Can the Righteous Save the Unrighteousness?

Abraham and his nephew Lot provide for an interesting look into God’s covering of a household based on the righteous acts and God’s Love for one member, compared to the sexual immorality of another. Let’s explore the text. 

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Gen. 12:1–3, ESV)

Our Bible teaches us that Abraham was the foundation on which God grew the Nation of Israel because of his favor and righteousness in God’s eyes. Abraham trusted God, followed His commands, and Loved God with his whole heart. In my readings today I was reminded that for all the praise we give to Abraham for his steadfast obedience to God, he was not obedient always. In fact, in an act of commission or omission he willfully disobeyed God’s command to him in the scripture above. How so you may ask. 

God had commanded Abraham to leave his country, his kindred (extended family), and his father’s house and go to a land God had set aside for him. Abraham left his father’s house, he left his country, but he did not leave all his kindred behind as instructed. Instead he took or allowed his nephew Lot to go with him. When they arrived Abraham turned to Lot and offered him first choice of the lands before them. Showing no humility or humbleness, Lot dishonored God and his uncle by selecting the most agriculturally fertile and lush lands. 

Genesis 13:10, NLT: “Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. The whole area was well watered everywhere, like the garden of the LORD or the beautiful land of Egypt. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)”. 

Lot settled into the hedonistic city of Sodom that personifies all sexual wickedness and perversions from orgies, same sex, sex with minors, anal sex, beastiality, threesomes, adultery, fornication, oral sex, voyeurism and more. He is lulled into complacency and instead of fleeing from this place of wickedness, he eventually succumbs to it. Until he, in a moment of pensive introspection looks up to see two strangers approaching the city.

Lot sat in the gate of Sodom.—He had therefore become a citizen of Sodom, probably after the deliverance from the Elamite invasion, when, as a relative of Abraham, he would be treated with great honour. This personal respect had made him close his eyes to the sinfulness of the people, and he had consented to live inside the town, and even to let its citizens marry his daughters. Meanwhile all intercourse between him and Abraham apparently had ceased, and he had lost all share in the covenant of circumcision. And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; Genesis 19:1

Though Lot was not living where or how he should, he recognized the men as messengers of the God of Abraham and his spirit was humbled in their presence. He offered to take them to his home. However, Lot’s offer was not immediately accepted.

And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.(3) He pressed upon them greatly.—This he did as knowing the licentiousness of the people; but the angels do not readily accept his hospitality, as they had done that of Abraham, because his character had deteriorated. Genesis 19:3

He took them to his home in that sin-sick city where he hosted and fed them as they told him the purpose of their visit. These angels are described as “beautiful/gorgeous/incredibly handsome” and all the perverts of Sodom upon seeing them converged on Lot’s home because they sought to defile them sexually for their own perverse gratification. 

Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. – Genesis 19:8

In an act that some scholars see as protectionism and others as a lack of faith of God’s power to have Himself protected His messengers, Lot instead offers up his own virgin daughters to those gathered outside his door for their sexual pleasure. According to the religious scholars Benson: ‘This was unadvisedly and unjustifiably offered, probably through the great discomposure and perturbation which his mind was in. It is true, of two evils we must choose the less, but of two sins we must choose neither, nor ever do evil that good may come of it.’

In Elliott’s Commentary, he writes: It is plain from Judges 19:24 that this proposal was not viewed in old time with the horror which it seems to deserve. Granting with St. Ambrose that it was the substitution of a smaller for a greater sin, and with St. Chrysostom that Lot was bound by the laws of hospitality to do his utmost to protect his guests, yet he was also bound as a father equally to protect his daughters to the last extremity: and if men might substitute smaller for greater sins, they would have an excuse for practising every form of wickedness. The difficulty arises from the high character given of Lot by St. Peter (2Peter 2:7-8): but Lot was righteous only relatively; and though his soul was daily vexed by what he saw, it was not vexed enough to make him quit such evil surroundings, and return to the healthy and virtuous life of the mountains. And, when finally he sought refuge in them, as it was not of his own free will, but on compulsion (Genesis 19:30), he found there no peace, but shared, even if unknowingly, in deeds of horrible lust. The warning of his fall is, that men who part with religious privileges for the sake of worldly advantage are in danger of sinking into moral degradation, and of losing, with their faith and hope, not only their self-respect and happiness, but even that earthly profit for the sake of which they sacrificed their religion.

As the scriptures reveal the angels blinded the perverts at Lot’s door, which would become the beginning of the end of Sodom and Gomorrah. For the Angels told Lot to take his family and flee and not to look back upon the destruction.

You might wonder why was Lot and his family spared? Hadn’t Lot strayed from the Will of God? He no longer communicated with his uncle Abraham, he likely no longer sought to do God’s Will or obey the covenants! He lived surrounded by sin and sexual immorality turning a blind eye and deaf ear because the townspeople gave him a false sense of pride.  Does not God teach us to flee from sin, not to rest comfortably in it? Lot was comfortable in his position in Sodom, the adoration he received, he was prideful, puffed up and self-absorbed. We, too, are like Lot when we keep silent in the face of sin, wrongdoing, unfaithfulness, lies, self-seeking adoration, etc.

But God took pity on Lot for Abraham’s sake, not for Lot’s for Lot was clearly an unrighteous man. God’s Covenant with the righteous Abraham was extended to his nephew Lot, despite Lot’s numerous failings and disrespect to both God and his uncle. 

To finish out the story, as Lot, his wife and two daughters fled the city of Sodom, he warned them to look forward, not backwards at the city. However, Lot’s wife looked back and was immediately turned into a pillar of salt. There is another lesson in this story too about looking backwards after God had spared your life and the consequences of disobedience in doing so. For Lot’s wife still had desire/lust for the life she had in Sodom, her old friends etc.  She could not let go and this was not deserving of going with her family to where God was about to take them so she would go down in destruction with her old friends and lifestyle that lived outside the will of God!!!

Ask yourself, do you continue to look back at what God has delivered you from? Do you reach back, reach out to or remain in contact with a life or people or situation God blessed you to be delivered from? When you married, do you consistently put your wife and children ahead of your extended or kindred family? Or is it the exact opposite? When God blesses, delivers you and instructs you on His order do you follow it or seek to tweak it to suit your purpose?

Let us examine our hearts, actions, motives and lives as we learn from Lot!


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