Eastenders in Genesis

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The story of Lot in his cave with his daughters at the end of Genesis 19 would surely make the most avid Eastenders addict cover his eyes with cushions on the sofa, especially if his parents had come for tea that night! It’s pretty scandalous to say the least. Sordid and scandalous. So scandalous in fact it’s hard to believe it made the final cut in the Bible and didn’t end up underneath one of Moses Egyptian rugs. The Bible has this habit of giving us the whole story warts and all but this is a wart so large and hairy that it still makes us churchy folks shuffle a little more than usual in our seats. I nearly decided to skip it in our Genesis series on Sundays because I guessed nobody really wanted to hear about Lot getting drunk and sleeping with his daughters. It’s hardly table talk over Sunday lunch. Picture everyone staring at their sprouts when ’the sermon conversation’ came around. However, for better for worse we went for it…and shuffled…and hopefully at the same time we were amazed.

Consider this with me for a second; why on earth would God ever consider committing Himself to a rascal like Lot? Is that not more than odd to you? When I first met my wife I could have given you a bucket full of reasons why being with her for life would be the most sensible decision I ever made. She had it all and more and no-one else was going to get in my way. However, in the story of Lot it isn’t like that of course because, God has it all. He is so out of Lot’s league. In fact, to further the analogy a little more, He is so perfectly happy and fulfilled in the Godhead that any notion of Him being needy is simply ridiculous. And then Lot comes to the table with…well with what precisely? What is it that he offers? What traits are so appealing? By the time we get to his ‘bottom of the barrel’ moment he has only just emerged from Sodom by the skin of his teeth after years of doing who knows what in that place. More than likely that included a rather long list of unmentionables that Moses thankfully chose to keep from us for once. He wanted to stay in Sodom. He had made it his home. Sure there were things he wasn’t too comfortable with in there (2 Peter 2:7) but on the whole he had settled and enjoyed his life and but for God’s persistence he would have stayed. And all of which brings us to Genesis 19. The gratefulness of Lot. His finest hour. The time when he would do something really special and memorable. Something that would communicate how thankful he was. The one thing any sane person would consider doing when God has just poured out His mercy and grace on you. The only thing that makes sense. That’s right. You guessed it. He got drunk and slept with His girls! There was no instant obedience on his part. There was no falling down on his knees when he reached the outskirts of Sodom. We do not read of any prayers or worship at the throne. The one moment you would have expected Lot to have laid his life out saying, ‘I’ll do anything for you’, we find him at his worst and most depraved.

So again, let me ask you; why on earth would God ever consider committing Himself to a rascal like Lot?

More than that, why on earth would God every consider committing Himself to a rascal like Abraham? Again we were thinking about this as a church on Sunday. Lot’s sin in Genesis 19. Abraham’s sin in Genesis 20. Lot couldn’t find a way to instantly obey and Abraham couldn’t even do it over the long haul of life. Even then, at 100, he was lying and doubting, and failing to be the husband he needed to be. And yet to both of these men God commits for life. Through thick and thin and ups and downs. When they were living close to the Lord and when the were backslidden down to their socks. ‘I will be faithful to you’, He says. ‘I’ll never leave you’.

Well there is only one answer to this, and on Valentines Day it seems so apt to say it. Why commit to Lot? And why commit to Abraham? And come to think of it, why on earth is my Father so tenaciously committed to me when I fail Him at every turn and create my own Eastenders episodes. The answer is seen in three words. Please think of them. Whatever you’re doing in these moments let the power of these words wash over you as if you were hearing them for the very first time. HE LOVES ME! He really does! I can’t explain it but He does. In the same way, in an unconditional sense, He loved Abraham and Lot, so in the here and now I can say it, ‘He loves me’. And stays faithful to me. Just like I love my kids when they make a mess of their lives…only His love is better and consistent and pure. His covenant is not hanging on whether I somehow make the grade. His covenant is hanging on Him being true to Himself and being the Father He has always been to His children…faithful, dependable, steady, unfailing, committed, and most of all…abounding in love.

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