Tag Archives: Sodom

Genesis 19 – Influence

This is another chapter where, through this process, i began to see things i don’t remember noticing before.  What is there and what i process, especially when i am just reading it, don’t always fully overlap.

In going through this today, i noticed that it wasn’t just the angels that the people of Sodom had turned against.  By Lot sticking up for the servants of God, he was put on the firing line as well.  Lot had been living with the people of the valley for many years at this point.  He knew what they were like and how they would respond to strangers in their city; hence his insistence that they stay with him in his house rather than spending the night in the town square as was normal for travelers who have not been given guest accommodations.  After finally begging them to stay with him for the night then to leave at first dawn, the people decided to knock down his door.  He tried to reason with them, and they reacted by calling him a stranger and threatening to put Lot’s life in jeopardy as well.

Why the hostility?  Because Lot was “judging them” and they didn’t like being judged.  Does that sound familiar?  It sure does to me.  We are living in a world that is becoming more and more critical of people judging sin.  It’s funny because that criticism of judgment, is judgment.

Ultimately, Lot had had the opportunity to influence the people of Sodom, but in his time there, he did not appear to have any real influence on them.  In fact, his very son-in-laws not only stayed in Sodom choosing to be destroyed, but they were a part of the crowd coming to tear down his door and kill him to get to the strangers that were there.

On the other hand, the sin of the group was beginning to have an influence on Lot and his family.  When they fled, Lot’s wife’s desire was for that place.  She did not want to leave, but chose instead to turn back.  She joined the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah because of the influence she allowed that place to have on her.

His own daughters had been influenced by that place.  When Lot finally followed the instructions to go up to the mountains (out of fear and not respect), instead of having faith in their father and God; Lot’s daughters pursued the sexual immorality by getting their father drunk and laying with him to bear children.  Even Lot himself was not fully unaware (and resistant) of what was going on.

As a result, his daughters bore the Moabite and Ammonite nations.  Two nations that continued to draw the Israelites away from God.  The influence of the corrupter was like a cancer.  It crept in and slowly destroyed Lot and his descendants from the inside out.

What are we allowing to creep into our lives?  What are we allowing to influence us?  What should we be fleeing from that instead we are ignoring?  Where is the line between influencing and being influenced?

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Genesis 18 – Responding

I’m finding, as i do this project, that things that i have previously learned and assumed don’t always work out the way i expected them to. For instance, over the previous chapters we have been looking at the life and times of Abram. Now i know this story well, and i know that Abram becomes Abraham. I have heard and read it since i was a child. However, in spite of the fact that the transition occurred yesterday (Chapter 17), i am having a very difficult time making that transition in my mind and writing. I have gone to write Abraham, and i keep writing Abram. It’s very annoying. It’s just after having spent so much time writing Abram, it’s difficult to make the transition even though i have been prepping myself for it since i uncomfortably started writing Abram instead of Abraham.

That having been said, i was also very perplexed in part of this chapter. In Chapter 17 God tells Abram, to be called Abraham, that he will have a son through Sarai, now to be called Sarah. He tells Abram that this will occur in the same season in the next year. Now, God tells Abraham that within a year Sarah will be holding her baby, and Sarah laughs? She already knows that this is supposed to happen. Hence she has been being called Sarah instead of Sarai. So why is she surprised by the idea that she could/will be holding her new baby within a year?

Finally, i was trying to process the relationship between Abraham and God. Abraham is bold enough to question God and His decisions. He is confident enough to stand in the face of God and say, “You’re THE Judge. You aren’t actually thinking of destroying Sodom if there are 50 righteous people in the city. That would just be unjust and wrong!” Then God turns, actually takes the comment seriously, and makes clear his plans.

To me, it’s interesting the ways that God’s people respond to the things He says to and about them. How do we respond when God speaks to and about us? Do we laugh and doubt Him? Do we confront Him and seek / demand clarification? Do we even hear or acknowledge that He is speaking to us? Do we even recognize the freedom we have in our relationship with God?

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Genesis 14 – Abram

So who is Abram, and what makes him so special?  This chapter, while mostly not about Abram, gives us a great picture of who he is and what makes him so different.

The majority of this chapter is all about politics.  Five kings came up in battle against four.  One king Chedorlaomor had subjugated numerous other nations for 12 years, these other nations ended up rebelling, a bunch of other stuff happened, and there was a battle.  Five kings came up in battle against four.  In the end, the kings and armies of Sodom and Gomorrah fled.  When that happened, the enemies of these kings came and took spoils of war.  As part of those spoils, they kidnapped Lot, his family and things, and a bunch of other people and goods.

Needless to say, Abram was not too pleased with this turn of events, so he set out to resolve the issue.  So he took 318 men born in his house and pursued the victors.  He got back Lot and all that was his, as well as the other spoils taken from Sodom and Gomorrah.

I found it interesting that through much of this chapter, Abram does what he can to avoid the politics of the day.  He remains neutral in any way he can.  He does not take part in the fight.  In fact, it appears that he avoids it.  He is not interested in getting involved in petty disputes.  However, when it hits home (Lot is taken) then he turns around, takes a group of men (much smaller than the armies he is pursuing), attacks and drives off the victors.  Then, not only does he not desire reward from those he helps, but he refuses to take anything apart from the food that his people ate (after he pays tithe to the King of Salem, priest of the Most High God no less).  Why?  Because he does not want the other kings to be able to turn around and say, “Look, I made Abram rich.”  He is not interested in politics and trading favors.  He is interested in what is just, righteous, and holy.  Are we more interested in what is right, or what we can get out of a deal?

Also of note in this chapter:  We see El-Elyon (God Most High) and YHWH El-Elyon (YHWH God Most High) used what appears to be for the first time in this chapter.  We see the Melchizadek king of Salem referred to as the priest of El-Elyon, and Abram tells the king of Sodom that he has sworn to YHWH (the LORD) El-Elyon, possessor of heaven and earth that he would not take even a thread from the spoils.

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Genesis 13 – Bigger Picture

Well it’s official, my first pen (black) has bitten the dust.  Long live the pen (purple)!  At this rate, i will be all out of my Pilot Varsitys after about Genesis 36.  I may have to make an investment into a good quality pen with lots of refills.  What kinds of pens do you guys like?

Genesis 13 brings Abram back to the bigger picture.  I was writing this out, and i love that after sojourning in Egypt for a short time (due to famine), Abram returns back to where he started in Canaan.  Not just the same area, but the same place.  He returned to the land between Bethel, meaning “house (beth) of God (el)”, and Ai.  One is a tribute to God, and the other is to become a city of mighty warriors that are strong and brave enough to rout the people of Israel (Joshua 7) even with the terror of Israel is covering the land and Israel’s God had just destroyed the great city of Jericho by having Israel march circles around it.

So while there was a time of temporarily being off course, Abram (and God) pick up where they left off.  Abram, being blessed by God while in Egypt, has grown bigger.  No longer can he and his nephew Lot be in the same place.  It’s just not big enough for the two of them.  So Lot goes to the lush Jordan valley while Abram stays in the plains of Canaan (i always want to spell it Cannan).

It is there that God expounds on His promise:

“Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered. Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.” (NASB)

Wow, things just keep getting better and better!  The promise defogs a little more, Abram sees more of the bigger picture, and it becomes even more amazing.  However, more than the promise is a command.  Abram is given instruction; “Go and walk the land.”  How many of us attempt to claim and embrace the promises of God, yet we never walk the land.  We want the blessing that God has promised us, but we never lay claim to it by following His instructions.  We never fully understand what it is that He is promising to us because we never take the time to discover what it is that He is giving to us.  Laying claim to something before even knowing what it is often results in disappointment and disillusionment when it does not result in what we expect of it.  Also, how can we really appreciate or find value in anything if we don’t have to work for it.  In order to understand what it is, what it means, and what it is worth.  We must DO so… (it’s an action)

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Genesis 10 – Foundations

This is a chapter of foundations.  After the flood, as each generation led the way to the next, there came a desire to protect and define each family.  Cities and nations were built.  Sons became fathers who had sons who became fathers who had sons…  Some of these lines, families, and names were significant.  Others were not.  There were people who are defined by nothing more than a name.  Others had legends and legacies that they left behind.

Many of the names i had to struggle to pronounce, but there were some that i knew well.  It’s funny because as i was going through these lists of name and legacies and as i picked out those i recognized i began to realize something.  Every name that i recognized, i recognized for the bad or evil that they did.  I saw the Canaanites who lost their land to the Israelites because they were vomited out due to their own corruption and sins.  The Philistines were enemies of the sons of Abraham for generation after generation.  Nineveh was the capitol of the Assyrian empire which would eventually come through and destroy Israel.  And of course Sodom and Gomorrah would be two cities destroyed by God in Abraham’s time due to their sin and corruption.  They were so corrupt that we get the word sodomy from the name of the city of Sodom.

While there are many names and many people who started out on the right path with the right intentions and purposes, instead of holding to the true God that saved them in the flood, they pursued their own courses instead of God’s and they were overcome by their sins.

So that poses a question to think about.  What prevents us, our children, our grandchildren, our great grandchildren, and on and on from the same fate?  How do we insure that we don’t become the next Nineveh?  Can we?  Is it even possible to do?

In all honesty (to be brutally honest) i don’t know as that we can.  I thing that the only things we can do are 1) to pursue God and 2) to lay the right foundation.  Even then, there is no real guarantee that our children will pursue Him as well.  Look at the lives of Samuel and David.  Samuel found favor in God’s sight.  He did what God called of him even when his mentor / adoptive father’s own children would not follow God.  King David had the same problem.  Even Solomon turned away from God and the nation was torn apart in the time of Solomon’s son (David’s grandson).

Does that mean that there is no hope and that what we do doesn’t matter?  Of course not!  Just look at Boaz (Ruth).  He was a righteous man who did what was right in God’s sight.  He became the great-grandfather of King David.  It was from the line of David that Christ was born.  Paul took in Timothy and trained him.

We must do two things.  We must pursue God, and we MUST lay the foundation necessary for future generations.  We cannot guarantee that our children and grandchildren will make the right choices, but we MUST give them a foundation that will encourage them to pursue God… not on their own terms, but on His.

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