It was a TV program called “To Tell The Truth.” Three people came onto the stage claiming to be a person of accomplishment, but two were imposters. Panelists asked questions to determine who spoke truth, and then the announcer iconically said, “Will the real John Doe please stand up?”
I thought about this program lately while teaching through the book of Genesis, reading again the exploits of Lot. He was Abraham’s adopted son—actually his nephew whose own father had died. Perhaps Abraham thought at one time Lot could be the child of promise pledged by the Lord before the birth of Isaac.
The Lot we read about in the Old Testament is a weasel of a man. When the two men decided to divide the land, Lot chose the best. Abraham lived in Canaan, but Lot chose to live in the most wicked city of all time, Sodom. Two angels from the Lord came to see for themselves the evil in Sodom, and Lot provided shelter in his house. The evil Sodomites wanted to have carnal relations with the angels, and Lot offered them his daughters instead. And the last we read of Lot in the Old Testament he’s a drunken fool and, a victim of incest.
But the New Testament Lot is a stellar character. Peter said he was a godly man distressed by the depravity of Sodom, and God rescued him. One wonders why Lot would need to be rescued when he chose to live in Sodom?
Will the real Lot please stand up?
I think the only way to understand Lot is to remember that Abraham, whom scripture three times calls a friend of God, prayed for him. Abraham famously interceded for Sodom, asking God six times to decrease the required number of righteous people to save the city. The Lord promised to save Sodom if there were ten people of faith. As far as we know, there were four in the Lot family.
Some believe Lot had two married daughters and two sons-in-law, so this was eight. But eight didn’t make ten, and the fire of God fell in judgment. Lot was saved because Abraham, the friend of God, prayed for him.
I think this story is our story, too. We’ve all disobeyed God, and we can never earn salvation by doing good things. “Not of works lest any man should boast,” the Apostle Paul wrote. So we’re lost without hope, except Jesus, the friend of God, prayed for us. In the “divine exchange,” he took our sins on the cross and, in return, gave us the gift of his righteousness.
A sinful man, Lot, was saved by Abraham. We sinners are saved by Christ.
“Reflections” is a weekly faith column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster.
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