LESSONS FROM LOT
By Jeannette Haley
“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”- Ezekiel 2:30
There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever but that we are living in the days Jesus warned of when he said, “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” Luke 21:26. What we need to remember is that, in the midst of it all, God knows the hearts of every person, and that He still seeks for a man (or woman) to “stand in the gap” in intercession for America, that He should not completely destroy it. Who can honestly say that, as a nation, we don’t deserve it? After all, the blood of over 62,000,000 murdered innocents is on our hands; fornications, sex trafficking and the abominations of “Sodom” have gained power in every level of society, drug abuse is destroying countless lives, while the deadly cancer of communism (which is merely a tool for the extremely wealthy globalists) is robbing us of our God-given right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (property). We are seeing the literal fulfillment of Revelation 9:21, “Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”
Who will “stand in the gap” for America? I believe God is seeking for those who will “stand in the gap” for this nation, and I also believe there are some serious intercessors tearfully crying out to God for mercy in these end days.
As we look back through the misty corridors of time, a strong man of great faith emerges—a man who believed, loved and obeyed God and who “stood in the gap” for the people of Sodom. Even though there is no statute or monument erected to honor him, he is forever recorded in God’s Word. No angry mob, no satanic army, and no attack against his memory shall ever succeed in bringing Abraham’s memory down because of the covenant God made with him, and because it is recorded in God’s Word, which shall never pass away. (Matthew 24:35.)
Even though this article is titled “Lessons from Lot” it’s necessary to revisit the background of Lot’s life, and reiterate the contrast between him and his uncle, Abram, whom God renamed “Abraham” (“father of many nations) in Genesis 17:5. Abramwas ninety-nine years old when this occurred. The LORD appeared to him and said, “I am the Almighty God: walk before me and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly” Genesis 17:1b, 2. Abram did what any of us would do, he “fell on his face; and God talked with him….” At this time that God told him that his covenant was with him, that He would make him exceeding fruitful, making him the father of many nations of him, and kings would come out of him. God said to him, “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God” Genesis 17: 7-8. Then God gave him His covenant of circumcision. Abraham, his son Ishmael, and all the men of his household were circumcised. (See verses 10-14.)
But Lot, having separated himself from Abraham, remained uncircumcised, and became increasingly caught up with the world and the comforts it had to offer, which proved to be a terrible snare to him, and in the end, he lost it all. It wasn’t that Lot was as ungodly as the people of Sodom for we read in 2 Peter 2:6-8 concerning God, “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds)”. Lot was innocent in the respect that he did not agree with, or participate in, the “exceeding wickedness” of Sodom, yet he put his roots down in that place because it served his purpose, and he never would have left Sodom if Abraham had not interceded for him. Lot may have been vexed in his spirit, but he failed to stand up against the wickedness of the people. Real heroes don’t care what people think!
We know that the Bible tells us “many are called, but few are chosen”. Abraham was called of God, but Lot was not. Abraham followed God, but Lot followed Abraham. Abraham built four altars in his lifetime to the LORD, but Lot built none; Abraham continued to dwell in tents, and “looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” Hebrews 11:10b; but Lot loved the benefits of city life; Abraham received the covenant of God, and became circumcised, whereas Lot had no promises and no covenant with God. Abraham was an honorable man of strong faith and character—a man who was looking heavenward, whereas Lot had a “form of godliness” but was weak in faith, spiritually lean and content to live in the valleys of the world.
Of course, circumcision of the flesh has spiritual aspects. Jeremiah 6:10 says, “To whom shall I speak and give warning That they may hear? Behold, their ears are closed (UNCIRCUMCISED) And they cannot listen. Behold, the word of the LORD has become a reproach (Hebrew – cherpah; Lxx = oneidismos) to them; They have no delight in it.” Jeremiah 4:4 says, “Circumcise (command) yourselves to the LORD and remove (command) the foreskins of your heart, men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, lest My wrath go forth like fire and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.” The Ellicott Commentary says, “The words show that the prophet had grasped the meaning of the symbol which to so many Jews was merely an outward sign. He saw that the “foreskin of the heart” was the fleshly, unrenewed nature, the “flesh” as contrasted with the “spirit,” the “old man” which St. Paul contrasts with the new (Romans 6:6; Romans 8:7).”
Charles H. Spurgeon (in a comment on Colossians 2:11) writes “The Jew boasts that he is a circumcised man, but you have spiritually all that circumcision meant literally. Even though you have not the wounded your flesh, you have more than that, for you have the death of the flesh and your very flesh has been buried with Christ. All that circumcision can possibly mean you have in Christ.” Vance Havner once said “Most Sunday church-goers are trying to eat spiritual food with only a natural appetite—”the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it” (Jeremiah 6:10). They go through the mechanics but miss the meaning.”
We know that Lot was well established in the city of Sodom. He owned a house, had a wife and children, and he was considered a man of importance because he “sat in the gate of Sodom” Genesis 19:1. Concerning the importance of “sitting in the gate,” here is a brief summary that gives us some idea of this ancient custom from thattheworldmayknow.com, “Since gates were the center of city life, it is not surprising that scripture writers often described important officials as “sitting in the gate.” Understanding the important role of city gates brings new light to many biblical stories: When God’s angels arrived in Sodom, Lot was “sitting in the gateway,” apparently serving as an influential judge in that evil city (Gen. 19:1, 9).- Parents of a rebellious son who wouldn’t submit to their discipline were told to take him to the city gate and present him to the elders there. The males of that city would stone him to death. And because the gate was at the center of city life, word of what happened would spread quickly and the people of Israel would be less likely to do evil (Deut. 21:18-21).- Boaz went to the town gate to settle legal matters regarding his marriage to Ruth (Ruth 4:1-11).- When a soldier arrived at Shiloh and reported that Philistines had captured the ark of the covenant, Eli, as a prominent city official, was sitting in the gate. When he heard the news, he fell off his chair, broke his neck, and died (1 Sam. 4:10-18). – King David stood by the gate when giving last minute instructions to his army, before their fight against Absalom. After Absalom’s death, David returned to his place at the gate, and the people came to him (Sam. 18:1-5; 19:1-8). – Mordecai learned of plans to assassinate the king while “sitting at the king’s gate,” which indicates that he was a community leader. He told Queen Esther, who in turn told the king (Esther 2:5-8, 19-23).”
When Lot separated from Abraham and chose the plain because it was preferable land for his herds, he was obviously looking out for himself. No doubt when Abraham gave him his choice, he knew which land Lot would choose, and he graciously let him go. Likewise, as Christians, God gives us the freedom to choose whom we will love, follow and serve. Jesus calls us to follow Him, and He never promised it would be a life of ease in the plush valleys. He said, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” Luke 14:33. In other words, if we are to follow Jesus with all our hearts, we must forsake, or let go of anything in this world that is more important to us than the LORD Himself. The test is always about where our heart really is. For Abraham, his heart was wholly towards God, and not this world, but for Lot, his uncircumcised heart leaned towards how the world could best serve and benefit him. In other words, he believed in God, was upright in his thoughts and actions in his family and community, but, and here’s the problem that so many professing Christians have, the LORD took second place to his lifestyle.
Perhaps in the beginning of his possession of the fertile area for his flocks and herds he was content to live as his godly uncle did, dwelling in tents and finding contentment. Then again, perhaps not, because somewhere along the line, and we can only guess why, when and how, he changed his lifestyle and moved into the city of Sodom. The Bible doesn’t tell us how Lot made his living, but I tend to think that while he lived inside the city, his “business” of raising flocks and herds continued to thrive with the help of his hired men and this would undoubtedly provide a good source of food and other benefits for the inhabitants of Sodom, and a steady income for Lot.
Then came the unforgettable day that we read about In Genesis 18 when the three men came to Abraham, and Abraham knew that one was the LORD. When Abraham saw them in the heat of the day “he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant.” (Verses 2b, 3.) This is known as a Christophany. Christophany comes from two Greek words; Christos, which means Christ, and phaneroo, which means to be revealed or to manifest. Therefore, a Christophany is a visible manifestation or appearance of Christ before His human incarnation. What touches my heart is Abraham’s reaction when he saw them. I can just imagine how his face suddenly lit up when he saw the Lord! How his eyes must’ve sparkled with new life as his aged body gained strength and energy to rise, literally run to the Lord, and bow down before Him to the ground. Abraham and Sarah were instant and generous in their hospitality, and afterwards the promise of a son was given to Sarah, and they “rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.” How could Abraham’s heart not have longed to stay as close to the Lord for as long as possible? It was then that the LORD revealed His plan for Sodom, and it was then that Abraham “stood in the gap” for any righteous souls that might dwell in that doomed city. Abraham knew that his nephew and his family lived there, of course, but he also interceded on behalf of any other righteous souls who might possibly live there.
It’s interesting how Abraham’s intercession began with just fifty souls when you consider that the latest scientific study shows there was a large population at that time. It has been “confirmed what students of the Bible have known all along: a catastrophe from the heavens destroyed all life in the area of the Dead Sea many thousands of years ago.” The article, by Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, Jerusalem, goes on to say: “After a decade of digging, archaeologist Phillip Silvia of Trinity Southwest University in Albuquerque reported on his research on the Dead Sea area last week at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research.
“Silvia led excavations at five large sites on the Jordanian side of the Jordan River. According to Silvia, the 15 square-mile circular Middle Ghor was a fertile plain, populated continuously for at least 2,500 hundred years. Some form of catastrophe 3,700 years ago brought this to a sudden end, wiping out all of the estimated 40,000 to 65,000 people who inhabited the area at the time.
“Studies of the remains of 120 small settlements in the region showed signs of extreme, collapse-inducing heat and wind. Pottery was discovered to have been exposed to heat so intense that it melted into glass. Zircon crystals in those glassy coats formed within one second at extremely high temperatures, perhaps as hot as the surface of the sun. Pottery fragments discovered at the Tall el-Hammam site contained tiny, spherical mineral grains that apparently rained down on the area.
“The event was so catastrophic that the area remained unpopulated for 600 years.
“The signs were clear but the precise nature of the catastrophe eluded researchers until they turned their eyes heavenward.” The article goes on to explain that their conclusion is a meteorite hit the earth and brought about the fiery destruction. One way or the other, there is ample evidence that this major event happened just as the Bible tells us.
Turning our attention back to Lot, we are told that the two angels went to Sodom in the evening, and “Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground” Genesis 19:1b. Lot knew what the people of Sodom would try to do to these visitors, so he pressed them to stay in his home. We all know the sordid events that took place afterwards as the mob, made up of young and old from every quarter surrounded Lot’s house demanding that he send the two men out to them, and we know how Lot tried in vain to placate them, even to the point of offering to give them his two daughters to do with as they chose. Such unrighteous appeasement, or “apologetic, political correctness” never has and never will satisfy the insatiable appetites of the ungodly.
No doubt Lot’s daughters were thankful that the angels rescued their father from the angry mob, pulling him into the house and blinding his attackers who wore themselves out trying to find the door. Sometime in the dark of night Lot went out that night to warn his sons-in-law of the coming destruction, but they mocked him, just as mockers do today when warned of the judgment to come. Amazingly, early in the morning Lot “lingered in the house.” In spite of the seriousness of the situation, Lot couldn’t overcome his reluctance to leave! This gives me pause to ask myself how long it would take me to obey an emergency evacuation order, and if I’d “linger” like Lot did. I tend to think that’s a real possibility considering that everything we’ve worked for, created, and accomplished for over thirty years is in our home. Books and paintings, musical instruments, personal items, and two Chihuahuas couldn’t all be squeezed into two Hondas! (On the very day after I wrote this, a terrible fire broke out about six miles from our home. The wind was gusting at 55mph and people in the immediate area were forced to evacuate. Needless to say, this situation was most sobering. Praise the Lord, He heard and answered all our prayers.)
The threat of sudden calamity is shocking, and no doubt Lot was in shock. Who wouldn’t be, knowing that two heavenly angels had been sent by God to destroy everything but you, your spouse and two daughters? His head had to be spinning with mind-numbing fear while his heart was undoubtedly breaking over the reality that his home and all that he had worked for, along with other family members and people he knew, would all vanish, never to be seen again. Finally, the angels had to literally take hold of his hand, and the hands of his wife, and two daughters and lead them out of Sodom. Once outside of the city Lot was told, “Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain: escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed” verse 17b. But, what did Lot do? He argued, and begged to be allowed to flee into a small city called Zoar so his “soul shall live.”
How amazingly patient and longsuffering the LORD was in His dealings with Lot—and is in all mankind! Sending two angels to warn him of the judgment that was about to fall, then rescuing Lot from the angry mob by pulling him into his house, blinding his would-be murderers, and watching over him. The LORD’s patience and longsuffering can be seen as the angels watched Lot lingering in the home he would see no more forever, along with other possessions. We see God’s grace, gentleness and kindness to each of us demonstrated by the angels when they took the hands of Lot, his wife, and two daughters to lead them away from Sodom. The bottom line is, Lot was “scarcely saved” and so are we. 1 Peter 4:18 says, “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
The thought of escaping to a wilderness setting devoid of city life was more than Lot could bear; his fear of how he and his family would survive was stronger than his fear of God’s judgment, and so the LORD in His mercy allowed him to go to Zoar even though he had been instructed to flee to the mountain. Tragically, when the overthrow took place, Lot’s wife looked back behind him and he lost her as a result, leaving him with just his two daughters. Genesis 19:29-20 says “And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt. And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar; and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters.” So, we see that Lot and his two daughters ended up where they were told to go, but as someone once said, “There is no honor in reluctant obedience.”
We do not know how long Lot and his daughters, who plotted to “preserve seed of their father” (Genesis 19:32) and thus became pregnant, lived in a cave in the mountain, but we do know that each gave birth to a son. One became the father of the Moabites, and the other the father of the Ammonites. Since Smith’s Bible Dictionary states, “Zoar was the cradle of the race of Lot” I assume that Lot and his daughters eventually returned to Zoar to take up residence there. By the time of Ruth, the religion of the Moabites was Chemosh, Molech and Peor. As for the Ammonites, they were hated by Israel and the god they worshipped was Molech, plus they were gross idolaters.
The question is, why did God choose Abram and not Lot? A. W. Tozer said something that is simple, yet profound which gives us some understanding on this subject. He said, “God seeks out those who are willing that their lives should be fashioned according to His own grace and love. He sifts out those who cannot see God’s purpose and design for our blessing.” Abraham’s vision was set upon the eternal, heavenly, unseen realm whereas Lot, even though he was a just man, was pre-occupied with self and this temporal world; and down the line the results of their decisions, and the direction of their lives, were in sharp contrast to one another. Lot represents so many Christians whose affections are set upon this world and not on things above, even though they do know right from wrong, acknowledge that God is who He says He is, are content to remain where they are spiritually, and have no desire to grow in their knowledge and relationship with God. Such people simply assume that when they leave this world they will land in heaven.
The lives of these two men should serve as examples to us concerning where our hearts really are, and what we are committed to. Have we truly and fully dedicated our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, or are there still some areas in our lives over which we still want to maintain control, as did Lot who was totally unprepared when the day of God’s visitation and judgment came? Tozer said, “Those who live in this state of perpetual contradiction cannot be happy Christians. A man who is always on the cross, just piece after piece, cannot be happy in that process. But when that man takes his place on the cross with Jesus Christ once and for all, and commends his spirit to God, lets go of everything and ceases to defend himself—sure, he has died, but there is a resurrection that follows!
“If we are willing to go this route of victory with Jesus Christ, we cannot continue to be mediocre Christians, stopped halfway to the peak. Until we give up our own interests, there will never be enough stirring within our beings to find His highest will.”
The question is, is your spirit stirred up within you, so that like Abraham your heart is prepared to hear, follow and obey the Lord? Or, are your roots so deeply entrenched in this world that you, like Lot, will find yourself totally unprepared to hear, believe, trust and obey the Lord when everything in your world falls apart?