In Matthew 9:13, Jesus responded to the Pharisees’ question about His associating with tax collectors and sinners with, “But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice. . . .” I believe this provides great insight into the way our Lord deals with us. I see in Scripture that He will orchestrate events in our lives to bring us to a point of repentance and asking for mercy.
Lot is probably an example of all of us at some point in our Christian walk. There has likely been a time when each of us has chosen some degree of compromise, or lack of obedience. I know I prefer to think that my sin is my sin and does not have an effect on my family. Obviously, that is a convenient and incorrect myth!
The reality is that my walk, or lack of it, with Christ has a definite impact on my family. There is no such thing as a private sin that does not have an effect in some way on those I’m called to shepherd. However, God in His grace will try to gently get our attention.
You’ve heard the naval expression “a shot over the bow.” In naval terms, a shot is fired in front of another vessel to warn them they had better change course, or stop for boarding. God works in much the same manner.
Lot’s “shot over the bow” was when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. It was a sinful, wicked place, and he knew it. That is why he didn’t want the angels spending the night in the square. Lot was wrong in choosing to live there. Some might argue he was trying to win the city. However, if you pay attention to what the mob and his sons-in-law said to him, it is obvious he was not winning them to his God, but losing his family.
His compromise cost him his wife, when she longingly looked back. It almost cost him his daughters as he offered them to appease an angry mob. It did cost him his daughters’ virtue as they demonstrated later with their father in the mountains.
Notice that Lot learned something from his warning. He first wanted to go to Zoar, even though he was instructed to flee to the mountains. The angels knew his physical abilities and were not telling him to do something he was not capable of doing. However, for the same reasons he was living in Sodom, he wanted to go to Zoar. It is likely that after seeing the wickedness of the city, he realized he was at risk. He then chose to be obedient and go to the mountains.
God wants us to keep our families out of evil environments. From my observations, it is often the father who places the family at risk. Praise God that He doesn’t immediately chasten us when we disobey. Our Lord desires mercy, not sacrifice. However, to offer us mercy, we have to be repentant and seek His forgiveness.
Several years ago, I was convicted that I had said something unkind to a relative. The Lord was telling me to ask forgiveness, but I resisted. One day as Nathan and I were preparing to leave for work, I decided to let the car roll backwards out of the garage while Nathan went back into the house for something. Unfortunately, I did not see that the rear car door was fully open.
As you can imagine, our garage doors are not wide enough to accommodate a Honda Civic, with a door open, passing through without some degree of trauma. The car lurched to a stop, and I looked back to see the door bent backwards. UGH! Even though the furthest thing from my mind was needing to ask forgiveness of the relative, that was the thought that instantly filled my mind.
God has a way of warning and chastening us when He needs to. I believe there was not twenty-four hours’ passage of time before that relationship issue was dealt with. My gracious Lord had said it was time to take care of it!
My own father inadvertently exposed me to wicked things that have cost me greatly. Eventually, it cost him his family. God had sent him a “shot over the bow,” but he ignored it.
How about you? Is there some area of your life that is a compromise God is not pleased with? Is there something that God has warned you about that cries for your repentance and needs a change? If so, don’t delay and take the chance of grave consequences; repent of it today. Your family and the Lord will bless you for it.