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!)

15 comments:

Mary M. said...

Well said as usual, Brenda. I don't even want to read headlines anymore. I find escape from our world by revisiting old favorites- Tolkien, Narnia etc. I am currently reading through the Anne of Green Gables books(currently on Anne of Ingleside) If only I could split my time between the Shire and Avonlea! I watch PBS shows and am hooked on "Escape to the Country" on YouTube. You would love it if you haven't heard of it. It's like a British house hunters show and it's lovely.

Sandi said...

Amen...this was powerful. Lot also paid a huge price with his daughters. They were raised in Sodom, it was what they knew and what they became.

"I came to realize how difficult it was to find programs to watch that were not degrading and defiling to the Holy Spirit within."

Totally agree.

Heartshome said...

AMEN!

Thank you for putting into words what I've been feeling for awhile now. I guess we need to seek out and compile our own librarys of entertainment that we find edifying. I've been working on that for awhile now. My husband is getting better but still likes some of what is out there. It's a process for sure.

Linda said...

That was right on. A lot of times the enemiy tempts us with things we know does match Phil. 4:8 , it can be appealing and same time vex our soul. I think maybe that is how Lot got mixed up in Sodom, once he got involved it really vexed his soul, then he was all tangled up in it.
,

Deanna Rabe said...

Wow, wow, wow!

This is so true, Brenda. It’s something we must evaluate everyday.

Thank you for sharing your epiphany with us.

Vee said...

I still remember your first talking about being “vexed.” You told us the meaning of the word...to be sloshed about as in a bucket.There’s been a whole lot of sloshing going on, hasn’t there? I firmly believe that we have the government.country.society we deserve if godly people shirk their duty and privilege of “standing at the gate.” Not sure how this relates to Lot, but I know how it relates to the Proverbs 31 woman whose husband is known in the gates.

One thing that is causing me grief that I would never have dreamed would be a problem for me—all these DIY programs about beautiful homes. It’s creating a bit too much discontent. 😏 I have already long ago given up gossip shows, morning and evening tv. Guess it’s back to Canal Journeys for me.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your viewpoint . It seems there is no where NOT to be "vexed" in this world. No where we can just relax for a bit of entertainment , nor spend time with non Christian family , and even MORE worrisome is the anti biblical sentiment from those family members professing to BE Christian . I am encouraged that I am not just imagining all this ! Karen

Anonymous said...

Such a good post! I'm always in need of a reminder of how easily the things of this world infiltrate our lives. And it's easy to deceive ourselves into thinking that "it's ok" but God is not deceived.

Out My window said...

Great post. It is difficult to find anything of value any more. I am shocked sometimes as to what is on tv. But then I was shocked 20 years ago also. We just have to do the best we can. It is okay to judge for safety and righteousness. We can love people in spite of their sins, but we don't need to embrace the sins.

Melissa said...

Yes, we all need this reminder. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. It is so easy to be discouraged in the things of the world. The struggle to turn away is a difficult thing. Your words are convicting but more importantly timely and encouraging.

Sandy said...

Wonderful words and a good reminder.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful and timely post! Much food for thought (but it was II Peter 2:8 -you may want to change that reference). -Joy :-)

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Much manna to chew over in your thoughts, and a really good reminder about the perils of becoming part of the world instead of simply being in it, not of it.
Thank you! More and more we need to stand up and speak out truth, undiluted, from the Word alone. xx

Mary Sorensen said...

Thank you for this, Brenda. I was telling a friend lately that I've been feeling so weary lately (and I jokingly said I think I'm tired of winter) but I know it's from what is happening to our world, our country, our communities. It's an in-your-face society and everything is upside down. I stopped watching regular tv (and I don't have cable). But even the PBS station is pushing the envelope now. We live in a metropolitan area that is very liberal and we, too, are "vexed". It's becoming more and more difficult to be salt and light but if that's what we're called to do, then we have to at least try no matter how difficult it is. To stand out and be different is a daring and bold thing to do today, but we have to do it. I pray for the strength and endurance for us all and that the Holy Spirit would definitely change the hearts of people back to Him.