GENESIS 18:16-19:38 | MATTHEW 6:25-7:14 | PSALM 8:1-9 | PROVERBS 2:6-15
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This has to be one of the most fascinating and disturbing passages in the Book of Genesis. As if the account of the two mystery-men visiting Abraham wasn’t intriguing enough, the story continues with the same angels going down to the fertile plains below where Lot and his family lived to pay them a visit. And what ensues from that visit is nothing short of shocking.
First and foremost, a personal opinion on Lot: I don’t like the man. From the very beginning, this is a man who is selfish and self-absorbed. He is under the auspices of his uncle Abraham when they first enter the land of Canaan, and when Abraham offers to him the choice of lands, Lot is quick to choose the better, more lush and green plains of Sodom and Gomorrah and leave his uncle up in mountainous terrain. There’s no graciousness or polite form in even offering to take the lesser of the two, perhaps out of love or even respect for his uncle. This is the first indicator of poor form.
Then, there is the incident of the two strangers (angels) arriving at his door. Yes, I suppose he’s very hospitable in taking them in, but I don’t understand how he could offer his own two daughters to a ravenous mob to appease them when they come knocking in the middle of the night. Who does that? Where is the fatherly protection? Sure, he’s a good host, but at what expense? At the expense of having his two daughters gang-raped? Well, despite such despicable form, God allows for Lot and his entire family to be saved from the death and destruction that follows to the two cities. And even at this time, I find it quite remarkable that Lot is in the mood to argue with the angels about where to flee to: they tell him to go to the mountains, but he prefers to go someplace else!
Finally, the bete noire: he sleeps with his own two daughters in his old age allowing himself to become drunk and ends up living in a cave. And all this doesn’t say much about his daughters either who schemed this horrific plan in the first place. Woe is to the descendants of that unholy union! No wonder the name of Lot is not one that is ever chosen as a good name!
And yet, we see the amazing graciousness of Abraham toward his nephew Lot. He pleads with God to spare him, and is unrelenting in his pleas to the point of bargaining with God to reduce the number of righteous people needed in order to spare the city. From 50, he brings it down to 10, and God relents.
This little incident is amazing proof of being able to bargain with God! God will relent if you have the kind of equation that Abraham had with God. Honor and obey God, and God will allow himself to come around to your point of view! Of course, God is always in control, no matter what, and regardless of all the sparring and bargaining, God will take care of things sometimes in ways that might both amaze and shock. The saving of Lot and his family is an example of this.
Regarding Lot’s wife who paid the price of disobedience when she was turned to look back and was instantly turned into a pillar of salt, I’ve often wondered about that– why salt? Why wasn’t she just struck down dead on the spot?
Turning next to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus continues his preaching. He tells us not to worry. About food and clothes and such. He says, instead: 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
That verse is the origin of the popular chorus Seek Ye First The Kingdom Of God— a song that I have easily sung a million times already, and have taught to my children. (We sing it in parts; one doing the Hallelujah while the other does the verse; I daresay that rendition must rival the angels version!)
But Jesus also dispenses some very practical advice about how to conduct oneself. He speaks to using good discretion in one’s everyday-dealings. He says: 6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Next, we look to the Psalms, and find David, the Psalmist offering a beautiful Psalm of praise. He states so plainly and yet so effectively our insignificance as mortals, and yet reminds us of the great privilege we enjoy as being chief among all of God’s creation. I couldn’t agree more with David when he says:
3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
5 You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under theirfeet:
9 LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Finally, in today’s verses in the Book of Proverbs, Solomon continues in his exhortation to seek wisdom. When we seek wisdom, Solomon tells us:
9 Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.