There are times when I hear a familiar story from the Bible and something new and awesome shocks me out of my expectations. That’s exactly what happened this Sunday, and I hope to marinate in the amazement for a while. (or forever) 🙂
The source might be a bit surprising. The sermon came from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction. I’m sure “mercy” isn’t the first word that pops to mind when you think about the massive destruction of the cities of sin, but the magnificent beauty of God’s love so evident in the New Testament, is on CLEAR display in this story.
(there are lots of amazing parallels this story reveals between God’s salvation in the Old and New testaments, but I’m only going to focus on one aspect)
Here’s a quick recap of Genesis 19:
Two angels show up to tell Lot and his family to get out of the city before God destroys it. In the process, the ‘men’ of the town, consumed by their sin and lusts, try to attack the angels. Even with this evidence of sin, and the impending destruction, Lot isn’t in a hurry to get out of Dodge. In fact, in verse 16 the Bible says “he hesitated” (NIV). In the ESV it says “he lingered”. His life in Sodom/Gomorrah had compromised his faith and the love for the sinful ways of the world not only had him offering his daughters to the lustful men of the city to abate their needs, but also caused him to ‘linger’ in a place which was literally going up in smoke.
Does sin have a strong hold? Oh yes!
However, God’s grace and mercy are even stronger!
What happens next is a direct link to Christ’s work on the cross. Here’s what the verse says:
16 But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.
Even though Lot wanted to stay, God loved him too much to let him linger in his sin or be destroyed by it. In His mercy, he pulled Lot from the city and saved him despite himself 🙂
The men of God actually had to jerk Lot and his family out of the town. Oh how much God loves us!!
Romans 5 brings this out even more through the work of Christ, culminating in verses 6-10 (I have 6-9 listed):
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
The same God who came in human flesh to save the world from sin in the New Testament revealed his mercy to Lot in the Old Testament. And you know what? Praise God, he does the same thing for us. He rescues His kids with a display of amazing love and remarkable mercy. Grace. Even when we run right into the worst places with the wrong people and the most horrible times. Even when we’re proud, selfish, and unfaithful – He is faithful
and provides the ultimate rescue.