The tragic story of Lot shows us how easy it is to be distracted from what truly matters in our parenting. Join AMBrewster today as he shows Christian parents the root of Lot’s failure and how you can avoid the same disaster.
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Thank you for joining us in this, our eighth season of podcasting.
As we’ve taken this parenting journey together we have found instruction, reproof, correction, and training for our parenting in many various texts.
We’ve talked about some of the big “family passages.” We’ve looked at many principles that — on the surface — don’t seem have direct application to parenting, but actually do. We’ve even talked about how to parent like the Holy Spirit.
And I encourage all of you to listen to each of our episodes at least once. In fact, one of our long-time listeners, Christy said, “In [her] opinion, every Christian parent should take the time to listen to this entire [podcast] at least once — if not more!”
Believe it or not, when I go back and listen to old episodes, I am very often challenged by the needs in my own parenting. Sometimes, I don’t even remember certain episodes and the content sounds brand new, and — more often than not — the Lord perfectly planned that episode for me and the struggle I was in.
If that can happen to me, I guarantee He can do it for you.
You see, this isn’t parenting-according-to-Aaron-Brewster. These aren’t concepts I’ve mastered. I find these truths in the Scripture, and I share them because we all need them.
And today’s episode is no exception.
So, in addition to all the wonderful topics we’ve explored, I’ve been challenged to dissect the lives of biblical characters who were not good parents, and see if we can reverse-engineer their experiences to discover where things went wrong.
I believe the first time I did this was with Jonah. We talked about “Parenting Like Jonah” in episode 197.
And I believe there are probably more negative examples of parenting in Scripture than there are good examples, so we’d better find out what God would have us learn from them.
And so today we’re going to discuss parenting like Lot.
But before we do that, will you please consider giving to the financial needs of Truth.Love.Parent. Today is #GivingTuesday and all over the world people are donating to charities of every shape and size.
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And, now let’s learn a very valuable lesson from the tragic life of Lot.
For those of you who aren’t that familiar with this historical figure, Lot was the nephew of Abraham. They left Ur of the Chaldeans together and entered the Promised Land of Canaan. His account encompasses Genesis 11-19. Of course, the bulk of the discourse focuses on Abraham, but the Lord gives us glimpses into Lot’s life throughout those nine chapters.
Other than that, though, Lot is mentioned in only a couple other places in the Old Testament, but only within the discussion of a genealogy or named as an ancestor.
And there are only two New Testament passages that discuss Lot — one of which is very important to our discussion.
Within the context of a larger message concerning the coming Kingdom, Jesus, Himself, mentions Lot in Luke 17:28-33. He says, “Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. Remember Lot's wife. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.”
Apparently Lot was a famous — or infamous — enough of a character that Jesus’ audience would immediately recognize him.
And I would argue that based solely on the what we know of Lot from the book of Genesis, that “infamous” would describe him much better.
In fact, if it weren’t for II Peter 2:7-8, I don’t think anyone would ever think well of Lot. In II Peter we’re told, “He [referring to God] rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard).”
Three times in those two verses God tells us through the pen of Peter that Lot was a righteous man. And twice we’re told that the conduct of the people with whom he lived was a torment and a distress to his spirit.
Now, why would that be a surprise? Well, for anyone familiar with Lot’s story, you wouldn’t necessarily have assumed he was a righteous man.
Sure, we can assume he knew as much about Yahweh as Abraham did. And many people have tried to point out that Lot’s choices weren’t necessarily sinful.
But, today I want to dissect Lot’s lamentable choices and apply them to our modern context.
Therefore, it’s going to be important to start with the understanding that Lot was a righteous man. Lot loved the Lord and believed in His promises. I will not be surprised to see Lot worshipping God in Heaven.
But he — like us — made some very bad choices that had a deleterious affect on his family.
So, let’s start at the beginning. Abram (he hadn’t had his named changed to Abraham yet)and Lot move from Haran to Canaan. Now we don’t know how many possessions Abram and Lot have at this point. It’s never specified, but we do know that Abram had God’s blessing on his life in a very specific way.
You see, God had promised to make Abram a great nation and give him and his descendants many things.
Anyway, Abram and his entourage avoid a famine by heading down to Egypt. However, while they’re there Abram makes a bad choice, and the Pharaoh nearly commits adultery with Sarai, Abram’s wife. As a way of apologizing for what happened, Pharaoh gives Abram many precious gifts including livestock and servants, and he sends him out of the country. Knowing Abram’s character, I believe he likely blessed Lot with some of those gifts.
And then in chapter 13 we’re told that Abram and Lot had so many possessions that there just wasn’t enough space for them to feed their livestock. So, Abram, being the nice uncle that he was, gave Lot a choice. in Genesis 13:8-9 we read, “Then Abram said to Lot, ‘Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.’”
My friends, know this, sometimes the most seemingly benign choices are the ones that set the trajectory of our lives. This choice didn’t have to be a big deal. It wasn’t an inherently sinful or bad choice, but — like in everything else — a good choice made for a bad reason will have negative consequences.
Verse 10 tells us, “And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar.”
Lot basically took the better of the two choices. The land that lay near the Jordan River would obviously be lusher and better for his livestock. In fact, to him it looked like the Garden of Eden. And it would be impossible to negatively judge Lot for this decision, but the Lord gives us more detail, and it’s important that we understand what’s going on. You see, I didn’t read all of verse 10. This is how it reads: “And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)”
Now, again, this little addition about Sodom and Gomorrah doesn’t seem to have significant import, but it does. You see, God wanted the reader to understand that Lot had chosen to move in the direction of two very wicked cities.
Now, you may be thinking that I’m judging Lot’s choice a little too harshly. But let’s continue reading: “So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.”
Look carefully at the progression from general to specific.
Lot first chooses to move toward the Jordan Valley. This was likely a huge area filled with numerous cities.
But then we’re told his eyes turned in the direction of Zoar.
And then we’re told Lot settled among the cities of the valley.
And finally we read that he moved his tent as far as Sodom.
And twice in the passage — at the beginning when Lot made his choice, and at the end of the account when he had moved comfortably into the city — God wanted us to know exactly where Lot was choosing to live and the kind of people that lived there. God called the men of Sodom “great sinners against the Lord.”
Then, in the very next chapter we read that a bunch of kings of the area united in battle against a bunch of other kings, and the king of Sodom was on the losing side, but someone escaped and told Abram what had happened, so Abram takes his personal army of 318 men and goes after Lot and his family. To make a long story short, Abram wins, destroys the kings, and — not only saved Lot and his family — but the rest of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar.
Not this has all taken place over the course of chapters thirteen and fourteen, but then we don’t hear about Lot again until chapter eighteen.
During this time Lot has not only moved in Sodom, but he has also become a respected voice and — likely — a leader of the city.
We learn he has a wife, and at least two daughters. But Sodom’s time is short because the wickedness of the city is so great that the cries of countless people in the surrounding area have reached God’s ears. And God has told Abram that’s He’s about to destroy Sodom.
Of course, Abram pleads with God not to do so, and after a nearly comical back-and-forth Abram asks God to promise not to destroy the city if there are at least 10 righteous people in the city.
The reason the exchange is comical is that I believe every time Abram asked God not to destroy the city if there were 50, 45, 40, 30, 20, and 10, Abram kicked himself because he realized he was talking about Sodom.
If Abram had been honest with himself, he would have realized that there were likely fewer than 5 righteous people in the city, but he probably couldn’t bring himself to believe it. Perhaps he was hoping Lot and his family had been a better influence.
But that was not the case.
And so God decides to destroy Sodom for its rampant wickedness, but He is not a God without mercy and grace. God sent two angels to get Lot and his family out before the rain of fire fell.
Well, the angels go down and we get a first-hand glimpse at the debauchery of the city. Because Lot knows the kind of people with whom he lives, Lot is petrified to think what would happen if the two angels stayed the night in the town square, and he compels them to stay at his house. Of course, word spreads and then we’re told that every one of the men of the city soon surrounded Lot’s house and demanded that he should send the two men out so they could be gang raped by the entire city.
Are you seeing what God’s talking about when He speaks of the wickedness of the city?
Finally, the angels blind the rabble and compel Lot to take his two daughters and his wife out of the city. Of course, being a good guy, Lot tries to convince the two men who were to marry his daughters to flee with them, but the guys thought he was joking.
And this story ends with the sons-in-law and the rest of the Jordan Valley being burned alive, Lot’s wife refusing to obey the angels and being turned into a pillar of salt, and Lot’s two daughters eventually getting him drunk and committing incest with him because they thought they were the only three people left on the face of the earth.
And that’s the last we hear about Lot until Jesus, and that’s all we know about him until Peter tells us he was a righteous man.
Now, that was a quick overview of his life as it’s recorded in the Old Testament. And — believe it or not — I actually left out some of the grittier details of the story.
So, what application is there for us and our families?
Here’s the thing, rewind with me to the beginning of Lot’s poor choices.
Lot and his uncle were having difficulties with their wealth, and — given the opportunity — Lot chose the option that would give him, his livestock, and his family the better chance for the good life.
This is what motivated him to choose the Jordan Valley, and it was the impetus for him to move in among the cities of the valley, to scoot closer to Sodom, to eventually move into Sodom, to become an elder of Sodom, and even give his daughters to wed Sodomites.
All Lot wanted for his family was a good life. A life free of the transient wandering of nomads like Abram. A life free from tents. He wanted his family to have opportunities that wilderness living couldn’t afford them. He wanted to gain the benefits of the city, and — no doubt — even though he hated the sin all around him, he believed his family would be okay because he was providing for them.
Lot wanted comfort and success and good experiences for his children more than he wanted holiness.
“Well, now, Aaron, that’s a little harsh.”
You see, as parent’s our biggest responsibility is to create an environment for our kids where it’s easy to do right and hard to do wrong.
Now, most of you know me well enough to know I’m not advocating sheltering them. We need to pour God’s Truth into our children, help them understand it, and teach them to apply it. When they don’t, we help them interpret their decisions in light of Truth, when they submit, we help them change their course and continue in Truth.
And we can do this in the midst of the most God-hating environment.
But, part of parenting our kids is acknowledging when they’re actually prepared to handle a certain set of temptations or circumstances.
The cities of the Jordan Valley were so wicked that God did something He never did before — He single-handedly wiped them out. He didn’t even both using a foreign nation to do it.
And Lot dropped his family right into the middle of it.
And even though Lot was an overall righteous man, he was still affected by negative influences of Sodom.
When the men of the city were prepared to break the door down and violate the angelic strangers — in an attempt to dissuade them — Lot offered his own daughters!
Here’s the point — before we get too down on Lot — how many of us are doing the same thing?
How many of us enroll our kids in that school, drop them into that group of kids, or encourage them to take that job because of the pragmatic benefits it will provide them . . . without once considering whether or not they’re spiritually prepared to thrive in that scenario?
Lot’s righteousness was distracted. It was distracted by wealth and popularity and position and wellbeing.
Instead of grounding his family in the Truth of Yahweh, instead of preparing his family to engage with the world on God’s terms, he thrust them into a situation against which they were spiritually ill-equipped to stand.
This isn’t always the case with the parents to whom I minister at Victory Academy, but it’s the case more often than not.
It may be the public school system — and please listen to episode 80 if you’re child is in the public school or you’re considering sending them there. It may be a job. We may allow our kids to surround themselves with peers who do not want their best.
But the big one is when we allow our kids to virtually hem themselves in with the most vile elements of the world in the form of a telephone.
YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, and the innumerable porn sites are the moral equivalent of Sodom and Gomorrah, and we actually give our children these devices with the hopes they’ll use them the right way.
My friends, in some ways we’re worse the Lot.
We’re worse than Lot because we know Lot’s story.
We’re worse than Lot because his family was surrounded by the evil of an ancient city and ours are surrounded by the evil of everyone in the world with an internet connection.
We send our kids to colleges and universities to be taught by atheists knowing full-well they’re spiritual elementary-schoolers.
There is so much more that could be said. So, allow me to boil down today’s topic to a single sentence.
Do not sacrifice your child’s spiritual safety for their material well-being.
Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.”
No one is going to like what I have to say next, but we must hear it.
You would be surprised how many times God calls people whores, prostitutes, and adulterers. He calls them that because they reject a relationship with Him — their Creator — for cheap experiences and temporal pleasures.
My friends, some of us are on the verge of whoring our children out . . . and we don’t even realize it. We’re sending our spiritually unprepared children into Sodom with the mission to graduate from a good school and get a good job. And we wonder how we’re losing our families?
Do not sacrifice your child’s spiritual safety for their material well-being.
We have a number of episodes dedicated to this theme:
In episode 80 we discuss how this reality is tearing down our kids in the public school.
We talk about what God thinks about your kids’ music in episode 23.
We look at how to train your children to rebel in episode 43.
We discuss the very real dangers of sleepovers in episode 62.
In episode 88 we talk about apps you thought were safe for your kids, but aren’t.
We talk about their friends in our Friends series which starts in episode 164.
In episode 196 we discuss the very hard work of turning bad influences into non-influences.
And way back in episode 12 we talk about how to prepare your kids, not protect them.
And each of these covers just one little facet of the much larger question of how to evangelize and disciple your children to be followers of God, not followers of self.
It’s always a little awkward to ask people to share an episode like this, but man-o-man do we need it. I think we do it without realizing it.
I think many times, we — like Lot — really do have noble goals and lofty plans for our kids, but we take the very wrong road to achieve those desires.
I also think we’re all tempted to think our kids are more spiritually mature than they really are.
So, please download our free episode notes, and really search your heart and your family life to see if you’ve potentially put your kids into a sphere they are ill-equipped to handle.
And then join us next time when we discuss who the chief of sinners is in your home.
Lastly, don’t forget that you can contact us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com with your unique family questions.
I know that I didn’t offer too much practical help for avoiding the temptation to Parent like Lot, but I wanted today to stand as a warning. God included his story for a reason, and it’s so sad to see what happened to Lot’s family because that righteous man was distracted by green fields, the potential for promotion, and the easy life.
May we be vigilant to adequately prepare our children to stand for Christ.
To that end, I’ll see you next time.
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