Sunday, February 04, 2018
Sunday Afternoon Tea - With Lot in the Gates of Sodom
I had an epiphany of sorts last week.
Let me explain. I recently went to my three month's doctor's checkup and he put me on antibiotics and prescribed a heavy duty cough syrup. Apparently having a cold and cough since before Christmas is not normal.
There were a lot of mini events that came together to provide my epiphany. I doubt it would have happened if I noticed only one or two things about our society but it was a perfect storm of more time on my hands as the medications made me drowsy, the entertainment news cycle, following a few Facebook links, and watching formerly safe TV shows.
I came to realize how difficult it was to find programs to watch that were not degrading and defiling to the Holy Spirit within. No wonder the Hallmark Channel is the most watched cable channel on TV during Christmas. We long for the safety of sweet movies.
I'm not expecting Christian TV on regular channels, society is far beyond that. However, it seems that each year that goes by, even the formerly safe programs are pushing the envelope. I suppose when one is in the industry, they feel they must do so to continue to get people to watch.
There was a lot of chatter about the recent Hollywood award shows. So much that it was impossible to avoid the so called "highlights". So I actually listened to what was being said by those who make a living pretending to be someone they are not. I was vexed. As usual. Just like Lot.
Recently in my own town, the story on the evening news was about how wonderful the diversity of the community was by paying a great deal of attention to men dressed as women at a community function as they talked... nonsense. It was so weird that it was laughable. Only God is not laughing.
For this story was taped in a church that does believe Jesus was anything but a good person. We are to walk in love and accept everyone that pastor says. Jesus tells us not to judge you know. People who do not believe as they do are haters. My soul was vexed.
It is true that we are to show love and compassion to all people. The Bible commands us to do so. However, and this is what the pastor of that "church" seemed to forget... that same Book has not changed the command that we are to be in the world and not of it.
We are to be holy as He is holy and when we fall short of that goal... it is His blood that covers us. He did not lower His standards to fit into Society's mold. Instead He did something far better. He died and was raised from the dead to pay the price for our lack of holiness.
There are mysteries in the Bible that I don't quite understand. Not that I spend too much time thinking of them, mind you. One such mystery is why Lot, whom the Bible said was "vexed" as he lived in Sodom, stayed in the city and spent time "at the gates". Which indicates he had a leadership role in Sodom.
One commentary believed Lot was the mayor of Sodom. He not only moved in, he merged in with society. Although one could give him the benefit of the doubt that he was trying to be a good influence. Maybe.
I've often thought about the fact that Lot was wealthy enough that he could go anywhere he wanted. Why would someone stay when they were constantly irritated by what was going on around them? Why live in what was one of the most wicked cities that ever existed?
That was when I had my epiphany. I, too, stand in the gates with Lot. In my own way. In my own time.
Here is my epiphany... it is extremely difficult to leave the world, even when so much of it grates against your soul.
I think I now understand Lot a lot better. His first mistake was moving to Sodom after pitching a tent nearby. Sodom was no surprise, he could not pretend to be shocked by all that was around him. I was born into this world and saw society change immensely through the years so unless I was going to convert to being Amish... I was kinda' stuck being in the world.
I understand that his family liked it there. Even when the angels told him it was all to be destroyed, he didn't really want to go. His daughters did not want to go. His wife looked back... and became a warning through the ages as she turned to salt.
"Remember Lot's wife" we are told from the pulpit.
Each day I have the decision, probably a thousand times a day, to turn my back to society or to gaze longingly at what it has to offer. I wish I could say it is always easy to turn around.
I understand that we as Christians in the 21st Century are different than Lot in this... we are to be God's salt and light in this world. Not in turning to a life sized salt sculpture... but that sprinkle of salt that enhances the flavor of the food we eat.
Lot stood in the gates but we have our own entrances to the world around us through technology, books, magazines, radio, television, movies... the list could go on.
Each day we... you and me... stand in the gates. What we do there is our choice. The world or Jesus. Watch this or not. Read this or something more edifying. Listen to that gossip show about Hollywood or avoid it. Love the sinner or join them in the sin. Believe or... not.
My epiphany was that my own choice at times was not all that easy. Much like my spiritual cousin, Lot... being vexed is not always enough to leave the world behind. However, unlike Lot, I have the Holy Spirit within and the Word of God at my side. So I have no excuses.
I'm convinced when our Story is told above, those times we are given the choice and we choose Jesus will be met with cheers. May I never grow too comfortable in the gates and may I never stop being vexed by the things of this world.
Note: The Bible tells us Lot was "vexed" in 2nd Peter 2:8 (Typo corrected!)