Monday, November 02, 2009


I think I missed my calling. I should have been a genetic scientist, searching out the great mysteries of why people do what they do. (Other than loathing science, math and philosophy, I could have been fabulous, right?) What makes a person argue incessantly? Why do some people say the sky is turquoise, when others say it’s blue – just to start a quarrel? And why are there others like me, who would rather swallow a porcupine than debate an issue? If it’s a category five hurricane, and you say the sky is blue, I’ll search the heavens to find the faintest shade of agreeable sapphire. Why? Well, if I was a genetic scientist, maybe I could tell you; but alas, I can only say I THINK it’s innate – wired in at birth. My mom’s dad was a prosecuting attorney. My mom got the debate gene and passed every chromosome to my argumentative brother. I got zilch, nada. However, I married a debater, and his questioning gene hit our firstborn with whirlwind force. From colic as a newborn to refusing naps as a toddler, Trina was born to argue. But she was so darn cute while doing it! At age three, we would tell her a bedtime story and tuck her in for the night. Ten minutes later, she’d peek around the living room doorway. “Just one more question,” she would say, holding up her chubby index finger. For those who love a debate, there’s always just one more question, one more good reason their way makes more sense. So it was with Lot, the great debater…

Gen. 19:1-3 – “The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. ‘My lords,’ he said, ‘please turn aside to your servant's house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.’ ‘No,’ they answered, ‘we will spend the night in the square.’ But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate.” (emphasis added)

  • Notice that Lot’s strong insistence prodded the angels to stay in his home, but from his first greeting to the “bread without yeast,” Lot’s intention was to move God’s angels out of his city quickly. His first response to God’s visitation was his own hurried, unyielding agenda. Angels spoke. Lot argued.

Gen. 19:4-11 – “Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom--both young and old--surrounded the house. They called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.’ Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, ‘No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.’ ‘Get out of our way,’ they replied. And they said, ‘This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We'll treat you worse than them.’ They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door. But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.”

  • Lot didn’t just argue with God; he argued with everyone – sometimes with good reason. When evil knocks on your door, it’s good to argue. Right? But when our arguments leave no honorable outcomes and deteriorate to deplorable solutions, it’s time to turn to God for help. Lot didn’t. Still, God in his mercy intervened.

Gen. 19:12-14 – “The two men said to Lot, ‘Do you have anyone else here--sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the LORD against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.’ So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, ‘Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!’ But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.”

  • The first tragedy is that his sons-in-law were in the Sodomite mob outside the door. The second tragedy is that their pathologically debating father-in-law, Lot, couldn’t convince them he was serious about God’s judgment. Folks give little respect to someone with many words.

Gen. 19:15-17 – “With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, ‘Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.’ When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, ‘Flee for your lives! Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!’” (emphasis added)

  • Hesitation is an argument, when we know God’s clear direction.

Gen. 19:18-26 – “But Lot said to them, ‘No, my lords, please! Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can't flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I'll die. Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it--it is very small, isn't it? Then my life will be spared.’ He said to him, ‘Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.’ (That is why the town was called Zoar. By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah--from the LORD out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities--and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” (emphasis added)

  • Though God sometimes allows us to argue and gives us the desire of our hearts, that questioning and rebellious spirit can seep into the hearts of others around us and cause them to stumble.

Gen. 19:27-29 – “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. 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.”

  • Unless God revealed more to Abraham than Scripture records, he didn’t know at this point that Lot had been rescued from Sodom. He would have assumed that God couldn’t find ten righteous people, and his nephew’s family was destroyed with the city. But God’s mercy was at work even when Abraham couldn’t see it, and no amount of arguing could thwart or improve God’s perfect plan.
Lord, why would I presume to argue with an all-knowing God? What makes me believe I could have a clearer answer, fuller knowledge, or a better way? And when circumstances cast a dark shadow on Your righteousness, strengthen my faith to whole-heartedly trust Your love, Your mercy, and Your truth.

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