How Could the Bible call Lot a Righteous Man?

 

          We have already shown from the Scriptures that Lot was a man who was righteous by faith.  If you want to review that, you can read it in the 2nd letter of St. Peter to the Church, chapter 2 and verses 6 thru 8.  By Orthodox New Testament  theology we would say that Lot was justified, though he was not sanctified.  We have given these issues a thorough run down before and we will doubtless do so again in the future.  In order to move along with this story, I am not going to do so now, except to say that sanctification is one in the same, for simplicities sake, with faithful Christian living.  If he was in today’s setting, then we would say that Lot was a Christian but he wasn't living a faithful life.  This does not mean, however, that Lot was doing nothing at all right.  In fact he was, according to the 2nd Peter passage.  It speaks of "that righteous man who vexed his righteous soul from day to day."

           If the truth of the matter could be adequately explored and understood, Lot was probably about on a par with the average fundamental, church-going Christian of today.  In that regard much can be learned from Lot, as to where he was in life and what he was doing, so let's look at some of those things.

           As the angels—God, we believe, in human form - approached the city, we see Lot sitting, apparently alone, in the gate of the city.  In Israel, the watching of the gates, particularly at evening time, was a very important and necessary task.   It was to keep out the enemy, or to permit strangers to enter in to find shelter and lodging, only after they had been properly instructed as to the behavior that was required of them.  The gates were also the place where the elders of Israel—the wise and responsible men—sat during the day to give counsel to those who passed by.  In those days, when things were right, men cherished the advice of the elders, and sought for it often.  It was not only a gracious thing, but a highly respected thing for the ancient men to make observations and give advice in daily issues of home life, business, and spiritual matters.  It was an honor for a woman to have a husband, who was looked up to, sitting in the gates.  In the 31st Proverb, verse 23, the husband of the godly and honorable woman was known in the gates, when he went to sit among the elders.  This means that, because of her testimony and character, he was highly respected and admired.  In verse 28 we find him singing her praises in the gates.  It was a reproach on Israel, and a judgment of God, when the elders no longer went daily to sit in the gates.  In his great lament for the downfall of Israel and the prophesied rejection of them by God, we find Jeremiah saying, in Lamentations, chapter 5 and verse 14, "the elders have ceased from the gate."  This was as devastating a condemnation as one could make against the nation.

           The city of Sodom was certainly no godly place.  In fact it was probably one of the wickedest cities in the history of the world.  Yet here we find Lot faithfully sitting in the gate.  Many have speculated that his heart was not in it and that it was mere formality.  That may be, but still he was there.  I have often been asked, by men of the community, "Isn't it better not to go to church, than to go and carry out a mere form of worship, sing the songs absently, and put on a hypocritical show?"  The answer to that is, no, it is not.  It is best to go for the right reasons, but it is better to go for the wrong reasons, than not to go at all.  Even to the Pharisees, who felt the sting of Jesus' words more than any other group for their hypocrisy, He said concerning their empty carrying out of the God given duties while neglecting the matters of the heart: "These things ought ye to have done, but not to have left the other undone."  Whenever this subject comes up, and it does come up often, I like to leave people with two very short stories that I have heard in the past. 

          One is about the man who said to a minister, "I don't go to Church because there are so many hypocrites there," to which the minister replied, "I know, I know, but I'd rather spend a while in the Church with some of them than to spend forever in hell with all of them."

           The other story was told by Dr. Harry Ironsides, one of the great old warriors of the faith.  One day a young man come up to him and asked, "Dr. Ironsides, can't you be a good Christian without going to Church?"  "Yes you can," Dr. Ironsides answered, "but you won't."

           What is true of going to Church faithfully is true of everything else that is our God given duty.  It is best to do it whole heartedly.  But it is better to do it halfheartedly than not to do it at all.  Think about that a little, before you get too hard on Lot.

           And then, Lot was a hospitable man, with manners and respect.  He rose up and went to meet them and bowed to them and pleaded with them to come and stay at his house.  That's right, he pleaded, just like Abraham had when they came to his tent.  He did not just invite them, he prevailed upon them.  How different that is from the average Christian of today who mumbles his insincere words of invitation, and is much relieved when they turn him down.  Lot would not take no for an answer.  He insisted.  It wasn't that Lot was overbearing, there is no hint of that here.  They told him that they would stay all night in the street.  Obviously they did not have somewhere else to go for the night. 

           It isn't clear why the Lord refused him and thought to stay in the street.  Maybe they had heard stories about Lot and they were not sure they wanted to stay in that house.  When Abraham offered to fix them food and a place of rest and shade, they accepted with no hesitation.  God was much more approving of Abraham than of Lot, and He knew much more about Abraham because He and Abraham were friends and walked and talked often together.  Remember God had said that He was not sure just what all was going on down in Sodom, and that He was going to see.  This raises again the matter of God's limiting Himself as to His knowledge of things.  This is what theology calls kenosis.  Now, usually when we think of kenosis, it is Christological.  That is to say, it has to do with the whole matter and thought of Christ's taking upon Himself not only the form of man, but the form of a baby and then a child, and growing in stature and wisdom.  But all throughout the Bible, from the Garden of Eden, even before the Fall, we are faced with of God's choosing to not know certain things that He could know if He had wanted to.  You may think that this is impossible but just remember this.  With God, nothing is impossible.  If there is something that He does not choose to know so that He can let man have his privacy, then He can certainly do that.  Whether or not it is for the purpose of allowing man privacy, we can only speculate, for the Bible does not tell us exactly why, but it does tell us that there are certain things that He has chosen not to know.  This is one of those cases.  He said to Abraham that He was going down to Sodom to see for Himself whether or not things were as bad as they were reported to be.  If they were not, and if Sodom did not deserve destruction at that time, He would find that out.

           Perhaps the Lord was testing Lot to see if his hospitality was real or faked.   Maybe he wanted to see if he would persist.  Maybe God simply did not want to impose on Lot's family by coming along unannounced like that.  After all, God is a person of character, consideration and manners.

           And then, perhaps the Lord felt that He could get a better look at the nightlife of Sodom and could better subject Himself to the behavior of the Sodomites, if He stayed in the street all night.  If that was His reason, He need not have been concerned.  That bunch of belligerent perverts in Sodom had no respect for Lot or his home.  Someone had seen the three angels of the Lord go into Lot's house.  Before the men even got a chance to lie down to rest, the mob had gathered.  They came and began to beat on Lot's door.  This was a gang that was as brazen as it was surely.  They demanded that Lot send out the strangers so that they could commit sodomy with them.  That is exactly what they said:  "bring them out to us that we may know them."  This was a way of expressing the act of sexual intercourse.  You will recall that the Bible said that Adam knew Eve and she conceived and bear Cane and Abel and then he knew her again and she bore Seth.  The Virgin Mary asked the angel how she could have a child since she was a virgin and hadn't known a man.  The use of this term in the Bible to express sexual intimacy is very common in the Bible.  It is clear that this is what these men were saying because Lot pleaded with them not to behave so wickedly and he offered to bring his two virgin daughters out to them instead.

          One of the greatest myths in the world today is that homosexuals are a fun-loving, docile bunch of men, or women, who just want to have a good time and be left alone.  They ought to be sued for false advertising for distorting and destroying the word gay.  Queers are about as gay (in the legitimate sense of the word) as Hitler and his storm troopers.  In fact they are worse.  They torture one another to death,  using racks, whips, chains and every other sinister instrument of pain and horror.  They skin people and wear their skins, dissect and cannibalize them, make snuff pornography films where stray children are tortured to death in brutal sex-rituals, and then sell the videos to queer power moguls who own national television networks, own movie studios or are producers of movies, and a list of other things too heinous to mention.  Many of those who buy their snuff pornography films are in city, state and national legislatures.  These are the most warped, distorted, violent creatures on earth.  This was a mean, godless, vile gang of queers that surrounded Lot's house, make no mistake about it.

           One of the things in the Bible that has outraged people through the centuries is the fact that Lot offered to send his virgin daughters out to them if they would leave the strangers alone.  It is indeed difficult to see any justification for such a thing.  Is there anything at all that we can say that would make the least bit of sense out of it.

          Let me say first of all that Lot was a sad case in many ways and it is not necessary for one to justify Lot in anything, in order to systematically teach Biblical truth in this passage.  That having said, there are a couple of things that I will throw out as food for thought.

           For one thing, Lot was terrified.  These men were going to beat his door down and overrun the place.  In all likelihood it would mean the death or at least the humiliation of Lot, his wife, his daughters and his guests.  For another thing it was the solemn duty of a man to protect guests who had come under his roof.  It was a serious business to let anything happen to those who had entrusted their well being to your keeping without making every effort to protect them.

           Also, Lot knew what they were planning to do.  He was, after all, a man of good upbringing who had enough faith and convictions that the Lord referred to him as a righteous man in the 2nd Peter passage.  Lot may have considered it the lesser of two evils to try to convince these men to commit a sin that was at least natural.  Lot knew these people pretty well and he may have known that they would not be too much interested in his daughters in any case, but the angels of the Lord stood every chance of being tortured and killed by these violent perverts.  Of course, as the angels of the Lord, nothing was going to happen to them, but Lot did not know that.  Another thing, which is never popular these days but which we must point out in the interests of accuracy, is that the life of a girl was not valued as highly or considered to be as important in those days, as that of a man.  By the standards of the times, if that was what it would have taken to save the lives and dignity of the men who had come to his house, and if that had succeeded, it would have been and acceptable thing socially.  Do not forget that these perverts were demanding that Lot bring out somebody, and it did not look to him like he had much choice in the matter.

 


 

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