December 1, 2010

Biblical Femininity III: Objects In Mirror More Distorted Than They Appear

Lot's wife is another person that remained nameless but because she is female I will include her as an example of bad behavior in my women's series here on SoulJournaler. She does not speak verbally in Scripture and she is barely mentioned in narrative but what is said of her and those around her speaks volumes.

Her husband Lot is Abraham's nephew and he was a man that was concerned mostly with himself and his own needs. He valued his angelic visitors more highly than his own daughters and this was before he realizes they are messengers of God. He was concerned more with outward hospitality than he was with his own family. Lot, if it wasn't for God's grace over him would've basically just been another nitwit of the Old Testament. Lot had picked the better of the two claims and the greener pastures and still blew the advantage he had been given. Abraham with the lesser claim had to come to his rescue against pagan kings. The last we see of Lot he is drunk and has committed incest. Brilliant.

Let us observe the city of their residence. Sodom.

"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." Genesis 19:5

Clearly a city of sexual depravity. I will not even get into the details of the depravity since it will lead us down a trail that will require a post of its own. Archaeological finds corroborate the narrative of the Bible also concerning the condition of this city of the plains. God then cannot find even 10 righteous people within Sodom yet Lot and his family continue to live in the godless and iniquitous environment. God sends two angels to warn Lot of the impending destruction of the city of his residence.

"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!” ~ Genesis 19:15-17

What words should draw out attention here? "When he hesitated..." Even in light of three obvious imperatives from God's messengers: "Hurry", "Flee", "Don't look back". Between Lot and the other members of his family, they fail on all counts. Lot and his family drag their feet leaving and make excuses.

"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.” Genesis 19:20

Lot is trying to replace a large evil with a smaller one, Zoar. Another city of the plain in exchange for the one they are in now. They are haggling here...this in exchange for that after God has clearly told you to GET OUT! Today I believe they call this "hemming and hawing". Included in the disobedience and reluctance to obey is Lot's wife's infamous failure to not turn back and look upon Sodom.

Here is where we need to take special note of Lot's wife's behavior. Even in the mist of the depravity of Sodom and the poor spiritual leadership in her household from her husband...she is held accountable by God for her actions. Her deliberate act of disobedience is punished immediately. Although we see her look back in the narrative we get the sense that she was not purposely thumbing her nose at God, it seems almost as if she slips not even thinking about it. She simply give in to the sin as if to say, "I couldn't help myself". This should give us a second insight. We can be punished for disobedience even if the disobedience isn't intentional or intended to be a belligerent act towards God.

More than likely this was her hometown. She may very well have had legitimate "human" reasons for "needing" to turn around. She may have been in the process of loosing other family members (to sin) and loosing friends (to sin). Does this justify disobedience to God? Does it? What about curiosity? A sense of loss of everything left behind that was now currently going up in a conflagration? A need to cling to things of the past because she was afraid of the future.

How often do we do these things in our lives today? We cannot or will not release our death grip on old entrenched sins that have become like Linus' blanket? We all have them, what is yours? The only thing that probably keeps the others from turning back and doing the same is their fear of God. In these situations I have learned not to turn around. I have found when I fight this call to change and turn in a new direction I immediately face other adversities that are worse than the options placed in front of me to change my life for the better. Sometimes the right choice is not always the one that will treat us the nicest. Sometimes the better path is the harder one since it will build perseverance and character in us. Sometimes the fix to the problem ends up being stronger than the original just like the welder understands that the weld is often stronger than the original material it is made from.

We should pay very close attention to Lot's wife's punishment. Many times God has abundant grace and allows immediate "breathing room" when we disobey and make sinful mistakes. Sometimes our punishment will come later. Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it is immediate, profound and irreversible. Are you willing, because of your disobedience, to take a chance like that? Lot's wife is an example of the justice that overhangs us all. When is the issue, not if. Lot's wife had no time to repent or even regret. Even as Christians, we can hedge or play the odds. Commit this small sin now and repent for it when we are done. Right? Admit it, we are all guilty of this and to state or think otherwise puts us in a state of denial. Substitute a large sin (Sodom) for a small one (Zoar). Sin with the hopes of a quick repentance afterwards because we know for certain God will be merciful and full of grace in this "instance" because its only a small sin. What happens if you have tipped God's wrath against you because of an over abundance of sins accumulated over years and God finally says, "Enough is enough! Your judgement comes NOW!"

Welcome to Sodom, welcome to an existence as a pillar of salt.

The real question is: When we read this story do we see Lot's wife...or ourselves? We always think we see things correctly but that is not often the case because we have sin goggles on. What we are really seeing is a distortion. Are you seeing yourself correctly? Have you made an honest assessment of yourself?

Are you a gambler willing to take unwarranted risks? I'm not. Every time you sin knowingly you take a risk...just as Lot's wife did. A true woman (or man) of God tries to meet the requirements of God's holiness as accurately as they can, not see how little they can meet and still be holy. Making deals with god that you will go back and repent for premeditated sins is not a Christian behavior, it is gambling and making deals with the devil. You are not trying to be holy but you are actually trying to get away with murder because you are sinning and the wages of sin? Death. Since sin-is-sin-is-sin, one more backwards lustful or murderous glance is the equivalent of adultery or murder and will be judged harshly as if the actualized sin was committed. You should pray you have time to repent of it if you intended to do it...God may allot you the time to do so. Maybe not. It is better to play it straight and obey outright.


Scottie said...

Wonderful, as always brother...

Andy Pierson said...

:)You are too kind Scottie

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