Give the creative team a big hand clap. Good morning to all of you and also those who watch the mobile app and the internet.
Okay. Part of being a teacher – part of being a good teacher – is getting people to think. I always told my students that if you're not getting some pain and discomfort in what I'm teaching you, I'm not doing a very good job. Because, if you're getting taught something and nothing is changing in your life, you're either living in an echo chamber or you're just getting brainwashed or indoctrinated. We want to grow as people and sometimes growth is difficult.
So, I'm going to ask you a question. It's a critical thinking question, but I want you to think about this. Why did every single one of us – I mean, I know the video presented it that way – just assume that Zack, in the yellow, was wrong and everybody else was right? Ah, see? What if that video was about David? Remember when David striped down to his linen ephod and danced before the Lord and went crazy? And his wife and Michael looked down upon him and despised him? What if that's what we were trying to say? Would you have known that?
You know, because what's interesting is we tend to interpret data, things we listen to, things we watch, things that we believe, we interpret it and then we make decisions and we get bent out of shape on things. But, here's the deal: None of us want to admit that there's a little bit of pride and arrogance in thinking it's always the other people that are interpreting things wrong and not us. Hello? I want you to think through that for a minute. Just follow me on this here.
How many times have you – and don't think about your neighbor; think about you. How many times has, say, a celebrity athlete done something that fired you up? I'm going to ask you a question. Do you know that guy's momma? Do you know his dad? Do you know all the data points in his life? Do you know all the things that might have contributed to something? Of course not. But, we'll make a judgment on someone we don't even know based on a video or a book or something that we read. And of course, we all read and watch the right stuff, right? It's everybody else that does the other stuff. What type of arrogance and pride is that in our lives to think that way?
And here's the deal: It creates so much angst and so much fear and so much anger in us. It creates a big, hot mess. What if maybe we could think through some of that here this weekend? What if we could maybe have a moment where we really stared into the Word of God and let it speak to us to help us realize that a lot of times we're making judgments and decisions on things we have no ability whatsoever to really judge, and it's only our pride and arrogance that would allow us to think that we really know what's going on.
So, to do that, what I'm going to do is I'm going to take an Old Testament story – you all likes the Old Testament stories. You like grandpa Chip by the fire. So, we're going to do that and talk about an Old Testament story. But, I'm going to talk about an Old Testament story that probably everybody in here would say they have some familiarity with, whether they've read it or not read it. They've heard it, or whatever. Even people that don't go to church have an idea of what this story is about. And typically, when you mention this story, they say it's about a sin and it's about God's judgment. And I would like to tell you that although that is part of the story, it is not the major part of the story at all.
The story is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. We're going to look at this story and we're going to find out something. First of all, we're going to find out that the story's really about two men. It takes place in a 24-hour period. It's a story of Abraham and a story of Lot. And we're going to see how these two people are stitched together in a way, in a 24-hour period, to learn a couple of things. The first thing that we're going to learn is hospitality. We're going to learn how important it is to love strangers, to love people that we don't know. And we're going to find that some people in the passage are very hospitable and do what God has called us to do, which is to love Him and to love others. We're going to find that some are not hospitable and we're going to be challenged with that.
Secondly, we're going to realize that nobody in the passage, Abraham and Lot, have any idea what's going on. They think they know a lot, but when we read the text, we're going to realize that they don't know anything and the only one that knows anything in the text is God. That's going to make us all think about decisions that we make and judgments that we cast. Do we really know?
And the last thing we're going to realize is that God is a good God and that His judgments are righteous and they're tender at their very nature. And we're going to take this story and work through it and I think, by the end, you're going to walk out of here having a greater appreciation for this wonderful story, and I think we're all going to be challenged very deeply with what this story says. Because, traditionally, we read the story about a sin and judgment and we go, "That doesn't apply to me," when, in reality, this story applies to you and me far more than we have any idea.
So, let's go into the story. Let's tear it apart. I'm going to sort of give you a little background and then we're going to look at a large chunk of Scripture and this is going to be really fun. And I'd like to just say, as your pastor, that, man, I love putting these messages together. The more I spend time in God's Word and the more I study God's Word, the more I am absolutely convinced of the divine authorship of Scripture. You may be here today and maybe it's your first time here in church and you're going, "I'm not sure what I think about the Bible."
That's totally cool. You don't have to do that. I just want you to know that, man, I am committed to God having written this book. It's so incredible and I think, whether you're there or not, you're going to agree this story is an incredible story.
So, it starts off in Genesis 18. In Genesis 18, it's midday. It's lunchtime for you and me. It's hot and it's nasty. Abraham is in a tent. He's sort of taking a siesta before siestas were popular. And, all of a sudden, three men appear. Now, it's a theophany. It is an appearance of God. But, it's God with two other angels. They appear and Abraham, rather than trying to figure out what to do with strangers, rather than doing stranger danger, rather than doing any of that stuff that you and I probably naturally do, he jumps up and he runs to serve them. He wants to serve them. He calls to Sarah, his wife, and says, "Hey, we've got to get to business here. We've got to get going."
He bows and he tells them that he's so happy that they're there. Would they please come sit under the tree and get some shade so he can provide for them an elaborate and extravagant lunch? Are we that way to strangers? Are we that way to people that we don't know? Are we that way to people that maybe aren't like us? You know, the writer to the Hebrews is convinced we should be. He says that we ought to entertain strangers. Because, in doing so, we might have entertained angels unaware.
He throws this big feast and, while they're chowing down – and I don't have time to develop it because I've just got a limited amount of time. The amount of flower that he uses for each person is two pounds. This is a big dinner. I mean, it's a feast. It should remind you of the prodigal son, you know? The big feast. He throws this feast with these strangers and, during the dinner, they say, "Where's your wife?"
He's like, "Well, she's the one that's been doing all the cooking."
He says, "Great. She's going to have a child in about a year."
And Sarah laughs like, "You've got to be kidding me."
You know? As they realize what's going on, they're like, "Why'd you laugh?"
She's like, "I didn't laugh."
They're like, "You did laugh."
That's important, because you're going to see hospitality and laughing. You're going to see all of this stuff in the next chapter as well. So, as they get up to leave, we realize that the Lord is one of the men. But, there's two angels. And we hear a really, really important part of the text. God says, "I have heard the outcry of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah."
Now, that's important because outcry, in the Bible, is always related to injustice. The outcry of the children of Israel in Egypt. God heard that. He's heard the outcry of Sodom. That's interesting that He says that because that's probably not what you would have thought He would have said. Now, what's interesting is that we, not knowing, maybe sometimes, the Bible very well, don't realize that Isaiah, Amos and Ezekiel tell us about the sins of Sodom. And they might wake all of us up this morning.
"Now this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters had pride, plenty of food, comfortable security; but didn't support the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. So I removed them."
They didn't like strangers. They didn't like the poor and needy. They were rich; prosperous. They didn't want anybody to take from them what they had. They didn't like people. They didn't like others. And when you don't like others and when you don't put others first, society goes to hell. When it's all about you first, you're in trouble. Think through this, because this is a story that we need to know. And by just assuming that we know the story, we may be missing a lot of things that would really speak to you and me.
Well, as Abraham hears that God is going to judge Sodom and Gomorrah, his antenna goes up. Because, you know who lives in Sodom, right? His nephew, Lot. They had a quarrel and Lot decided that he wanted to go to the city. It's a big issue. He wanted to go to the city. Abraham was comfortable with an alter and a tent. He was traveling through the world as a man of faith. Lot wanted to go to the city. You'll find that all through Scripture. Everybody wanted to be a part of the city. Getting anchored into this world. Fighting for all of the things of this world rather than taking the tent and alter and serving God and walking through the world.
Lot says, "I'm going to go over there. It reminds me of the Garden of Eden."
Well, if you're reading that right, you should remember the Garden of Eden had a serpent, which is not going to be a good thing. So, Lot heads off that way. He does his thing. They've separated, but Abraham knows his nephew's there. He hears that God's going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. So, God and Abraham have a conversation while the two messengers head off towards Sodom.
He's like, "God, let's just talk here for a moment here about judgment. You know, I get that there are wicked people and I get that they probably should have their judgment. But, it doesn't seem right that You would sweep away the righteous with the wicked. So, let me ask You a question. If in Sodom there were 50 righteous, would You destroy the city?"
God says, "No. I wouldn't."
And then, of course, Abraham does, "How about forty? How about forty, God? Thirty? Thirty? Twenty? Twenty?"
No, he doesn't do that. You need to read your Bibles, okay? He doesn't do that. But, he does sort of bargain with God to get that down. Now, what's interesting is this: We learned something about God in this passage. Your antenna should go up here. God doesn't destroy or judge the wicked. He judges the wicked when there are no more righteous in the city. When you pray for judgment, you're praying for God to remove the righteous. Just think through that. He whittles it down to 10.
He says, "How about 10?"
And you probably ask the question, "Why did he just stop at 10?"
Well, he stopped at 10 because he's smart. He goes, "There's Lot. He got married. He's got some daughters and kids and some servants. There's got to be 10 people in Lot's family. There's got to be 10 people."
He's like, "God, how about 10?"
God says, "If there's 10 righteous in Sodom, I won't destroy it."
So, what does Abraham know at this point? He knows that Sodom's not going to get destroyed. In fact, he comes back the next morning to make sure that it hasn't been destroyed. We'll get there in a minute. What he knows is what he knows and what he knows is not right.
Well then, from the lunchtime, we're now to evening and the two men have come to the gates of Sodom. That's important. If you travel with me to Israel, you'll find out that in the Old Testament in the Ancient Near East, where the gates were of a city – and you'll see the excavations – there were chairs that people would judge and make decisions for the city at the gates. Lot is a ruler in Sodom. And it would make sense because Lot shows up to Sodom and he doesn't show up poor and needy. They don't like the poor and needy. He shows up with all kinds of animals. He's well-to-do. Even though he's an immigrant, he's okay. He's got all the stuff. He can contribute to their world, or at least they feel that way.
So, he comes in and then, if you remember, 15 years earlier, Abraham actually delivered Lot, fought for Sodom and saved the city. So, they like Lot. We find Lot at the gates of the city. Probably someone who is a decision-maker; a mover and a shaker in the city. But, the city has affected him massively. And, as the two men show up, what does Lot do? The same thing Abraham does. He shows them hospitality.
Will you? Is that the way you treat others? Even enemies? Is that not what the Lord God has called us to do? To love others? He shows them hospitality. And the inference there is there's probably other people at the gates of the city, but nobody shows them any hospitality because Sodom is not going to be a place of hospitality. I can absolutely assure you of that. They are there to protect themselves and only think about themselves and they don't think about others, because others might take what we have.
So, Lot knows all this. Lot sees the two men and he says, "Why don't you come over to my house? Let me make you dinner and you can sleep with me. You can spend the night in my house."
And they're like, "You know, I think we're going to hang out here."
Because, they've come to know the iniquity of Sodom. And it's so tender. God, who knows the iniquity of Sodom, He knows the outcry, He still comes down to observe it to make sure that His judgment is without fault. It's so tender of God. It's so caring of Him to make sure that judgment is warranted.
Well, the men don't want to do that. They're there to know the iniquity of the city. So, Lot seizes them and he says, "No, no, no."
He strong arms them. "You need to come to my house."
Because, Lot knows that hanging out in Sodom and Gomorrah without coming in with a lot of stuff, it's not going to be a good night for you. So, he gets them in the house figuring that if they're in the house, they'll be good. Well, about the time he's serving dinner and everything's going on, all of a sudden there's a knock at the door. Probably the other men that were at the gates of the city have told all the other men of the town, "There's foreigners in town."
So, all the men of the town and all the boys of the town – everybody – comes out. Probably the women too. And the reason I would say that is because in the Old Testament and in antiquity, normally, when all the men would come, that meant the women came too. Just like when they would count men, they also meant women. But, the women weren't counted. But, let's just assume, for you all who maybe want to assume that it was only the men – I would tell you it was probably men and women. But, let's assume that it was only the men. It was every man in that town. Every man; every boy. And that's going to be important in a minute.
What do they want to do? They want to know these men. Everybody wants to know somebody. Everybody wants to know something. Nobody knows anything. And they don't want to just know them. They don't want to have a conversation. They want to gang rape these men. That's not an abnormal practice in the Old Testament or in the Ancient Near East. A lot of times, when immigrants would come into a town, the way to show superiority was this perverted way of raping someone and showing them that they weren't welcomed in your town.
They bang on the door.
"Lot! Bring these men out!"
It's a perverted town. It's a perverted town because it doesn't care about others. It only cares about self. Self first. Me first. The whole city has gone to hell because there's no concern for others. And God has heard that outcry and Isaiah and Amos and Ezekiel are all clear that this is a wicked down. But, it's a wicked town for far more other reasons than what we normally attach to it. So, Lot actually encouraged. This is a pretty courageous act. He goes out, shuts the door, and stands between these messengers and the people. And he says, "Brothers."
That's what he says in Hebrew, because he's a part of this town. His foot is firmly in the city. He says, "Brothers, let's don't go here. Let's don't do this wicked stuff, man. This is not the way it should happen. This is ugly."
And they look at him and they go, "Oh, who do you think you are, you foreigner? Now you think you're the judge?"
They don't care about God. They don't care about anything. And Lot is a great representation of many Christians living in between the church house and the world; trying to barter between the two. They said, "You know what, Lot? If you don't get out of the way, we're going to treat you worse than we're going to treat those guys."
Now, Lot's a sensible guy. He goes with what he sees. Why didn't Lot stop there and pray? Why didn't Lot see God? Because, Lot doesn't. Lot only does what he sees. He says, "I've got an idea. I've got some girls that have never been known. Why don't you know them instead?"
He offers up his daughters to these men. Talk about a warped sense of hospitality. They said, "We don't want those girls. We're coming in."
And, all of a sudden, it gets violent. And then, all of a sudden, these men that have come, we realize they're angels because they pull Lot through the door, they shut the door and they strike all the men in town with blindness. And the Hebrew is very clear. It is a bright light, dazzling blindness. They can't find the door. They're just groping around. The angels have saved Lot. It's interesting. The angels that Lot thinks he's saving, he knows, right? They're there to save him. He doesn't know anything.
So, the angels say to Lot, "Hey, dude, we're here to destroy the city. That's what's going down. And we're here to get you out of here. Who do you want to take with you?"
I love how God always saves the family, not just individuals. He says, "Well, I've got two son-in-laws."
Now, they're married to his daughters, but they haven't consummated the marriage. Which is interesting because where are the two boys at? Well, they're out with the guys that are there to know the men. But, they're going to marry Lot's wife. Think about that. He has to go outside and get them. He says, "Guys, God's going to destroy the city."
They laugh. They think he's jesting, just like Sarah. Sarah's laugh was remedial. Their laugh is penal. He realizes he's lost two son-in-laws. He goes in and we're going to pick up the story right here. Remember, we're at lunch and now we've gone through the evening and now we're back to morning.
"As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, 'Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.'"
It's like, "Dude. You need to go. This is go time. This isn't sit around and hang around. This is go time."
What does Lot do? He lingers. His heart is with the city. That's where his heart's at. It's interesting. Abraham lingers over a city to see someone delivered. Lot lingers over the city because his heart's there.
"So the men seized him..."
I love that. He seized them to go to his house because he thought he was saving them. They're there to save him.
"So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him,"
Lean in here. This is so important. Abraham has prayed for Lot and Abraham's prayer has been answered by God. But, Abraham doesn't know that. Lot is being shown mercy, not because of anything he's done, but because the mercy has been prayed over him by someone else.
"And they brought him out and set him outside the city."
Which is where he should've been in the first place.
"And as they brought them out, one said, 'Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.'"
Now, what's interesting here is it doesn't say that was said to Lot. It doesn't say it was said to the group. You should be asking the question, "Who heard this? Did Lot hear this? Did his wife hear this? Who heard this?"
Like, you know, the Adam thing. God told Adam something. Did Eve ever get told that? Did Adam ever tell Eve? We don't know. These texts are there to make you think. They're there to get you in. They're not there for you to go, "Oh, here's a proof text so I can tell you all how not to live."
They're for us. It's so easy to just blow through texts that we think we know. Lot said, "Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no. I know how to protect myself, guys. I've got my protection down. I don't trust God for any of that stuff. I know what to do."
He says, "Look, man. I've found favor in your sight."
"No you haven't, Lot. Your favor has been prayed on you by someone else."
"And you've shown me great kindness in saving my life. But, I can't go to the hills, guys. Disaster is going to overtake me."
He doesn't even know they're there to save him. He's got his own plan. He knows how to save himself, right? Do you or do you trust God?
"I know where I need to go. I know how to get this down. I've got my evacuation plan. I know exactly how to do that."
Do you? Do you really know that?
"'Behold, this city is near enough to flee to,"
"I've got a city. I know a city, and it's a small one."
His thinking is so warped. He's thinking, "It's a small city, so it's probably got just about a small amount of garbage going on and God won't care about the small amount of garbage. He only cares about the big amount of garbage."
This guy's crazy. He says, "That's a little one. And then, if I can get there to that city, my life will be saved!"
It's like, dude, your life is being saved by some angels that had been prayed over you. You have no idea what's going on. You think you know, but you have no idea.
He said, "'Behold, I grant you this favor also,'"
Check that out. The city, that he selfishly wants to go to, is spared by the grace Abraham has prayed over this man. Abraham contends for a city out of a righteous heart. Lot contends for a city out of a selfish heart.
He says, "I'm not going to overthrow the city which you've spoken. Get there quickly."
Listen. This is important.
"'I can do nothing till you arrive there.'"
A lot of y'all remember the stories. You see Lot and his wife are running and it's like God's bombing on Sodom and Gomorrah and everybody's wanting to look back to see. No, no, no, no. Read the Bible. Nothing can happen till he's safely arrived in the city. Why don't we read Scripture? We just assume we know a lot of things and we fight over stuff that we don't know. And we create a lot of hot mess for our lives.
"Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar."
Which, in Hebrew, means "little."
"The sun had risen on the earth..."
Now it's morning time. We started at lunch and now we're back to morning time.
"...when Lot came to Zoar."
He got there safely. He traveled all the way from Sodom and Gomorrah to Zoar.
"Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah surfed and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he overthrew all the cities of the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground."
As they were in Zoar, they would've seen all of the destruction going on around them. It's funny because, as a kid, you always hear that they're high-tailing it out of Sodom and Gomorrah and it's like God's raining down stuff and the temptation to want to look back and see what God's doing. Come on. You know that's what you thought. That's not what the text says. The Bible's crazy like that, isn't it? It messes all of our stories up. It's like, "Why do you want to go to this church? All Chip does is turn all these stories upside down on us. That's all he does."
It's because sacred cows make the best hamburger meat. So, anyways, let's continue on here. Then we get this little aside.
"But Lot's wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt."
What's it mean to look back? Well, Jesus says, in Luke 17 when Jerusalem is getting ready to be destroyed, "Don't go back into your house. And, if you're in the field, don't go back into the city. Remember Lot's wife."
Looking back is an idiom for the fact that she went back on the journey that he was making. He had no idea the depravity this town had created in his life. Lost his son-in-laws. Lost his wife. Now we're going to pick up, because this is a day in the life.
Now Abraham, this is in the morning. He just had lunch with the guys. He had prayer in the afternoon.
"And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord."
Why's he going back? He's wanting to make sure God answered his prayer. He wanted to make sure God didn't destroy the city. God told him He wouldn't do it, right?
"And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and," – this could not be more emphatic – "behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace."
What does Abraham know? Well, possibly God hasn't answered his prayer. What does he know? Well, he knows for sure that Lot's dead. He will never know, in his lifetime, that Lot survived the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. What do you really know? Do you know what Abraham does after this? He leaves and goes to Gerar. Do you know what Gerar is? Gerar is a place where they get four inches of rain a year. Do you know what four inches of rain means? It means death. It's the minimal amount of rain that you can have to sustain life. He's depressed and he starts lying again. What Abraham knows is either one of two things. Either God didn't answer his prayer or Lot got swept away, and he doesn't like that.
He has no idea. Look here at what the Scripture says though.
"So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham."
Abraham doesn't know. Lot doesn't even know that his deliverance was because Abraham had prayed for him. Lot's trying to figure out how to save his life when realizing that God has got his back.
"And sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived."
Now, we're going to pick up a little humor here.
"Now Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the hills..." – Remember that the angels told him to go the hills when he wanted to go to the city? Now he's going to the hills again. This guy is a mess. He's a Lot mess.
"...with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar."
All this guy's thinking about is protection.
"I'm going to protect myself and take care of myself."
All he can do is live by sight. He goes and lives in a cave to get away from everybody.
"The firstborn said to the younger, 'Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father.'"
The two girls that he was willing to give up for sexual intercourse will use him for sexual intercourse. What a story. Like, "Wow, man. What a story. Not the way I heard it in Sunday school."
You know? People on the internet are going, "Whoa, man. Let's go to another church."
Alright. Only two takehomes. Write these down. These are the takehomes. I want you to ponder these. I want you to marinate in these. I want you to allow God to speak to you on these things.
The first one: Every single one of us needs to admit we have such a limited knowledge as to what's really going on. Just own it and admit it. You will save yourself from countless hours of being a hot mess. I'm trying to give you practical skills to help you in your life. As your pastor, I care about you. I watch so many people get so bent out of shape over so many things. You don't have to. Admit that you just simply don't know and it's an okay place. I had to do that.
Last week, my mom passed away. It was one of those moments where you're like, "God, my mom was 72. The average woman lives to 81. Why 9 years short? I mean, God, have You not noticed my mom?"
You know, I always say, "The church is in trouble," because my mom prayed for the church every Friday. So, it's like the grace that Abraham prayed over Lot is gone. You know? But, she was so involved in my kids' lives and everything. It's like, "God, what are You doing?"
But, I didn't know and I had to come to grips with I don't know what God's up to. Why would I presume that I would be so arrogant to know? I have a limited amount of data. So, what I did, this is sort of the way I processed through it and I would tell you as well when things are going on that you don't understand, before making judgments and getting mad, do this: First of all, realize that following God is about faith. It's not about knowledge. It's not about knowing every single thing and making sense out of it.
In fact, I will tell you most people that have come to faith that have this desperate sense for needing to know everything usually walk themselves out of their faith at some point. It's about following God. It's about faith. It's about pitching a tent and having an alter and following God on a journey as pilgrims and exiles. Our citizenship is not here; our citizenship is in heaven. But, do we act like that? Do we act like our citizenship is in heaven? Do you?
Following God is about faith, not knowledge. You're going to have to sit back and go, "You know, I'm just a man."
Or maybe, for you, "I'm just a woman. And I've got to realize this: I'm finite. I'm finite. What leads me to believe I can comprehend all the data even if I had it? What an arrogant and preposterous position to think that even I knew all the truths of a story, that somehow I would assimilate it in the right way."
It's like giving a 1,500-piece puzzle to my little daughter Esther. She would eat the puzzle. But, I had to sit in a hotel room saying, "You know what? God knows how to put the puzzle together. And, just because I don't, zip it."
Why would you make all kinds of accusations against God or people that you don't know or that your videos that you watch lead you to believe certain things? And in arrogance and pride, we think we know. What would lead me to believe I could comprehend all the data anyway? Then I had to have the moment of, "You know what, Chip? He's relentless about forming His Son in you. He's going to use the good and the bad. He's going to use life and death."
I remember when I was on the phone when my brother called that morning and told me about my mom before we had gone to Asheville, I hung up the phone and I said – this is so hard to do, but it's the moment that I've been waiting for in my life that I knew would happen.
I said, "I want to be like Job."
The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. But, blessed be the name of the Lord. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Then I remembered that God's good. And when you read the story of Abraham and Lot, you see He's a good God. He delivered Lot. He was faithful to Abraham even in his stumbling. He was tender in His judgment. He made sure the town should be judged.
And here's the biggest freedom of all; the second point. By faith we come to learn that God can redeem bad decisions and the circumstances that happen because of the bad decisions. Listen to the end of the story. Just listen here. Because, by faith you come to learn that God can redeem these things. Listen.
"Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father."
That's terrible, isn't it? It's terrible.
"The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day. The younger also bore a son and called his name Benammi. He is the father of the Ammonites to this day."
So, here's this incestuous relationship, drunken relationship. They get their father drunk and take advantage of him and he doesn't even know that he's being taken advantage of. And what's produced? Two groups of people that are the implacable enemies of Israel. Terrible. Terrible ending to the story, right? Oh, but he had had grace prayed on him by somebody. And, hundreds of years later, Solomon's going to marry an Ammonite woman and have Rehoboam. And Rehoboam, you'll find him in Matthew 1 in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. God even redeemed that ugly relationship.
And let's not stop there. The Moabites? There will be a little girl named Ruth, the Moabitess, that marries Boaz, that eventually leads to David, that eventually leads to the Christ. Nobody knew, Abraham or Lot, what God was doing in this passage. But, God was showing He is a good God and faithful to His people. He is the God that works all things together for God for those of us who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Don't limit in your life how far God can go out. Maybe even in your lifetime, after you expire, the things that God can do in the future because of the grace in your life that may have come from someone else. What a beautiful story of all of us that Jesus, who prayed for us and gave His life for us, is the one who delivers us like Lot was delivered because of Abraham's prayers.
What a great message. Stop being a hot mess. Just stop it. Stop acting like we know. We don't. Let's live for God. Let's be people of faith. Let's be okay with an alter and a tent as we travel through this world with our eyes firmly fixed on the heavenly city. Amen?
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You so much for Your love and mercy, Your kindness and Your goodness. Lord, I pray two things. I pray that if there's anybody in here today that's living their life for themselves and all of a sudden feels this tugging that they need to start living their life for you, I pray, Lord, that they would make that decision today. And Lord, if they do, let them find somebody with a Grace shirt or a name tag and let them know that they've made that decision and get involved in a Starting Point class and get baptized on the 30th.
Lord, for the rest of us, to start with me, I repent of all the times where I think I know more than I know. I repent of all the times that I make judgments on things that I have no business making judgments on. Lord, I pray for our church, that we would realize what these texts are saying to us. They're saying we need to cling and trust to You rather than making all kinds of crazy decisions based on things we really don't know. Lord, humble our pride; humble our arrogance. Help us to be people of hospitality that trust You and believe in Your goodness. We thank You for it.
So, Lord, I pray that as we leave, You would watch over us and protect us, lead and guide us, and bring us back safely to when we meet again. Lord, I pray that You'd burden all of our hearts to be people of hospitality this week and invite people in for Easter. Lord, I pray that Easter would be a wonderful time of many people becoming Christians and getting them into the Kingdom of God for Your glory.
We love You. We thank You. We praise You. In Jesus' name, and everybody said, "Amen."
Give the Lord a big hand clap and tell Him you love Him. God bless everybody. Have a great day.