Bible Devotion Week 3

If you were to ask a random person on the street, “What is the Bible?” What are some responses you think you would get? I imagine some would say, “It is an ancient book with lots of wisdom” or “It is an ancient book that shows how people tried to understand their world” or “It was an ancient book that tells you what to do and how to live.” Occasionally you would find someone who would say, “It is God’s word” or “It is inspired by the Holy Spirit”. Even if they did affirm it, you might find they didn’t understand it very well. There are lots of things in Scripture that can be confusing (we have a whole Sunday School on those difficult passages of Scripture in case you’re interested). 

This week we read a truly crazy and hard to explain story in the Bible. In Genesis 19, Moses records the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Now that is a fascinating story in and of itself, but I want to focus briefly on the aftermath of that famous judgment. Genesis 19:30-38 tells us what happened to Lot and his daughters after they escape. They are living in a cave outside the city of Zoar. For some reason, the girls feel isolated and cut off from civilization. They were betrothed to be married in Sodom but their husbands did not heed their warnings and perished. They decide to get children from their father, Lot. The story is disturbing and uncomfortable and that’s the point. A helpful hermeneutical (interpretative) tool when reading the Bible is to recognize that not every story shared is meant to be imitated. In fact, some stories are shared so you know what not to do! This is one of those stories. 

You may ask then, “Why even include this story at all?” The key to answer that question is in the final two verses. The children born to Lot’s daughters are the fathers of the Moabites and the Ammonites. These two children, cousins to Abraham’s offspring, are the future enemies of God’s people. When they are headed towards the Promised Land, instead of welcoming their previously enslaved relatives, Balak King of Moab, sends for Balaam to curse the people (Num 22-24). When this doesn’t work, the people settle in a nearby land and are seduced by the daughters of Moab who lead them towards idolatry (Num 25:1-3). 

This raises as many questions as it answers. Why did God spare Lot if his daughters would act so wickedly? Why spare them when their descendants will lead the promised children astray generations later? What we do know is that this story points us towards the longevity of sin. What may seem a simple sin, or even a justifiable one (the daughters of Lot thought they weren’t going to be able to have husbands), can have horrible consequences. Stories like these stir our hearts against sin and towards holiness. We should always read these and thank God for the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin and guides us in all truth (John 16:8 & 13).

1 Comment

Marcia Metts - January 21st, 2024 at 3:24pm

Yes, this is a sordid story (Lot's daughters) and their repetition of the sins of Sodom and reminds me (jumping ahead, I'm sure) of Hagar and Ishmael, whose descendants are harassing the Jews to this day!