Introduction: We ended last week with Tom Swanston urging us in our life of faith to make the Lord our constant refuge: ‘No second thoughts are allowed. We are to make straight for home. But ‘home’ is the Lord, and we are to think of Him.’ May the Lord use this week’s study to remind us that, for even the most holy, the way is fraught with by-paths and wrong turns which can only be avoided by constant recourse to the Lord.
Monday: read Genesis 19:17-30 & Titus 2:11-12. Lot chose Zoar (meaning small) as his own safe haven because it was familiar, not too far from the Sodom he had called home. How much better it would have been for Lot simply to follow the Lord where He proposed taking him! I think Lot may well have ended up back in the Promised Land in fellowship with his godly uncle Abraham. Instead, he ends up in a cave, a place known, as we shall see, for deep sin against God.
Meditate and Pray: Lot found no assurance in his self-appointed home in Zoar, and retreated into a sordid cave. Thank God that He has promised to make us hate such dens of iniquity. For, as Titus 2:11-12 says, God’s grace teaches us to say ‘no’ to the fear and ungodliness which Lot and his daughters fell into.
Tuesday: read Genesis 19:31-38. We have no words to adequately describe our shock at what transpired in the cave. Yet God can use such terrible events to expose the heart of sin long hidden and nurtured, as it appears to have been in Lot’s offspring. Lot lost his daughters long before to the immorality and godless view of family which Sodom inculcated in them. They had, after all, been ‘betrothed’ to men of Sodom, as Gen. 19:14 says. Because Lot called Sodom home, his daughters’ hearts were claimed by the sinfully low view of life of that city.
Meditate and Pray: The dangers of a godless environment are real and to be prayed against as we follow our youth with our prayers. Most tragic of all: it was Lot’s daughters’ fear of being left alone with no husband or protector (Gen. 19:31-32) which served as their justification for this incestuous crime. Such a distrust of God’s care shows that they had never really known the watch-care or love of their father Lot’s God. But this is not so for you. Thank God the Father that He is known throughout the Old Testament as the God who will ‘deliver the needy who cry out, and the afflicted who have no one to help’ (Psalm 72:12). In the same way, worship Jesus for His promise: ‘Surely I am with you always.’ (Matthew 28:20). Never do we have to resort to such desperate and perverse methods of survival.
Wednesday: read Genesis 19:31-38 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Why does God include such a sordid account as Lot and his daughters in His Holy Bible? One answer is that such accounts of human folly and sin, even among the heroes of the Bible, prove its authenticity as a Divinely-authored book. The thinking goes, ‘If man had written the Bible, there would have been far more of a glowing account of its heroes’ accomplishments, rather than such a naked exposure of their most shameful failures.’ I agree. In contrast to world-religions such as Islam, where it is illegal to criticize the ‘Prophet,’ (even though his actual human life was full of sordid exploits), because Islam as a man-made religion must prop itself up by force, God is not afraid to expose human sin in all its vileness and disgusting character – even when it is an embarrassment to Him and His people. Why? Because God can deal with sin: He sent His Son to die in order to remove its guilt and curse from our lives and from His sight.
Meditate and Pray: Thank God that He gets glory for Himself by being a God who ‘covers shameful matters’ (Proverbs 25:2) under the blood of His Son. He only exposes Lot’s sin with his daughters and his compromised life in Sodom so that He alone gets all the glory for saving Lot and declaring him ‘righteous’ in the end (2 Peter 2:8). Lot didn’t deserve his salvation – but God for the glory of His own mercy gave it to him.
Thursday: read Genesis 19:31-38 and Genesis 3:15. We must be careful to see that God’s purposes for Lot’s life did not end in the cave with his daughters; nor should we throw up our hands over Lot and decide that ‘the only things God could salvage’ from Lot’s life was a bare forgiveness and a ‘salvation as by fire.’ 2 Peter 2:8 clearly says that Lot hated the sins of Sodom in his righteous soul, and would have hated both what his daughters did, and his own drunkenness which provided them opportunity.
Meditate and Pray: Thank God that, even in Lot’s sad life, the triumphant victory of God’s ‘hatred of sin’ won out in the end. God had promised in Gen. 3:15 to put ‘hatred’ or ‘enmity’ between Satan and the believing children of Adam. Lot was one such believer, who, at the end of his life, would have mourned over his failures, and would have been comforted in the forgiving grace of the Lord, even as Jesus promised: ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.’ (Matthew 5:4)
Friday: read Genesis and 1 Corinthians 10:6-11. We could grimly conclude from ‘righteous Lot’s’ sinful fall that there really is no hope for real progress in the Christian life. ‘Yes, we are justified by faith and by God’s grace chosen along with Lot and Abraham for a destiny of glorious salvation. But…’ (we might conclude), ‘our progress is no better than Lot’s – we simply go around in circles and come back to the same failures again.’ But just as Paul says in 1 Cor. 10:6 that such terrible events are meant to ‘keep us from setting our hearts on evil things…’ so we may be sure that, through what went on in the cave, God created an ever brighter fire of hatred of sin within Lot and a ever-deepening desire to depend on God alone. Our Westminster Confession of Faith (Chapter V) says this will be the case for believers like Lot and ourselves:
‘The most wise, righteous, and gracious God does often leave, for a season, his own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins,’ (Lot’s choice of Sodom)…(and) to discover (or reveal) to them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and raised to a more close and constant dependence for their support on God himself…’
Let us humbly conclude this difficult week of Bible study with this prayer taken from hymn # 457 in our Trinity Hymnals: ‘O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be; let that grace now, like a fetter, bind my wand’ring heart to thee. Prone to wander – Lord, I feel it – prone to leave the God I love: here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.’ (Robert Robinson)