Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thanks a Lot (Eew)

In my Scripture reading this morning I was brought to 2 Peter 2:7.  As a Sunday School kid from way back, I can honestly say I never recall Lot being portrayed as a "righteous man."  In fact, I remember getting the impression Lot was a "screw-up;" the kind of guy poor Abraham was constantly having to bail out.  Lot gets to choose the land and, in his greed chooses land that will eventually "torment his soul" (2 Peter 2:8)..  Lot gets abducted, and Abraham rides to the rescue.  Lot and his family are influenced by the world and Abraham pleads with God for his nephew's safety.  Lot is preoccupied with his position and showing hospitality to guests, but demonstrates incredibly bad judgement in offering up his own daughters to an angry, depraved mob. 

I mean, really, doesn't this guy remind you of the family member that everyone tolerates strictly because they are family?  A Cousin Eddie kinda guy who always uses your name for a reference just before he defaults on that Rent-A-Center payment.  The guy who moves from one end of the country to the other, seeking some big windfall, always in need of a place to stay or some cash in his pocket.  In my neck of the woods, we call Lot a freeloader and Abraham and enabler.  God calls him righteous.  Obviously there is way more to this Lot guy than I've been told.  After all, isn't the story of Lot usually a cautionary tale?  I decided to do a little research.  Here's what I found:

What you see is what you get.  Yessir.  Lot was selfish, with a selfishness that cost him most of his family and from what we can assume, his wealth, when he was forced to leave it behind while fleeing the city.  Lot was immature and relied heavily on Abraham's wisdom and experience.  Lot straddled that fence enough that he could keep one foot planted firmly on each side; that is, until the fence gave way.  Lot may have even thought he was doing Sodom some sort of service -- keeping a Godly man within its borders and, perhaps, on its town council; maybe Lot thought he could save the city.  Well fine to preach outside the peep show, but if you wander inside, the only one that's gonna change his ways is you.  Thinking you can save anyone is pure arrogance.  And his offer of two virgin daughters to the dregs of the city?  Pure insanity when we read the words, but have we ever done something so low, so despicable just to save our own hide?

Lot was human, through and through.  Easy for me to sit and judge; easy for all of us to say, "Me?  Never."  But despite Lot's sin, God counted Him righteous.  Sound familiar?  Romans 4:5,6  tells us that works, just for the sake of works (in other words, not as an outpouring of our faith in God) are credited to us and not enough for the justification of sin.  But faith in the God who can remove sin "as far as the East is from the West?"  That is God's definition of righteousness.  Lot didn't succumb to the evils of Sodom; Lot did put his neck on the line for the "strangers."  When his own wife turned to a pillar of salt, Lot kept moving away from sin, resisting its pull on him.  Maybe Lot wasn't one of God's greatest spiritual leaders, but he had the right idea.  Believe God, and it will be counted as righteousness.    
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