Heather’s thoughts on Genesis 18 &19
I hope I can get the image that crossed my mind this morning out here on Xanga, would welcome your comments and ideas. It is funny how you can read a passage over and over and then all of a sudden you see the passage from a different direction. I am starting another cycle of reading the Bible chronologically, only this time, because I can’t decide on the version I want to read, I am reading 3 simultaneously – NIV Archeological, the Apologetics Bible, and Joyce Meyer’s Amplified. I had just finished reading the Message Bible previously. Lately I have been reading different versions because sometimes when you read the same version you skim over familiar passages, so the different versions slow me down a bit.
Reading the various comments on each chapter in the three Bibles and thinking more about a passage – have to because of reading it three times, these ideas came to me about intercession. First a bit of background.
Remember that Abraham spoke with the Angel of the Lord, and asked him, Gen 18:23-26, AMP. “Will you destroy the righteous (those upright and in right standing with God) together with the wicked? Suppose there are in the city fifty righteous; will you destroy the place and not spare it for [the sake of] the fifty righteous in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing—to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as do the wicked! Far be it from You.! Shall not the Judge of all the earth execute judgment and do righteously? And the Lord said, if I find in the city of Sodom fifty righteous (upright and in right standing with God). I will spare the whole place for their sake. “
A few thoughts here – upright and in right standing. Remember we are righteous only because we believe God, we are not righteous on our own. So our right standing is we believe in God.
Abraham goes on to ask similar questions regarding if there are 45 righteous, 40, 30, 20, and then finally 10. God said he would not destroy the city for the 10’s sake. Then the Lord goes his way and Abraham returned to his place.
Then we fast forward to Chapter 19, that evening, the two angels come to Sodom. Lot is sitting in the city gate – that is the place where judgement is made.
The angels come in, and notice, Genesis 19:1b “…Seeing them, Lot rose up to meet them and bowed to the ground.” He recognized them as deserving reverence, and did so. Brought them to his house and one of the items he fed them was “unleavened” bread – remember leaven is a symbol of sin. The angels ate, but the men of the city came and wanted to be intimate with the angels. Lot refused, going so far as to offer his virgin daughters. I have to tell you that at one point of time that passage bothered me, until I realized God is showing us Lot was NOT perfect, and his solution was not a perfect solution to protect the men, but his heart was to protect those men – the angels.
Today in reading this, I started wondering about Lot’s sitting in the city gate, because when Lot refused the men of the city they said to him, Genesis 19:9 “But they said, Stand back! And they said, This fellow came in to live here temporarily, and now he presumes to be [our] judge! now we will deal worse with you than with them. So they rushed at and pressed violently against Lot and came close to breaking down the door.”
The leaders of the towns sat in the gate and rendered judgment when people came to them. So Lot was acting in this capacity. Some people are willing to accept other’s judgments until it touches on the thing that is their pet sin – then they get angry. Poke at the wrong place in a person in judgment and they will react.
The angels were able to defend themselves – they also would have defended themselves had they had their original wish in verse 2 where they told Lot, “No we will spend the night in the square.”
Now this is speculation, but I wonder what would have happened to Lot had he not recognized the angels and invited them in the house. Was this a sort of test to see if he had sunk as low as the other Sodomites, or would Abraham’s intercession still have protected Lot? Could this have been a test?
The angels then tell Lot to go and ask his sons in law of the daughters to leave the city – these people thought Lot was joking. So the only ones who will escape this judgment is Lot, his wife, and his two daughters – 4 people – and unfortunately Lot’s wife turned back to look at the destruction, and so only 3 PEOPLE escaped. 3 PEOPLE. Could have been 4, so we also have to remember that even though we can escape a judgment, we are still responsible to obey God and do what He says, or we can be drawn back and perish.
In the morning, the angels tell Lot to take his wife and daughters – but verse 16 “But while he LINGERED (caps mine), the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, for the Lord was merciful to him; and they brought him forth and set him outside the city and left him there.”
He lingered – he was told about the immanent destruction of Sodom and still he LINGERED. God reminded me of times where I knew I had to make a change and still I lingered. Sometimes God had to drag me kicking and screaming (metaphorically) out of something that was harmful to me. How easy it is to accept the status quo, and not realize God is serious about destroying something harmful. And it dawned on me that, this being an illustration of what is to come – the rapture and us being pulled out of the earth before the tribulation, that we need to not LINGER, but to be ever ready – one of those five virgins with the oil in their lamps, eagerly awaiting the coming of the Lord, not lingering, holding onto those pet things that are holding us back from being fully committed to Him.
Now listen to this one, I wish I could say that I never, ever did this, but I can’t alas. The angels tell Lot to flee to the mountains of Moab, lest they be consumed. and what does Lot do, read it in verses 18-20 “And Lot said to them. Oh, not that, my lords! Behold now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have magnified your kindness and mercy to me in saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest the evil overtake me, and I die. See now yonder city; it is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Oh, let me escape to it! Is it not a little one? And my life will be saved!”
How often have we had a little sin, a little one, that we cling to – oh God don’t remove that from me, it is a little one, I can’t go all the way, just this far and no more. The thought came to me that Lot’s decision to remain in that little city Zoar (which means little), may have cost him his wife. I wonder if he had gone to the mountains as told, would his wife have been able to look back? Hindsight is great – Lot should have realized that first God brought him out of the city that was to be destroyed, and then if God wanted him to escape to the mountains, he would have had the strength to do that – God would have supplied that. If Zoar is near to Sodom and Gomorrah then it probably should have been destroyed. I looked up the city, assuming that it would be a city that was a stumbling block to the Israelites, but it wasn’t – yet Isaiah prophesied that the citizens of Moab would flee to Zoar when destruction came on their nation. It was a Moabite city, and the Moabites were not friendly to the Israelites. Also, a side note, Lot goes to Zoar and then in verse 30 it says, “…he feared to dwell in Zoar, and he lived in a cave, he and his two daughters.” For all of his pleading to remain in Zoar, God knew best, and Lot ended up living where God wanted him to live.
NOW HERE IS THE POINT THAT CAME TO ME THIS MORNING.
Genesis 19:27-29 Abraham went up early the next morning to the place where he [only the day before] had stood before the Lord. And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the valley, and saw, and behold, the smoke of the country went up like the smoke of a furnace. When God ravaged and destroyed the cities of the plain [of Siddim], He [earnestly] remembered Abraham [imprinted and fixed him indelibly on His mind]. and He sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when He overthrew the cities were Lot lived.
Abraham stopped after asking God if he would destroy the city for 10 – Here God destroyed the city, but preserved 4 lives – 3 of which survived, the 4th did not obey God’s command. Even for 3, God preserved their lives. And notice that it was due to Abraham’s intercession. We need to be interceding, for soon the wrath of the Lord will again fall, and we want to preserve those lives. What if Abraham had not interceded?
It also dawned on me that here the city was destroyed by fire and brimstone. A foreshadowing of our end times if you read Revelation you will see similarities. But not water – for God promised that he would not destroy the earth in a flood again. Also notice that the angels said, verse 22 “Make haste and take refuge there, for I cannot do anything until you arrive there…” The destruction did not come until Lot was safely in the city of Zoar. God will not permit the destruction until we are safely at the wedding feast of the Lamb.
Abraham’s intercession protected Lot, and through Lot’s daughters’ incestuous relationship with their father, the Moabites and Ammonites emerged – and these betrayed Israel by joining forces with Assyria.
Sometimes what we pray for is not really in our best interests. Lot has been like a thorn in Abraham’s side – first they had the problem that God had told Abraham to leave family and move where God told him to move – instead of taking just his immediate family, Abraham also brought Lot – then they had to divide the land because both tribes could not live on the same parcel of land. Lot chose Sodom, God gave Abraham Canaan. Then Lot was taken captive, and Abraham had to go rescue him – then he interceded for Lot in Sodom (although I don’t know if Abraham was specifically thinking of Lot when he interceded.), and then the Moabites and Ammonites became a thorn in Israel’s side.
Perhaps Lot was like that little city of Zoar for Abraham.
So here are my musings this morning. What do you think?
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