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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Angela

A recovered prodigal and expert breeder of dustbunnies, I'm a wife and a mother who just wants to live all-out, whole-heartedly, full-tilt boogie for Jesus. Living life with abandon combined with the daily regimens of life can be hard - that's where grace comes in. Oh, I love the balance of grace.
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Angela

A recovered prodigal and expert breeder of dustbunnies, I'm a wife and a mother who just wants to live all-out, whole-heartedly, full-tilt boogie for Jesus. Living life with abandon combined with the daily regimens of life can be hard - that's where grace comes in. Oh, I love the balance of grace.

23 thoughts on “Jerk or Just?”

  1. My husband ministers this same message about Lot on occasion. It is hard to understand all the things that he did but thankfully, just like us, God didn’t hold his mistakes against him. He loved him, was merciful to him and declared him righteous! (I was your neighbor at sue detweiler’s today!)

    1. I’m so glad you stopped by. God’s unmerited favor is beautiful, isn’t it?

      Tell your husband to keep on preachin’ it! 🙂

  2. Angela, I really wanted some popcorn! I love visiting your place! Girl, it was so much good in that I can’t even quote it all. Everything you noted about Lot I have thought many, many times. I was shaking my head and uhn-huhing in agreement – and then you went here:

    “Do you know the meaning of Lot’s name in Hebrew? Covering. Veil.”

    And I was laid flat.

    Turns out Lot and I have a lot in common as well.

    You wouldn’t happen to be going to She Speaks this year are you? I would sure love to shake your hand/ give you a hug.

    Thank you for the great read! Blessings!

    Letetia

    1. When I do a study, I love to hear that it affected someone else like it did me. The meaning of Lot’s name just gave me goosebumps. This totally changed my perspective of the entire story.
      I would love to go to She Speaks (and hug your neck, have coffee, popcorn, or whatever!) Pray for a miracle because right now that is way beyond our budget!
      Thank you so much for being here and being in the amen corner!

  3. I knew if anyone could break this down with much conviction and peel back the goodness behind the layers of chaos to reveal the message waiting for our hearts… you could, Angela.
    What I had really been hooked on was those verses 7 and 8 too, as I took a good look at Lot this weekend…
    He was worn down, surrounded, slowly defiled by his environment. I immediately thought of a testimony I heard once at my church several years ago now, by a young man who had been sucked up by his own environment in the Sudan… for all intents and purposes a good kid, who was slowly exposed to all the horrors of being groomed to be a child soldier… never able to leave the area, eventually being worn down and in self defense, he became like the enemy.
    And yet, now, as a refugee, and a student of theology, he shines for God and although can never do anything to remove the things he’s done to humanity, has God who sees Him through the eye of Christ and His forgiveness and freedom!
    What a great conclusion. His hand ready to pull us out of whatever holds us down…
    Beautiful. Redemption woven through even the hardest parts of the Old Testament. And through each of us if we let it.
    Another awesome post, girl, every time I read your words there are nuggets of wisdom!

  4. This was really fun to read and I learned so much. I truly enjoyed this Angela. Thank you for all the detail and attention you put into this post. It is hard to understand. Thank God we have Christ! Cheering you on from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith!

    1. Thank you Kelly!
      There was so much in those chapters. It was hard to know what to leave on the cutting room floor! I’m so glad it came across in an enjoyable and informative way.
      Thank you for using your gift of encouragement and for allowing others to share through Purposeful Faith.

  5. Hi Angela, firstly your blog is beautiful.
    OK, I am glad God holds us in His Mercies despite all our guilty stains.
    I am grateful He has justified us by His Blood!
    Thank you for this beautiful piece today.
    Finally, thanks for visiting and leaving such an inspiring comment over on my blog.
    Many Blessings to you

    1. Being found holy, guiltless and righteous in the eyes of almighty God is a truly amazing concept. I hope I never get over it!
      Thank you so much for your comments and visit.

  6. I’ve always been struck with how the Bible is filled with accounts of sinners just like me, but these same sinners God uses for His Glory and our Good. The Bible is not filled with stories of perfect, Godly people, but flawed people who need a Savior; who have a Savior and are declared righteous. The entire Bible showcases God’s great mercy and love. As we read the pages of Scripture, we can be encouraged that the Lord can redeem our lives, even when we misstep.

    Thank you for sharing. Your post built a powerful case for God’s amazing forgiveness.

    1. What has really blown me away about this one is that with most of the other stories, I can find something redeemable about the person – some reason to want to forgive them. About the best thing I can say about Lot is that he was hospitable. (And, look at Rahab, God seems to honor that!) But, I am really so very glad that God takes pleasure in redeeming the irredeemable. He offers forgiveness when there is absolutely no reason to forgive.

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing. I love knowing hearing from people!

    2. What I find so interesting about Lot in particular is that we don’t even see anything he did right in the end. His crud doesn’t really seem to be a blip on the radar screen of a good life. But God still called him righteous! Sometime I want to write about how he fits in to the scarlet cord leading to the redemptive work of Christ. God is so amazing!

      Thank you so much for stopping by with your encouraging words!

  7. Angela, thank you for being honest. I really appreciate how you were so honest with what you wrestled with regarding Lot, and yet so open to what God wanted to show you about Lot. Loved how you wrote, “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.” Good stuff. Stopping by from #FindStability link-up.

  8. A very straight forward, rough stuff type of bible study. I’m so glad that my life story is not in the Bible for people to read and judge it’s seems so demeaning to the person GOD saw something in to call them righteous and save them out of damned city that was condemned for destruction.

    I used to have a problem in sharing everything for these very reasons, but now I am an open book; just like the ones in the Bible. I thank GOD for HIS mercy and grace. I thank GOD for HIS righteousness. I thank GOD for giving me the desire to be righteous. I thank HIM for HIS promise of, “He that hungers and thirst after righteousness shall be filled.” I will and have been able to do righteous acts by HIS Spirit and because HE lives in me. HE is sanctifying me, while HE has already justified me. HE made me righteous and is making me righteous. I have seen so much growth in me in this past year and in these past months, I am so encouraged to go on and finish this fight of Faith and walk in this LOVE and be HIS witness for HIS people and HIS enemies. I’m not waiting for a happy ending, but am living in my joyful beginning.

    Those are rough and heavy stories and I remember them well. They are quite disturbing, but they are truthful. Truth is not always pleasant, but when given truth I have something to work with. A lie just causes wasted time, I will choose the truth, by GOD’s grace, Always. Especially when it hurts. Thank you, Angela for sharing this and bringing it to my attention. HE was even merciful back then. You got frustrated with Lot and I went through a phase I was frustrated with the children of Israel and Judah and their annoying kings. How every now and then a good king would pop up and then the next one would go astray again. That was so annoying to me until I noticed my on life doing the same thing. Israel served the same merciful GOD I serve. Thank HIM for HIS mercy on us all.

    Tunya Marie

    1. So glad this blessed you Tunya. I know God gave us the grittiness of the Bible to let us see how He works in real people! Thanks for spending time here!

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