Our passage is Genesis 19:1-11 today and the notes have been supplied by Marina.
I’ve heard it said that ‘Sin doesn’t leap- it often creeps’. That could well be true of Lot in the situation we read about in today’s passage. We are told that Lot is sitting at the gateway to the city. This is where the important people in the city went. People such as Elders or town councillors, well respected people in the community. So it would seem that Lot was part of the community. Yet it also seems that he was very aware of what was going on. Every society today knows the sins that are synonymous with Sodom and Lot lived in the thick of it.
It’s interesting to note that when the angels arrived Lot urged them to stay with him. Did he want to shield them from the sin of the city or was he ashamed of the city and didn’t want the angels to associate the sin with him? We do know that Lot did not want them to sleep out in the square. He knew what might happen to them.
Every other night Lot was content to let the sin go on all around him. He was content to return to his home, live his life and remain part of the community while the same sin was happening around him. Why didn’t he leave? Why didn’t he try to change things? Why did he accept the sin as the norm? We could ask the same questions of ourselves!
We see in our own society that moral standards are being eroded. I was watching an episode of Downton Abbey a few weeks ago and the storyline focussed on a ‘sin’ that has since been considered outdated by our modern society. Sometimes little bits of what we consider acceptable are eroded. Our consciences become hardened and we too are comfortable living in a society where God’s word and God’s standards are rejected. Just like Lot, we fit in. I had a tee shirt once with a picture of hundreds of tiny fish all swimming one way and in the centre of the picture was one little fish swimming in the opposite direction; the caption read ‘don’t go with the flow!’.
There are many things about this passage that are hard to understand and as the mother of three daughters I find Lot’s comments abhorrent. However, we don’t have to understand everything to learn something from God and perhaps the message we can take from the passage is ‘Come out from them and be holy.’ Be set apart.’ Don’t go with the flow.
It takes courage and strength to stand up against popular opinion. You can be left out, mocked, criticised and overlooked. In some parts of the world you can even lose your life when you stand up for God and his values. But Jesus asks those who follow him to take up their cross. For us that may mean saying no to certain activities, places and relationships. Or it could mean speaking up when it would be easier to remain silent and just ‘fit in’.
Lord it’s hard to stand against others and stand out from a crowd. Thank you that you led the way. Thank you that despite the pain, mocking, hostility and loneliness you didn’t turn away from the cross. Fill us with the strength of the Holy Spirit so that we too may stand for you.