Facing Down Bullies
Loving Lord, I know that, through Christ, I need not fear You, and You can drive all my fears away.
Read Genesis 19:1-14
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
The risen Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me … surely I am with you always” (Matt. 28:18,20).
Janacek’s opera, In the House of the Dead, gives a chilling portrayal of life in a Siberian prison, where bullying and sexual humiliation are endemic. Instant hostility to a newcomer who is different brings out the worst in staff and prisoners alike. It was that toxic mixture that made Sodom a watchword for an evil society in many later references in Scripture (Amos 4:11; 2 Pet. 2:6).
Clearly, much of the time, life went on peacefully. Lot is sitting in the city gateway (1) where the men of influence would be conducting business. Like Abraham, he was swift to welcome the angels. The description of his hospitality is similar to that in 18:2-8, though briefer, but as night approaches he is edgy and his fears are justified. Faced with a mob at his door, Lot tries to hang on to his moral duty to protect his guests. He makes the appalling offer of his daughters as sex objects. Many desert cultures do place an extremely high value on hospitality as a sacred duty, but we should not too easily excuse Lot. There is a warning here about too glibly solving a moral dilemma by choosing the so-called “lesser of two evils.” There is usually a better way, trusting God and finding Spirit-inspired words that carry moral authority and defuse the situation. Jesus demonstrated this when hostile interrogators backed him into dangerous corners (see Luke 20:26).
Here the angels act with authority and confound the crowd. Lot himself lacks authority at the door and later in his attempt to persuade his sons-in-law to escape. They treat him as a joker (14). Lot has enough faith to welcome God’s messengers but he is not an impressive example of a “righteous man” when he faces outwards. He has underestimated the challenge of living in Sodom.
Are you facing any choices that pose a moral dilemma? If so, ask God for discernment to recognize and choose the righteous way.
Lord, I ask You to raise up people who can work effectively and with authority for the cause of the right.