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God Is Serious About This

September 21, 2014

Genesis 19:1-14

 

 

Intro:  I’ve sent the children out today because the subject matter in this passage is rated at least PG-13 if not R for sexual content and violence.  But I didn’t want to skip over it because Moses considered it an important part of history to preserve for our generation.  For that same reason I didn’t want to water it down or avoid un-pleasantries. So my goal is to lead us through what happened during this event at the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and to see what God judges to be bad enough that he would annihilate an entire region.  I’m pretty sure that none of us will understand it all completely, but let’s take what is before us and try not to twist and turn it to fit in with our personal world view.  Let’s do our best to come with an open mind and heart before the Word of God and this event as Moses relates it.

 

1-2a

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”

This is the same way Abraham had greeted them from the door of his tent.  Lot also truly wished to show them hospitality, but was it more than that? Is this a glimpse of the sad compromise of Lot, he knows these men are not safe in this city the very place Lot had made a home.  This is a sad commentary for the things we allow in our lives because of compromise that we will tolerate even in the place that we live and work.

 

2b-3 

“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”

But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate.

So far, so good.  I wonder if Lot was a little nervous.  I wonder if the angels were a bit anxious to get on with their business. I wonder if they felt the sin of the city weighing in on them.  I wonder if their hearts were breaking over the judgement they were about to bring.

 

4-5

4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

All the men??  Moses is telling us that the sin in this city is all consuming.  Everyone was caught up in it.  The following commentary comes from Keith Krell at Bible.org  Moses attempts to emphasize that every man and boy in Sodom is dangerous and wicked. This seems over the top.13 After all, most little boys do not practice homosexual rape. How was the perversion so widespread? We may not like the answer. Evidently, the older men discipled the children in sexual deviance. Undoubtedly, there was sexual abuse in the home that caused the little boys to respond like they did. This tragic storyline continues today. In the US, one in three girls and one in four boys has been sexually abused before they reach the age of eighteen! Consequently, we live in a sexually confused society. Men, you can model and disciple your boys in purity or perversion. The choice is yours. However, if you choose the latter, your boys will turn into young men with all kinds of addictions that will alter their lives forever. Today, choose to intentionally model and disciple your boys (and girls) in purity. There is nothing subtle in their request.  They are after one thing.  Did they act this way towards every male that came through the city gates?  Was Lot’s redeeming quality that the sat at the gate to rescue travelers on a regular basis?

 

6-8

6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

Lot makes a pitch to save the men.  Let’s take a look at how that went.

  • He calls them his “friends”.  My first thought is that Lot needs some relationship counseling because as we shall see, these men were clearly not his friends.  And if he truly thought they were, he was very mistaken.
  • He acknowledges that the thing they wish to do – have sex with these men – is not right or honorable but is indeed wicked.  It’s rape.
  • His solution?  Take my virgin daughters instead.  Are you serious??  It’s okay to rape my daughters but not these men who have come into town.  What kind of father is he??  Some commentators say that Lot was well acquainted with the tastes of the men in Sodom and was really not concerned that they would take his daughters.  Still.

 

9

9 “Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

It becomes clear that any clout Lot thought he had was only in his imagination.  These men had tolerated him, and perhaps used him, but they never respected him and never felt he belonged.  And now they are going to break down his door to get what they want.

 

10-11

10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.

The angels are the heroes here.  They rescue Lot by pulling him into the house and then striking every man there blind.  Then they explain to Lot what is going on.

 

12-13

12 The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”

The angels are being generous.  They are allowing Lot to bring the fiancés of his daughters along with him.  Are they among the men who have been struck blind?  Are they among those who are pounding at the door?  Or have they been sequestered? 

 

14

14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

Lot comes to save the lives of his son-in-law and is laughed at.  At this moment, Lot is playing the prophet and like so many prophets, he is laughed at and ignored.

 

Lot has been a member of this community for many years.  They have given him a place of honor – seen by his place at the city gate.  But what has he compromised?  For all the years he has been in Sodom he has had to tolerate the ways of the people who live there.  The people of Sodom had different moral values than Lot had been raised with.  They had no regard for God and the created order.  They had no desire to worship anything more than their selfish wants.  They have allowed Lot to dwell in their midst, peacefully because they were using him, but he has no clout.  He has no respect. 

 

When we make the choice to tolerate everything and anything, we may think we are gaining respect, when actually, we are being seen as a push over who will go for anything and can therefore be used for anything.  If we don’t stand firm for something and allow everything, people understand that we have no true conviction and can be molded for their purposes.

 

Up to this point in history, we have grown up in a Christian nation.  The values of the Bible and the church have been widely accepted and used to govern.  Even the way government was first organized was based on the way the Presbyterian Church was governed.

 

But certainly you see the shift away.  We no longer live in a God-fearing, church-leading society.  We live in a post-Christian America.  The ways of God are no longer a consideration for decision-making, public or private.  The moral standard has moved away from God’s standard to your standard:  “If it feels right for you, do it.”  Fact:  Every society that has drifted this way has fallen.

 

So how do we live in the midst of this?  I propose the following plan of action and I invite you to repeat each point with me, but only if you find you can agree with it:

  • Acknowledge that God is sovereign – His law stands forever, his righteousness and holiness are the constant standard.  In the end we will not be measured against our neighbor or against our own idea of what is good and bad, but against the holiness and righteousness of God.  Acknowledge that God is Sovereign
  • Acknowledge that sin is anything that falls short of God’s design – God wants to dwell in communion and fellowship with all that He created.  Remember back to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.  What cut off that relationship?  Sin.  Sin cuts us out of a right relationship with God.  Any sin, whether it be lying, cheating, or an affair or homosexuality which is exemplified in the passage today.  Anything that falls short of God’s design is sin and breaks the relationship God desires to have with us.  So the proposed plan of action to live true to God in our society is first to acknowledge that God is Sovereign and then that sin is anything that falls short of God’s design.
  • Acknowledge that if God has called you out of sin and into a relationship with him through Jesus Christ then you are meant to be the upholder of truth, (say) I am meant to be the upholder of truth.  It is you and me that God has entrusted with all that is holy and right and true.  One piece of that truth is God’s love and the other piece of truth is God’s righteousness.  Both have to be proclaimed and taught and exemplified if the whole truth of God is to be revealed to the world.  Christ died on the cross to redeem people out of sin, not to make sin okay. So the proposed plan of action to live true to God in our society is first to acknowledge that God is Sovereign and then that sin is anything that falls short of God’s design and then to acknowledge that I am meant to be the upholder of truth.

 

Concl.  As a nation, are we where Sodom was, in attitude?  If not, I think we have to acknowledge that we’re certainly leaning in that direction.  If we don’t agree with everybody else, we are labeled bigots and judgmental or uninformed or just plain dumb.  God has called us to uphold his truth now.  We are plan A and there is no plan B. 

 

Now for the scary application part.  Where in your world is God calling you to proclaim the truth.  Probably not from a street corner.  More effectively it will be in a relationship you care about – one on one.  Who do you desire to see redeemed from sin and brought back into a right relationship with God.  The above proposed plan is not something pulled out of the air, it is the truth expressed in God’s Word which tells us how to live in relationship with God and one another.  And it is yours to share with those who have wandered from the path or haven’t found it yet.

 

At this time the children will come back and I believe they have a message for us.

 

Children return to sing “Be Careful Little Eyes”

 

Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer

 

Keith Krell at Bible.org

Sodom and Gomorrah have become a proverbial symbol of wickedness, perversion, and moral depravity.14 In 18:16-33, I addressed some unfamiliar sins that Sodom was guilty of: arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease that resulted in being unconcerned about the poor and needy (Isa 1:10, 17; Ezek 16:49-50). Yet the Scriptures also mention that they were guilty of rejecting God’s Word (Luke 10:8-12), adultery, lying, and abetting the criminal (Jer 23:14), and here homosexual perversion15 (Ezek 16:44-59; Jude 6-7; 2 Pet 2:6-7).16 Thus, this passage and several others clearly identify the practice of homosexuality as sinful (e.g., Lev 18:22; 20:13; Rom 1:21-27; 1 Cor 6:9-10; 1 Tim 1:8-10). God’s original intent has not changed. From the very beginning, God ordained marriage between one man and one woman (Gen 1:27; 2:24). However, we must be careful not to imply that homosexuality is the vilest sin. From God’s perspective, sin is sin. That means the adulterer, the pornographer, the gossip, and the slanderer are just as guilty.