Monday, January 7, 2013

He did what??--Gen 19-21

Ok, I'll have to admit, this is one of the most shocking passages in the Bible--particularly when you take them all together.  Shock upon shock:
  • The entire town tries to gang rape the angels (no wonder Lot tried to get them out of sight so quickly)
  • Lot offers his own daughters for gang rape to try to calm the crowd
  • The crowd turns on Lot
  • The angels blind the entire riotous crowd
  • Lot's daughter's fiancee's blow him off when he offers them a way out
  • Lot piddles around rather than leaving the doomed city
  • Lot doesn't feel like going into the hills
  • The angels spare Zoar because of Lot
  • Lot's wife becomes a pillar of salt for looking back
  • Lot doesn't like being in Zoar (duh) after asking the angels to stay there
  • Zoar becomes a frightening place for Lot, even though he saved all of their lives
  • Lot ends up in a cave, moping
  • Lot's daughters drug daddy so they can have incestuous children--Lot sure isn't about to get them new husbands...
Lot picked the better looking land, but found it full of nasty people. He lost everything. Don't judge a book by its cover, I suppose.  It's interesting that the angels tell Lot in Gen. 19:13:

"For we are about to destroy this city completely. The outcry against this place is so great it has reached the Lord, and he has sent us to destroy it.”

Who has been crying out?  Many times we think of homosexuality or other sexual sin as a victimless crime, but someone has been crying out.  When you look at the pornography industry, most of the girls (and guys) involved have been abused by family members from early childhood.  They may not be repentant of their own crimes later, but an abused child is a profoundly injured child and God does see.  Someone (or something) else is also crying out.  The last time God destroyed a culture, He destroyed the entire planet for the violence that had tainted the land.  Is it possible that the cries against the place again came from the land itself?  Remember Jeremiah 23:10?

"For the land is full of adultery, and it lies under a curse. The land itself is in mourning— its wilderness pastures are dried up. For they all do evil and abuse what power they have."

In Leviticus 18, God prohibits a long list of sexual sins and sums it all up with this command:

"28 So do not defile the land and give it a reason to vomit you out, as it will vomit out the people who live there now."

Not a pretty picture. 

Ok, so this whole thing with Sodom and Gomorrah was a bit unnerving, but, the surprises don't stop there!!
  • Abraham gets Sarah to tell a half-lie again that she is only his sister
  • God curses Abimilech for taking Sarah as his wife--and Abimelech has the guts to rightly talk back to God on the matter
  • Abimelech calls Abraham on the couch for the lie (finally!)
  • Abimelech gives Abraham money for defrauding him and invites him to stay around anywhere he likes
  • Sarah has a son at 90
  • Ishmael makes fun of Issac (idiot)
  • Sarah throws a fit (ok, that's not surprising)
  • Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael away (but God shows up)
  • Abraham makes a treaty with Abimelech to never lie and always be loyal and then brings up the well (really??--You didn't bother to bring this up before you made the treaty?)
  • Abraham had to pay for his own well
Goodness gracious.  Abraham is super passive through all of this.  Not the best negotiator I've seen.  Even when he bargained with God, he quit at 10 men, although I don't think it would have mattered.  I don't think the angels found even one righteous man in all of the Jordan valley--and Lot certainly doesn't come off looking like such a prize.  Proverbs 16:7 says:

"When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him." 

That's the biggest difference I can see between Lot and Abraham.  Even though Abraham's fear has the potential to mess up every relationship he needs on this land to live in peace, God intervenes and gives him an honored place.  Lot compromises himself into nasty places and barely escapes with his own hide.  Pick your friends wisely.

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