WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
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FAITH DURING DISTRESS
(GOD is faithful even when we’re not)
` Genesis 19 chronicles the destruction of all of the morally bankrupt cities that were located on the plains of Canaan, including Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim, and Bela. Today there is great geological proof that those cities now lie beneath the southern end of the Dead Sea. It is an area that once held large deposits of highly flammable bitumen, and archaeologists believe that that, along with this area’s geological instability, became the natural weapons that GOD used to judge the GODless citizenry who resided there in those days.
After leaving the presence of Abraham, the two angels of GOD who delivered the message that he and Sarah would conceive and birth a child within a year’s time, now arrive at the entrance of the city of Sodom to fulfill the second part of their earthly mission. Lot, the nephew of Abraham, was sitting at the city gate (the traditional place where judges sit) at the time of their arrival, and when he saw them, he arose to meet them and welcomed them as he bowed low to the ground. He then invited them to be quests in his home for the night.
The two men (angels in human bodies) initially declined the invitation saying that they would, instead, spend the night in the open square of the city. However, Lot, knowing the dangers of homosexual predators on the streets of Sodom at night, insisted that the men reconsider and stay the night in his home. The angels eventually accepted his invitation, and that night, Lot set up a great feast for them and they ate until they were filled.
After dinner, as they were preparing to retire for the night, all of the men of Sodom, young and old, came from all over the city and surrounded Lot’s house, demanding that he release the men to them so that they can have sex with them (Vs.4-5). Lot stepped outside the house, shutting the door behind him, and what he proposes to them turns out to be just as vile and evil as the homosexual crowd’s demands were. Here, Lot, in the most hypocritical fashion, offers his two virgin daughters, whom were already engaged to two other men, to be raped by the men instead.
Lot, whose mind had become twisted with fear, and also fogged with the “spiritual contamination” that living in an unGODly atmosphere can cause, had now come to the ridiculously evil conclusion that, it was better for a man to rape a woman (his virgin daughters), than for a man to rape another man!
Lot’s experience in Sodom will forever stand as a teachable moment for all Christians who choose to remain in a worldly environment, because of the perceived material advantages that that environment may provide. When we lose our hearts to the things of this world we make ourselves extremely vulnerable to satan, and we begin to long more and more to partake in his offerings. Remember, at first Lot pitched his tent outside the city of Sodom (Genesis 13:12), but here in this chapter of Genesis, we see that he is now living inside the city of Sodom, and his mind has been unwittingly influenced and twisted by Sodom’s evil environment.
In verse 9 we see that Lot’s twisted negotiations with the men of Sodom failed, as now the throng of homosexual men threatened to take him instead, if he did not comply with their demands. They reminded him that he was only there as long as they allowed him to be, and that his preaching certainly, and obviously, had no influence over how they wanted to live their lives.
Just then the hostile gay men lunged at Lot in an attempt to get by him and break down the door, but the two angels reached out and grabbed Lot and pulled him back into the house, and bolted the door. Then the two angels miraculously blinded the men of Sodom so that they could no longer see what they were doing.
We are reminded in 2 Peter 2, verses 7-8, by the Apostle Peter that Lot was “a righteous man” who was distressed and unwittingly influenced by the filthy lives of the people of Sodom. Yet, we see that he stayed there and continued to take advantage of the healthy economic conditions and grand living and culture in Sodom, rather than to take a stand against the evil acts that by now, were dominating the community. His willingness to compromise and live large, had nearly, cost him his life.
The next morning the angels told Lot to gather up his family and get out of Sodom in a hurry, because the LORD GOD had sent them to destroy the five cities of the plains, because the stench of their sins had reached Heaven itself. Lot first, rushed out to tell his daughter’s fiancés about the pending doom of Sodom, however, the young men didn’t believe him, thinking that it was a joke (Vs.12-14).
Early the next morning, with the clock running out on Sodom and the other cities, the angels became more insistent that they make haste for the city limits, if they wished to accept the mercy of GOD’s salvation and favor. Yet and still they had to end up, quite literally, dragging Lot and his family out of this sinful metropolis.
For Abraham’s sake, GOD had granted Lot and his family mercy, and even then, they, for the most part, were reluctant to accept it. In verses 18-20 we see Lot still trying to inject his own “human ingenuity” into GOD’s plan. There he tells the angels that he “cannot” go to the mountains where the angels of GOD were trying to carry them to salvation. In other words, he may as well have been saying to GOD, “I cannot obey YOU. I do not trust or have faith in YOUR plan for my life”. And so he insisted on stopping short of “the total salvation process”. He believed that “his own plan would save him”, not GOD’s. Don’t y’all miss that!
When we decide to choose to go our own way, the LORD will most certainly allow us to do it. What we see in verse 21 is precisely that, as the angel grants Lot his request to go his own way, and from that day forward, the place Lot chose to go to, was called “Zoar”, which means “a little one”.
Before that time, the area of Zoar had been a part of the city of Bela, which was destroyed along with Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim. Zoar would forever stand as a reminder to future Israelites of the fate of Lot, as he was reluctantly dragged to safety, and “fell short” of the destination (salvation plan) that was chosen for him by the LORD.
By sunrise Lot had reached his destination and the LORD rained down burning sulfur from the sky and destroyed all forms of life, including all of the people, animals, and plants which existed in all of the five cities of the plains of Canaan. Lot’s wife, who was equally reluctant to leave the plains area, turned for one last look, and scripture now famously records that, “she became a pillar of salt”.
Lot’s faith failed him in his time of distress because it had been weakened due to his lingering in an unGODly atmosphere (Sodom) for so long. If we remain in an unGODly atmosphere over an extended period of time, ultimately that atmosphere is going to negatively influence us more than we are going to be able to positively influence it. That is why JESUS commanded HIS disciples not to linger in places where people are impervious to HIS message, or, resisted the life-saving knowledge and instructions found in HIS Word (Matthew 10:14, Mark 6:11, Luke 9:5).
Even though GOD spared Lot’s life for Abraham’s sake, the effects of Lot’s weakened faith in GOD would continue to “run its course”, heaping upon him, many consequences, as a result of his bad choices and decision-making, in a place where Lot himself, had chosen to go (Vs.30-38). His weak faith had left the door open for satan to re-enter his family environment and structure in the mountains of Zoar, and he caused Lot’s daughters to come up with “an incestuous plot” to become pregnant by him, while he was in a drunken stupor on consecutive nights.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website