“The way a book is read — which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book — can have as much to do with its worth as anything the author puts into it…. Anyone who can read can learn how to read deeply and thus live more fully.”
~Norman Cousins

Writing is where we truly learn. Join the Journey.

I read from my scriptures (book), but you can find scripture reference here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

in the gates of Sodom (Mercy) - Genesis 19: 1-10

And Lot Sat in the gate of Sodom
In the gates
In the gate of Sodom did Lot wait. Here at the outskirts of town, at the fringe of society he sat, until he saw, afar off the angels coming. I have to admit that when I read chapter 18, I wanted to believe that Lot was not as good as I had hoped. But as I read these first ten verses, I saw his story a bit differently. Lot reverenced deity. His actions prove it.

He sat at the gates of Sodom. Why is this important? Consider that he was not in the midst of Sodom. He was not outside of Sodom either, but at least he was not so caught up in the sin of the city that it consumed him. He did not join in the revelry of Sodom but rather sat apart from it.

We know from his reaction to the angels wanting to stay the night "in the streets" that he is very much aware of the wantonness of Sodom. Did he sit there for reprieve? Did he sit there for regret? Was in in prayer? Was he expecting the angels?

If you are caught within the gates of Sodom what would you do? If you were to see, while you sat within the gates of Sodom the servants of God approach, how would you react? This is not an easy question to answer. There are many addictions within the world that take our attention and leave us spellbound. The addiction of electronics, nicotine, gambling, alcohol, are but a few that many simply cannot walk away from.

What is Sodom really?

My point is that Sodom is much more than a place; it is the representation of any sin of addiction that will not allow us to rise up to greet the servants of the Lord. Sodom is the point of no return, where our sin has taken over our will and desire to act in goodness.

Not only did Lot rise up to meet them, but recognizing their holiness he "bowed himself with his face toward the ground." How do we recognize holiness? Do we seek it out so that when it comes to us we know its goodness.

 If Lot lived within the confines of Sodom, how did he know holiness? He had a love for Abraham and all that Abraham represented. He had experience with holiness when he lived with Abraham. He was the one righteous man (plus his family)  for whom Abraham solicited the saving of the city. Why Lot did not teach it to his family or get them out to a place where it could be taught? I do not know, but addictions are subtle serpents that coil themselves around you until you loose the ability to act for yourself.

Two Angels (three actually)
The mission of angels 

I found it interesting to think that Lot must have known the intent of the angels. They had come to receive witness against Sodom. The Lord must abide by the laws of justice and justice demands witness and evidence. The angels had a mission to teach and seek out the morality of the people. Knowing how depraved the people had become, I believe Lot sought to protect the Lord's servants from the pervasive evil. And in protecting them, he is able to protect himself (and hopefully his family) from destruction. At least he is able to buy some needed time.

If you have identified the Sodom that keeps you bound and keeps you apart from the holiness of God's servants what can you do to protect yourself? Lot realized that although he was confined within the gates of Sodom, he did know enough to protect God's servants. He did know enough to prepare a feast and serve them unleavened bread. But it was no easy task.

Why did he have to "press upon them  greatly" for them to "turn(ed) in unto him?" Why did they want to first "abide in the street all night?" Had they been given instruction? Were they there to obtain witness, to teach, or to shake off the dust of the evil city? Was God's justice and judgment at work? Did they seek to be in the street that they might exercise mercy?  to find but ten righteous men?

Misery loves company 

And when they lay down for the night, the men of the city, whom they had been sent to balance mercy and judgement upon came from every quarter of the city to "know"(TG euphemism for sexual) these men of God. So morally depraved and miserable were these men of Sodom that they had lost all sense of respect, all sense of good judgment, all sense of mercy for Lot's guests or any man.

And here is the issue. Abraham had gained an audience with the Lord to discuss mercy. He had asked the Lord will you also "destroy the righteous with the wicked?" (18:23) and the Lord had tutored him on justice and judgment. And Abraham learned about mercy.

Mercy is for those who have still the ability to act for themselves and choose for themselves goodness. Mercy comes to those who bestow mercy. These men of Sodom had not a sense of mercy nor justice. So depraved were they that they sought to bring only misery that they themselves knew.


Mercy directed the path of the angels that came to walk the streets of Sodom. They were looking for a few righteous men so that the city may be saved. Mercy directed Lot's actions as he protected the servants of the Lord. Mercy directed Lot's actions once again as he leaves the protection of his own home to plead with the wicked to save these men of God and to save his own daughters (see JST).
He seeks mercy from those who not the meaning of the word.

It's ironic because he starts his interaction with the angels to seek mercy for the city, (he wants to buy more time), and he ends up begging for mercy for his own life. It is the mercy of the angels as they pull him back in that saves him.

Mercy came to Lot and his family. It was extended and accepted. It came in the form of a "hold upon his hand," while he "lingered."  Mercy, in order to be understood must be accepted. Like a gift it must be opened and understood. Lot understood that he himself was lacking, but he repented, bowed himself before the angels, and finally allowed them to escort him through his grief away, through the gates where he had first bowed himself - away from the evil that had gated him in.


  1. I think of Lot as an investigator to the gospel. We cannot reach those who live in the center of Sodom. They are mired in evil and reveling in it. We can only reach those who stand at the gates of Sodom, looking and waiting for messengers from God--people who can recognize truth and holiness when they find it. And I like the idea that those living in the midst of Sodom are holding on to addiction. We all have bad habits that bound us to the past and keep us from moving forward. Another great job!

  2. I really like the idea of Lot being new to many gosple concepts. "investigator' In many respects we are all investigators and should never give up the quest for truth. Once we have found it we need to protect it, cherish it and seek to understand it's many intricacies. ... all that aside. Lot was very new to many ideas about the gospel and had lived without it's guiding grace. Abraham's loved saved him from destruction. God's grace gave him a new opportunity. I can think of many recent converts to the gospel who might have felt like Lot.
    Thanks Ann.. you opened up a new idea and I learned something new.

  3. I realized something else now, reading this again. When Lot begged the angels to stay with him, perhaps he had begun the process of begging for mercy. The angels were righteous, perfect men. And Lot was a resident of Sodom. He stood at the gates of the city, but his home was within its walls. Perhaps his home was not spiritually clean enough to admit these angels. Perhaps he had to show these men somehow that he was willing to choose God over Sodom before they would "turn unto him." He was trying to hold on to both God and Sodom. How many of us do that? We go to church on Sunday, and then mire ourselves in the world the other 6 days. We can't have both. In the end, we must choose God, or be destroyed with the other residents of Sodom. This is also why Lot's wife was destroyed. She looked back. Her actions showed that Sodom still lived in her heart. You can take the girl out of Sodom, but not Sodom out of the girl, if you know what I mean.


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