“So Lot chose for himself [after Abraham gave him first choice] the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: Abraham lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord. Genesis 13:11-13
A recent book title described America with its title, “Slouching toward Gomorrah. Accurate or off the mark? Not having observed or experienced this ancient city I cannot say for certain other than how the Bible described it and Sodom, but if not there yet American society is moving quickly in this direction. The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah God said was great. From whom came the outcry? A great crowd of witnesses as we read about in Hebrews 12:1? The angelic host of God? In any case God was unwilling to strive with the inhabitants of these cities any longer. He gave them up to their own evil desires which when unrestrained brings its own destruction. The citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah chose their demise. They refused the law of God written on their hearts, choosing to hate God, and his servant Lot because he would not enter into their evil behavior, and consequently, like any who refuse to join in stirred up their guilt and anger.
Apparently Lot moved into Sodom itself after moving nearby and then lived there many years. How did his righteous life, righteous in that the Apostle Peter called him righteous Lot, transform his neighbors? His own family? His uncle Abraham when told of Sodom’s and Gomorrah’s doom, bartered with the Lord to spare the cities. From 50 righteous persons he bartered God down to 10. But even ten righteous could not be found in the two cities. What can we make of this? Lot did not join in their behavior, but apparently his verbal testimony to the God of truth was silent or ineffective, for only his two covenant daughters and Lot alone survived.
We too live in a society which is fallen and evil as Lot did. If your city were under God’s judgment, how many of your neighbors would survive? How many of your own family? Your righteousness as Lot is not your own, but Christ’s, by faith, through the sacrifice of Christ, under the mercy of God. Did Lot’s neighbors ever hear of Lot’s faith from his mouth? We are not told. Perhaps he tried, and if he is called righteous, a righteous man would not remain silent, but the hardness of hearts was absolute and the society was overwhelmingly sinful. The effectiveness of our witness of the gospel rests with the Holy Spirit who can pierce even the hardest heart, yet perseverance in witness is rewarded by God. Was Lot persevering in striving to win others to the one true God during his many years living in the place of his choice? Or did the frustration of the effort wear him down. His procrastination to leave when the angels told him he needed to get out with his family exposed a double-mindedness. He had to literally be dragged out with his covenant daughters and wife, who turned her eyes (and heart) back and became a pillar of salt.
There are many Christians who do not want to offend others by speaking the gospel into their neighbors’ ears, minds, and hearts. Some will say I am building the relationship first, except the building phase never quite ends. Others will say I am not articulate enough (compare Moses), or I lack knowledge (compare Hebrews 5:11-14). While even others will say I am paralyzed by fear (compare 2 Tim. 1:7). There is a growing deafness to the words of the Savior: “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33). I do not know what Lot did or did not do while he lived in Sodom. But neither the fruit of his life nor the instruction of his mouth saved his wife, or his sons-in-law, or his daughters’ purity. The fruit of their wombs from their father produced the Moabites and Ammonites, certainly not a people who loved God or a people of which to be proud. We never hear again about Lot in Genesis.
There is good reason for you to persevere in your witness with the purpose of seeing your hearers come to Christ. The warning of Jesus for those who will not hear you is severe; Jesus says, “It will be more bearable for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for [those who refuse to hear the gospel today]. (Matthew 10:15) So if you have a great desire for that person’s salvation you keep on keeping on. If you know the power of God you will never complain that the task is too hard and the environment too difficult to lead someone to Christ. “How can they hear without someone preaching to them? (Romans 10:14) It is not what did Lot accomplish in Sodom, but what did you accomplish where you live? After all God put you there for a purpose.
“I’m not ashamed to own my Lord, or to defend His cause, maintain the honor of His Word, the glory of His cross.
(1st verse of Isaac Watts’ hymn, “I’m Not Ashamed to Own My Lord, 1709)
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