“The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here-sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place,” – Genesis 19: 12-13a
Reading the account of Lot in Sodom several events stand out: the lostness of the city, of course, but also the lack of Lot’s own credibility with his family and his seeming reluctance to leave. If we become caught up in the psychological questions around Lot himself, however, we can easily miss some less obvious but very important lessons for us regarding the way we should live.
The first lesson is: our presence matters.
Although Sodom had “crossed a line” and had come under judgment, the verdict was stayed as long as Lot resided there. His presence bought time for the citizens of Sodom. Yet Lot had apparently done little to consciously influence the city. It makes me wonder if Lot came to anyone’s mind when years later Jerusalem’s turn for judgment came and God declared, “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.”(Ezekiel 22:30)
Secondly, your network impacts.
The angels tell Lot to reach out to his circle of family and friends and to take them with him when he flees. Think of it: God was leaving the door open to anyone connected to Lot who would listen. Sadly, Lot cannot convince even one other person to join him. This lesson should not be lost on us. In our own ‘cities’ we have networks of relationships; who can we invite into a Bible dialogue or even begin talking with about life and faith?
Finally, your life gives life and saves lives.
Lot did not want to run to the hills so he lobbies for a move to nearby Zoar, instead. But Zoar, according to v. 21, had also been slated for destruction. Lot’s decision to move there spared Zoar from judgment. You and I can have a similar impact on our own communities. Jeremiah 29:7 exhorts us to “seek the welfare of our city,”to become engaged in the life and economy of our town. In a way it hearkens back to God’s blessing and promise to Abraham: “through you, all the families of the earth will be blessed.” Are our communities better off because we live in them? If not, why not?