The Bible is full of stories of God and his people. It's really the story of how God rescues us. Yet it still seems surprising to realize how many of the Bible's heroes were really broken people like the rest of us. They lied, cheated, and disappointed God too. Sometimes we read these stories and can see good examples of faithfulness. But often we see examples we should not imitate. This is certainly the case with Lot. He was Abraham's nephew, and he made many mistakes. Here are a few lessons to be learned from his story:
When offered the two pieces of land, Lot readily took what seemed to be best. He didn’t defer to his uncle, but looked out for A-number-1. In so doing, he broke the very essence of the Golden Rule from Philippians 2:4, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Provide a healthy community in which to raise your children. After Lot chose the best land, he then moved his family to Sodom, a city known for it’s blatant appetites, sexual immorality, and godlessness. We can’t always control every community in which our families participate. However, surrounding them with rich Christian relationships to counter the world’s culture provides community and biblical influence in their lives. As Romans 12:2 reminds us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
When a mob wanted to gang-rape Lot's guests, Lot offered his two virgin daughters to the men instead. I'm sure you're thinking, “Of course I wouldn’t do this!” However, many predators still surround our families. So without being paranoid, we do keep a close watch on our children’s comings and goings, not to mention Internet, social media, and cell phone use. There are many great resources available that allow families to navigate this sensitive issue. It isn’t a fun topic to discuss, but the consequences of not facing off with this matter can be horrific. 2 John 1:8 warns, “Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.”
Lot had to be pulled out of danger by the hand, twice! First, from the mob: “But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door.” Second, from God's wrath against the mob: “But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city” (Gen 19:10, 19:16). Lastly, Even after the angels rescued him, he begged to go to the nearest town in such a way that insinuates that the angels would have preferred for him to go elsewhere. It is human nature to resist change, but Lot resisted God’s rescue attempt because it involved a change in relationships, location, and lifestyle. God rescued Lot, but he had to be dragged by the hand. Proverbs 28:14 reminds us, “Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.”
Unfortunately, Lot's life is not much of a positive example. But there is a beautiful redemptive story here. Because of God’s covenant with Abraham, God saved Lot from destruction. Lot still ended up in a bad place in life, but it was due to his own choices. God showed mercy to Lot and helped him make good choices. We can’t make decisions for our family members, and our world brims with trouble, but we can safeguard our hearts and families from making the same mistakes Lot did.
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra
Rev. Deb Koster