fire truck to the rescue January 20 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today's Bible reading: Genesis 19, 20, 21;
Genesis 25:12-18; 1Chronicles 1:28-31


Firemen come to the rescue when there is a fire or other emergency. Sometimes accidents just happen. Other times, however, they rescue people that get into trouble because of their own stupidity. It is then that the fire crews act with compassion and grace to deliver them. This is what happens with Lot and Abraham.

Lot is the nephew of the great patriarch Abraham. Abraham takes Lot with him when he sets out for the land of Canaan. Because Lot and Abraham have so many flocks and herds, however, there are ownership disputes between the herdsmen of Abraham and Lot. To resolve the dispute, Uncle Abraham gives Lot his choice of ground where his family and animals can settle. Lot chooses the rich well-watered land near Sodom and Gomorrah.

Unfortunately, the Sodomites are not good people - they are perverse and wicked. However, that does not stop Lot from settling there. Notice Lot's movement toward sin: In Genesis 13:12 Lot moves near Sodom; in Genesis 14:12 Lot lives in Sodom; In Genesis 19:1 Lot sits in the gateway doing business. What is strange about Lot is the record of the Apostle Peter in 2Peter 2:7 : “Lot was greatly distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men,” (NIV) and yet he does not remove his family from their influence. What lesson can we learn from Lot's poor leadership? (Genesis 19:12-38) Because Lot chooses to lead his family to live in and compromise with a sinful environment, his children adopt that lifestyle. You can remove people from their sinful environment, but it is difficult to remove the sinful environment from people. Sin is like a smoldering fire within that is hard to put out.

Angels come to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destroy them, but they first lead Lot and his family out of Sodom. telling them to quickly leave and not look back. God is gracious and merciful to Lot and his family, for he saves them before he destroys that wicked city. Lot and his daughters fly for safety to the small city of Zoar, and then God sends the fire and brimstone from heaven to destroy the cities. Lot’s wife, however, looks back at Sodom, perhaps with concern and regret, and instantly becomes a pillar of salt for her disobedience to the LORD.

Lot does not feel safe in Zoar (perhaps because his wife was killed there or because he was too near the destruction of the cities, or because of the people living there). He and his two daughters soon move to live in a cave near Zoar. Having isolated themselves, Lot’s daughters decide that the only way to have a family is to have sexual relations with their father. Guess where they learned that? Right! They learned it in Sodom. The two children born of incest are Moab and Ammon. They later become nations which are fierce enemies of Israel. Failure to protect yourself and your family from the influence of sinful and wicked people often has bad consequences.

Contrast Lot with the way Abraham raises his family. God says of Abraham,

“... I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him,” (Genesis 18:19, NIV) .

By leading his family in righteousness, Abraham’s children are more likely to follow the ways of the LORD and experience God's favor. How will you lead your family?

As we all know parents are not perfect and neither is Abraham. Sometimes he makes poor choices. Abraham twice uses deception to save his own skin, instead of loving Sarah and trusting the LORD. He does this even though the LORD had recently told him that He would be his shield and reward (Genesis 15:1). This trick of deception, first used on Pharaoh in Egypt (Genesis 12:10-20), is now being used on Abimelech, king of Gerar. Abraham tells Abimelech that Sarah is his sister. This is a half truth because, although she is Abraham’s half sister, she is also his wife.

For his deception Abraham is publicly ridiculed by the king and expelled from the kingdom. Why did God not punish Abraham for lying and exposing his wife to danger? We don't know. Perhaps he is not punished in order to show other nations the favor God has on his people and make other nations fear Abraham's God. What we do know is that God’s interference graciously saves Sarah from adultery and intermarriage with the Egyptians and the Philistines. God does not want his new relationship with his special people to be compromised. Apparently, Abraham later shares this story of deception with his son Isaac because Isaac repeats it. Parents, be careful of the stories you share with your children; they may repeat your mistakes and sins and also have to be rescued.

After twenty-five years of waiting, Abraham and Sarah finally receive their promised son Isaac. God is faithful in keeping his promises and answers prayer. Because Abraham and Sarah did not wait for God's answer to her barrenness, however, this creates trouble in the home. Hagar's son Ishmael becomes jealous of all the special attention that his newborn brother Isaac is receiving. Ishmael is fourteen. He was probably told that since Isaac was the firstborn from the union of Abraham and Sarah, Ishmael would no longer inherit the blessings of being first born. Being pushed out of his birthright inheritance likely caused animosity. He becomes an adversary to Isaac, mocking him. Unable to tolerate this any longer, Sarah tells Abraham to send Hagar and her son away. Because Abraham did not wait for God, he had to send away his first born son and his wife Hagar. His son Ishmael and his mother are driven into the wilderness. There God provides for them. Ishmael later marries an Egyptian woman and has twelve sons who are like him, all men who live in hostility toward each other (Genesis 25:18). Jealousy and partiality in the home breed hostility. Parents must keep in mind that, although their children are different and they may have favorites, all are important in God's eyes and all should know and be shown that they are loved. If parents do not do this now, they may have to rescue them when they seek attention in other ways.

Lessons to live by: (about being rescued)

  • Sin is like a smoldering fire within, that is hard to put out.
  • God can deliver you from your sins if you will trust in him to save you (more...).
  • Sin has its consequences. Be careful not to allow it into your life or the life of your family, so that you may not have to be rescued.
  • God is merciful and gracious to the righteous, even when they mess up.
  • Do not create situations that will breed contentions like uncontrollable fires; you may not be able to rescue those situations before much damage is done.

Today’s Bible memory verses:

2Peter 2:6-7,9

If he [God]condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men…if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. (NIV)

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