“As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, ‘Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.'” – Genesis 19:15 (ESV)
A few days ago, I started what will now be my 4th journey through the Bible. I’ve done it differently each time, and this year I’m planning on alternating Old Testament and New Testament books (Genesis, then Mark, then Exodus, etc.), while reading a Proverb or Psalm every morning as well. I find that I focus better when I’m concentrating on just one book at a time, although I see the value in plans that have you in different areas of Scripture every day.
This morning I read Genesis 17-19 and Proverbs 5. The chapters in Genesis cover God’s covenant with Abraham and His promise of a son in Isaac to Abraham and Sarah. We also see the depravity in Sodom and Abraham’s plea with God to spare its residents. There was one verse that grabbed me from Genesis 19 in regards to Lot’s conduct as the situation in Sodom unravels:
“But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.” – Gen. 19:16 (ESV)
Lot and his wife apparently shared the same misgivings, as she turned back herself and turned into a pillar of salt. But that word “lingered” in the above verse got to me. How often does that describe my own condition ! We all have our pet sins and things that we just know are contrary to God’s Word…yet we let them linger in our lives, maybe as some kind of safety net, afraid to cast them away for good. We’re also told in the above verse in regards to Lot that the Lord was “merciful to him”. We should never lose sight of that. God is in fact patient with us, but the opportunity for mercy will not last forever. Paul asks us in Romans, “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Rom 2:4, ESV). We should rejoice in the fact that, in Jesus, we are set “outside the city” of sin and thank God for His mercy towards us.
This was my prayer this morning after reading Genesis 17-19:
“Heavenly Father, remind me again today that nothing is too hard for you (Gen 18:14). You can make old women conceive who are barren, and you can work in sinners like myself to change them into the likeness of Your Son. Thank you for your covenant and your faithfulness. Help me not to linger at the impending doom as Lot did. Keep me in the way of Your Word and remember its warnings, as well as its promises. The vileness of sin is on full display here in Genesis 19. I am sorry for the sin I engage in daily Father. Help me to turn from it today and not look back, as Lot’s wife did.
I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”