[I wrote an update article to the Righteous Lot story here on July 3, 2021.]
I wrote earlier about man’s perspective of sin. I want to return briefly to that in light of Abraham’s nephew Lot and his move to Sodom and Gomorrah. Recorded in Genesis 13 Lot and Abraham find that their two families are too large to stay together and gracious Abraham offered the choicest of the land to Lot, to go wherever seemed desirable. Lot selfishly chose what looked to him the best location, “So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan,” and they separated.
But the best in his eyes became the worst in his spirit, because the citizens of the area were depraved to the extreme, as the Lord mentioned to Abraham in chapter 18: “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.” Chapter 19 describes painfully just how exceeding indeed their perversion was. Their disgusting social behavior had reached a climax and the Lord was about to wipe them off the face of the Earth. The story is well known even to non-Christians.
The thing that puzzles me most however is why did Lot continue living in that perverse society? The Apostle Peter writes “He [God] rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds) . . . .” 2 Peter 2:7-8 One would have thought that if he was so righteous certainly he would have moved away from there! Instead, he lived among them, raised a family, and was to marry off his daughters to the wicked sons of the town. Horrifically he also offered his own flesh and blood, his daughters, to the demanding insidious, perverse and murderous hive the night the angels arrived in town! (Gen .19:8)
It seems to me Lot had an extremely unwholesome perspective of sin as well as a completely inadequate view of the righteousness of God. To have witnessed the perversion of Sodom and Gomorrah on a daily basis and to be vexed but not to the point of doing anything about it seemingly describes someone whose sense of man’s rebellion against God is severely dulled.
It is interesting what Calvin says describing Lot’s living conditions in his commentary of these verses in 2 Peter, “that when the just man lived among the Sodomites, he tormented his soul by seeing and hearing; for we know that he was constrained to see and hear many things which greatly vexed his mind. . . . that though the holy man was surrounded with every kind of monstrous wickedness, he yet never turned aside from his upright course.” And he continues, “that just Lot underwent voluntary sorrows; as it is right that all the godly should feel no small grief when they see the world rushing into every kind of evil….”
Indeed, we need to see how really awful sin is, and be vexed by it, in our own person and in the world. But the Lord doesn’t want us to dwell on such garbage, but be separate from it. I don’t mean that we should remove ourselves from society, as Paul tells us that the Church should not do so. But the things that are to influence us are “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Php 4:8 It wasn’t possible to do that in Lot’s home.
In a sense you are what you eat. Eat only junk food and you reap the consequences. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:34 In other words the more you edify yourself in the Word and the things of God, the more like Him you will become. As opposed to spending your time with things antithesis to Him and becoming unlike Him.
With a proper perspective of who He is and who we are, we can orient ourselves more efectively to become like Him.
[Scriptures from the NASB]