew 6:33 (CJB) commands (“But seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness”), is one that we do produce - it is the fruit of the first righteousness. We respond in love and obedience to GOD and His commands. This is the righteousness Lot was missing. He was ”saved” from the brimstone falling on Sodom, but never produced the fruit that should have come from the first righteousness.
We definitely live in a sinful world that is opposed to GOD’s ways, as Lot did. And, like Lot, we have choices to make.
Many professing Christians are living the best of both worlds, as the old saying goes, just as Lot did.
Our society has many attractive elements that don’t seem to be evil in themselves (such as prosperity and all it offers) as Sodom undoubtedly did. These are the kinds of things that were attractive enough to keep Lot from moving away from the city and to make his wife turn and look back in longing after being warned not to.
Some situations can’t be avoided but we have a promise that is as reliable today as it was in Sodom’s day, “No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy]. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (AMP). To intentionally stay in an environment that entices one to engage in things GOD’s Word says to avoid is utter foolishness. That reminds me of my parents telling us kids not to hang around with the wrong crowd because it would lead to “no good”.
And we know that because Luke warns us in his gospel where it says, “It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.” (Luke 17:28-30 NASB) that we will see the same general scenario. Therefore our choice must be made before that last minute.
The “Living Word” is not just history - it lives today in as much fullness as it ever has been – Lot’s story is our story. But like the “choose your own adventure” children’s books, we choose our own storyline and it doesn’t have to end like Lot’s story did.
I was raised in church but always felt like I was missing something. Now the Word of God excites me! My curiosity enhances pursuance of discernment. I have often felt discouraged, but not totally defeated knowing that in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! Click here and TRUST JESUS NOW
Read more articles by Susan Budensiek
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