Editor’s Introductory Note: The author has a Christian worldview, and many years of experience as a missionary. He applies these to his family preparedness. Whether you are a Christian or not, you will probably find this article useful.
Lot was Abraham’s brother. He is mentioned in Genesis 14-19. He also receives honorable mentions in the New Testament. The Holy Scriptures don’t even hide his failures or his sin. I love God’s Word because its is brutally honest. It’s like having a best friend tell you the good and the bad about our life.
Lot’s life is an example of how God can keep and save families bearing His name. Albeit, Lot’s strategic relocation is “cutting it close.” That’s an understatement. No one should ever put off or procrastinate critical decisions involving family security and safety.
Lot’s family was saved by God. Our Lord has mercy upon all who call out to Him. He is our solid rock. All other ground is sinking sand.
History of ANCIENT CITIES Has MODERN APPLICATION
It’s important to note that cities like Ninevah, Sodom and Tyre had prosperity. They also had vice and moral extremes. To see an important Biblical insight on the city states of Sodom read Ezekiel 16:49 (posted below). The Biblical prophets deeply probed the roots of moral and spiritual decay. No other words are higher or trustworthy than Scriptures apostles and prophets. They have no equal. No one can overturn or outdo their true calling. Their words and their lives speak forever. (See Hebrews 11).
Lot knew the dangers of living in a populated area with moral extremes. The cities are like magnets that allure and attract. Youth and college kids love metropolitan areas. This presents a formidable challenge to us in modern times. The lessons from Genesis 19 display the unparalleled wisdom and God’s mercy. In the VERY same story! The New covenant also declares Lot’s history and sudden relocation.
Many people live like Lot, 2020. Lot knew the spiritual and physical dangers in the cities he frequented. He chose to ignore God’s prior warnings. Even though he knew the rampant lawlessness governing the regions. Lot’s family was suddenly extricated by angels. Truly, none of us want to experience such sudden loss or forced relocation! (See Genesis 19:12 and 2 Peter 2:7)
IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO HEAD FOR THE HILLS!
We live in exciting times. More dramatic transformation has occurred in the last 10 years, than the previous 500 years. After two full decades in foreign missions (North America, Alaska, Canada, Africa and the Middle East), my attitude has changed. I’d also state that the point of foreign missions is to transform the missionaries, not just “save souls.”
I’d say that overseas missions work is similar to strategic relocation or homesteading. The only difference is how much you talk (or declare) the Gospel. Some people are not called to be talkers, but doers of God’s wisdom. These can be more persuasive than many pulpit ministers. We are all invited to live lifestyles that embrace God’s Word, in humility. God doesn’t coerce or enforce like Marxism and global collectivism. He invites, He woos and He gently forewarns. He guides and He protects. But when God’s gentle proddings are ignored, He later sends visible judgements or cataclysms. This was seen in Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19). Sometimes those judgements are overt, but other times its just “sowing what was reaped.” Indirect consequences of decades of disobedience, all reaped suddenly.
INTO THE WILDERNESS!
My son and I drove over 250 miles to our new mountainous retreat. It is beautiful! People were catching 10-20 pound fish! As we gently meandered through the cedar forest, we saw kids with a bountiful harvest. One boy had 3 fish, each over 2.5 feet long. He was carrying them on a stick.
We are having to “start our lives over” in a new region of America. There is a greater degree of neighborliness and honesty here. Guess what? People have emigrated from cities in the Blue States and sought refuge in the wilderness, mountainous regions of America. Inside are a vast wealth of fish, wildlife, and shelter. Here, wood can easily be gathered for heating.
THE PROPER RELOCATION ATTITUDE
Your attitude determines your altitude. Your embrace of the situation (often amidst difficulty), determines the goodness of the outcome. It determines the effectiveness of the solution or goal. Complaining, protesting and faultfinding merely wastes time. Have you ever spent time around these people? Ever been one? I have, too.
We need a new refrigerator, but it is time to change to one that is propane-fueled. Electricity may be downgraded to photovoltaic solar. We are in a time of rationing and entire businesses have closed in 2020 America. Is this only because of a virus? Or are the elites telling us “We are at war, get used to shortages, and lack of services.” I believe there’s a time coming when WalMart will have no food. Grocery stores will be empty. What you grow and harvest will be all that you can eat. What you can, smoke, or make into jerky will be your primary food source. Bartering and wise business will become commonplace. It’s only a matter of time. It’s not if, but when – in the near future.
GOD’S WORD DISPLAYS THE WISDOM AND SURVIVAL SKILLS WE NEED
Honestly, the Bible has cutting edge honesty. Not only do we get to see the miracles (like angels leading Lot out of Sodom), but it is brutally honest. We get to know Lot’s temptations, sins and struggles. Paul the Apostle said “All temptation is common to humanity.” (1 Cor 10:13) The Epistle of James echoes, “We all stumble in many ways.” (James 3:2) If you examine the biographies in the Bible, you will see striking honesty. Often, beyond the levels you experience in local churches in America. That should tell you a lot about America’s spiritual problems, which can’t be fixed with only political solutions. We need God to change our hearts, restore our love for Him, and for the fallen world. Political and legal solutions are only temporary “band-aids” that cover up spiritual issues. All of our social problems in the USA stem from spiritual ailments. Rejecting God’s word, His mercy and wisdom (Gospel) produces needless sufferings. People are sick and looking for healing in all the wrong places.
SPIRITUAL CULTS AND FRINGE GROUPS
The wilderness regions of the West often have some strange characters. These remote areas attract the best and sometimes the worst of our society. You will meet polygamists, extremely legalistic sects of the back-to Hebrew roots movement, folks who claim to be descendants of Israel, extremely paranoid preppers, and much more.
My point here is that the Bible has enough “Good weird events” like Lot leaving Sodom – with the angels. That’s just flat strange and amazing. We don’t need to make the Holy Bible “more weirder” by being ultra emotional or by being nonsensical.
I’ve been around dear charismatics who don’t hype their faith. I’ve also been around genuine cults, and they usually follow hype charismania, and go right off the deep end. Usually it starts with a low view of Scripture, and a focus on that “leader’s gifting” or a similar narrow focus, such as pet doctrines. In my experience, many of the extreme cults around the Ozarks are like this.
We need the real thing in America. (And enough of the real thing exists!). This is the the only thing that is going to revive the USA and maybe bring true revival. Yes, I’ve learned real revival comes after a nation suffers a little.
You will also meet genuine Christians trying to live honorable and upstanding lives. Such families are a blessing to the regions you dwell in. This is God’s goal for our planet. That we would all live such honorable, transparent, and humble lives we affect our state and nation.
This is how the Moravian missionary movement changed America and (then, later) sent missionaries around the world.
But learn to recognize and stay away from fringe theologies and groups. There are numerous cults in America and the world. They always center around one “fringe theology” or leader. [JWR’s Adds: One common theme of nearly all cults is that they reject the divinity of Christ. They deny the fact that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ alone, and they further deny that Jesus was the Son of God and part of the Trinity. Watch out for that heresy!] Often these heretical leaders are charismatic (not always), but they always practice coercion and control. They usually celebrate one or two “pet doctrines” while ignoring Jesus’ words in the Gospels.
You will find that all cults celebrate 1) a special leader that is unchallenged, viewed as infallible and 2) they take the word of God out of context. They browbeat and abuse with the Scriptures meant to give us life, hope and transformation. They violate basic hermeneutics like “interpreting Scripture in light of the rest of Scripture.” Cults violate many guidelines and norms, beginning at the hermeneutic (interpretation) level. It’s also because they have a low view of Scripture, and place their own emphasis on their own odd doctrines. I encourage my family to know the Bible, and evaluate all sermons in light of Scripture. Scripture interprets Scripture, even like the correlating I’ve done in this essay. I’ve linked key ideas from the Old Testament, that show up again in the New Testament. That’s the right way to interpret the Bible. Never go on a tangent, half-cocked on a singular verse. The cults and fringe groups are created by this error.
SCARIER THAN A RELIGIOUS CULT
The only thing scarier than a cult is a government threatening to take away your rights or confiscate your family. There are governments in our world that confiscate personal property and send family members to re-education camps. In 2020! You can flee a cult or a nasty church group, but you can’t flee the sword of a corrupted government. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Castro and the current North Korean dictator prove this. These same wicked governments target Christians for persecution. They terrorize those of us wanting to live lives pleasing to God. This is crossroad where we’ve arrived in the USA. Some in the government gleefully want our worship and churches shut down… permanently.
AVOIDING PRIDE, WHILE RETAINING CONFIDENCE IN GOD
Lot was fleeing from the city life, where his family was comfortable and prosperous. Living in Sodom for years, his family had paid a high price spiritually and morally. Without the divine messengers in the form of angels, his family would have been destroyed. Do any of us really want God to send us an envoy who has to “forcefully evict us, just before the city is destroyed?” I think we all would answer “no.” We need to see the warning signs and prayerfully consider our family’s future security.
Sometimes our prosperity (in the cities) comes at a high social and moral cost. Our kids struggle with the values that they are bombarded with. All cities have a pulse of their own. Each are driven by incessant activity, advertising, and commerce.
Lot had to flee his city, where he had comfortably set up shop. Ezekiel the prophet makes
“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom: pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy;
and they were haughty and committed abomination before Me. Therefore I took them away as I saw good.”
Yet, despite Lot’s personal problems and stubborness, he’s still mentioned in Peter’s epistle:
2 Peter 2:7-9
“And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.”
THE LORD KNOWS HOW TO DELIVER THE GODLY OUT OF TEMPTATIONS
God is amazing in the scope of His Word and empowering grace. That grace saves us and helps us to carry out His will in our society. Period.
All we need to do is to cooperate with His divine word. I’ve spent my life doing this, but must be honest. At times I’ve also resisted God’s word! Sometimes defiantly, in my own pride or self confidence. Insecurity, disobedience, and self-confidence are all forms of pride. The other side of faith is called “unbelief” which stems from fear and self-centeredness. We think we know better than God… how to do this thing down here! I’ve met a lot of people worldwide, and only a handful of humble servants of God.
God delivered Lot, despite all of Lot’s double-mindedness and poor family choices. Here we are again in Sodom, today. God can deliver and set you apart! God can guide you in a moment. We only need to be obedient and willing.
Are you living in the wrong town or city? God can get you outta there, lickety split. Are you prayerfully considering strategic relocation? God can open the right doors for you. Faith is the willingness to embrace the good, pleasing and acceptable will of Jesus Christ.
It involves rejecting the sinfulness, wrong options, and decadent cultural norms that Heaven abhors. Frankly, the cell phone/Internet culture has produced impatience, socialism, Marxism, and hate. That’s much of the roots of modern Marxism. It’s produced non-social, robotic type behaviors…. To the point that people are taking selfies before they fall to their death! People are not in touch with reality. They are flirting with dangerous fantasies. Thousands of people die each year while texting on Facebook whilst taking their hands off the steering wheels of their cars.
People sit with a cell phone in hand, disconnect from friends and family. Often in the same room! The proverbial frog has been boiled, and yet they aren’t aware.
(To be concluded tomorrow, in Part 2.)