“It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:28-29)
Suffice it to say, we are truly the generation that has returned back to the days of Noah and Lot. As I study the Word to digest all of its meaty teachings, the thing that stands out to me the most, is that God is calling us to be like Noah and Lot in our wicked generation. To walk in and live by righteousness which comes through faith in Christ. The struggle that I have as I read through these accounts, is that based on the teachings and commentaries of so many pastors, I would be hard pressed to understand why Lot was considered righteous. In fact, the only justification I could find as an overwhelming consensus, was that Lot believed in God, but did nothing with his faith. Instead, he lived a life of immorality and complacency when it came to his witness, but, because he believed he was called righteous.
I am going to state up front that this teaching does not set well in my spirit and does not line up with the consistent message in the Bible in the Old or New Testaments. Because of that, I have taken some time to sit in prayer and study and ask the LORD to help me reconcile Lot and his righteousness, so that I can understand the truth. I will say, what the LORD has taught me makes far more sense to His Word and His nature than the general explanation given. Bear with me as I share.
The first thing we need to ask ourselves as we read the account of Lot in Genesis is, did Lot choose to live among the land because it looked good to him and he assumed he would prosper for his family? Did he believe that he could have an effect on others with little to no effect on himself or his family? Was he carefully taking the time to consider his future choice and the impact it could have? In fact, the Hebrew words for LIFT YOUR EYES also can mean to LOOK WITH CARE. The bible does not make known to us Lot’s motive, so we just assume one. What we can gather from the scriptures though, is that Lot believed this to be the best land for his family, and it doesn’t seem that his uncle Abraham tried to discourage him otherwise.
Just as Lot had to make a choice, reality causes us to understand that we can not be taken out of this world or live separately from society, but instead we are left to live and dwell among the wicked and the lawless in peace. In fact, isn’t this the very defense of the modern day church, that struggles with the “Church walls,” over the desire of dwelling with unbelievers and the immoral in relationship to impact them for Christ? Sadly, we couldn’t live in America, and most of it’s cities, if we take a stand against Lot for the land that he chose.
Second, we should note according to scripture, that the men of Sodom were not really fans of Lot at all. In fact they referred to him as “judging” in a mocking tone. In all actuality, it seems that they are not fans of the way Lot judges, because their views of what is considered immoral and wicked is very different from Lot’s. How is that relevant to our generation and how the Lot’s of our day stand for morality, only to be mocked and harassed by those who hold a different view to what they believe is moral in their own eyes? Of course, Lot seems to believe he can also participate in the local politics of the area given his place of prominence at the city gate. Again, how would this be any different than those in the Church who believe that Christians should place themselves in prominent places of political leadership to influence the society around them?
Scripture also never tells us that Lot did not try to minister to those he dwelled among. It would just seem that his ministry was ineffective in a place so given over to wickedness and immorality. Yet, this is no different than the days of Noah, (to which the last days generation is also compared), in the sense that NO ONE responded to Noah’s ministry. But does that mean that Noah was ineffective for Yahweh? Of course not! Instead, we can blame that on the hearts of the hearers and their desire to do what was right in their own eyes. Sadly, their ears were closed to the ministry that was right among them.
This seems to be the case in Lot’s day as he recognizes these godly men as the enter into the city and begs them not to stay in the square, but to come under his own roof for protection. It is during this time that Lot is mocked by the wicked men in his city for begging them not to do so wickedly. While it was the custom of his culture to protect those who came into your home as a guest, Lot seems to go above and beyond what is really required of him for these godly men. In his mind, he was willing to offer up his own daughters, as if he hated them, to protect that which was sent from God. All that we know from this occurrence is that God causes the angels to protect Lot and his daughters from this consequence and strikes the wicked men with blindness.
In the end, what we can conclude, is that Lot does not seem to be a man who agrees with or even participates in the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah. Instead, it would seem his intentions were to live among this people, prosper off the land and influence them. Of course even the most noble of intentions can have an influence on those around us that we bring along on our journey. Lot’s choices seems to have affected even his family in a negative way. His desire to stay among a group who were unwilling to hear and repent and even to build upon a friendly approach by calling them “breathen” does not seem to appeal to this people. Instead it seems the longer he stays, the more it impacts his wife and his children to tolerate what is going on in this society and the love for what it provides them.
What we can learn from Lot’s life is that as a Christian who has put our faith in Christ and is walking in the righteousness of His Spirit, we can also find ourselves dwelling to long in places, instead of dusting off our feet when people won’t listen. In the end our life can end up as an example to 1 Cor 3:15- If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. The intentions of our work can be good but produce nothing. That work, like Sodom, will be burned, but he himself will be saved. It is the same for the times we live in and why Christ compared those days to the days of Noah and Lot. We live among the perverse and wicked, but many will not listen. In spite of that, let us continue to stand in faith and obedience to God’s Word, so that when we too escape this world and the fire that is coming upon it, we will be called the Righteous of God.