January 6

Genesis 19-21, Psalm 6

On October 26, 2017, President Trump declared a public health emergency on our nation’s opioid epidemic. Opioids are interesting drugs with important effects for short term pain control. It has been shown that over time, opioids lose their analgesic effect, and higher and higher doses along with stronger forms of opioids are used for any effect at all. Eventually individuals using these drugs for chronic pain are left with an addiction without any benefit. Opioids have so much in common with sin. What starts with a glance, a taste, a try will start one’s appetite for that particular sin. No longer satisfied with that, they need to feed that sin more and more to get the same effect. Over time it is easy to be consumed by this sin, losing any sense of shame associated with it. Such was the case with Lot in today’s reading along with the city of Sodom that he dwelt in.

We notice the start of Lot and Sodom begin in Genesis 13:10,12-13, “And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere,…and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord.” So, Lot started with a glance. We see the progression in Genesis 14:12 during the war between the kings of that area, we read, “They also took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son who dwelt in Sodom and his goods, and departed.” So he initially glanced and lived on the perimeter, but at this time he was living with them. By the time we get to Genesis 19:1, we read, “Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom…”. He was now a leader sitting in the gate of this godless city. As the story progresses, and the men of the city surround Lot’s house and want to have sexual relations with the angels ( who appeared to men), Lot responds in 19:7 saying, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men,…”. This response by Lot defies any logical explanation, other than being in Sodom so long, he was now desensitized to the rampant perversion, much as we are now in our society. Lot began his long journey with Abraham and was blessed when he was with him, and lived a righteous life then. Paul knows that any of us can fall if we allow ourselves to engage the wrong people or habits as he warned in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived, “Evil company corrupts good habits”.” None of us are that strong in our own strength, but we are told in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” Trust in ourselves and we can all fall, trust in and lean on God and we will find true strength.

Many like to categorize the sin of Sodom as homosexuality. But it is so much more than this. The sin of Sodom is sin without shame. It is a brazen, in your face level of sinfulness which is rampant in today’s society. Consider homosexual marriage, transgender bathrooms, widespread fornication and cohabitation outside of marriage, abortion (even a YouTube site called “Shout your abortion”), etc. Jesus can enter and heal anyone trapped in any sin and fully forgive that person if they will only acknowledge it as sin and come to Him with a heart of repentance. But when individuals feel a sense of pride associated with their sin and have a “seared conscience” ( 1 Timothy 4:1-2), then they can not be helped. Many do not want to confront in love those struggling in these areas for fear of offending or alienating them. But true love realizes that without repentance and accepting Jesus they are in a state of hopelessness. Though we all fall into sin daily, may we not live in sin. May we keep short accounts with God, frequently in prayer before Him. Lastly, never underestimate the power of intercessory prayer on behalf of others as we read in Genesis 19:29, “And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot had dwelt.”

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Aaron Salvato