“Lot… pitched his tents toward Sodom. Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.” (Genesis 13:12, 13)
Although the Bible tells us that Lot was a righteous man who was tormented by the spirit of lawlessness that he endured in Sodom (2 Peter 2:8), it also reminds us that we can bring a lot of suffering upon ourselves if we don’t keep a spiritual distance from this world.
Lot “pitched his tents toward Sodom.” Why is that significant? I think it’s significant because it tells us that Lot underestimated the corrupting influence of this world. In his desire to enrich himself, Lot did not fully appreciate how the culture of Sodom would affect his spiritual life and that of his family. The next time we find Lot in Scripture, he is actually living in the city (Genesis 14:12). He was married to a woman who didn’t want to leave Sodom and had two daughters who appeared to lack any biblical morality. Lot, although a believer, seemed to have lost any sense of moral direction too.
When God sent two angels to rescue Lot and his family from the judgment upon Sodom, the men of Sodom tried to assault the angelic visitors sexually. What was Lot’s solution to this problem? He quickly offered his two virgin daughters to satisfy their sexual cravings. During the angelic rescue, Lot didn’t want to leave Sodom, and when he finally realized the danger he and his family were in, his sons-in-law mocked his warnings to flee. Apparently, the citizens of Sodom didn’t take Lot too seriously when it came to discussions about God. He was of the world.
We too face the same danger if we embrace the world and its values. It is so easily done. Think, for example of our movie-watching. To what extent have we allowed the world to shape our family life? Whenever Hollywood portrays families on the screen, it nearly always represents them in unflattering ways. More often than not there is an absence of any real male leadership; frequently, there is no authority figure at all. Anything goes. Mothers are almost always portrayed as laissez-faire and sexually promiscuous. Think of some of the most popular titles of many mainline television programs – Sex in the City, Desperate Housewives, The Young and the Restless. These kinds of programmes have turned marital infidelity into a comedy.
Trying to find a traditional, structured family anywhere on television is nearly impossible today. Virtually the only television “family” who go to church together are the Simpsons—and they are cartoon exaggerations designed mainly to mock both church and family. While many people think that this constant stream of TV shows is relatively harmless, over time they erode our understanding of what is really important about the biblical understanding of the family. It is not surprising that one result of this corrupt Hollywood culture is the ease with which a court in San Francisco last week redefined marriage for us. According to the Federal District Court, it can now exist between a man and a man.
Where are you pitching you tent? How close are you to Sodom?