Offbeat #2 - Lot

Though an Old Testament character, we begin our examination of Lot in the pages of the New Testament. The Apostle Peter calls him “righteous Lot” (2 Peter 2:7). If you’re familiar at all with Lot’s story, you might find this statement confusing or even shocking. Yet, there it is in the black and white ink of scripture. So, let’s take a moment to explore the life of this “righteous” man.
 
Lot was the nephew of Abraham and was one of the few members of Abraham’s extended family that accompanied him when God called upon him to leave the land of his forefathers. When a dispute over the land arises among the shepherds of Abraham’s flocks and those of Lot’s, Abraham suggests parting ways and gives Lot first pick of the land. Lot reveals some impulsiveness and selfishness by choosing the best pastureland for himself despite it being on the very outer edge of the land of promise (Gen. 13).
 
The next time we see Lot (about 8 years later), he has moved further from the center of the promised land and closer to the wicked city of Sodom (Gen. 14). A number of years after that, God declares to Abraham that the time has come for him to judge and destroy Sodom, but Abraham pleads on behalf of the city. Why? Because his nephew Lot now resides there with his household. We see that Lot keeps moving further from God’s promise and closer to wickedness.
 
We see a glimpse of goodness in Lot when he offers hospitality to the two angels God has sent to destroy the city (he was unaware of their true identity), but the story turns disturbing when the Sodomites demand Lot turn over the angels so they can have sex with them. Shockingly, Lot offers his two virgin daughters in their place. The angels intervene and offer Lot and his household a way of escape, but the whole incident is unsettling at best.
 
Our final glimpse of Lot isn’t much better. In an effort to preserve their family line, Lot’s daughters get him drunk and sleep with him. Yikes! Lot’s story seems more like a cautionary tale than a model of virtue. So, how on Earth does Peter have the audacity to call Lot righteous?
 
There is one simple reason: Lot had faith in God. All the time and in every decision? No… but in general, yes. In the end, when the angels offered Lot and his family a path of rescue, some of Lot’s family refused; they simply didn’t believe it. Lot, however, did believe. He trusted God and he was rescued. Just like his Uncle Abe, Lot believed and God credited it to him as righteousness.
 
I think there are two important takeaways from Lot’s story: an encouragement and a warning. The encouragement is this: God can rescue you out of your mess, even if it’s a mess of your own making. Will the path of rescue be easy? Probably not. Like Lot, you may have to leave behind much that you hold dear, but God can and will rescue those who turn to him. The warning is that faith in God doesn’t exempt you from negative consequences. You can believe in God but be living far outside the center of his promises. Your choices matter! They impact you and they impact others. Choose the ways of Jesus and live in land of promise.

Sean's Picks

Sometimes - David Crowder has written a lot of my favorite worship songs. Check out this one from the album Give us Rest - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhdZtejGxQc

An Ordinary Believer in Iran  - Over the next few weeks, I want to share with you messages and testimonies from believers and Christian leaders from around the world. May their stories and perspectives expand your vision and strengthen your faith. This week, I pray you'll be moved by the testimony of Laden Nouri, an Iranian Muslim woman who gave her life to Jesus. She spoke in 2016 at the Lausanne Young Leaders Gathering:

Missions Spotlight:
Erica Blickens (Africa for Christ)

  • South Africa remains in level 3 lockdown, but by the grace of God, I was able to find a repatriation flight and returned to the US on 1 August. I am currently under 2 weeks home quarantine, but I am grateful to the Lord for His provision and perfect plan. At this point I don’t know when I will be allowed back into South Africa and/or Mozambique, but despite the uncertainties, I am resting in the peace of God.
  • The South Africa-Mozambique international border remains closed except to commercial travel, but the Mozambican president has started outlining regulations which will allow churches to reopen, including temperature checks, social distancing, and mandatory mask-wearing. These are encouraging developments, but they also present new sets of challenges, such as the sourcing and purchase of the required thermometers, and, more specifically, the transport of said thermometers through the closed Mozambican border.
  • For the people of Mozambique, closed borders mean prices of many staple imported foods are continuing to increase, putting even more strain on an already impoverished people, and increasing the already high level of corruption and bribery. New “fees” are being imposed and enforced at the whim of border officials, and bribes offered to the border officials to avert their eyes to avoid import costs are on the rise.
  • Our Mission School students have nearly completed the classroom phase of their year and, God willing, they are headed to Màgoé for their 3-month outreach in the middle of August. We are so proud of their diligence to continue with their studies despite the unique and challenging circumstances that 2020 has brought, and we look forward to what God will do in and through them on outreach!
  • Both the violence and the number of covid-19 cases continue to increase in northeast Mozambique. In addition to the hundreds who have already lost their lives in the attacks, there are thousands more who are displaced and fleeing after their homes and towns have been destroyed. This refugee crisis further obliterates any adherence to covid-19-related regulations and protocols, thereby increasing the spread of the pandemic. ISIS has warned South Africa not to get involved in the conflict under threat of retribution, but Mozambique’s military is unable to handle the situation on its own. Mercenary troops have become involved, but the general population continues to suffer greatly, often being mistreated by insurgents and troops alike.
  • Yet in all these things we have hope, because our hope is rooted and grounded on the sure and steadfast Rock of Christ Jesus. “We who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” - Hebrews 6:18b-20. “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” - 1 Corinthians 15:19.  “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” - Romans 5:5
  • Please pray with us for the peace of God that passes understanding, for the unmatched comfort of the Holy Spirit, for the hope that is rooted and grounded in Christ, and for faith that sees beyond the things of this earth. May Christ truly be the treasure of our lives, the object of our desire, and the rest and fulfillment of our souls!

THANK YOU for praying and standing with us!! May you be blessed beyond measure as you fix your eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith!! 
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