Friday, November 12, 2010

Genesis 19:30-38 Increase and Diminishment

Lot soon left Zoar, for he was afraid to stay there.  (Genesis 19:30)  Whether he was fearful of the evil of Zoar's inhabitants (remember, Zoar had been slated for destruction as well until Lot requested that he be allowed to flee there) or whether the destruction of the nearby cities of the plains had unnerved him is unknown.  In any case, Lot takes his daughters and settles in a cave in the mountains.

After some time, Lot's oldest daughter conceives a plan:  "Our father is old, and there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth.  Let's get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father." (Genesis 19:31-32 NIV)  That very night, the oldest daughter begins to carry out this plan.  The following night, the younger daughter also takes part in the scheme.  Although their desire to perpetuate their family line is given as the main reason behind each woman's action (v. 32,34), the women have not taken the time to consult God for a better solution to their dilemma.

Scripture is clear that Lot was unaware of what was happening between him and his offspring. (v. 33,35)  Both times, the women had made sure Lot was too drunk to be aware of what was happening.  However, this does not absolve him of what took place.

  •   First of all, Lot was the one who had decided to live among the people of Sodom and expose his family to the morals (or lack thereof) of the city.  Growing up surrounded by such wickedness, it is no surprise that the daughters' moral compasses would be spinning. 
  • Next, Lot had chosen to continue to live apart from Abraham's godly influence.  Although the men had amicably parted company years before to avoid the quarreling which arose between the shepherds of their substantial flocks, that was no longer an issue -- both Lot's flocks and the shepherds were gone now.
  • With all of his concern for Lot's welfare, Abraham surely would have welcomed the return of Lot to his household, at least until Lot's situation improved.  Lot himself might have found another wife and his daughters eventually could have been provided with suitable husbands.  However, there is no evidence of any desire on Lot's part to be involved in God's covenant relationship with Abraham's family, and no record of the seeking of God's will in the matter of where he should settle.
  • Lot allowed himself to become drunk.

The fact that later Scripture in the New  Testament describes Lot as 'righteous' and 'godly' is rather puzzling.  While writing about the punishment of false teachers and the ungodly, Peter,one of Jesus' disciples, says:

"if he [God] condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) -- if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials..." (2 Peter 2:6-9 NIV)

Three times in that passage, Lot is associated with the word 'righteous'.  Next, he is described as a 'godly' man being delivered by God from the trials going on around him.  So evidently, Lot had some type of relationship with God.  Being a sinner myself, I suppose I can see that Lot may have been a man who wanted to follow God, yet made a series of sinful/careless decisions which spiraled into events out of his control.  But I still cringe at the thought of Lot offering his daughters to the men of Sodom rather than endangering his guests.  I know that there was a code of honor and hospitality that may have required that type of action.  However, in my mind, that was a social code which should be subject (in the lives of believers) to the word of God, for, by itself, in this instance that code had precious little in the way of honor to it.

Lot's original decision to go to Sodom bears fruit in a continuing and literal manner, as "...both of Lot's daughters became pregnant by their father.  The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab, he is the father of the Moabites of today.  The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today." (Genesis 19:36-38 NIV)

'Moab' is similar to the Hebrew for 'from father'.  'Ben-Ammi' means 'son of my people'.  Sadly, although the passage does not mention it at this point, the Moabites and Ammonites later became enemies of Abraham's descendants. (I Samuel 14:47, II Chronicles 20:1)

Talk about consequences!  This makes me want to be very careful about my own walk with God, and consult Him before making my own decisions.  Isn't it strange to think about the fact that the decisions that we make today for our own lives may have an effect upon others for years into the future?  On the bright side, if we make godly decisions, that could be a good thing.  Some of the righteous things we do could very well have eternal consequences.

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