Jump Start # 1958
2 Peter 2:7-8 “And if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds)”
What a sad picture of Lot. This certainly didn’t turn out as he had planned. What a mess he was in. Our passage, one of several O.T. examples drawn to show the judgment of God, is used by Peter to remind brethren what God will do with false teachers who were corrupting and distorting His truth. Peter draws from angels that were judged and the world that was judged during the flood in Noah’s day, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, condemned during the time of Abraham and Lot.
The background to this event with Lot is interesting. Abraham was on the move. God had called him to leave Ur. Lot tagged along. Both had large flocks. The land couldn’t contain all the flocks and the servants of both men were fussing at each other. It was time to separate. Abraham, being older, should have been the one to make the choice. Abraham was on a mission for God. Lot was just going along. But, Abraham allowed Lot to pick the area. He saw the valley was well watered and good for his flocks. He chose the land near Sodom. It had great curb appeal, as we say today. We remember that Eve saw that the forbidden fruit was good to the eye. David saw the beautiful Bathsheba bathing. There is more to things than what we see with our eyes.
Genesis tells us that the city of Sodom was wicked exceedingly and sinners against the Lord. Genesis tells us that Lot moved his tents as far as Sodom. The next chapter in Genesis has Lot living in Sodom. By chapter 19, Lot is sitting at the gates of Sodom, a place where community discussions happened. Lot is right there. He is among them.
When God is finally out of patience with Sodom, He tells Abraham that He will destroy it. Abraham pleads for God to spare the cities because of the righteous who may be there. God would save the cities if ten righteous could be found. TEN. Ten could not be found. Angels take Lot out of the city and the warning is given to not look back. We know what happens. Lot’s wife turned and she became a pillar of salt. Immediately, Lot lost his companion. The words of Jesus, echo so loudly here, “Remember Lot’s wife.”
Our verse today shows the negative impact that Sodom had upon Lot. It was wearing him out spiritually. He was dying. He felt his soul tormented day after day. What he saw and what he heard coming out of those men who had no regard for God crippled his heart. Why didn’t Lot stay out in the fields and away from the city? Why was he there?
There comes a time in our lives when we must admit that we made a wrong choice. Lot made a wrong choice. The land was great for sheep, but the area was terrible for Godly hearts. His sheep thrived while he was being crushed spiritually. And this ancient story, first coming from Genesis and later from Peter, is relived over and over today. Righteous people making wrong choices. Righteous people dying spiritually as a result of those choices.
Here are some examples of modern choices like Lot:
Your child gets a scholarship to play ball in college. Division 1. Impressive. Great opportunity. Full ride. Expenses paid for. Maybe a stepping stone to the pros. Papers are signed, suitcases are packed and off goes your child. Little thought is given about whether or not a congregation is in the area. Very little investigation is put into what that church is like. Surrounded by unprincipled young people, your child plays and graduates in four years. Meets a girl on campus. Gets married. But the cost has been heavy. He hasn’t worshipped hardly at all while in school. Demands of sports, keeping up his grades, social life, and his faith in God has died. Oh, there are great memories of great games to be talked about for years to come, but he has no place for God anymore in his heart. The fields looked good but it was the wrong choice.
A family is worshipping with a small congregation. The congregation is old, not in the people, but in the thinking. Little is done. Little is expected. There are so few kids in the congregation that the fifth grader is put in with the two high school students. It’s the ole’ one room school concept. But here, it’s Bible class. This small church can not afford a preacher. Some someone usually gets up and reads a few verses and a prayer is offered. No depth. No challenging thoughts. No teaching. There are other options. There is a larger congregation but it’s about thirty miles away. They have an eldership, tons of kids and they are growing. They are doing things, and they are doing them right and Biblical. Do we stay and try to help this small church or do we move? Do we drive the distance every week? Mom and dad kick around the options. They really love their house. They don’t want to move. They decide to stay. Week after week, they are slowing dying because they are not being fed spiritually. They could have Bible studies in their home, but they don’t. They could invite families over and try to be a spark plug for the place, but they don’t. They just show up and go home. Week after week. Their kids grow up and have never really been taught. They fall away. The house this couple lives in is loved. The fields looked good but it was the wrong choice.
A man is offered a senior position at work. It is a premium job. Many would love to have this opportunity. It comes with a large salary and many perks. But the hours that this job requires and the travel that he now must do, takes him away from family. His name has been kicked around at church as a future elder but he can’t do that now. He’s way too busy. He is asked to teach a class at the congregation. He has to turn that down. He’s in and out so much that he can’t teach. The lifestyle he now lives puts him around some high rollers. He’s meeting people that he never thought he’d ever know. Name dropping, arrogance, and high spending have taken over his life. He’s feeling more and more out of touch with the people down at the church house. He’s changing. He’s becoming more and more like the people he is running with. Social drinking now crosses his mind. The others are doing it. He is attending less and less with God’s people to worship. The promotion, like the fields of Sodom, looked so good. But it wasn’t a good choice.
Now, I have known people who have gone through all of these examples, and not only kept their faith, but influenced others and did well. I know the college kids that played sports and influenced team mates to attend with them. These kids grew, got married and are serving amazingly in the kingdom. I’ve know families that worshipped in small congregations, but they were able to be great influences and bring life back to those groups. I’ve known brethren who took those senior positions at work, and didn’t allow their hope, character or outlook to change. It can be done. But I also know far too many that were crushed because of the unprincipled people around them.
You realize that your choice wasn’t right when it starts affecting your faith and conviction to Christ. When you see yourself changing and not for the good, it’s time to pull the plug on your choices. A person may have to switch schools, drop sports, move, or turn down the promotion. Those are hard choices. But in the words of Jesus, ‘what does it profit if you gain the whole world and lose your soul.’ Lot lost a wife. Later, his two daughters made terrible choices. Lot felt tortured while in Sodom. Why stay? It’s just a job. It’s just a house. It’s just a school. Are those things worth losing your soul for?
Some choices cannot be walked away from. This is especially true in marriage. Many a person will say, “I married the wrong person.” What they want is the exit door, so they can get out of that poor choice. It’s too late. God only allows one cause for divorce. This is why so much thought must be put into the person one dates. Some people change after marriage. Some get worse rather than better. A person has to try all that they can to make things better.
We must develop better vision to see beyond the fields of Sodom. What’s on paper may look good, but what’s the atmosphere like? Do some homework. Talk to people. Do your own investigation. Visit congregations a few times before final decisions are made. Think about the spiritual impact not just on yourself but upon your family. Is this a good choice? Is this a spiritual choice? Five years down the road what will this choice to do me spiritually?
Had Lot asked those questions he may never have chosen the rich fields of Sodom. What’s good for sheep, and what’s good for scholarships, and what’s good for the paycheck, may not be good for the soul. Making a wise choice based upon God is first.