How far would you go to fit in? Where do you draw the line? When does “being in” the world become “being of” the world? Wherever that line is for you, Lot certainly crossed it himself.
Starting with the allusion to the garden and “seeing”, Lot pitches his tent toward Sodom and then by degrees moves into the city and becomes a leader among its citizens. Lot, a believer…yeah, hard to believe from the Genesis account because he never seems to make a wise decision, but 2 Peter 2 tells us he is a righteous man; his righteousness is clearly not based on anything he did, but on the fact that he believed Genesis 3.15 and the promise of a coming Redeemer…, is an influencer in the city…he sits in the gate. But instead of influencing Sodom for good, he is heavily influenced and even conformed to it. He is infected by it. Lot has failed to impact his city, to image Creator God to the inhabitants of Sodom. And his failure to impact the city has led to its destruction. Now that sounds like a lot to put on Lot, but isn’t that God’s strategy for reaching the lost and expanding His kingdom? Isn’t through His people? And when we fail to make an impact for Him, there is an impact, but not a positive one. Your 8-15 are being and will be influenced by you…what will that influence look like?
Sodom is a prime example of what happens when folks deny the existence of God…it leads to a downward spiral where doing what’s right in our own eyes is taken to a ridiculous extreme. Folks are controlled by their urges…their most banal instincts. Nothing is off limits. No right and wrong outside of the individual. We are our own gods. Romans 1 describes this downward spiral of unrighteousness that starts with denying God’s existence and ends with being a cheerleader for wickedness.
When I thought about my own life there were seasons where, like Lot, I was not only influenced by the culture, I was a part of it. Throughout my high school, college and early career days I embraced the same lifestyle my unbelieving friends had adopted. I may not have gone to the same excesses, but my conduct didn’t look noticeably different from theirs. And I knew better. I was a believer. 2 Peter describes it well when it says that Lot was tormented daily by their lawless deeds. I was miserable. I wasn’t living the life that Jesus had saved me for, and I couldn’t enjoy my sin. I lived way too long in that shadow land.
What about you? Where are you today? Does Lot’s story sound all too familiar? It doesn’t have to. Why didn’t Lot want to go back and live with Abraham? He would have been welcomed back like a prince. Why are we so slow to return to our heavenly Father? He’s waiting for us. He wants to restore us to fellowship. He wants us to start experiencing the life He saved us for. But we have to be willing to come back, to cry out to him. Today is the day. For me it was the realization that the life I was living felt like death. And I confessed it to God and asked for His help.
But for some of you, maybe your story is more like that of Lot’s daughters. They are products of Sodom, victims of their culture. What seems so obviously wrong to us, doesn’t seem to have impacted them at all. Yet God still showed mercy to them. He rescued them along with Lot. And He wants to rescue you too. If you have not yet come to the place in your spiritual journey where you would say that you have a relationship with God…you can have that today. It’s as easy as believing that Jesus came and lived the life you were supposed to live, died the death you were supposed to die and was raised again so that just as He conquered sin and death, you too might conquer sin and death and experience life…life today in His kingdom. Today is the day.
The judgment on Sodom foreshadows the judgment at the end when the whole world will be destroyed in a fiery conflagration…Lot’s sons-in-law thought he was joking, little suspecting that they would be swept away hours later. Don’t wait. Today is the day.
The mercy of God who rewrites stories…both of Lot’s daughters will have a role to play in the search for the Head-crushing Seed of the woman. Ruth, the Moabitess, is the great-grandmother of David. Naamah, the Ammonitess, is the wife of King Solomon and mother of King Rehoboam.
My prayer for us this week is that we would be culture changers, not culture conformers.
Until next time…stay salty.
This post is based on our Genesis series. Listen online at:http://www.centralchristian.org, or follow us on twitter: @ccclancaster