GOOD MORNING TO YA SIBLINGS!
Today’s readings are Genesis 19-21
Addendum to notes: From this past week’s notes on Genesis 8-11, some eagle-eyed group members followed along with me and did the math on how long Noah and his family were in the ark. Bravo for testing it! A few folks noticed that my math was ten days off of their figures. The difference here is in the formula used and I should have clarified that I was not using expected numbers. I did my math based on a full Hebrew year, which would have been 355 days rather than 365. Therefore, if you use a 365 day year in the formula instead, there would most assuredly be a ten day difference. I appreciate y’all pointing this out and I have made a note on that post so future readers will know how I made my calculations.
A note: Our group is very large and we are just now getting into the Word but have covered so much already. One of the things I’ve noticed is that it can be natural for us, in the early stages of getting into the Word after being in the world, to question YHWH for allowing things to happen. The world teaches us to blame YHWH for things that we do, assuming that He was okay with what happened simply by the nature of it happening. Understanding comes when we turn that around and realize that just because a human did something, does not mean YHWH sanctioned it – even in the Bible.
As I’ve said, the Bible does not whitewash our spiritual forefathers. We see them do stupid things. We see them lack faith. We see the Father reveal a plan and when He doesn’t act fast enough in their minds, they decide they must take matters into their own hands. This happens time and again. Today, when mankind does stupid or evil stuff we tend to blame the Father for allowing us too. That tendency can bleed over into our reading of the Word. I encourage you to step back from these stories and begin to see the developing pattern of YHWH’s way vs Man’s way. As humans, we tend to be defensive and question YHWH first when we should question our own actions first instead. Instead of judging man by YHWH’s standard, we tend to judge YHWH by man’s standards. Just be aware when you see yourself doing this and start turning it around. This will transform your understanding of YHWH’s Word.
Remember HE is the straight edge to which all else must line up. Not the other way around.
Another thing to keep in mind: we live in a time of sound bites, cliff notes, and one sentence summaries of news stories that would have been pages long just two decades ago. And so, we come to the Bible, the most important book we will ever read, with that soundbite attention span. The two do not go together. The Father reveals Himself to each of us in His time, as we are ready, according to His will and purpose. Even if you have spent a lifetime never reading or studying the Word, do not feel as if you have now entered a race. You are here to learn, you have set your heart to read (and hopefully do) His Word, and He is honoring that. We are being given a LOT of information each day. You do not have to eat everything on the table and you do not have to clean your plate. It is okay if you read it, take what you can, and then allow time to digest. The goal has never been to read the Bible one time. The goal is to become a Bible reader. You will come around the bend again.
However, if the pace feels a bit much, I have some advice that will change everything. Rather than reduce your time in the word, increase it. Find something else in your life that isn’t fruitful and give that up instead of giving up your time with the Father. I know this seems to go against reason but trust me on this – or rather, trust Him.
Do you trust Him? If you do, when tempted to step back from Him, step closer instead.
So much happens in our readings today but I want to pull back a bit and talk about the big picture when it comes to Lot and his choices.
In looking at this story we are told that that Abraham and Lot were very wealthy in both possessions and livestock. So wealthy that the land could not support both of them. In Genesis 13:5-6 we read:
“And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together”
Abraham decided to be generous and give Lot his choice of the land, taking for himself whatever Lot did not choose. Lot chose what he felt was the best of the land and separated from Abraham.
This is disheartening but we see his current character coming out.
Now when we return to Lot again we find that, although he had great wealth and huge flocks when he left Abraham, he is now living in a house inside the city walls of Sodom. I don’t think for a minute that Lot didn’t know full well that Sodom was located in the area he chose to go and I’m sure that the reputation of the city was well known to all.
He left Abraham as a wealthy man with more than enough land to graze his flocks and live in peace and in a short amount of time moved his entire family within the city walls of one of the most perverse cities in history up until that point.
Think about this in relation to how parents make decisions on where to move today. If we have a family and decide to move we look at how well the schools perform, if the crime rates are low, the culture of the community, etc.
Lot had a choice between beautiful pasture land as far as the eye could see and a city whose culture was known as complete debauchery and he essentially says:
“That’s where I want to go right there, in the middle of everything! Where the parties never stop, the wine flows constantly, and anything goes!”
It appears that this is man who hasn’t put his family before his own desires.
From there we see decision after decision that leads him further down this path that grows darker by the day.
AND YET that path is studded with opportunities to turn back, moments where his uncle intercedes for him, and clear instances where decisions are being made time and again that will take him towards or away from YHWH.
He chooses to go further away each time.
Even when the angels lead him out of the city and they suggests he go to the hills, he chooses to head towards another city instead, still preferring the ways of the world to the peace of a Godly life.
This is hard to read.
But you know what is even harder: Living it.
God gave Lot many opportunities to be separated from “the world” and walk in His ways, even going so far as to send angels to rescue him. But at this point, Lot chose the world. If our lives were examined, would the Father find us doing the same? Think about this for past, present, and future reference. Something to think on. There is a bright note to Lot’s story that should also encourage us – I know it encourages me greatly. Check out 2 Peter 2:7 for another perspective of Lot’s story that caused me to reconsider my limited view. From this text we can see that Lot’s choices may have either had different motivation than we realize – or he had found himself like that prodigal son, waking up in the pig pen, and realized where he truly wanted to be.
This reminds me of the words of YHWH in one of Moses’s farewell speeches from my favorite chapter in the whole Bible:
“See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.”
Hagar and Ishmael being exiled: It is important to note that the Bible does not whitewash our forefathers. They were fallible men and women at times and we see the truth of this. YHWH’s Word shows us that He sees all: The good, the bad, the ugly. And yet He still offers a way back to Him. Grace upon grace. But does this mean we do not have consequences for our behavior? Absolutely not.
The harsh treatment of Hagar and Ishmael will go on to have ramifications that still resonate today.
Genesis 19:31 leads us to believe it is possible that Lot’s daughters thought the entirety of mankind had been destroyed. The sisters remark on how there is not a man left on earth who can father their children other than their father.
Note that they witnessed the astounding destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and Genesis 19:28 tells us that even the next morning from a distance Abraham saw dense smoke rising up from the area like a furnace.
The two sons born of sin between Lot and his daughters are called Moab and Ammon. In Deuteronomy 23:3 we will see that these two tribes are singled out as ones for God’s people to avoid:
“No Ammonite or Moabite or any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD, not even in the tenth generation.”
Lot has left quite the legacy in how he chose to live his life on his own terms, rebelling against YHWH’s wisdom, at least for a time. A pattern for his descendants has been set. But hang onto your hats, because as we continue to read, we’ll see the rest of the story.
Thought for the day:
In what ways are we choosing the world over YHWH in our lives?
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!