Monthly Archives: June, 2019

Don’t Look Back

Lot’s Life • Devotion #6: Don’t Look Back
Donna Fox | Assistant to the Growth Pastor

“Flee for your lives!  Don’t look back…

But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:17, 26 (NIV)

The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah had become evil. Terrible, unspeakable things were happening there, and God was going to destroy them and all the people there. An angel appeared to tell Lot to take his family and flee immediately. Lot, his wife, and daughters hesitated, so the angel had to grab their hands and force them to flee. Once out, Lot’s wife turned and looked back. She looked back at what she left behind. She fondly looked back at where her heart was. She disobeyed.  She died because of it.

Worldly things ensnare us. They tempt us day and night. If we give in to temptation, we sin. Sodom and Gomorrah had become very sinful cities. God had sent two angels to warn of destroying the cities and the evil people. But He chose to save Lot and his family. The angels said, “Go now, don’t look back.”

Lot’s wife disobeyed. She showed where her heart truly was, in the sinful city. She did not want to leave that behind. First, she had to be forced to leave, taken by the hand and forcefully removed. Then she turned around to look back in direct disobedience. She lost her life that day because of her disobedience.

I remember another story in Genesis 2:16-17, the story that started it all – sin, disobedience, and death. Adam and Eve were in the Garden. Everything was perfect. God had said, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Enter Satan in the form of a serpent, to tempt them. Eve, and Adam, disobeyed. The consequence was death. Their demise was not immediate as was Lot’s wife, but nonetheless, it led to death which had not existed before.

God desires our obedience and will not tolerate any less. There are consequences for our behavior, for our disobedience.  Sin cannot be hidden and will lead to repercussions, if not in this lifetime then we will have to answer for them on the Judgment Day.

If you do not guard your heart now, each day, and flee from worldly, evil things, your heart becomes harder and harder, and obedience becomes harder and harder.

How can you guard your heart? Have a relationship with Jesus that is every minute of every day, not just Sunday morning for an hour. Be in the Word. Fellowship with other believers. Grow in the Word in a Growth Community. Pray. Immerse yourself in the love of Jesus, and He will help you flee from temptation and sin. Of course, you will still sin, no one is perfect but Jesus. But when you do sin, repent, ask Him for forgiveness, and the sin will be forgiven.  It is when your heart stays in Sodom that you will run into trouble!

Wickedness & Miracle 

Lot’s Life • Devotion #5: Wickedness & Miracle
Gareth Volz | Senior (55+) Director

The wickedness and miracle described in Genesis 19:4-11 centers on the household of Lot. Lot is an interesting character, and in many ways, typical of many Christians today. Lot was raised in the godly home of his Uncle Abraham, and he was able to observe Abraham’s walk with God. We know that Lot was a child of God because he is described in 2 Peter 2:8 as a “righteous man.” 

As Lot grew in years, he went into business with his uncle, and between them, they owned large flocks of sheep. Their herds became so large that Lot’s herdsmen began to feud with Abraham’s herdsmen over where their sheep should graze. Abraham did not want this to cause trouble in the family, so he told Lot they needed to separate their herds and selflessly gave Lot the first choice of land. Lot saw how lush the Jordan Valley was and chose that for his herd. Unfortunately, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were located in that region.

Lot got his focus off God and on himself and what pleased him. He went from looking toward Sodom (Genesis 13:10) to moving his tents near Sodom (Genesis 13:12) to living in Sodom (Genesis 14:12). Sodom is a picture of the world, and the world is full of sin (Genesis 13:13). God tells us that we are to live for Him, separate from the world. But to do that, our focus must be on Jesus and what pleases Him, not on the things of the world. Thus, as we get to Genesis chapter 19, Lot has compromised his testimony. He did not like the sin of homosexuality that was rampant in the city, but he liked the lifestyle Sodom provided him. He even became a city official.

In Genesis chapter 19, God decided to bring judgment on the sins of Sodom and its sister city Gomorrah, by destroying them with fire. However, because Lot was one of God’s people, and because of Abraham’s pleading with God, He sent two angels to rescue Lot, his wife, two daughters and their husbands before judgment came. Verses 4-11 show how much Lot’s compromise with sin affected his testimony. The men of the city demanded that Lot turn over the two men (they did not know they were really God’s angels) so they could have sex with them. To his credit, Lot stood up to them and refused to turn them over to the men to be defiled. To his discredit, he offered to let the men of Sodom have sex with his daughters instead. The men of the city were so into homosexuality that this offer did not interest them. Nor did they have any respect for Lot. When they got ready to storm Lot’s house and take the two angels and Lot, the angels pulled Lot inside and struck the men of the city with blindness. 

What lessons can we learn from this tragic episode in the life of Lot? First, keep our eyes on God, not the world or the things of the world. Second, flirting with sin has disastrous results. In 1 Corinthians 15:33, Paul says, “Do not be deceived: ‘bad company ruins good morals.’” We need to love God, focus on the things of God, fellowship with His people, and speak the truth in love to those who do not know God. Third, just as Lot was spared from God’s judgment on the sins of Sodom, Christians are spared from sin judgment because Jesus has already paid the penalty for our sins on the cross.

Lot at the City Gates 

Lot’s Life • Devotion #4: Lot at the City Gates
Ryan Story | Location Pastor – Burton

Lot is one of the most exciting characters in the Bible. Lot was Abram’s (eventually God named him Abraham) nephew. When God initially called Abram, Lot joined Abram in his travels. Eventually, God’s blessing was so vast that Abram’s workers and Lot’s workers began to fight and cause strife within those traveling to Canaan. Abram and Lot decided to split up, and each took an area of land. Lot chose the land that would be located in the Jordan Valley. Lot was living in the Jordon Valley which was full or rich fertile soil, water, and many cities that were full of sinful people groups including Sodom and Gomorrah. While Lot was living in this area, a war broke out, and Lot was captured by a group of people that were fighting against the kings of the Jordon Valley area. Eventually, Abram heard of this and sent 318 trained men to save his nephew. Genesis 14:16 says, “Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people.” 

After Abram restored Lot, the next time we see Lot is five chapters later. Most Bible scholars would say that the gap of time between Genesis chapter 14 and Genesis chapter 19 would be about 17-30 years. Lot went from being rescued and restored to sitting in the gates of one of the most sinful cities that has ever existed. Genesis 19:1 says, “The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom.” The people who hung out at the city gates where the people of influence. The people who hung out there were there to conduct business and other political matters. The people who hung out at the city gates were there to welcome new people to the cities. If a person was hanging out at the city gate, they were most likely a person who represented the city in some way. That is where Lot was. Lot went from following Abram on the journey God had given him, to serving a city that would be destroyed by God. 

Here is the part that I cannot quite explain. What happened to all of the wealth, people, livestock, and other blessings that Lot had in Genesis chapter 14? I have studied my Bible for about two weeks looking for any evidence of what Lot had. The only thing that can be found is Lot had a home, a wife, and two daughters. We can make assumptions that he did have more family, but nothing is crystal clear. The thing I see here is Lot traded up what God had given him to have a worldly position and worldly status. Lot traded in his blessing to be something in the world’s eyes. 

I watch husbands and fathers trade their family, the thing with which God blessed them, in for a career. I have watched wives and mothers trade in all the blessings that God has given them so they can have “me time.” I have watched parents allow their child to trade in “church” for sports and other extracurricular activities and wonder why their child walks the path that the devil has given them. While I write this my wife and two sons are sleeping. Every morning I awake; I am in complete awe of what God has given me. I never thought I would have a family, and I never thought I would have a wife or children. I cannot imagine ever trading what God has blessed me with for anything. My wife will be loved and led to being closer to God. My sons will be loved, disciplined, and encouraged to live for Jesus. I cannot fathom what was going on in Lot’s mind that would make him trade in everything he had for trivial success. Lot sold out on what God had for him. If there is something we can learn from Lot, it is this, do not trade in the things that God has given you, because you may not get them back. Lot lost everything because he wanted to be what he wanted to be, not what God wanted him to be. Take a moment tonight to figure out the things that God has blessed you with and cherish them, protect them, and never consider trading them.

Abraham Rescues Lot 

Lot’s Life • Devotion #3: Abraham Rescues Lot
Ben Kirkman | Director of Facilities

Looking at the life of Lot can be pretty depressing and frustrating. You see a man who is placed by God into the same family as Abraham (what a cool uncle to have); you see a man with wealth and riches and incredible opportunity; you see a man with so much seemingly throw it all away. Lot chooses to surround himself with wickedness, and it has horrific results for him and his family. It is easy when reading about Lot to focus solely on his terrible choices and the horrible situations into which he willingly walks. When you focus on Lot’s failures, you can unintentionally overlook God’s working. When studying Lot’s life, it is evident that even amidst his poor choices, God is at work! You can see “El Elyon,” “the Most High God,” extending grace, mercy, patience, and tenderness time and time again.

In Genesis chapter 14, we find the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, along with three other kings, rebelling against the four kings to which they had been subject for twelve years. This rebellion led to war. Five kings against four seemed like good odds for Sodom and Gomorrah, but they lost. They lost badly: they lost their possessions and provisions, and many people were taken captive. 

Genesis 14:12 adds, “They also took Lot, the son of Abram’s brother, who was dwelling in Sodom, and his possessions, and went their way.” Lot, who chose to move into Sodom, who chose to associate himself with the wickedness of Sodom, just lost everything, including his freedom. He went from a man who had everything to a prisoner of war over a hundred miles from home. I can imagine him wondering, “What just happened? How did I end up here? How did my life fall apart so quickly?” (Have you ever been there?) 

It is theoretically possible that this is the last we ever hear about Lot. God could leave Lot and those that ignored the LORD to be judged according to their wickedness, and He could do so righteously. The Gracious Redeemer steps in and brings Uncle Abraham to the rescue. Do you see God’s grace and mercy at work? God has a rescue planned. Abraham takes his private militia of 318 men, along with trained warriors from his allies, he travels over one hundred miles, he defeats the army that five kings could not handle, and he brings Lot and his possessions home.  

Genesis 14:16 says, “Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people.” 

I am thankful that the Bible records stories of God’s patient dealings with humanity. It is so wonderful to be reminded that even though we may struggle and falter in our decision-making, we have a loving Savior that is full of grace and mercy. I know that I need God’s tender mercies daily! 

“Oh Give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” Psalm 118:1

Separation of Lot from Abraham 

Lot’s Life • Devotion #2: Separation of Lot from Abraham
James Clouse | Student Pastor

Have you ever made a decision and instantly regretted it? I know that many times in life I have made decisions that I soon regretted. Whether it was a sin in my life or buying a house at the top of the housing market, I have made some poor choices. Life presents many decisions that we need to seek answers to. Whether the question is which college to go to, which house to buy, or whom to marry there are always important questions that need to be answered. It may not surprise you, but this is nothing new. Through the Bible, we can see numerous times where there is a choice that needs to be made. Abram and Lot had to separate from each other for logistical and peacekeeping reasons. 

Genesis 13:8-13 says what happened, “Then Abram said to Lot, ‘Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.’ And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.”

Spend a moment focusing on the situation in front of Lot. Lot and Abram have both left their home. They have left everything that is familiar to them to go to a place where the Lord has promised them. But there is strife amongst the families and Lot ends up having to separate from Abram. Abram offers up a choice to Abram of which land to go to. Genesis offers up a detailed situation on how Lot chose which direction to go in where it mentions that “Lot chose for himself.” Lot chose his path on his own and without the Lord’s direction. Lot saw what options were in front of him and which looked more appealing to him. He also saw that the land he chose was closer to Sodom, a very sinful city. 

Things do not go too well for Lot after this poor decision. How often do we as Christians decide on our own what is going to happen next in our lives without God’s direction? Go to God for which direction to go in your life. If you are presented with multiple paths in your life, seek God first.

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