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!



  1. Good news indeed...I can hardly wrap my brain around the fact that God sees me as righteous when I know all the junk and sin I deal with on a regular basis. More and more I am amazed at what Jesus Christ did for me. I was guilty of doing what Elyse Fitzpatrick shared at the womens' retreat...treating the fact that Jesus died on the cross, so my sins could be forgiven and I could go to heaven, as an old foundational truth that didn't need much "thinking on" (as my grandma would say)

    We ought to think on that everyday and let our thoughts, words and actions flow out of gratitude for what He has done for us, desire to live a life worthy of His calling and a passion to to share who He is with others.

    I talked with my brother yesterday. He is 4 years younger than me, makes very good money playing in a symphony in the heart of very diverse Washington D.C., is married to an opera singer and has 2 very bright, undisciplined young boys....and he is completely overwhelmed with life. I could hear the anger and despair in his voice when I asked how he was doing. His response: Not good..just falling deep into self pity, my body hurts, I'm stressed out, overwhelmed with everything I feel I should be getting done and all the ways I'm failing, and I can't keep complaining about it all the time.

    So he goes about life trying to push through as if he's ok on the outside when he's dying on the inside. He doesn't know if all his issues are causing his stress or if stress is causing all of his issues. All he knows is that he is not being a good enough musician, husband, father, home owner, son...and he is miserable and depressed. He apologized for dumping on me...he is proud and doesn't want me to pity him..apparently only he is allowed to pity himself!
    He's been to a doctor, a psychiatrist or two, the pharmacist, a masseuse, a trainer..and when we hung up he was heading to his basement to do yoga...all in an effort to cope with life and find some sense of peace, purpose and joy.

    What he hasn't been to is the cross. Can you imagine if he knew and truly believed that the very God who created him sees him as perfect..blameless..righteous, despite his struggles?

    He is a very bright man, my brother. A deeply emotional thinker who is immersed in culture and the arts in the culturally,religiously, politically diverse environment of Washington, D.C.

    We have shared our faith with him. He sees something in our family that he wants...a peace, the fact that we like to be with our kids (because for the most part they are fun to be around!) He respects and love us. He has even honestly asked for advice on matters of parenting etc. He listens to the practical ideas until we explain that our motivation and what we base our decisions and standards on is the word of God...that the difference in our lives is Jesus. I do believe that he thinks we are simple minded.

    I hung up and cried for him...but what makes my eyes fill up even as I type this is:


    May I never forget what Jesus saved me from when He chose me to be His child and died on that cross for me.

    I long for the day when my brother is no longer a reminder of what could have been my life and is instead someone I can share new life in Christ with. If you think of it, would you pray for him?

    I liked your frog analogy, Kristen, and I think it is very true. Something to "think on"! : )

    See you all in the morning!

  2. Praying for him...thanks for sharing...