Genesis 19: We are a lot like Lot

Excuse the pun! As part of my Bible reading plan this year, I recently came across the story of Lot’s rescue from Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s a story that is largely overlooked, in favour of the controversial debate on homosexuality. But in the midst of the debate, is a person whose story reverberates with resemblances of the Christian in his faith.

  1. We read that Lot is sinful. Despite, Abraham’s prayers for God to spare the city if only 10 righteous people were found there, it is undeniable that even Lot (in all his “heterosexual” ways!) is very much sinful. If you were left in any doubt after reciting Romans 3:23 (all have sinned and fallen short), take a look at how Lot handles the riot on his doorstep (v8). It really is not pretty! We are like Lot in this way, that even as Christians we remain sinful. Just because we give our lives to Christ, does not end the inclinations of our heart. We must still wrestle and put to death the tendencies of sin within our self. Romans 7.
  2. We read that Lot was rescued by God, on the basis of someone else’s faith. A chapter previously, Abraham is pleading with God to spare the city and rescue Lot. Abraham is playing the role of intercessor. At the end of Genesis 19, we read that “so when God destroyed the cities of the plain, He remembered Abraham, and He brought Lot out of the catastrophe..” (v29). Notice Lot isn’t saved because he was a holy man, he was saved because God remembered Abraham. In the same way, we are not rescued from the destruction of hell, because we are righteous…but rather because of the faith and righteousness of Jesus. Romans 8.
  3. We read that Lot attempted to persuade others to flee the coming wrath and destruction. He pleaded with his son’s in law (or soon to be son’s in law) to leave. But it says they ‘laughed at him’. How often do we experience this as Christians, when we tell others about the good news. Many people laugh, disbelieve. Romans 9.
  4. We read that after the rescue of Lot and his family, he continues to make foolish and harmful decisions. Giving himself to drink and promiscuity, to the point that his own daughters take advantage of him. This is no ideal man, no ideal husband and father. In fact, a man like this would likely be arrested. In the same way, many Christians – even Church leaders – are riddled with the residue of the sinful flesh. This is not to excuse them, or myself, but rather to urge us back to Him who is our righteousness. To push us back to worship. To encourage us to present our bodies as living sacrifices to Him who rescued us. Romans 12.

Discussion: Does God’s Hidden Will make Him Duplicitous?

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. – Deuteronomy 29:29

Whilst I was studying systematic theology last year I came across a concept that I still spend some time thinking about randomly even today. It is the concept of God’s hidden will.

From my, albeit limited, understanding. God presents His will to us in two different ways. 1) By revealing it. 2) By hiding it. It is a concept that provides us with a framework and understanding for why evil happens, when there exists an all-powerful, all-good, and all-loving God. For example:

Revealed Will: You shall not murder
Hidden Will: People do murder, but I intend to turn it for my glory, the good of the Church and the salvation of the lost.

In this example we can see that God’s revealed will is that man should not murder each other. This is what God wants, just as He wants no man to perish in hell (2 Peter 3:9). Since this is not the case, men do murder each other and men do frequently reject the offer of eternal life, we must conclude that God has a Hidden will. Especially when we consider that all God’s plans do succeed (Isaiah 14:24), and that from a logical point of view, a god who could not accomplish his intentions would be no god.

Hence the concept of God’s hidden will.

Another way to understand it is:
Revealed will: how we should behave (e.g. make disciples, love our neighbours, turn the other cheek)
Hidden will: God’s ability to distribute grace when we fail.

We are not called to know or even act upon His hidden will. Rather we are called to have faith that His hidden will is also Good, Sovereign, Loving, and Powerful. We must believe without seeing. This requires faith.

  1. We know (Revealed will) that God desires no one to perish, and all to come to Him for salvation…and yet (Hidden will) God has predestined some chosen few to come to faith in Him. Since we do not know who, and it is not for us to know, we ought to be relentless in our obedience to Matthew 28’s great commission (to make disciples of all nations)
  2. To violate His revealed will in our actions is sin, and is therefore punishable. Even though His is powerful enough and intends to work it for His good.
  3. We should pray with sensitivity to His willingness, not His goodness, love or power, which He has revealed to us.

Therefore, God’s hidden will does not make Him duplicitous but rather:

  1. Demonstrates His graciousness towards us, who frequently disobey and fall short of even His revealed will.
  2. Demonstrates His sovereignty and power in the midst of legitimate free will and rebellion.
  3. Demonstrates His justice in His judgements, since He has told us exactly what He requires from us.