Faithful During Distress
Read: Genesis 18.16—19.29
When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Get up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or else you will be consumed in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered;
Genesis 19:15-16 (NRSV)
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is well known but we should take note that Lot and his family were spared not by their faith, but because of God’s faithfulness.
The Lord told Abraham about the intended destruction of Sodom and immediately Abraham began to intercede for his nephew, Lot. The conversation in Genesis 18.22-33 could be read as an intercessory prayer; Abraham “negotiated” mercy for the cities if ten righteous persons could be found there. When God’s angel messengers arrived, they were soon met by Lot, who offered them the hospitality of his home (just as Abraham had hosted them, 18.1-8). However, the city of Sodom was hostile, not hospitable. The citizens surrounded Lot’s house, demanding that he send his guests out that they might rape them. Lot had been so long in Sodom that he thought offering his two daughters to the mob was a lesser atrocity (19.8). Sodom was totally corrupt. Indeed, the prophet Ezekiel will later say: This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it (Ezekiel 16:49-50). The angels rescued Lot and announced God’s intent to destroy the city. But Lot lingered (v. 16). It was not until daybreak that the angels literally dragged Lot and his family out of the city. His wife, instead of fleeing, turned back and was “petrified” (v. 26). Lot begged to go to a nearby city (Zoar, vv. 20) instead of fleeing to the hills. As a result, God spared Zoar (v. 21) So, God actually saved more than the ten people Abraham prayed for!
God is pleased when we are faithful. But we must acknowledge, honestly, that God is faithful to his people even when they are unfaithful to God. Lot malingered and God still delivered him. We are sometimes stubborn, foolish, willful even, wicked and, thankfully, God is faithful during our distress.
Reverend Steven B. Lawrence