Blind and Still Obsessed

BLIND AND STILL OBSESSED

But the men [angels] reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door. And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.  Genesis 19:10-11

         God is faithful to protect His children.  The men who came to Lot and his family, the ‘angels unaware’, shut the door to the outside gang who had come to do Lot’s visitors harm.  Knowing their numbers and their strength, knowing they could probably still break down the door, the angels struck the members of the gang with blindness.  Even that didn’t stop them.  They were still obsessed with finding the door and breaking in ~ so strong was their obsession with sexual perversion.

         What does it take to break under the hand of God?  Personally, it has taken a lot.  My own heart was so darkened that it took a lot of time and pain to bring me to the end of myself.  I wanted what I wanted ~ and I was also obsessed in my own private and stubborn way.  I have since learned that if not taught the sweet fruit of submission when we’re young, the desire for personal autonomy becomes entrenched over time.  So much harder to submit at 45 than at 4 years of age.  That’s why we teach our children to obey the first time.  We’re preparing them to say, “Yes, Lord!” when Jesus calls them.

         You may be watching the Lord break the will of a loved one.  You may be shaking your head at how stubborn they are. (And also humbled at the memory of how stubborn you were.)  You wonder how much longer.  Though they have felt the heavy hand of God, they are still groping for the door that leads them to satisfy their cravings for sinful pleasures.

         Though it may look hopeless today, it is not.  Not all believe, we know that.  But those who burn the brightest for the kingdom experience a pivotal moment when they surrender in the fire.  As you watch the crushing of that person you love, know that God knows their limits and frame.  You can trust His hand that afflicts – even in your tears for their repentance.

Lord, you hear my cry.  When will they submit and believe?  I can’t stand to watch so give me grace and do what is necessary, quickly, to bring them to their knees.  I know Your justice but I am comforted that You are also limitless in mercy.  Amen

“How Could He Do Such a Thing?!”

HOW COULD HE DO SUCH A THING?!

And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight?  Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”  Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly.  Behold, I have two daughters.  Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please.  Only do nothing to these men.”  Genesis 19:5-8

         It’s easy for me to be so shocked by what happens at this point in the story of Lot and his family that I will read from a distance, point an accusing finger, and refrain from asking what I can learn from it about myself.  At first glance, I’ll experience outrage.  “Lot, sacrificing his daughters to a mob?  How horrible.”  And it was.  But this sinful response of Lot to the gang who desired to rape Lot’s two visitors didn’t begin and end on this particular night.

         When I think about the worst sin I have committed, it was never done spur of the moment.  There had been a trail of thoughts and deeds that preceded it.  One doesn’t just turn on God unexpectedly and sin greatly.  Even if it appears that way to others, be assured that in the heart of the offender, there were multitudes of choices and beliefs that paved the way for mutiny.

         Lot never showed unwavering fidelity toward God.  (Neither did Abraham but he was quick to repent when he strayed.)  Lot made a series of decisions, some appearing small, that were never corrected.  Sin is insidious over a long period of time.  It not only kills and destroys but it deceives.  If I have a history of a sinful habit, I should know that, with time, comes longstanding deception in some part of my life.  I will be the last to see it if I’m not in the Word or in the company of someone who teaches the Word.

         “Lot, what is the effect of moving to Sodom with your family and living in a triple X society?”  He would affirm what scripture teaches.  The effect is numbness.  A seared conscience.”  To offer his daughters as bait to a gang didn’t seem anywhere near as outrageous to Lot as it does to those of us who read about it.  But here’s the thing.  The worst thing I have done didn’t appear to me, at the time, to be outrageous either.  I had paved the road to that pivotal moment with bricks of subtle rebellion.

Don’t let me read this like a novel and point my finger at Lot.  Help me see the log in my own eye.  Amen

A Perfect Moment To Strike Back

A PERFECT MOMENT TO STRIKE BACK

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”  Romans 12:19

Kids learn quickly how to take revenge.  When someone plays a practical joke on them, they may pretend that it didn’t faze them but watch out.  When the jokester is long past the joke he played and forgets to watch his back, revenge is taken.  The payback is usually worse, too.  That’s because revenge is in our bones.  It is our natural response to being hurt.

         I was the brunt of many practical jokes, really bullying, in junior high and high school.  Drugs were planted in my locker.  The same group of kids who planted the drugs would often wait for me to leave the building to find my bus.  They would splash me from head to toe with mud or empty my book bag and throw all my papers in the air.  By the time I retrieved them, I had missed the bus. I dreamed of revenge but didn’t know how to act it out since I was only one person and they were more than a half dozen.

         You’ve heard of someone taking advantage of you when there’s ‘blood in the water’.  Continue reading “A Perfect Moment To Strike Back”

It’s Still In There!

IT’S STILL IN THERE!

The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.”  Genesis 19:1-2

            If Lot were your nephew, or son, or husband, would you have long given up on him?  He had made a series of foolish decisions while in relationship with you.  The last one took him to Sodom to flirt with a culture that was hostile to your God.  As a family member, wouldn’t you be grieving for his spiritual condition?  Yet, two men arrive, danger is imminent, and Lot’s courage and faith spring into action.

            He is not dead to faith.  His sojourn into spiritually dangerous territory has not killed every righteous seed God had planted in his heart.

            The calendar months move slowly when I’m waiting for the spiritual return of one I love.  I envision the bleeding effects of their environment on their love for Christ.  How could fidelity not waste away by the day?  How will any vestige of faith be preserved for the day God comes calling?

            Seeds of faith are preserved when loved ones pray for the one who strays.  All is not dead in his heart.  Though the culture of lawlessness has surely influenced him and, by all appearances, he seems to have completely caved to its pressures, we underestimate the strength of a God who stirs the embers of faith in places no one sees.  He even does spiritual surgery in the subconscious while someone sleeps to keep words and memories alive.

            Over whom are you crying today?  Over whom are you tempted to stop praying?  Don’t do it!  Weep, certainly, but not without hope.  If any of us sow our prayers in heartfelt tears, we will reap a harvest with joy.  God would tell many, and perhaps you are one of the many, that the faith you long to see evidence of ~ is still in there.

Even in Sodom, you can keep the embers of faith alive.  I remember that and fight on my knees for their return.  Amen

“Well, well!”

“WELL, WELL!”

The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom.  Genesis 19:1

         When the angels arrived at the city gate, whom should they meet but Lot.  How shocking!  He had gone from a foreigner to the mayor of the city.  (The one who sits at the gate to welcome strangers is the magistrate of the city.)

         Abraham and Lot had traveled together for much of their earlier years until they reached the land of Canaan.  There was a quarrel between Lot’s herdsmen and Abraham’s herdsmen over pasture rights.  Abraham had deferred his right of first choice to Lot and allowed him to choose which land he wanted first.  Lot’s choice, and his commentary, reflected his values.  He looked out over the plain of the Jordan and said that it was like the ‘garden of the LORD’ and ‘the land of Egypt.’ The ‘garden of the Lord’ meant divine fellowship, the likes of what Adam and Eve had enjoyed in the Garden.  What did the ‘land of Egypt’ mean?  Lot knew it well.  He had just left there and knew it to be a place of prosperity and easy living.  He chose the plains of the Jordan (Sodom), and assumed he could have both materialism and poignant fellowship with God.

         How did it work out?  I’m about to see in the unfolding story.  So far, it appears to have worked out well.  He is mayor, after all.  My question is, ‘How does a man of God, one not willing to compromise his convictions, end up being elected major in a city where rampant homosexuality and crime hold the land captive?’

         Lot’s choice of Sodom will come back to haunt him.  He will barely escape with his life in the days to come and he will lose his wife in the process.  He disregarded the principle that runs all the way through Scripture; choose God first and everything else will fall in line.  Lot did exactly the opposite, placing materialism first.  He was intent on finding a place to grow his material advantages while, simultaneously, enjoying the presence of God.  Caring as much, or more, about the first was his downfall.

         I wonder how it affected his heart over time?  How did the values of the city affect his children?  How much did he bring the kingdom of God to the values of the city?  Was he the salt that savored his hometown?

         For every choice in front of me today, I ask my Father for the discernment to choose righteousness first.  The stakes are so high.

The things of the world still glitter and have instant appeal.  Help me. Amen