Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Lessons from Lot

And just as dawn was breaking, the angels urged Lot on saying: “Get up – take your wife and your daughters who are present, lest you be swept away because of the sin of the city.” Still he lingered.
Genesis 19:15-16 Tanach

The strangers' arrival didn't go undetected. Positioned at the city gates a resident rose to greet them, then bowed face down on the ground.

“Spend the night at my home,” he entreated the visitors.

“No, we prefer to stay out here in the square overnight.”

“Not so my lords.” The man's chest tightened and the quiver in his voice exposed the fear he felt. Their plan was foolhardy and dangerous. “You must accept my hospitality.”

And they did.

How would you react if strangers arrived at your town with an important message: “Get outta town...now!” Ok, they may not have said it exactly that way, but you get the point. It's possible to entertain angels unaware of who they are. Lot did. As the evening progressed and events unfurled, who they were and the purpose of their visit became painfully apparent. Now it was decision time.

Lot understandably was overwhelmed. Can you blame him? Unable to persuade his sons-in-law nor the betrothed of the two daughters still under his roof, he froze. Finally the angels could wait no longer and forcibly removed the family out of harm's way.

God's instructions were specific: flee to the mountain, don't stop on the plain and don't look back. Again Lot balked. Mountains aren't conducive for grazing livestock. A herdsman by trade his livelihood was found on the rich pasture lands surrounding the city. There was a town close by - would that do? Pressed for time, the angels agreed. On the trip out of Sodom, Lot's wife sneaked a peak. Big mistake.

When God gives directions we can negotiate concessions but at our own peril. Things usually don't work out as planned. Although he eventually obeyed and went to the mountain the delay was costly. While they may have temporarily lost their home, the destruction wasn't wide spread like the flood had been. The family could have relocated at God's instruction and begun anew. Instead the widower parented children by his daughters, future thorns in Israel's side.

Mountains in Scripture symbolize governmental authority. God wasn't just planning a physical relocation. Lot needed to come up to a higher perspective spiritually. God wants the same for us. He desires that we come up to loftier levels in the spirit. Mountains provide a view that eye level can't. Up high we can see the forest for the trees.

Lot's only escape from the impending holocaust was to leave before it began. Failure would result in the family being trapped when the maelstrom commenced. We also need to be sensitive to the times that we have to disassociate ourselves from a situation. This doesn't mean we live in a cocoon and avoid contact with the outside world. We do need to listen to the warnings God gives to flee harmful circumstances.

Finally, no one was permitted to watch the destruction when it fell. Failure to obey God on this point cost Lot's wife her life. True they'd left everything behind including family. That had to be difficult. Whether to rejoice and gloat over the demise of the wicked or to mourn the loss of what once was, looking back isn't an option. It can be fatal.

Our world isn't much different than Lot's. In order to avoid being swept up into a destructive lifestyle we need to heed God's directions implicitly. They may go across the grain of our logic and understanding. Tailors and seamstresses understand this principle and apply it regularly. Fabric cut across and not parallel to the grain is much more flexible and easy to manipulate. As we go against the grain God can maneuver us into more advantageous position not normally possible.

How about you? What out of the ordinary type of instructions have you received from God? How would you feel if God's directions would cost you everything – your livelihood, even your family? What kinds of concessions would you press for? Would that be wise?

1 comment:

  1. "Mountains in Scripture symbolize governmental authority." I never realized this. Thank you for sharing this message.