The Bad Lot
“Before [Lot and his guests] had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom surrounded the house…Lot went outside to meet the mob and shut the door behind him and said, ‘No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never known a man. Let me bring them out to you and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.’
‘Get out of our way,’ the mob replied. ‘This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.’” – Genesis 19:5-9
What?! What could he have possibly been thinking?!
Immediately following his valiant and faithful decision to welcome the strangers into his home, Lot blows it.
Not long after bringing the undercover angels into his home, an angry mob comes pounding at Lot’s door demanding he handover his guests. We never hear how the people of Sodom learned of the guests (some rabbinical traditions say Lot’s wife purposely ratted him out by going door-to-door asking to borrow salt for some unexpected guests). To this virulent crowd, Lot offers his daughters as a sort of sacrifice. This makes no sense.
Some try to explain Lot’s actions by saying this highlights the high standard of hospitality in that time. Lot would rather his children be harmed than his guests.
Some say Lot’s offer explains the low value placed upon women in a such a patriarchal society.
A few suggest that Lot knew the crowd would reject this offer and thus he’s not that bad for saying it.
None of these theories work for me. Nothing explains such a betrayal and likely no explanation would ever put me at ease with Lot’s action. The unease of this story reminds me of the unfortunately common sensation that arises from the news.
It seems like every week there is a story in my news feed about a heinous crime tearing apart a family. Children harming siblings, parents hurting children, families and generations destroyed by violence. These stories leave me in disbelief, unable to understand what led to such pain. Yet I know that as a Christian, my call is not to remain aghast at a distance. We are not invited to bemoan the state of the world. As followers of Christ we are called to pray. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.”-Matt 6:10 We are called to serve those teetering on the edge. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.”-James 1:27 We are called to care for our families. “And whoever does not provide for relatives in need, and especially for family members, has denied the faith.”-1 Tim 5:8 God knows family dynamics and histories are complicated and can be fraught with wounds. Thankfully, our God never throws in the towel.
When the darkness of humanity’s choices threatens to overwhelm us, let us cling to Christ, our light. By the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives the same power of light and life that resurrected Christ moves in us. Therefore, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”-Rom 12:21