Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Whens the last time you read this story: Genesis 18 - 19

I am not a Bible scholar.  I am simply stopping to wonder about stories from my childhood.

Genesis 18-19 for the full story. 

The story of "No one righteous"

“The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

The characters:
Abe.  A nice guy.  One of those nice guys who feels he needs to defend others.  Talk down about a friend and he will defend their honor - even when he agrees completely with what the arguer is saying.
The Visitors.  A group of 1-3 men. Abe recognized them as messengers/angels/prophets.
Lot.  Headstrong.  Always wanted to have Abe's approval but never felt he could live up to his standards.  Lives in a nearby city instead of raising sheep with Abe and his family.
Lot's Wife & Daughters.  They love the city.  They hate that Lot tries to keep them separate from the rest of the city.


The Visitors show up on Abe's property.  Not many people came to see him, so when they were there he immediately told them he wanted to throw them a party.  Food!  Let me make you food.  They said sure.

Having served them some of his best - family secret recipes, fatted calves, fresh bread - he stood near by being a good host.

"FYI: Your wife is going to have a baby by next year when we stop by again." says the first visitor.

I would laugh too.  A baby at my age.  Really?!  Seriously, after all these years and longing - now you give me a kid.  I finally feel like I was settling into my everyday life. I already have the son of my maid to raise as my own. Plus there are a few other servant's kids I love like my own.  Now you want me to raise one of my very own?  Ha!  I have to lay down after preparing the fatted calf for you - I don't have energy for a kid.

"FYI: Abe, as long as I'm dropping bombs - how about this one.  The place Lot lives - always asking you to visit - we're going to destroy it.  No biggie right?  Weren't you just saying last week how horrible of a place it is." says the second visitor.

Abraham was one of those guys who was constantly trying to get Lot to move back for this very reason.  He knew the place was horrible.  He had heard the reports.  But his instinct was to defend the very thing he disapproved.

"You must be mistaken," Abraham said.  "There's gotta be at least 50 righteous people down there - you wouldn't want to destroy 50 righteous people - right?"  Then they heckled back and forth over numbers.  Finally, Abe got to the true question, what he really wanted to ask, for the sake of 10 people, you won't destroy it.  They said, sure, if we find 10, no problem.  10.  Just 10 small people they said, we will spare a whole city if we can find 10 righteous.  Abraham breathed a sigh of relief, Lot would appreciate not having to move.  Surely they will find Lot's family righteous.  Just Lot, his wife, daughters, son-in-laws, house servants - that's at least 10.  Abe wanted to always believe the best in others.

Jump forward.  The visitors get to Sodom.  Lot sees them and invites them over.  He knows the city, the new guys look like upstanding "good guys", really don't want to get them into trouble, they really don't need to know what the "night life" is like.

Only, everyone throughout town heard about the hot new guys. They started talking it up, getting all excited for a party.  They show up at Lot's house.  Lot is the newest member of the town.  Kinda an outsider.  Kept to himself.  How dare he ruin their fun by keeping these guys to himself.

Guys try to break down the door, Lot says no, how about my virgin daughters.  Seriously.  This is not the statement of a "righteous" man.  Lot starts getting pushed around.  The visitors intervene, make everyone blind (maybe this is where the old parental warning comes from "do that too much and it'll make you blind").

The visitors start rushing around, packing up Lot's belongings for travel.

"Time to go.  Do you know anyone else in this town we should take with us."  Lot runs outside to the blind guys - the two who are engaged to his virgin daughters - they think it's a joke, roll their sightless eyes, and go back to horsing around with their friends.

Finally, the visitors are dragging Lot and his wife and daughters out of the city.  Run to the mountains they tell them.  Get away from this disaster or you will be destroyed too.  

"Um sorry can't we just run to that little town on the outskirts?" Lot asks. Lot again looking for the easy out.  Trying not to be inconvenienced.

One minute he's keeping the men of the town from taking out the cute visitors, then next he's complaining that he has to run away from the danger.  Not exactly an upstanding righteous man.

The Bible doesn't actually say what The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah was even though it is often taught as a specific moral lesson.  It only says that they had grievous sin and there was no one righteous.  The Bible repeatedly tells us there is no one righteous, because we cannot achieve righteousness on our own.  It was not the events recorded in Genesis that made the city be destroyed.  It was the historical lack of righteousness. The decision was made and the double check to see if there was any righteousness was just protocol for Abe and Lot's sake.

That is my take on what I read.  Read it yourself without judgement and see what you discover.

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