Reformed Baptist Fellowship

Not a Serious Lot

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on March 14, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Lot just didn’t take Abraham all that seriously. Sure, he went with him when he migrated from Ur, what else would he do? After all, Uncle Abram was his de facto father since Lot’s father Haran had died. Lot heard about this God who had spoken to Abram and promised him a seed and land. He knew Abram was committed to worship this God at His altars of sacrifice. He had even witnessed God’s deliverance of Abram from Egypt when Abram lied about Sarai, his wife. Certainly Pharaoh took Abram seriously when he discovered that Sarai, his new addition to his harem, was Abram’s wife and the Lord struck his house with great plagues.  As significant as all that was, the thing that impressed Lot was the wealth that Abram amassed, wealth that spilled over into Lot’s possession.

When the opportunity came to strike out on his own, Lot didn’t take Abram’s God and His promises as seriously as he took the prospect of increased wealth. So he separated from Abram and moved into the notoriously wicked city of Sodom. Hey, why take their reputation of sin all that seriously? Why let a little sin get in the way of making more money?  Even after Lot experienced the serious trauma of being captured by the four invading kings and surprisingly being rescued by Abraham, he still didn’t take the sin of Sodom seriously. He returned to Sodom and worked his way into the city’s politics, earning himself a seat at the city gate. He knew about the population’s violent sensuality and took it seriously enough to compel the two curious visitors to stay at his home to protect them, intending to whisk them out first thing in the morning. But that night, things really got serious.

The violent homosexual crowd demanded to have their way with the two visitors, and when Lot addressed them as brothers, they didn’t take him seriously. In fact, they let him know that during his entire time in Sodom, in spite of all his politicking, they had never taken him seriously. But they were serious now. They rushed at Lot in a surge of anger. After the two visitors, now seen to be angels, rescued Lot, Lot finally got serious. He believed their warnings and went off to urge his sons-in-law to flee the city before the outpouring of divine destruction. Lot preached a good sermon to those men. He believed the angel’s message and delivered the warning with earnest appeal. But he appeared to his sons-in-law to be jesting (Gen 19:14). They just couldn’t take Lot seriously.

The angels had to physically remove Lot from the city and even then Lot resisted the angel’s directives.  As the sun rose on the morn of the day of destruction, the angels told Lot to flee to the mountains.  Lot negotiated a compromise with the angels to flee to Zoar.  Lot’s negotiation reveals his approach to life. Lot lived according to the motto seen in verse 20: is it not small? In his mind, Zoar was just a small town.  Is the Lord so serious about destroying the valley that He couldn’t spare this small town?  Is it not just a small compromise? Lot tolerates small compromises.  Can’t the Lord?  Would the Lord take a little compromise all that seriously?  Astonishingly, the angels gave Lot permission to go to Zoar.  On the way, Lot’s wife looked back to Sodom and was overcome by God’s judgment.  Lot eventually left Zoar.  His story of compromise ends with a sad and sordid scene in a dark cave of debauchery.

Evidently, little in Lot’s character or conduct compelled others to give him or his professed religion serious regard. His Sodomite neighbors, his wife, his daughters, and his sons-in-law just couldn’t take Lot seriously. Their common assessment was he appeared to be jesting.  If it were not for Peter informing us that righteous Lot (was) oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (2 Pt 2:7), we would not take Lot’s religion all that seriously either.

I’ve encountered some in our Sodom-like generation who want me to be like ludicrous Lot. “Now don’t get too serious there preacher.”  Ahh, I think I’ve got a sense of humor.  I even use humor judiciously to release pent up tension while preaching.  But I hope no one would respond to my preaching like Lot’s sons-in-law and conclude that I am just jesting.  Now, I don’t intend to be dour or morbid, but can I really be too serious? Can I be too serious about being a voice that forms the watershed at which men divide and flow either on into heaven or hell? Can I be too serious while Babylon seduces and the Beast ravages the people of God?  Can I be too serious while serving Christ’s sheep on a spiritual battlefield?  Can I be too serious about giving an account for the souls of men?  Will Jesus say to me on that Day when He is casting men out of His presence into eternal darkness, that I was just too serious about all this salvation from the wrath to come stuff?

When I’m told that I’m just too serious, I think about Lot. How many times he must’ve made little is it not small compromises to avoid some Sodomite indicting him of being too serious, when in fact, he wasn’t serious enough.  Lot compromised and didn’t take Sodom’s sin or his own compulsion to compromise seriously.  But it was serious. Likewise, Sodom compromised and put up with Lot’s politicking and his idiosyncratic discomfort at their sensual immorality, but didn’t take Lot’s preaching seriously.  But it was serious.  Life lived on the threshold of divine judgment is serious.  Yet when Lot urged his sons-in-law to flee God’s impending wrath, they thought he was joking.

“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning, they shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.” (Soren Kierkegaard, Either/Or Vol 1, Princeton, 1971. p.30)

Perhaps Lot-like compromising clowns are not the best suited to communicate this sober and serious message of God’s gospel?  Seems to me, it’s time to get serious.

Alan Dunn, Pastor
Grace Covenant Baptist Church
Flemington, NJ
  1. Some of our leaders seem to be infatuated with the “young and restless,” but what we need is the maturity of men like Pastor Dunn!

  2. Amen and amen. Life and death are being trivialized by man and his media in this sin-soaked world. What could be funny about eternal judgment of God? How humorous is being the focus of the Just and Righteous wrath of God? Man pushes these serious realities out of his conscious consideration by making them a joke. Pastor’s Dunn’s insight regarding Lot gives us a lot to ponder. The work of the Gospel is the most serious and highest priority on earth. May God’s grace draw us to take it seriously both in prayer and practice.

  3. […] Alan Dunn writes, “Not a Serious Lot”, about the story of Lot at Reformed Baptist Fellowship. He addresses our need to lead lives and […]

  4. Our Brother Alan has demonstrated in gripping vernacular why it is that Old Testament history is written for those of us “upon whom the end of the ages is come.” If it is right to “Remember Lot’s wife” then there is also much about Lot to remember and to avoid with a holy passion.

  5. […] leave a comment » Several weeks ago I preached on Lot the compromised messenger and his careless hearers.  My friend Alan Dunn, who has preached through Genesis at some length, giving significant attention to this sad man, posts some sobering insights into the character of Lot. […]

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