I remember Paul warned us not to compare ourselves among ourselves (2 Corinthians 10:12). VERY GOOD advice, but
there is another kind of comparison it might behoove us to spend a little time doing. This kind of comparison isn't
the battle of pride of who is greater than the other. The kind that results in our thinking we "have arrived",
simply because we are not quite as bad as someone else. What I propose is the kind of profitable comparison that
helps us come to our knees in repentance.
For those not familiar with the account of Lot, Abraham's nephew, I will give a quick review. There came a time when
Lot's herds and Abraham's herds became too great for them to be able to dwell together. As a result, Lot chose to
settle in the plains near Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 13:8-11). As you read the account of Lot's life, you might
notice details, such as Lot first settled in the plains, but eventually moved into Sodom itself. Sodom is famous for
its moral bankruptcy, and God's wrath finally falling upon it in destruction.
God was merciful to Lot, and don't think that the faithful Abraham didn't have something to do with God's extra mercy
toward Lot. We can see Abraham's plea for Sodom and God's response to that (Genesis Chapter 18). Further, consider
the following verse:
29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of
the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt. Genesis 19:29
Bearing this in mind, realize what might have been the end of Lot if it was not for the godly Abraham's sake!
Moving onward, we see the angels of the Lord arriving to take Lot and his family out of Sodom. The "Sodomites" rose up
in the evening of the angels' entry to commit villainy upon these angels, who were being hosted in Lot's home. In the
scene, Lot offered his daughters to these villains, in hopes of saving the angels. The angels took care of the matter
and led Lot, his wife and two daughters out of the city to safety (Genesis 19:1-23). Later, we see Lot, in his drunkenness,
committing further acts of shame (Genesis 19:30-38).
One last point to notice, is the meaning of Lot's name being, "covering". Lot became that light that was covered in the
corrupt Sodom. What a warning to us all.
When we remember Lot, we do not tend to remember him in a romanticized view of a godly man. Rather, I would conjecture
that our view would tend to be the horrified view of looking at how far a godly man can fall. Something to make us
tremble and pray to God for mercy to keep us from falling to such a state.
I want us to take a look at what has always kind of amazed me in a statement found in the New Testament:
7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them,
in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 2 Peter 2:7,8
Except Peter had presented this statement, I would never have seen Lot as a just man. These verses give us some incredible
insight that is actually quite overwhelming, when we consider its implications. We will take this up further in just a moment,
but first I wanted to try and see the good in Lot's response in the attack in Sodom.
Now I hope there is none, who calls himself or herself a Christian, who isn't shocked by the solution Lot proposed to the
attackers. It is shameful, but in trying to give Lot the benefit of the doubt, imagine this perspective:
Harkening back to Abraham's visit with the three messengers. It is clear from the account that Abraham recognized these
men as being more than just mere humans. Two of these three showed up to deliver Lot. It would be fairly reasonable to
assume that Lot likewise would be able to discern these were more than simply two travelers on some journey. I don't doubt
that even the other inhabitants of Sodom knew there was something special about these two travelers. That is why they were
intent on having them for themselves. When Lot was confronted with the attackers, I propose that Lot's chief concern was
actually motivated by a fear of God. Lot knew these were some kind of angelic beings and he knew that to turn them over
was unthinkable, in the face of God's wrath. He knew that above all else, even at his own expense, he must protect them.
In his panicked, cornered situation, all he could think of was the compromising solution he offered. In his eyes, it was
a "lesser of two evils".
We tend to view Lot as a pretty sorry individual, when all is said and done, and move forward, leaving the memory of that
sordid piece of history behind us. But now, what about that confusing passage found in 1 Peter?
We are presented with two views of Lot. The first, in Genesis, gives one view. The second, in 2 Peter, gives us another view.
It is here that we see what was going on inside Lot. Though his light had been nigh unto extinguished in outward appearances,
there was still the seed of righteousness smoldering inside. Peter tells us that little remaining seed manifested itself in
one particular manner. Lot was "vexed".
The Greek word used here for "vexed" means, "to tire down with toil, exhaust with labor". It is also translated once as "oppress".
The constant nearness of such wicked language and behavior wears away the remaining strength of the godly. It is a burden of grief
to behold. Consider:
158 I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word. Psalm 119:158
Such IS the attitude of the righteous toward the wickedness of the transgressors. With Lot, he was a light being smothered as
well as erring in discernment of the way the godly should live.
I propose that we have followed in the same course. We have been so inundated with the conversation and conduct of the wicked,
that we do not even recognize a lot of iniquity for the sheer vileness that it really is. I would hazard to say that if many
things were brought to our attention in our lives, we would sincerely question, "What's wrong with that?"
The title of this message is "How do we compare to Lot?" Remembering the Genesis account, we may pull back in horror at the
thought of being anything like him, but we must ask ourselves, "Can we say we share the inner feelings expressed in 2 Peter?"
From my observations, I would have to conclude the answer is mainly "no". Most in the United States, who call themselves
"Christians", demonstrate no "vexation" to "the filthy conversation of the wicked:". I can state that very confidently.
Look at the choice of entertainment for a moment. Lot was surrounded by a corrupt society. Their conduct wore him out. We,
on the other hand, make the active choice to continue watching and listening to entertainment "with filthy conversation".
We may not be able to stop the filthy conversation we witness on the streets, but we demonstrate our impure heart in actively
choosing to witness it in our entertainment. If our hearts even came close to the purity of Lot's, we would be vexed,
instead of being relaxed, in watching profaned entertainment. It defies all logic to say we have a righteous heart, to
at least match Lots, and not be burdened with sickness of heart when we see filth in our entertainment. It proves us to
be deceiving ourselves! If we say it does grieve us, then by all means, please tell me how it is one can continue to
watch some entertainment, after the bitter taste of wickedness should have ruined that source of pleasure to us? I must
propose it really doesn't "vex" us, like it did Lot. There is no other explanation for it. In certain things, we would
doubtless walk out of the theater or turn off the radio, TV or internet the moment we beheld the offense. Other things,
we see as being of little consequence, such as using the names we should love above all, as vain expressions, or outright
obscenities. There is no doubt in my mind that the Lord Jesus Christ would not tolerate watching entertainment when He
heard His holy Father's title of deity used in vain. To Him, who gave us that opening line of the "Lord's Prayer",
9b . . . Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Matthew 6:9b
Such disrespect for anything referring to God or holy things, would be intolerable. Neither could I possibly see Jesus watching
shows using vulgarity or crudeness of any sort. Remember, entertainment is a matter of choice. We partake of it for pleasure
and upbuilding. Nothing, as much as this, truly manifests such a fallen state of heart. We may do all "the right things" in
our "church" activities, but what does our entertainment choice say of our heart condition?
From what I am witnessing in the "Christian" population, I have to conclude we are in a worse state than Lot. Who knows, if we
were forced against the wall such as Lot found himself that one night, maybe we would also offer our children. I have witnessed
a professed "Christian" getting drunk and propositioning the woman by him, who wasn't his wife. Oh yes, there are those who call
themselves "Christians", who do ministry work, whose behavior is little different to that of Lot's in the cave. Spiritually,
the cave is a symbol of death in the Bible. It is the place of burial. Notice that Lot's history ends in his dwelling, and
sinning in the symbol of death.
The good thing about this is that we haven't reached the end of our lives yet. We have become worse than Lot. Our heart cannot
even profess to match his in being vexed! The good is that if we see this sickened state, we can repent TODAY. We can call upon
9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit
within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy
salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
What a prayer of hope and guidance. We can turn now, so that it can at least be said of us what Peter said of Lot. So we can at
least launch out no lower than Lot's standard and attain to this prayerful repentance uttered by the Psalmist David. To attain
to this we must heed the counsel of the Apostle Paul:
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your
own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Call upon Him, lean upon Him and walk before Him in godly fear and trembling. Put away the evil from among you and seek ye God!