Sunday, May 6, 2012
Genesis 19: 19-30 the city of Zoar.. a little one
Zoar: Means a little thing
Have you ever been caught within the grasp of something that you knew was not good for you? Have you ever been given a second chance in life to succeed and to move forward and then all you could think of was exactly what you had just been freed from?
Lot was given a second chance. He had been freed from his ties to the evil in Sodom. He says to the Lord, "thou hast magnified thy mercy... in saving my life." Clearly he understands his good fortune and what is about to happen. So why then does he not exercise his faith and move to the higher ground?
What happens in verse 20 really caused me to think. Lot and his family are safe from destruction. He is free from the grasp of the sin that was consuming Sodom. It is here that he choose to push his luck and plead for what he is most comfortable for. Like an addict he can not own up to the truth that he would be alone with himself or his family, away from the city. He must have Zoar, a little one.
The question is what does he lose when he chooses to disobey the direction of God's servants to "escape to the mountain?" What does he lose when he purposefully chooses to fear "some evil" that might "take me?" Was he truly grateful for his being saved? Or was he only thinking selfishly (as sin causes us to do) If you consider that God's mercy and grace had just supplied him with three angels who saved him from destruction by leading him out of the city and plain, and that his faith had preserved him, why then could he not continue in faith and strength to the higher ground?
I am considering now the many times in my life when I have been given or had to give instruction concerning how to change a situation for the better. On one occasion my initial instruction was to argue. In fact I did argue and discuss the situation with the Lord. It did not turn out as I would have first hoped.
I am thinking now of Joseph Smith who, like Lot had not learned this lesson. He wanted what he wanted and did not want to do as he was instructed concerning the 16 pages of manuscript that he loaned to Martin Harris. It too did not turn out as he would have hoped.
Lot was given instruction to move to higher ground. In stead of exercising faith and trust in the Lord's judgement he argued his need for his soul. Is it not a little one? my soul shall live. How often have we focused on what we could not do and not understood what the Lord knows we can do?
After much petitioning the Lord gave in to Joseph Smith and the consequence was that the pages were lost. After much petitioning and the urgency of time, Lot's desire is "accepted," and Zoar, is not overthrown. Lot and his family are given permission to "escape thither" where they were able to watch the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah with brimstone and fire.
What if they had gone on to higher ground? What if they had been busy putting their feet one in front of the other and had a different perspective of the destruction? How do you suppose it must have been for them to be on the same level, (the plain) as the destruction? What profit did they gain by being close to the destruction? If they had gone to higher ground would they have heard the cries or smelled the sulphur and pitch as it burned and itched their nostrils? Even if Lot was able to not turn and watch he had led his family here. What had he done to prevent their destruction?
Lot's wife, we are told is unable to restrain her desire to watch her homeland destroyed. She turns back to the scene and is turned (literally or metaphorically it does not matter) into a pillar of stone. Why? Because of what she desired. Because of what her focus was on.
How do we turn to stone? Is it something that comes from within? Was it anger that consumed her? Was it the willingness to forgo her family and leave them for the world she had just been led from?
What is it like to be turned to salt? Did it happen in an instance or is this story, like many in the Bible, condensed to represent a longer period of time? Did she stew over it. Did she and Lot argue? Did her anger and loss overtake her to where she could no longer move and the sulphur and tar encapsulate her?
What was the one little thing, the Zoar, that caused Lot's wife to turn her heart away from all that was good and allow herself to be hardened to all that God's love would bring?
What is that Zoar in your life that God has led you away from, has given you direction for, has granted you grace and mercy for, and you have not understood.