ďLotís EndĒ†††† Genesis 19:30-38††††††† July 26, 2009
SI:† We are studying the life of Abraham, which is recorded in Genesis 12-25.
Weíre working our way through these chapters, story after story.
†† One of the reasons we study the Bible sequentially is that it forces us to look
†† at all of Scripture.† We donít get to pick and choose what we like and donít like.
So on Sunday morning, we open the Bible to where we left off,
†† and we read the next portion, and trust that the Lord will speak to us.
The passage we will study this morning is one that I would never choose
†† for a sermonóbut here it is, the Word of the Lord.
Before we read, letís pray and ask the Holy Spirit to illumine our minds.
O Holy Spirit, as we read this horrible Bible story,
†† help us not to wince or look away, but to peer into it, to look through it,
†† and to see in it the depth of sin and the hope of grace.
In Jesusí name.† Amen.
Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God for their wickedness.
†† Lot and his daughters and his wife were dragged out of the city
†† by the angels, practically kicking and screaming.
The angels told Lot, flee to the mountains.† Why the mountains?
†† Because thatís where Abraham lived.† Go back to Abraham.
†† Go back to the people of faith.† Reconnect with the church.
But Lot instead went to the city of Zoar.† Then he got scared in that place.
†† And he went to the mountains, but he didnít go back to Abraham.
†† This is what happened.
INTRO:† A few weeks ago we pulled down some photo albums that were in the top
†† of a closest.† And in those albums are snapshots of the two cutest little girls in
†† the worldóAdrienne and Eliza.
There is one picture we have of Adrienne:† Itís Easter morning, last on Marco Is.
†† Sheís in a red dress, with white shoes, a white purse, and white gloves.
The gloves are a little bit to big so the fingertips are folding over.
†† But she doesnít notice.† Sheís grinning because she knows she looks great.
In another picture, Eliza sitting in a tree at her grandparentsí house in Delray Beach.
†† Sheís in a little bathing suit.† Itís evident that she has been playing in the dirt,
†† because her face is smeared with it.† And on her knee there is a big band-aid.
Not because she had a skinned knee, but because she liked band-aids,
†† and she was at her grandmotherís house and got whatever she wanted.†
We sat on the couch together and looked at those pictures and laughed and
†† there was such a flood of warm memories.† I remembered those early days in
†† Florida where they were born.† I remembered our move to Cullman when they
†† were still little.
And then I looked at these two grown up girls sitting with me and wondered where
†† the years have gone, and was just amazed at Godís goodness to me as a dad.
†† And I rejoiced in the sweetness and unity and love he has given our family.
Children are a heritage from the Lord.
†† And all you dads of daughters know your girls have a special place in your heart.†
If we could have taken a snapshot of Lotís girls when they were little,
†† he would have said that he loved them very much.
Lot was a believer.† Thatís what 2 Peter tells us.†
†† He was Abrahamís nephew.† He knew about Godís covenant promises to families.
†† He was part of the covenant community, within the circle of those promises.
†† He knew his daughters were from God.
But never in Lotís worst nightmare could he have foreseen a day when he would
†† commit incest with his daughters and they would bear his children.
How does a man go from having little girls wanting band-aids and playing dress-up
†† to being in a place that is so dark and so perverted
†† that even reading it makes you sick?
How?† A little bit at a time.†
†† Foolish decisions leading to sinful families leading to tragic ends.†
As James puts it:†
†† ďDesire gives birth to sin, sin when it is full-blown gives birth to death.Ē
The story of Lot is woven into the story of Abraham
†† to give us an unforgettable image of a believer who made one foolish decision
†† after another.† Who year after year put off the Holy Spiritís promptings and the
†† conviction of his own conscience to reform his ways, until it was too late.
He was saved but he made a ruin of his life.
The old Scottish preacher Alexander Whyte said
†† that if Abraham is the father of the faithful, Lot is the father of the barely saved.
Heís pulled out of Sodom by the angels with nothing but the clothes on his back,
†† and he is pulled into heaven the same wayówith nothing.
His wife and children lost spiritually and a legacy of moral ruin.
So this is a story of the ruin of sin and itís a warning for Christians.
But thatís not allóthatís never all.†
†† Itís also a story of Godís sovereign grace.
Grace which you canít see in this story itselfóbut if you know where to look
†† you can see it, and when you see it, you will be amazed.
So letís look at this passage under two simple headings:
1.† Sinís destructive legacy
2.† Godís sovereign grace
Credit where credit is due:†
Sermon on this passage by Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle.
MP#1† Sinís destructive legacy
Lotís life was characterized by a series of foolish and sinful decisions.
†† At any time he could have repented and sought Godís mercy,
†† and there would have been time to undo the damage.†
But instead, each decision laid the foundation for the next one.
†† Then Lotís children took their fatherís decisions to the logical conclusion.
†† And his descendants carried it out for generations.
It all began with Lotís decision to live near Sodom.
†† Lot looked at the green, lush plains of the Jordan near Sodom and Gomorrah
†† and the Bible says:† ďIt was like the Garden of the Lord to him.Ē
Wow.† Thatís my Garden of Eden.† Thatís what Iíve been wanting all my life.
†† Thatís the comfortable and easy life I want for myself and family.
We know from 2 Peter that Lot was conflicted.† Says he was tormented
†† by the wickedness of Sodom.† But he made peace with his decision to live there.
He basically said to himself:† I know this isnít exactly what God wants,
†† but this is what I want for my family at this time in our lives.†
Once he had pushed that matter of conscience away, it became easy for him
†† to move from living in the fields outside Sodom, to buying a house in Sodom,
†† and finally becoming a part of the city and community.
Lotís decision to live in Sodom meant separation from the church.†
The church in that day was the family and household of Abraham.†
†† The life God had called Abraham to was a pilgrim life.† Meant giving up things.
Lot chose the city life.† He chose to live in a place where he and his family
†† were cut off from regular fellowship and worship with Godís people.
It didnít affect Lot right away.† But over time, over the years as he was separated
†† from regular Christian fellowship and regular corporate worship
†† and the community of faith, he was weakened spiritually.
The reason Lot didnít feel it so much is because things were going great in his life.
†† Everything worked out as he had plannedóhe got wealthy, he had a big house,
†† his daughters were popular, he was well-known in the city.
But what happened to Lot when things fell apartó
†† when Godís judgment came and he lost his wealth and position?
He had nothing to stand onóhe was an empty shell of a Christian.
The angels said:† Flee to the mountains.† Go back to Abraham.†
†† Reconnect with the covenant people.† Get back in church.
But by this time Lot was so used to operating by his feelings rather than by faith,
†† that he couldnít see the benefit and it was probably distasteful to him.
Why didnít his wife help him?† Because she was dead.
†† Turned into a pillar of salt by God for her Sodomite ways.
Lot had chosen to marry an unbeliever.† He knew that was wrong.†
†† The Lord had made it very clear that in order to remain true to the covenant,
†† believers must marry believers.† But Lot made peace with that decision too.†
Probably in the same way Christians always do when they marry non-Christians.†
†† I love her.† Sheís a good person.
†† Sheíll come around.† But she didnít come around.†
She raised her daughters in Sodomite ways.
†† When time came to forsake sin, she looked back and God killed her.
So where did all these decisions lead Lot?† At the end of his life he was a stranger
†† to the church, was accountable to no Christian brothers, had quenched the
†† Holy Spirit for years by violating his conscience living in Sodom,
†† had an unbelieving wife who was no help at all.
Where did he turn when things finally fell apart?† To his wine.
†† Our last view of Lot, a believer, is passed out drunk in a cave,
†† with his own daughters having sex with him.
It gets worse. †What about these daughters?
Why didnít they follow the faith of their father?
†† Why didnít they believe in the God of Abraham like their dad did?
There must have been many times when Lot shook his head at the dinner table
†† and expressed his disgust for the perverted ways of Sodom.
†† But then he turned on the TV and watched Sodomite programs.
He probably told them how important church is for believers.
†† But they never went to church.† Didnít do much more than pray at the table.
He probably told his daughters right and wrong and that they should trust God.
†† But his own example rendered his words powerless.
†† If Sodom is that bad, his daughters reasoned, then why does dad live here?
And when it came time for Lot to guide his daughters in marriageó
† †He totally punted.† He didnít insist they marry believers.
†† He chose Sodomites for his sons-in-law.
These were men who laughed in Lotís face when he told them the Word
†† of the Lord that judgment was coming.†
So is it any surprise when these daughters of Lot say to each otheró
†† Thereís no one around here for us to have sex with, it will have to be our father.
No.† Itís completely logical.† If a Christian parent says to his or her childrenó
†† this is important, this is how God wants us to live, this is right and wrongó
†† but then by his lifestyle decisions blows it all offóa life of compromise.
His children will often say:† Oh, I get it.†
†† And wonít even keep up the pretense of Christianity.† Thatís terrifying.
But it gets even worse.† His daughters had two sons.†
†† Older daughter named hers Moab.† Means ďFrom Daddy.Ē
†† Younger daughter named her Ben-Ammi.† Means ďSon of my people.Ē
From these two boys, born of incest, came the Moabites and Ammonites
†† who would be a thorn in the flesh of Israel for generations.†
Look at the progression:† A Christian man not living out his convictions,
†† to children who take that to its logical conclusion,
†† to descendants who were actively opposed to the kingdom of God.†
Thatís sinís destructive legacy.† Itís the anti-covenant.
This story forces Christiansóespecially Christian dadsó
†† to ask important questions about the legacy you are building.
Where will you live?† Are you deliberately choosing a lifestyle that enables you
†† and your family to have regular, active connection with the church?
Or have you pushed that nagging matter of conscience down so far that it
†† doesnít bother you any more?† You are building a legacy.
Who will you marry?† Who will your sons and daughters marry?
†† Are you taking an active role in that.† Guiding, protecting, warningó
†† or are you content to let your sons date pagan girls and girls date pagan boys
†† and just hope that if you pray enough things will work out.† Building a legacy.
How do you spend your money?† How will you face crises when they come?
Do you even think about how the way you handle these things
†† will affect your children and build a legacy?† Lot didnít and reaped whirlwind.
So whereís the hope in this story?† There is no hope in this story.
†† You have to keep reading.† If you do, you discover something wonderful.
MP#2† Godís sovereign grace
As ugly and perverted as Lotís legacy wasóGodís sovereign grace trumps it.
And so we keep reading.† And we find in the early books of the Old Testament,
†† in Exodus and Deuteronomy and Joshua and Judges that the
†† Moabites and the Ammonites were perverted people.
They were immoral.† They practiced child sacrifice.
†† Itís a foreshadowing of how sexual immorality and abortion work hand in glove.
The Lord told the Israelites to stay away from them.
†† He said that no Moabite descendant could enter the temple to the tenth generation.
And then we keep reading our Old Testament and we come to the book of Ruth.
†† Read in Ruth about an Israelite man named Elimelech who was like Lot.
He left Israel and moved his family to Moab.
†† He justified it by saying that it would be good for them.†
†† It would just be for a little whileóbut they ended up staying there ten years.
He got pagan Moabite wives for his two sons.
†† Then Elimelech died.† His sons died too.†
†† And that would have been the sad end of that family line.
But his wife Naomi did what neither Elimelech or Lot was willing to do.
†† She said:† Iím tired of this compromised life.†
†† I donít care how painful it is, Iím going to back to Godís people.
†† Iím going back to church.
So she told her widowed daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruthó
†† Stay with your people and your gods.†
But God in his sovereign grace had been at work in Ruthís heart.
†† And she said to Naomi.† The gods of Moab arenít my gods any more.
†† My God is your God.† The God of Abraham.† The Lord God of Israel.
So Ruth went to Israel, to Bethlehem with Naomi, and there she met Boaz.
Now Boaz was a man who wanted to build a godly legacy.
†† He was a successful farmer and businessman but he didnít love money.
†† He was fair to his workers, he was kind to the poor.†
†† He honored the Lord in his speech and his ways.
When he saw Ruth he said:† Thatís the woman I want to marry.
†† Thatís the woman I want to build a family with.
Yes, she comes from that broken, crazy, dysfunctional Moabite clan.
†† Yes sheís a new convert.† But she loves the Lord and is loyal to Israel,
†† And she guards her sexual purity and sheís a hard worker.
So they got married, and they had a baby boy.
And there was singing and happiness when that boy was bornó
†† not like those two depressing births back in the cave near Sodom.
And there is a genealogy at the end of Ruth and we find out that this son of hers
†† was the ancestor of King David.
And then we keep reading our Bibles and we come to the New Testament
†† to Matthew, and there is the line of David and who is born from that line?
†† Jesus Christ.
And in that genealogy of Jesus,
†† Ruth is one of only three women mentioned by name.†
†† Ruth, the Moabite.† A descendant of the incest between Lot and his daughter,
†† mentioned by name in the family tree of Jesus Christ the perfect Son of God.
Genesis 19 seems to be a story without a hero.
†† Lotís not a hero.† His daughters arenít heroes.
†† The sons born to them donít save the day.
But a hero comes.† A hero comes who is connected through his great-great
†† grandmother Ruth to this broken, sad legacy of failure and sin.
And when he comes he doesnít hide this skeleton in his family tree.
†† He doesnít cover up all this shame and immorality.
He claims it.† He redeems it.† And Godís grace to Ruth shines all the brighter,
†† and her name stand out with even more wonder because of her past.
Thatís how good God is.
†† Thereís room in the family of God for old fools like Lot
†† and for Moabites like Ruth.†
Anyone, no matter how vile their sin, or how broken their past
†† can come into the family of God through Jesus.
And when Jesus reconciles you to God and adopts you into the family
†† he redeems everything in your life.† Nothing is wasted.
Nothing can derail the sovereign grace of God in Christ.
In Genesis 50 Joseph tells his brothers that even when people do evil things
†† and mean it for evilóbrothers, even though youíve done me evil,
†† and meant it for evil, God means it for good.†
And if God decides something will be good then eventually it will be good.
And Paul says in Romans 8 that in all things God works for the good of those who
†† love him, who have been called according to his purpose.†
God works it out.† All things.† Incest.† Out of wedlock births.†
†† Drunkenness.† Untimely deaths.† Chaos.† Dysfunctional families.†
†† What can come from all that mess?† Jesus can come from that!
You may say, but you donít understand my mess.
You donít know what Iíve done.† Iím a Lot.
†† If you could see my compromises and failures, the harm I have done my family.
Get saved, and get a new life.† Get forgiveness and a fresh start.
†† Get the Holy Spirit who will live in you and change you from the inside out.
†† If youíre a Christian, rededicate your life this morning.
†† Be filled afresh with the Holy Spirit and keep in step with him.
But You donít know what Iíve been through.† You donít know my family tree.
†† I had a father like Lot, I had other adults in my life
†† who didnít nurture me spiritually and protect me morally.
I was sinned against and I responded with my own sin,
†† and now Iím living with those scars.†
Get saved and get a new dad.† Get a heavenly Father who is loving and tender.
†† Get an elder brother Jesus who will always be there for you,
†† and who will help you turn your scars into gold of wisdom and humility.
If youíve wandered from him come back to him.†
†† He loves you and wants the best for
I said a moment ago that there is no hope in this storyó
†† humanly speaking thatís absolutely true.† Itís a hopeless legacy of sin.
But heavenly speaking, there is hope in this story for all of us.
†† If God can bring salvation to this familyóthen he can save you and me.
And like Ruth and her descendants after her, you can experience
†† a fresh start and a new life in the family of God.
And old hymn says:
The Lord forsaketh not His flock, His chosen generation.
He is their Refuge and their Rock, Their peace and their salvation.
As with a motherís tender hand, He leads His own, His chosen bandó
To God all praise and glory!
Then come before His presence now, And banish fear and sadness,
To your Redeemer pay your vow, And sing with joy and gladness.
Though great distress my soul befell, The Lord my God did all things welló
To God all praise and glory!
That is our God.†
†† A God of sovereign grace who does all things well for his people.