Some nights I have a few minutes to read in bed before we turn out the lights. I recently decided to try reading a chapter in the Bible during that time. It’s not an “I have to do this before I go to sleep” thing, but I do like the idea of having God’s Word be the last thing going into my mind before I fall asleep.
I started at Genesis 1. I’m using the Bible app on my phone, so it automatically opens to the chapter I need to read next (and I don’t have to try to remember where I left off last time!) Genesis appeals to me because its stories are about people who sometimes struggled in their faith. I think we can all relate to that in some way! Since there’s no rush to get through the Bible in a particular time frame, I’m trying to really think about the story that’s unfolding as I read.
So I ran into Lot earlier this week. What an interesting character. I probably see way too much of myself in his story. He focuses on what looks good on the surface, makes selfish choices, and tries to fit into a world he’s not made for.
You know the story. Lot’s living in the midst of a wicked society in Sodom and Gomorrah. God has decided to destroy those cities because of their great sin. Abraham, Lot’s uncle, hears about God’s plan, and pleads for the city to be spared if there are a certain number of righteous people living there.
Two angels visit Lot the night before God’s punishment is to be unleashed. They tell Lot to warn his family about the impending doom. Morning comes, and the angels tell Lot to hurry. He needs to leave so he won’t be consumed along with the city. And here’s where I paused in my reading. Genesis 19:16.
“And while he lingered….”
Why Lot??? Why are you lingering? Don’t you remember what happened just last night? Those men who wanted access to your angel visitors were right outside your door. Then, when you didn’t turn the visitors over to them, they said, “This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them.” [verse 9] Is this a place where you still want to live?
Why do you want to stay? Is it because your wife is so enamored with the city? Or perhaps it’s because you’ll be leaving behind family and friends, maybe great possessions?
Yet before I’m too hard on Lot, let me take a look at my own life.
What is God is asking me to do that I’m holding back from since it would mean giving up time I want to spend on something else? Could there be a place He wants me to go, but I hesitate to leave the comforts that I have now? Is He asking me to give something up – a pastime, a habit – that I’m still clinging to, but need to release?
For whatever reason, Lot was reluctant to leave the city behind. So is there anything that I’m unwilling to give up? Is there any area in which this world has too much of a hold on me?
Let’s not be slow to obey God’s command or His call in our lives.
Since Lot lingered, the angels “laid hold upon his hand.” Why? The rest of verse 16 tells us. “The Lord being merciful to Him.”
In spite of those times when I allow worldly pleasures to distract me from what I should do, God is merciful. How thankful I am that His mercies are new every morning!!
I want to round out the story by looking at Abraham. We know that in chapter 18 Abraham was basically pleading with the Lord to spare Lot.
What if it was my child who fell prey to the allure of Sodom? I certainly hope that I would be as sincere and persistent in my prayer for her as Abraham was in his request for Lot.
And while I’m so grateful to say that I’m not in that circumstance right now, how much like Abraham can I be in praying that our girls will walk with God daily and not be drawn away from Him?
What did the angel tell Lot in Genesis 19:22? “ Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do anything till thou be come thither.” The power of Abraham’s prayer and the faithfulness of God to Abraham meant that God wouldn’t act until Lot was safely out of the way. My prayer can have that same impact as I pour my heart out to God on my daughters’ behalf.
Finally, Genesis 19:29 says, “And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.” It wasn’t for Lot’s sake that God saved him, but for Abraham’s.
I’m challenged today to pray for my children in such a way that God will remember my prayers when He seeks to work in the lives of my children.