Samson: Seriously Flawed, Used Seriously

We are amazingly reluctant to realize that our heroes have faults.

When it becomes glaringly obvious, we toss them aside, capes torn, shields tarnished, heroes no longer.

This must be why we find it so hard to realize that good people in the Bible do inexplicably bad things.

The really tough ones are the ones we never see say I’m sorry. I wrote about Lot recently (Jerk or Just) and the story has remained close to my heart since. We never see him building an altar, weeping over wrongs done, or even read any justification except what I call God’s gobstopping grace.

God called him righteous.

I just reread the story of Samson. importance of reading the bible

He’s another hero with a severely torn cape.

Read Judges 13-16. On the surface, Samson was an arrogant womanizer with major co-dependency problems. You know the good-looking jock in the movies who is led around by a gorgeous, manipulative harpy? That’s him.

The story starts beautifully with an appearance by God to Samson’s parents with a promise of his birth and instructions as to his rearing. (Kind of nice to have God Himself show up to deliver your What to Expect book!)

The last two verses in chapter 13 say, “So the woman bore a son and called his name Samson; and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him. And the Spirit of the Lord began to move upon him at Mahaneh Dan between Zorah and Eshatol.”

That is a pretty auspicious beginning.

Then the first thing we see Samson do as an adult is to let his parents know that there’s a hot Philistine chick that he wants them to get for his bride.

“Sammy, isn’t there a nice Jewish girl you’d rather bring home?”

They weren’t being prejudiced. The Philistines were in power over Israel at the time and they were ungodly idol-worshipping oppressors out for pure destruction.

“…But his father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord – that He was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines. For at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.(Judges 14:4)

Here’s where I think some of the denial comes in.

To me, it is rather clear that Samson’s parents were doing their job as Godly people, trying to steer their son in the right direction. They were simply unaware that God, in His sovereign plan, was going to work Samson’s willfulness into the greater good.

As I read commentaries, people seem to struggle with this, certain that, since God’s spirit often moved mightily on Samson, that he prophetically wanted the Philistine woman for his wife so that God could move against their enemies.

I think Samson just wanted the girl.

We can’t be afraid to see good guys without a cape.

Tweet Our God of grace is often beyond our understanding. He uses flawed people who do stupid things.

There are some unbelievable doozies of  Samson stories I’d love to share but even a brief synopsis gets a bit lengthy. Read through Judges 14-16. You will notice that his deeds are not always accompanied by “the Spirit of the Lord came upon him.”

Sometimes, as when he ate honey from the lion carcass, he was completely breaking Jewish law. (Leviticus 11:27)

His marriage was clearly an ungodly one with horrible results for his wife. (The foxes didn’t fare so well either.)

Some of his actions appear to be purely out of anger or revenge.

Still, God had a plan to move against the Philistines and, more than once, He used a strong man with weak principles to do so.

The Spirit of the Lord did fall upon Samson in chapter 15 and he killed 1000 men with a donkey’s jawbone.

Gruesome? Yes. But these were enemies of God. There is no way one person could kill 1000 people in a day with anything but an explosive.

Or the Spirit of God and a jawbone. jawbone

 

He followed that God-filled victory with a visit to a prostitute, then pulled up the city gate by the gateposts and carried it up the hill.

Flawed hero. Torn cape.

All of this leads up to the story of Samson and Delilah, one of the most infamous relationships in the Bible.

I’m won’t lend much space to that here. You know the story. This seductive worshiper of Ashtoreth, Dagon and Baal-Zebub manipulated him into telling her, not the Source of his strength, but how he could be robbed of it.

He paid a dear price for that dalliance. Blindness, bondage, humiliation and shame.

He eventually was able to push down the main pillars of the temple of Dagon, killing more enemies of the Lord in his death than he ever did in his life. God gave him an amazing victory.

And here’s the lesson:

While there are incredible stories in the Bible about Samson, he judged Israel for 20 years. Several times we see him destroying the enemy through the Spirit of God. Several others, we see him acting badly or questionably.

But we don’t know anything else that happened during those 20 years. We don’t know how many ways God used him. For some reason, God chooses show us Samson’s frailties. We see him succumb to seduction and give in to desires.

But God placed him in Hebrews 11:32 in the same verse as David, Samuel and Gideon.

Whaaat???

And what about me?

Yep, you darlin’. All those failures. All that shame.

Past is past. He can use you too.

God exposes all that weakness, all that rawness, to teach us something.

Good people really mess up.

God uses really messy people.

Tweet Stay in the middle of your mess and the temple you are dallying in will come down on your head.

But He is willing to pull you out and He can still use you.

Tweet There are no chains so strong that the power of God cannot break them.

Tweet There is no blindness so dark that the light of God cannot pierce through.

Tweet There are no idols in your life on a pedestal so high that you cannot cast them at the feet of Jesus.

Samson went into the arms of the wrong person.

God gave him a glorious victory at the end of his life.

And God gave him, in all of his messiness,

gobstopping grace.

 

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Don’t skip the mess…

Gobstopping GraceIn case you don’t yet know it, there is a whole lot of ugly in the Bible.

When you think about it, it’s a wonder there are many children’s stories to teach from the Old Testament.Bible stories

Try explaining the story of Abram, Sarai and Hagar from Genesis 16 to your children without mincing words. In fact, I would encourage you to:

God made a promise to Abram.

It seemed impossible. God told Abram that he and his wife Sarai would have a baby. But they were already as old as your grandparents. Maybe even your great-grandparents!

Abram and his wife Sarai waited a very long time for God to keep His promise. Finally Sarai had an idea! She thought, “Maybe God wants me to help!”

So Sarai asked Abram to marry her maid Hagar so that Hagar could have a baby instead. That wasn’t nearly as weird then as it is now. People did that then.

But it wasn’t God’s plan.

When we don’t follow God’s plan, things get messy.

Sure enough, Hagar got pregnant. She began to act like she was better than Sarai. That made Sarai angry and she wasn’t very nice to Hagar.

She also got mad at Abram. That didn’t make much sense but when we try to do God’s job, we don’t always make much sense.

Abram told Sarai she could do whatever she wanted about Hagar so Hagar ran away before she had her baby.

See, not so bad.

Lesson: God has a plan. Good people do bad things. Sometimes we mess up God’s plan.

But don’t leave out the best part.

If you ran away from home, your mom and dad would come looking for you. That’s what God did.

When Hagar was sitting out in the wilderness, God went after her. He loved her. He told her He knew that she was sad and scared but that she needed to go back home. He told her that her baby would be very special.

Hagar knew that God had come after her because He saw her problems. She said, “You are the God Who Sees.”

She knew God cared for her.

It’s a really good story. Lesson: Sometimes life is a little like a paper towel commercial. Life is messy. When we let Him, God cleans it up.

Sarai and Abram made up. We see testimony of their faith in Hebrews 11 and testimony to their relationship in 1 Peter 3.

But what about poor Hagar?

I can’t completely blame her for being a little smirkish. She went from servant to wife of a very wealthy man and pregnant with his child. A little like winning Homecoming Queen over the head cheerleader. But the situation wasn’t pretty.

So eventually she ran.

Homeless and pregnant, life was a big, fat mess. As is usually the case, some of that mess was caused by others and she brought some of it on herself.

But here’s the beautiful part. (Don’t forget to share this with your kids and don’t miss out on it for yourself.)

“The Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur.”

See, if we ignore why she ran, we negate the fact that God found her.

Wherever the mess of life has taken you, whatever you are running from, God is seeking you out.

“And He said, ‘Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?’ She said, ‘I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.'”
Why are you running?

Ashamed“And the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, I heard Your voice in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked…'” (Genesis 3:9-10)

Afraid“And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here Elijah?’ So he said, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts…they seek to take my life.‘” (1 Kings 19:9-10)

He called Hagar by name. He called her by position. He gave her a chance to answer.

Are you running? Do you know why? Are you afraid? Ashamed?

God knows who you are, where you are and who He has called you to be.

He is calling out to you.

“The Angel of the LORD said to her, ‘Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.'”

Sometimes God calls us out of situations and on to new ones. In Hagar’s situation, He told her to return. While it was uncomfortable, it was one that was for her greater good.

He had a plan.

The chance of Hagar and her child surviving childbirth alone in the wilderness wasn’t very high. God not only promised her survival, He promised her a future.

“Then the Angel of the LORD said to her, ‘I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.'”

We flee.

God pursues.

We return.

He multiplies. Exceedingly. More than we can count or imagine.

“Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” (Ephesians 3:20)

“‘Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son, you shall call his name Ishmael*. Because the LORD has heard your affliction.'”

*Ishmael: “God hears.”

We run. God pursues.

We cry. God hears.

You cannot run so far that God will not seek you. You cannot cry so softly that God will not hear you. You cannot sin so much that the grace of God will not redeem you.

The Angel of the Lord described what her son would be like.  She didn’t blink an eye at His description “He shall be a wild man…” She went straight to recognition of the magnificent grace of God.

“Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, ‘Have I also here seen Him who sees me?’ Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi*…”

*Well of the One Who Lives and Sees MeGod-Who-Sees

I don’t know about you, but that’s a well I want to drink from every day.

But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.'” (John 4:14)

“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.'” (John 7:37)

Here’s one more thing for you: Throughout this passage, reference is made to the Angel of the LORD. When you see LORD in all capitals in the Bible, it is God’s Hebrew name Yahweh. One easy-to-remember definition of Yahweh is that it emphasizes His position as  “Covenant Maker and Covenant Keeper. Yahweh

The same God who made a covenant with Abraham, pursued a runaway servant and made a promise to her in the middle of the wilderness. “Hagar, the Covenant Maker and Covenant Keeper has heard your cry and you are going to have a son. His descendants will be too many to count.”

A pregnant runaway servant, second wife and castaway,  was seen by Almighty God, The Covenant Maker and Covenant Keeper.

Don’t skip over the messy parts of the Bible.

That’s where God’s gobstopping grace shines through.

 

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I don’t want to be capable!

Gobstopped by Grace

My lip wants to curl a bit as my nose tilts slightly into the air with a sniff.
Looting… Hmph!CapableBaltimore2
A sex change?! Hmph!!
CapableJennerThe headlines are ripe with things to “hmph!” over.

In fact, we can usually find some psychotic murderer, some dastardly evil-doer, some over-the-top celebrity – someone with different junk than ours – to “hmph!” over.

Here’s the problem.

It isn’t a skin thing.
It’s a sin thing.

It isn’t a sex thing.
It’s a sin thing.

It isn’t a socio-economic, psychotic, neurotic crime thing.
It’s a sin thing.

It isn’t a little white lie, a juicy piece of gossip, an innocent flirtation.
It’s a sin thing.

Whatever it looks like on the outside, baby, it all looks the same inside.

You, me, the mayor, the Pope and the guy who led the Rwandan genocide.

I do not like saying that.

I do not like thinking of myself with a look of hate on my face, shouting obscenities at a sweet high school girl on her way to school, just because her skin is a different color.CapableAP1957

But I am capable.

I do not like to think of myself throwing fire bombs through my neighbor’s store window because of years of discord.CapableFerguson2

But I am capable.

I do not like to think of myself swinging a machete through someone’s neck because a neighbor is a member of a different family or of a different religion.capableIsis

But I am capable.

I don’t want to imagine hammering a spike through my Savior’s hands.CapableJohn316

But I did.

There is no such thing as pretty sin.

Jeremiah 17:9 puts it like this: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]?” (AMP)

Mine is just as ugly as the next guy’s. It is so important for me to remember that. If I’m not as bad, then I don’t need as much of Jesus.

I want all the Jesus I can get.

He told us “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32

I confessed my gratuitous sin to allow for God’s gratuitous grace.

Sweet, sweet, wonderful amazing grace.

“Jesus paid it all,” the old hymn goes, “all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow.”

He felt the pain of the sin that drove spikes into His hands and feet. All of that sin we sniff at on the news. All of those nasty things we did yesterday and will do in the future.

My big crud and my little crud gave Him pain that I cannot imagine.

And He offered forgiveness.

I chose to accept it.

Sweet, sweet amazing grace.

He does not look at me and hmph.

He looks at me with eyes of love and sees His righteousness.

I was capable

but oh, praise God, so was He!!

 

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Colossians 2:13-14

 

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound.

But where sin abounded,

grace abounded much more,”

Romans 5:19-20

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Anne Frank was wrong…

Gobstopped by GraceAnne-Frank You’ve probably seen it somewhere. Maybe even been inspired by it.

“…in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

You can’t help but be inspired by her. Anne Frank was an amazing girl and wrote some very quotable things.

“I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out.”

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere they can be quiet, and to sing Justin Bieber’s “Baby” again and again.”
Oh, wait, maybe that last one was somebody’s remix.

Born in 1929, the young girl of the Holocaust penned her thoughts into her diary while secreted away with her family in a home in Amsterdam. This April 14th commemorated the 70th anniversary of her death at age 15 in the Bergen-Belson Nazi concentration camp.

Wise beyond her years and full of hope in a hopeless situations, she provides us, even today with the knowledge that people can find light in the darkest night.

But Anne was a girl, not a prophet. She was writing a diary, not holy writ. And as beautiful and wise as many of her thoughts were, one of her most quoted was, well…

wrong.

I don’t fault Anne. Plenty 14-year-olds don’t get much further than “OMG – did you see him?!!”

It is more about the adults who desperately want to grasp on to this message of everyone being basically good, who really want to believe that everyone, deep inside is just like a giant Tootsie Roll Pop, sweet and chewy at the core.

Actually, Anne also penned the following far more accurate statement but it doesn’t look nearly as nice on a coffee cup.

 
I don’t believe that the big men, the politicians and the capitalists alone are guilty of the war. Oh, no, the little man is just as keen, otherwise the people of the world would have risen in revolt long ago!

There is an urge and rage in people to destroy, to kill, to murder, and until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged, everything that has been built up, cultivated and grown, will be destroyed and disfigured, after which mankind will have to begin all over again.

Anne knew that Hitler and his armies were not enough to spread evil. Otherwise, it would have been stopped.

We like to think that we are better than that.

“If I had lived in Germany then…”

Really? Why do we think we are impervious to the indoctrination of falsehoods through empty rhetoric by an entrancing individual?

“I never would have done what they did!”

Really? Do we really think that Hermann Goering decided as a small child that he wanted to build concentration camps when he grew up? Or that a four-year-old Heinrich Himmler planned to wipe out an entire race of people?

These men were evil. And in a way that you and I cannot imagine, they gave in to the bloodlust within and allowed it to consume them.

However,

(and this is really ugly)

as much as I don’t want to think so, every man, woman and child alive has the potential for being another Himmler, Goering or Hitler.

In fact,

(and this is even uglier)

not a single one of us is one bit better than they were.

This literally make me want to puke.

I’m not them. I’m Anne. Sunny, optimistic, good in the face of all that’s bad.

Uh uh.

Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]?”

And just in case we argue that it is entirely the fault of our environment, Jesus said, “For from within, [that is] out of the hearts of men, come

base and wicked thoughts,

sexual immorality,

stealing,

murder,

adultery,

coveting (a greedy desire to have more wealth),

dangerous and destructive wickedness,

deceit;

unrestrained (indecent conduct);

evil eye (envy),

slander (evil speaking, malicious misrepresentation, abusiveness)

pride (the sin of an uplifted heart against God and man),

foolishness (folly, lack of sense, recklessness, thoughtlessness).

All these evil [purposes and desires] come from within, and they make the man unclean and render him unhallowed.” (Mark 7:21-23)

Oh yeah, lovely. Nothing like an Angela mirror with a really nasty reflection staring back. With Hitler and his cronies looking over my shoulder.

BUT…

And this is one case where you want to look in the mirror and see a big but…

That nastiness is not what God sees.

There are no shades of gray when God views humanity. He sees evil and He sees righteous.

You, if you have asked for His forgiveness, you are righteous.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 NKJV)

You, me, Hitler and Anne.

But every single one of us has the opportunity to be “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24)

I’ve got to requote that last part from the Amplified version:

“…justified

and made upright

and in right standing with God,

freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy),

through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus.”

Gratuitous grace.

There’s a beautiful phrase to take with you.

No matter how gratuitous your sin, His grace is more so.

People really aren’t good at heart. We are nasty, foul creatures. Every one of us.

But with the power of the redeeming blood of Jesus and through His gratuitous grace, He declares His children pure to the core.

Like a holy Tootsie Roll Pop.

So if you want to share inspirational truth, don’t tell people they are basically good. Offer them the chance to be righteous. Romans5_8

 

 

 


 

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Jerk or Just?

Gobstopped by Grace

There once was a man who lived in a fairly nasty place surrounded by pretty horrible people. To keep some special guests from harm, he once offered his daughters to the neighbors as sex toys for the night.

Later those daughters got him drunk so they could have his babies.

And God called him righteous.

Okay, there are some things in the Bible that I just don’t get.

To me, Lot sounds like a major jerk.

I think Hollywood did all of those old movies about David and Bathsheba and Samson 1951_DavidAndBathshebaand Delilah in order to push a few boundaries in the guise of a (highly embellished) Bible story.

Mr. DeMille wouldn’t have touched Lot with a 10-foot pole. Homosexual group orgies, rape and incest wouldn’t have gone over well in the fifties. That would be a hard sell even now.

There is a whole lot of good meaty material in Genesis 13, 14, 18 and 19 that I would love to cover but you would run out of coffee long before I ran out of words. So we’ll save the cool comparisons of Noah and Lot, the study of Lot’s wife, the results of the sins of his daughters and the righteousness of Abraham for another time.

As it is, you may want to heat up your cup or pop some popcorn because we have some good stuff coming up.

As I have studied this, I have come across commentators who try to point out some of Lot’s better attributes. Frankly, I think they’re stretching it. The Bible doesn’t editorialize on his actions. It just states them.

  • He was offered his choice of land in Genesis 13 and took it. Selfish or forward-thinking? Doesn’t say.
  • He lived in a sin-filled, utterly depraved city and sat in its gates, indicating a position of leadership. (Genesis 19:1) Light-bearer or compromiser? Doesn’t say.
  • He protected his guests at risk to himself. (Gen. 19:6, 9-10)
  • He offered his virgin daughters to a crowd of perverted men. (Gen. 19:8)
    Now this is a huge example of the grace of God because, had it been up to me, ol’ Lot never would have gotten back in that door.

Lest you think God was okay with that unconscionable suggestion, read Judges 19-20. More than 65,000 men were killed because of the death of one young woman placed in a similar situation. God is not okay with the abuse of women. He does not condone it and He never has.

  • He begged to stay in a city rather than go to the mountains as he was told. (Gen. 19:17-23)
    Um, seriously? Ignore advice from angels?
  • He got so drunk two nights in a row that both of his daughters had sex with him in order to get pregnant. The Bible also clearly states he was unaware of their actions. (Gen. 19:30-36)
    Only the Bible can convince me of protestations to that effect.
  • He trusted that two men he had never met were messengers of God, gathered his family, urged his daughters’ fiances to come along and left everything he had to go with them. (Gen. 19:14)
    He has me beat on this one. He welcomed those guys into his home from the start. I’m much more cynical than he was.

Plenty of facts with little commentary. But here is one little phrase, a gem almost hidden in the middle of verse 16:

“And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.”

Merciful.

And that leads us into the really interesting part about Lot.

You see, the Bible is full of really creepy weird people who were far too barbaric to make it into a Cecil B. DeMille epic. (Like the guys in Judges.) But  2 Peter 2:5-8 places unlikely Lot in a list of distinction with a favored few.

“For if God…did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; 6and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8(for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)—9then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment.”

What??

There are precious few people in the Bible other than Jesus that God calls righteous.

  • Noah (Gen. 6:9, 7:1)
  • Joseph (Matt. 1:19)
  • Abel (Matt. 23:35, Heb. 11:4)
  • John the Baptist (Mark 6:20)
  • Elizabeth & Zacharias (Luke 1:6)
  • Simeon – who blessed Jesus in the temple (Luke 2:25)
  • Joseph of Arimathea (Luke 23:50)
  • Cornelius the centurion (Acts 10:22)

And Lot.

To me, saying Lot is a big, fat jerk is putting it nicely. If you told me your husband offered your daughters up like that, I’d be on my way over with the firing squad.

And God called him righteous.

I’ve really wrestled with this one. Nothing is in the Bible by accident and I am certain that God didn’t give us this sordid little story of a sorry little man just to gross us out. Or even for the sole purpose of warning us of the dire consequences of unrepentant debauchery. Otherwise, why include Lot in the tale?

Do you know the meaning of Lot’s name in Hebrew?

Covering. Veil.

And here is where I quit getting upset about Lot and start getting excited about God.

Lot is the perfect Old Testament representation of New Testament grace.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10

You see, there is someone else in the New Testament called righteous.

Me.

I’ve often thought about my own years spent in places I shouldn’t be, living a life a child of God had no business living. And I read that then and now, as His forgiven child, I am covered in His righteousness.

Me.

“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed…through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” (Romans 5:21-28)

Justified. It means “declared righteous.”

Lot isn’t listed in the Faith Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11. The Bible doesn’t tell us anywhere that he did great things or that he had wonderful faith.

It tells us he was “oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked” and that his “righteous soul” was “tormented.”

Oppressed is also translated as distressed (HCSB), tormented (NIV, NLT), driven nearly out of his mind (MSG).

The Greek word means to wear down (Strong’s); to tire down with toil, exhaust with labor;  to afflict or oppress with evils; to make trouble for; to treat roughly.

It is only used in one other passage in Scripture and deals with slavery.

“Now when he [Moses] was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian.” (Acts 7:24)

Turns out ol’ Lot the jerk and I have a good bit in common. Oppressed, worn down, afflicted and pulled out by a merciful God.

Are you living in a place of oppression, in a life of slavery?

My friend, you have been set free, redeemed, declared righteous! A merciful God is tugging at your hand!

Just as God declared Lot righteous and saved him from the fire reigned down on Sodom and Gomorrah…

“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” (Romans 3:9)

Justified. Declared righteous!

Lot was afflicted, oppressed, worn out and worn down by what the Bible calls the outrageous conduct and lewdness of those who break through the restraints of law and gratify his lusts.

He was tormented, tortured, buffeted about as by waves.

He couldn’t even run on his own.

God had mercy on him and “while he lingered,” pulled him out.

It doesn’t matter where you’ve been. It doesn’t matter where you are.

The almighty God of the universe holds out His hand, ready to pull you out of whatever holds you down. He offers forgiveness.

He declares you righteous.

“Cornerstone”

by Hillsong

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly trust in Jesus name

Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all

When Darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil
My anchor holds within the veil

Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless stand before the throne.
Verses by Edward Mote
Words and Music by Jonas Myrin, Reuben Morgan & Eric Liljero

 

 

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