Are You Headed For Zoar?
Lessons From The Life Of Lot
By Rodney W. Francis
The following is a challenging message to all of us to make very sure we are committed to obeying the voice of God. Far too often we are guilty of trying to “bargain” with God over what He wants of us, instead of demonstrating our love of Him to Him by our simple obedience to whatever He says to us.
In Genesis 19 we read of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the mercy of God shown to a man by the name of Lot. Lot was a bit of a “mixed up” believer in that he wanted “the best of both worlds.” He was always mixing with the wrong people, and as a result of that, his life did not attain to that which God had called him to. The days of Lot were very sinful days. He was living in a day when sexual pleasure and deviancy was very open for all to see. Houses were visited and the people abused by gangs of sexual perverts. Even Lot was prepared to have his own two daughters ravaged by them in order to save his visitors from embarrassment! (v.8). The visitors turned out to be angels of God, who were sent to rescue Lot and his family from the coming judgment of God on the wickedness of the people of that place.
As we read through this chapter, we discover that Lot was one who argued with the angels. They told him “to escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed” (v.17). Instead of him being very grateful for the mercy of God, and obeying their word, Lot stands there and argues with the angels by saying he did not want to go to the mountains! He wanted to go to a little place called Zoar – somewhere else nearby. Lot had come to love his lifestyle in that sinful place. The angels gave in to Lot’s request and allowed him to go to Zoar.
ARGUING WITH GOD IS FUTILE!
A common trait amongst far too many of us Christians is this habit of “arguing with God.” We somehow have got a negative attitude toward God speaking to us. We seem to think that when God speaks, He is always asking us to do something we do not want to do. We listen to our own thoughts far too much. It is time for us to recognize that God speaks because He knows exactly what we are capable of, and that capability mixed with faith and obedience, launches us into experiencing things we could never experience any other way. It launches us into the blessing, power and provision of God. But we are too often like Lot – we do not want to step outside the realm of our own inner securities, or to step into something that is new and different to that which we have ever known before. We also struggle to lay aside our own logical thinking by believing what God says enough to step out in an act of practical obedience to that which He says. When we fail to respond in our obedience we step into the realm of arguing with God. Our lack of response, our lack of obedience to His voice demonstrates our doubt that God means what he says (and says what He means), and therefore the argument arises. Why don’t we realize that we do not win an argument with God! Lot thought he did, but it cost him dearly in other areas of his life. It simply is not worth it. If we are doubting the voice of God, then we need to make it a top priority in this next season of our lives to work on discerning what is God’s voice and what is not God’s voice – for if we do not know the voice of God when He speaks to us, how are we ever going to know the blessings of obedience in our day to day walk with Jesus?
The first place to start is to stop arguing with God! Yield to Him and His will. It is far better than anything else we can ever know! Come to a place of saying, “Not my will, but Yours be done!”Let go and let God have His wonderful way in our lives. He knows exactly what is the very best for us, the life that fulfils us like nothing else. These things can never become an ongoing reality while we are arguing with the Lord. Let our love for Him cause us to draw closer with a new commitment to do whatever He asks us.
DO NOT LOOK BACK!
We also read that Lot and his family were commanded not to look back. They were to flee Sodom and never to look back. But what do we read? We read that Lot’s wife turned back to have a look – and instantly she was turned into a pillar of salt! (v.17-26). Lot and his family had lived in a careless and sinful society; that environment had then turned their spiritual lives into careless, casual – even “sloppy” disciplines – that eventually led to tragedy, sorrow, sin and despair. It seems that Lot had some older married daughters who had married men who had no respect for Lot’s kind of walk with God. They did not regard or respect his word of warning to get out of Sodom. What he said was a joke to them.
WALKING INTO INSIGNIFICANCE
Lot and his two remaining daughters went to Zoar. The name “Zoar” means “little or insignificant” or “bringing low.” There is a message for all of us who think we can “play around with sin” and freely mix (as Christians) in a deviant, anti-Christ-spirited environment that influences our lives in a negative way. When these negative things start operating in our lives, then we see that there creeps in (at first) a slackening up on our obedience to the voice of God, then we try and bargain or argue with Him because we want something different to that which He wants for us. Notice that the angels gave in to Lot on his wants. But what a price he was to pay for his mannerism, attitude, casualness and argumentative spirit that even infiltrated through the hearts of his family. His wife also disobeyed and will always be remembered for her disobedience to God! It all added up to Lot living in Zoar with his two daughters, who later seduced their own father by making him drunk and causing him to commit incest with them! (v.30-38). The New Testament tells us something of Lot’s spiritual condition. He was “righteous, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)” (see 2 Peter 2 ).
Lot’s life is a lesson to us about what the things of the world can do to a Christian. It shows us the danger of mixture – and mixture of the world and Christianity trying to fit together in the same person. It does not work. Something has to be compromised – and that usually is the spiritual values of being finely tuned to the voice of God. Lot fulfilled what Jesus later spoke in the parable of the sower, “Now he that received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word and he becomes unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22 ).
Notice what happens when we compromise our Christian principles and standards: there commences a downward spiral of decline that takes a believer away from the sensitivity to the voice of God. “He becomes unfruitful” – he loses what he once had! In Lot’s case it made him argumentative against the voice of God being quickly and totally obeyed. His will was not broken. He was not submissive to God’s voice. Things began to go badly wrong for him. It cost him his wife and some of his family. He went from being a righteous man of God into living an isolated, sinful existence in Zoar. He drifted from being named with Abraham (who tried to help him) into being “a nothing, a nobody,” whose life had no positive influence or impact upon others. He had become tainted by the world’s system! He finished up in Zoar because his personal life had fallen into insignificance! He lived a life of “cheap grace” because he had a measure of the mercy of God on him; something like “a saved soul, but living a wasted life.”
CHRISTIANITY IS NOT JOINING A CHURCH SOCIAL CLUB
We need to be reminded that Christianity and serving Jesus Christ is not about joining a church social club. Christianity is a commitment, a commitment to Jesus to do whatever He asks of us. He wants the very best for every one of us, and only He knows the way for that “best” to be realized. That is why He speaks today by His Holy Spirit of Truth. His voice of truth is far more right and accurate than any other voice, including our own thoughts and desires. When we fail to obey the voice of God we are leaving ourselves wide open to spend our lives serving our own whims and wishes - Christians can even do that “in the name of Jesus”! We should not, then, be surprised that Lot finished up the way he did. He reaped what he sowed through failing to yield his own will and desires to the voice of God. His failure to quickly obey what God said to him sent his life in a downward direction that was to create sadness and havoc to him and his family. He finished up a “has been” in the Christian ranks of life.
If we do not know and trust the voice of God, then how can we ever think we can fulfil His will for our lives? We certainly cannot do that by Bible reading and church attendance alone? There is something far, far more than that. When we live with a commitment to obey the voice of God – because we love Him more than anyone or anything else – we demonstrate to Him the genuineness of our love. God knows when we say we love Him and then argue and disobey what He says. We are fooling no one but ourselves. The Bible word for that is deception.
IS LOT’S EXAMPLE RELEVANT FOR US TODAY?
Is the life of Lot relevant for us today in this hour of time? As far as Jesus is concerned, the message of Lot is very relevant for us. Listen to His words: “Likewise as it was in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife . . .”(see Luke 17:20-37 ).
According to the word of Jesus the life of Lot, his wife, and the way the people lived their lives, are all very relevant to this very day we live in. Jesus is coming back to similar conditions that prevailed in Lot’s day – where personal pleasure and material possessions dominate the thoughts of the people (even the Christians). If we Christians do not learn from the life of Lot and his wife, then we will likely be caught up in the same downward spiral that robbed them of so much of the blessings of God. None of us can afford to believe that we can disobey God’s voice - even though he gives us our desire – and expect our quality of walk with Jesus to be maintained to our being used significantly by Him. We cannot have it both ways! The Scripture is very clear: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17 ). These verses all relate to our present age, and the same sins that were rampant in Lot’s day are here in our day. Jesus warned us to “REMEMBER LOT’S WIFE”! Lot’s wife would have been very influenced by her husband Lot, so we all need to remember Lot and his wife! The sad thing is that when we remember back on Lot and his wife, we remember them for the negatives of their lives and not the positives. Don’t let that happen to you.
Christianity all comes down to “doing the will of God.” That is what it is all about. Anything less than that is going to see our minds and lives sidetracked through the influence of a modern, humanistic society that is anti-Christ in its make up. The choice is ours. Who’s side are we really on? Who’s glory are we really living for? Who is “Number One” in our life? Is it Jesus Christ, or “me”? Let us learn from the lessons of Lot and his family, and make sure we do not fall into the same lifestyle that wasted so much of “righteous” Lot’s life. How much do we really appreciate Jesus? Is it enough to obey whatever He says to us? I trust it is.