Monday, November 16, 2009
Seeing Lot in Me
This week in our study of Genesis we take a closer look at Lot, Abram's nephew. It's really only an introductory story, but it sets the stage for things to come. Now, if I asked you what you know about Lot, I would think that most of you would instantly think of Sodom and Gomorrah. And that's a horrible story from the start to the finish. But do you know what haunts me? It's what Peter says about Lot in his second letter:
"...and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation , and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment..." II Peter 2:7-9
Initially, when I read this, I got frustrated with the descriptive word used for Lot: Righteous. Are you kidding me? Righteous? The man who offered his virgin daughters to spare the lives of strangers? The man who was surrounded by heinous, obvious sin and still chose to sit in the gates as a leader? The man whose daughters got him drunk in order to get pregnant?
But God calls him righteous, so, in light of what we have learned about people who are righteous, what does this tell us about him? His actions did not make him righteous. God's choice of him made him righteous. The future sacrifice of Christ made him righteous. And, if we're being honest about our assessment of him, he did respond in obedience to the angel's message of coming destruction.
So, once I settled down about Lot being called righteous, a second wave of thoughts hit me. These verses tell us that Lot was tormented by what he saw day after day. He must have hated the sin that surrounded him.
Gals, I really don't think that Sodom and Gomorrah was very different than where we live today. The overt sexual sin, not merely homosexual but heterosexual as well, is prevalent, or should I say rampant here in America. Name a television show that doesn't promote sexual sin. Our songs are filled with sexual innuendos and blatant overtures. Even some of the Christian songs have a sensual tone and possible double meanings to them - you don't believe me? Start listening closer to Christian radio.
Here's my problem. Lot was tormented. Could that word be used to describe us? Are we tormented by the incredible rebellion towards God that surrounds us? What does that torment look like in your life? Can you watch a show that promotes sexual sin and write it off as mere entertainment? Where do you take your stand?
These verses are convicting to me, as I look at my own life. I feel like the frog in the pan of boiling water (not sure anyone has ever really tried this experiment). As the water heats up, the frog just adjusts until eventually he dies from the high temperature. Am I so accustomed to the sin of the world that I don't even realize how it has ramped up around me, because I've simply adjusted to it? Think about television 20 years ago and then think about what we watch today. Shocking, isnt' it?
There is good news, however. Having been justified freely by His grace, we don't have to hand God a pile of good works to earn His favor. He has given us the identity of His Son. We are righteous in the eyes of the Father, for we are covered in His Son's blood, enclosed in His being and justified by His sacrifice. Any good works we hand Him are simply offerings of love and gratitude.
So, as we head on into our study and we meet characters like Lot, may our hearts ever be reminded of His love and His goodness. May we open our eyes to our sin and may we chose to live tormented lives, rather than comfortable, mediocre existences that hardly look different than the world we live in...
See you in the morning!