In Genesis 18, we find Abraham and Sarah have just received the wonderful news that they’re going to be first-time parents. Despite their advanced age, the Lord was finally going to give Abraham an heir, and continue the fulfillment of his promises to make Abraham “a great and mighty nation” (Gen. 18:18). God then reveals his plan to Abraham in regards to Sodom, that He will go down to Sodom and see if the outcry against the cities are justified.
Let’s take a step back from this, and realize God’s great wisdom and mercy here. We see that God himself has let Abraham know that he is not simply a god who does something without knowing every detail about it. Although we know that God is omnipresent (He is everywhere), He lets Abraham know that before destroying the city, God is going to give it a thorough look-over, and take all things into consideration.
Seeing this nature, Abraham attempts to appeal to God’s good graces, asking if God will spare the city if fifty righteous people are found; then forty, then thirty, then twenty, then ten. The whole way down, God, who is omniscient (all-knowing), knows that there are no actual righteous people in Sodom, but God demonstrates his mercy through His honesty. God is not being sneaky here; God is not a liar, and would therefore have actually spared the city had there been only ten righteous people, but Abraham had overestimated the righteousness, and underestimated the rampancy of sin.
In chapter 19, we see two angels enter the city. They experience harassment from the townspeople, the sick bargaining Lot for their lives, and their escape from the city. During the escape, Lot’s wife – against the warning of the angels – looked back, and became a pillar of salt. Lot would bargain with the angels to go into a nearby town, instead of the wilderness, to escape the wrath of God upon Sodom. The legacy of Lot would eventually fade into obscurity, and although his sons did become the fathers of the Moabites and Ammonites, we classically use Lot as an example of a man who ultimately ended up as a failure.
The story would continue with Abraham, who would go on to become the father of Isaac, Jacob, and whose lineage would eventually reach Jesus Christ. God would fulfill the promises in Abraham’s life, and his legacy would live on to this very day. We see in the life of Abraham evidence of God’s protection, provision, and His direction. And we see in the life of Lot evidence of God’s mercies and grace, despite his fallen state. Although he certainly did not deserve it, God spared his life. But in man’s free-will, God would not force Lot to live a moral life for the rest of his days, as revealed towards the end of chapter 19. And although we often like to identify with Abraham, we are so often like Lot in life; seeking our own benefit and compromising with the world to get by.
As you begin this week, consider the situations you have been pulled out of and where you deserved what was coming, remembering God’s faithfulness and mercy, and we should not stop at simply thanking God for pulling you out of a tight spot; we need to acknowledge our shortcomings, and allow Holy Spirit to do his redeeming work. It’s up to us to seize the opportunities given by this grace, and to allow Jesus to better us as people, to conform to His character each day, and to live the lives we have each been called to live as part of His body. May you have a blessed week.