Why Did God Bless Lot?
Q: God spared Lot from Sodom. He saved him because, according to Scripture, Lot was a good man. In Genesis, it is clear, with absolutely no shades of grey, that Lot slept with his daughters as well as offering them to be used for sex.
The story of Lot has stuck with my friend since childhood, causing him confusion as to why Lot was considered by God to be “godly” when he slept with his own daughters! You and I both know that God is not the Author of confusion. The enemy is. I, myself, do not doubt our Lord and His good Word. But I can understand the story of Lot being an eye-raising story to an unbeliever. God’s specialty is unveiling truth and opening up the eyes of the blind. Please give me Biblical input as to why Lot was considered to be favored by God and considered upright when he slept with his daughters and offered them to be used for sex? Once again, thank you. I eagerly await your response. God bless.
A: Lot was Abram’s nephew. Abram wanted to keep peace between their households, since their herdsmen were fighting. He gave Lot the choice of where to live. Rather than defer to his kind uncle, “Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar.... So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley ... and moved his tent as far as Sodom. (Genesis 13:10-12)” If he were truly godly, wouldn’t Lot have allowed Abram the greener pastures?
Some time later, after changing Abram’s name to Abraham and promising him a son (Isaac) through his wife Sarah, the Lord told him of His plan to destroy Sodom and the surrounding region (see Genesis 18:17-21) because of its great evil. Not wanting his nephew to die, Abraham pleaded on behalf of Sodom, asking the Lord to spare the city if enough righteous lived there. Starting with fifty, he finally asked God to relent if ten righteous people could be found (18:33).
When the angels arrived in Sodom, they met Lot at the city’s gates. Showing proper hospitality, Lot invited them to his home, not letting them camp in the town square. He probably knew what the strangers would face should they spend the night in the open. As you note, the men of the city came to rape the strangers. Lot, seemingly appalled as much by their inhospitality as their homosexuality, offered his daughters instead. The angels struck the men blind in their attempt to storm Lot’s door (Genesis 19:11), then warned Lot to take anyone of the family out quickly, since the city’s doom was at hand. Lot warned the two Sodomite men who were about to marry his daughters, but they thought Lot was joking and stayed behind.
When Lot left, only his wife and two daughters came with him. When the Lord’s fire began to rain down, Lot’s wife disobeyed the command to not look back and God transformed her into a pillar of salt. That night, only the three remained. The girls were frantic, thinking that there would be no one to care for them in their old age — perhaps thinking that no one at all remained on earth — plotted to get children for themselves. On successive nights, they got Lot so drunk that he didn’t know what he was doing, then came in to have sex with him. The names they gave their sons testify to their incest: Moab means “my father” and Ben-Ammi means “son of my people.” As Abraham’s family increased through Isaac and Jacob into the nation of Israel, so his collateral family grew through Lot and his daughters into the Moabites and the Ammonites.
In all of this, we can’t really draw the conclusion that the Lord blessed Lot because of Lot’s godliness. If anything, he received the good land, a spared life, and the posterity of two nations in spite of himself. If God took any human’s faithfulness into account, it has to be that of Abraham.
The family of Abraham grew into two other nations, also. God protected Abraham’s first son, Ishmael, who was born to Sarah’s servant Hagar (Genesis 21:13) and his family became the Ishmaelites. Later, when Isaac’s blessing (and the Messianic line) went to Abraham’s second-born twin grandson Jacob, the Lord provided a special blessing for firstborn Esau: He became “the father of the Edomites.... (36:9)”
God later showed how He turns our sin toward His divine purpose. One of Moab’s descendants was a woman named Ruth. After her Israelite husband died, she journeyed to Israel to care for her mother-in-law Naomi. In the region of Bethlehem, she met and married Naomi’s kinsman Boaz. Their firstborn son, Obed, “was the father of Jesse, the father of David. (Ruth 4:17)” So the Lord brought the fruit of Lot’s drunken incest into the family of David and, through him, Jesus. Ultimately, Lot was blessed so God could bless us all!
Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.
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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.