A Bible Study and Contemporary Application of Genesis 11-19 by Anne Turner

KEY VERSE: Genesis 19:29 "So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived."

Chapter Twelve

A Good Ending

When the Lord has performed a mighty work in one’s life, how tempting it is to feel self satisfied and to assume the battle is over. But the warfare between the powers who would tempt us into their realm and the Lord who would send his angels, if need be, to pull us out of their infernal habitations, never ceases. There is never a day when we may consider ourselves safe from Satan’s schemes. We must be on guard, standing against wrong thoughts and feelings, or evil will win. Lot was about to discover this.

Soon after arriving in Zoar, he recognized he had made a mistake. Without any holdings or belongings, he and his daughters were at the mercy of these city dwellers whose lifestyles were exactly like the Sodomite’s. This can be inferred from the angel’s response to Lot when he asked permission to flee there. The angel said, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of.” (Gen 19:21 NIV)

Zoar was spared on account of Lot, but did its people appreciate these lone survivors who brought God’s grace within their walls? Reprobates unable to turn from sin, perhaps they welcomed them into their gloomy dungeon, but not because they were hospitable.

Lot, wisely, “was afraid to stay in Zoar.” (ibid., vs 30) He and his daughters headed for the mountains and became cave dwellers there.

Some theologians teach that God chooses man and gives life to his heart before man is able to choose to commit his life to God. Many others teach that man must choose God in order to receive a new heart. Viewed as a parable, the story of Lot lends credence to the first perspective. Lot chose to depart Zoar ( figuratively, evil) and go to the mountain (God) after being rescued from Judgment, not before.

However you may perceive this issue, it is clear that a personal decision to live for God is an essential ingredient to salvation. Christians may differ over when salvation is achieved and who chooses whom first, but we cannot dispute that believers must will to depart the environs of sin and evil. Up until that point of decision, our salvation is sleeping, waiting to be grasped and given expression, if only in isolation in a cave on a mountain. We must choose to depart from evil and do good daily, with God’s help.

Lot headed for the mountain in obedience to the angel’s original command— Better late than never! Life in the mountains, however, was monotonous. It is said, “Three’s a crowd,” but life among these three probably was lonely and wearying. Lot was a man who enjoyed city life. This new lifestyle was in conflict with his natural desire to be in community with others.

Perhaps the three began to lose hope of any happier, better day to come and to give in to their morose feelings and outlook. The time of trauma and relief had long passed, and they could no longer remember what it had felt like to appreciate God’s mercy and to be grateful to be alive, straining for righteousness, working out their salvation with fear and trembling. Phil. 2:12

Of course, Satan was waiting for this prime opportunity to suggest a way of solving the tedium problem. He selected the oldest daughter as the target of his deception. Naturally she was severely disappointed at how her life had turned out. No husband, no children, no hope, no joy. Then, it occurred to her that she would die having left no gift of progeny to carry on her family line which was her God-ordained reason for being. Of course, the role of the daughter was to raise seed for her husband, not her father, but perhaps these distinctions became more and more blurred in her mind as the days dissolved one into the other.

Read Genesis 19:30-38.

30. And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. 31. And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: 32. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 33. And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 34. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 35. And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 36. Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. 37. And the first born bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. 38. And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.

There is a great temptation now to accuse Lot. The one man to escape God’s judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah sinned in a way that disgusts us. Could he really have been so drunk that he could not fend off his daughters? Surely he could have controlled his drinking. He seems to make one bad decision after another!

But wait: Perhaps the goal of progeny for barren daughters and to continue his line seemed a righteous end. Had the Lord not commanded men to be fruitful and multiply? Yes, Satan knows God’s Word and how to confuse our thoughts. Beware when wrong concepts begin to seem right.

It is not mentioned that the daughters desired anything but children and to their credit, they understood they could not bond with the Canaanites; but no matter what leniency we may grant, this sin was a sorrowful affront to the Lord and a shameful deed with repercussions for the family and their descendants.

How tempting it is to condemn Lot! First he selfishly chose the plain of the Jordan. Then he moved to Sodom, even though he knew it was an evil place. He had a chance to get out when Abraham rescued him from Kedorlaomer, but he returned.

He very nearly missed escaping the Judgment. If the angels hadn’t led him to safety, he wouldn’t have survived. He insisted on going to Zoar but soon realized the angels were right after all. Then he lay with both of his daughters. Couldn’t he have stopped after the first night? !

Could this voice of condemnation be the Accuser’s? Let us speak well of our brother Lot. He did not go along with the Sodomites, but lived among them as a righteous man. He took care of his family, finding prospective husbands for his daughters to arrange for the future. He protected the angels as best he could, and he obeyed their command not to look back. He was obedient to that command even when his wife was gone. And he was belatedly obedient to flee to the mountains. After all, he was Abraham’s nephew. He was a man who desired to know God and to be with his specially chosen son. He had faithfully attended Abraham on the journey to Canaan, to Egypt, and back again.

No, he should not have drunk so much wine and fallen into sin with his daughters. On those nights, he silenced his conscience. Lot did many things wrong, but also many right. His life was one of steps forward and then, steps backward. But he was not a reprobate. He was one in whom God was at work.

God knew he was the weaker brother, the one whose father had died an untimely death, and that is why the Lord inspired Abraham to help him and to pray for him. The strong are to “encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” (I Thess 5:14 NIV)

The final word in remembrance of Lot is not found in Genesis but in II Peter, as we studied earlier. It is in a passage containing a warning to early Christians that false teachers would creep in and introduce heresies, distorting the Truth, thereby bringing destruction upon themselves. After this warning, Peter says,

For if God...condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)– If this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. (2 Peter 2:4...9 NIV)

This is an important passage to any study of Lot, because it establishes him in the Word of God as a beloved servant. And, the verses leading up to it (II Peter 2:1-3) remind us that God’s Word is not to be distorted.

Satan will achieve some inroads and purposes in our lives; nevertheless God’s deliverances will stand. Lot is to be remembered as an example of God’s power to deliver the righteous in the day of evil and as a righteous man, not for his wrong relations with his daughters. All of us make mistakes and all sin.

The events had taken place. The cities and the beautiful plain had been destroyed. Lot’s wife was dead, but he and his daughters were safe. But Abraham did not know that. Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.” (Gen 19: 27, 28)

Since Abraham was called to be the Father of the Faithful, perhaps God required that he trust him without discovering whether his intercession had been answered, at least for a time. But to us who have been given God’s Word for strength, comfort and guidance, it is revealed, “when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.” (ibid., vs 29)

The Lord had set his affection on Abraham and established him in a covenant relationship with himself. He made wonderful and gracious, unconditional promises to him, continuing to forgive and bless him despite his sins and failings. He rewarded him for showing this same forbearing love for Lot.

The reward was Lot’s deliverance from destruction. It may seem to be a gift which is tarnished by the final account of Lot and his daughters, but centuries later, it is recovered from the dust bin, polished and held up for all to see in the II Peter Scripture: “Lot, a righteous man…” rescued!


Seizure, Deliverance

In the short time he had to live, Jack frequently shared with friends Hebrews 12:5-8 which he had providentially found with the help of a Christian brother very early in his new life:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.”

There were those who rejected his view and told him that if he would only believe, God would heal him. I was not in their camp, but I did believe that God would heal him. After all, the Lord had done the impossible. He had broken through the complex defenses, refusals and unbelief of a hard-hearted man. Could he not now heal him from a physical disease? What a relatively simple task. I felt he would do this on behalf of my sister and nieces. They deserved as many years of happiness as they had endured of grief and trouble. But God does not reason as we do.

Jack did live seven times longer than the initial prediction of a month at most. He underwent an experimental treatment that would have killed most men, and was rarely in severe discomfort, though he was dying daily. During these months, the hurts of the past were put away. The family spent time together and he called Mandy “my living angel.”

He stood before the Church and confessed his faith, describing his great love for a Savior who would take him to a heavenly home despite his shameful sins. He appreciated the forgiveness of God, and invited any who wanted to know God as he had come to know him, or who desired to renew their commitment to Christ, to come forward and he would gladly pray with them.

It was as though he had exchanged his physical toughness for spiritual maturity, as though a reversal in his nature had been accomplished nearly overnight. He was greatly emaciated, pale, bald from chemotherapy, and he had become a leader of men.

At the end of the winter we so longed to believe that perhaps God would cure Jack. It seemed right to hope so. And we still felt it was essential to his well being that he get away from the real estate office that was still his place of employment though he could not often go there.

During one of my visits, Mandy and I decided to surprise him by moving his furniture and files out of there and into their garage which we made into his own independent real estate office. His boss accepted this and Jack was happy with the change though he was doubtful about his prospects.

Very shortly after we moved him out, the FBI shut the doors of his former office, and they have been closed ever since. That’s another story, and it did not involve Jack.

God’s timing is perfect. We worry in vain over matters which are best left in his loving care. Jack held on to his faith through the long months of illness. He grew weaker and more dependent on oxygen with each passing day, but he knew he belonged to God. Still, sometimes he was anxious about how it would be at the end. He did not want his wife to endure being an attendant in respect to his bodily functions. Yet he did not want to go back to the hospital.

He thought of walking out into the woods behind their home to die of exposure, sparing his family from any tedious care-giving or prolonged suffering on his behalf. But he died on his feet just as he had hoped he would throughout his life, because he was always a man of action.

One day, a good friend and his wife came to visit and as they conversed, Jack began to breathe with great difficulty. In his dizziness, he suggested they take him to the hospital, though actually that was the very place he had consciously chosen never again to be, and just before he reached the car, he fell down! Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

Thankfully, the girls were all in school so the couple and Mandy lifted him into the car, and his friend raced him to the hospital, not being certain what was needed.

Jack probably enjoyed watching the race. He loved racing. Or maybe he missed that one. Maybe he was overcome with the honor of being in the presence of the Lord: terrified, transformed, amazed— a conqueror never again to face death.


“...to affirm that God will not and cannot bring to pass His eternal purpose unless we pray is utterly erroneous, for the same God who has decreed the end has also decreed that His end shall be reached through His appointed means, and One of these is prayer. The God who has determined to grant a blessing also gives a spirit of supplication which first seeks the blessing."

- A. W. Pink, English Christian Evangelist and Pastor

Comment on the Westminster Confession

We shall see Him as He is.

Westminster Confession Chapter 32
Of the State of Man after Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead
1. The bodies of men, after death, return to dust, and see corruption; but their souls (which neither die nor sleep), having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them. The souls of the righteous, being then made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies; and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day. Besides these two places for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.
2. At the last day, such as are found alive shall not die, but be changed: and all the dead shall be raised up with the self-same bodies, and none other, although with different qualities, which shall be united again to their souls forever.

For further study and contemplation, go here.