By Jon Quinn
Jesus urged to “Remember Lot’s Wife ” (Lk. 17:32). The lessons associated with her are many, but I’d like to approach the account from what may be rather unusual. Though Lot’s family lived some nineteen centuries before Christ, those who desired to have godly families then faced trials and problems similar to those which we face today.
We must also consider another family that was contemporary with Lot’s family. Abraham and Sarah’s faith was seen in every aspect of their lives, including their home. Like Lot, Abraham was not perfect as husband or father, but unlike Lot, he was successful as head of his household. Furthermore, at least for a time, Lot and his wife were a part of Abraham’s household.
Abraham’s Character and Family
Both Abraham and Sarah were faithful people of God. Their lives centered around the Lord’s will. They would no doubt have been extremely puzzled by the modern day doctrine of justification by faith alone, not to mention shocked that people would use them as examples of this false doctrine! Not by faith alone, but “by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance” (Heb. 11:8, 9). By faith Abraham and Sarah relied on God’s promise that they would have a child even at a very late time in their lives (Heb. 11:11,12; Rom. 4:19,20). By faith Abraham was later willing to offer up his son that God had given in fulfillment of His promise thinking that God would raise him back up from the dead (Heb. 11:17-19). The Bible sums up Abraham’s life by affirming that “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness” (Rom. 4:3; Gen. 15:6). What does all this mean as far as Abraham’s family is concerned? God said, “For I have chosen Abraham), in order that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice. . . ” (Gen. 18:19).
Shortly before leaving his home, Abraham’s brother Haran had died. Lot, Haran’s son and Abraham’s nephew, joined Abraham as he left Ur for Caanan (Gen. 11:27-12:5). Both Abraham and Lot enjoyed much wealth and prosperity. The inability of the land to support the herds and flocks of both Abraham and Lot led to friction between their respective herdsmen. Abraham did not want anything to come between his nephew and him so he offered Lot the choice: if you go “left, then I will go to the right, or if to the right, then I will go left” (Gen. 13:1-9). Lot chose the valley of the Jordan because he felt his flocks would be better off there. At least at this point it appears that he gave little thought to the extreme wickedness of the cities located in the area so he “moved his tents as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the Lord” (Gen. 13:10-13).
Decision and Consequence
Sometimes we do not see all the results of decisions we make, good or bad, until years later. Some years pass until finally the Lord’s patience with Sodom runs out. The account of the Lord’s judgment against Sodom is related in the nineteenth chapter of Genesis. Lot is warned to get his people out of the city (v. 12). When he tries to warn his sons-in-law, they react by taking the whole idea of God’s judgment as a very funny joke (v. 14). Only Lot, his wife and two daughters leave the doomed city with the instruction not to look back (vv. 15-17). Lot’s wife succumbs to the temptation to look back at the ongoing destruction taking place and perishes (vv. 23-26). Later, Lot’s two daughters prove themselves, by their immoral behavior, to have been horribly and adversely affected by their years in Sodom (vv. 31-38).
Applications for 20th Century Families
The mocking of Lot’s sons-in-law is little different from the attitudes expressed by many today. If you want to give somebody a good laugh, go talk to porno shop patrons about God’s judgment. But as with Sodom, the mocking will one day be silenced forevermore.
Lot’s choice on where to live was motivated more by what was physically best for his animals than what was spiritually best for his family. Again, people today are making the same kind of unwise trade off and the tragic thing is that many will not see the bitter end results until years later when family members fall away or never come to the Lord to begin with.
Simply refraining from wickedness ourselves as parents is not enough! We must equip our children to live godly lives regardless of the environment they find themselves in. Lot never partook in the unrighteousness of his neighbors; in fact it sickened him to see the way they acted (2 Pet. 2:6-9). But this was not enough for his family.
We live in an environment that seems to be becoming increasingly like that of Sodom. We cannot avoid it completely. We must work in it, go to school in it and live in it. Does it not make sense to insure that our homes remain an oasis of relief from the world to which we can go and relax? How foolish to destroy this oasis by inviting the world to “come on in” through television programs, music, literature or our own worldly ways!
Finally, we learn about unselfishness. Abraham certainly showed his selfless attitude toward Lot by offering him first choice of where to live. Sometimes, it is easier to show consideration toward those with whom we work than it is toward members of our own families. I suppose it is easy to take husband or wife or parents or children for granted because of the closeness of the relationships. Certainly, we ought to treat our family members with respect, dignity and consideration.
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 22, pp. 673, 695
November 21, 1985