Lot: Portrait of a Modern Man
Abraham’s nephew, Lot, looks so much like today’s average believer.
2 Peter 2:7, 8 described Lot this way: “…and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)…”
The word “righteous” has several meanings, two of which perfectly fit this man: “of those who seem to themselves to be righteous, who pride themselves to be righteous, who pride themselves in their virtues, whether real or imagined” and “in a narrower sense, rendering to each his due and that in a judicial sense, passing just judgment on others, whether expressed in words or shown by the manner of dealing with them.”*
Lot hated what he saw around him in Sodom, the city that God was about to destroy because of its wickedness. And though he himself was a good man in an evil society, he apparently was not intolerant enough of evil to speak against it, or move away from it so that it wouldn’t contaminate his family. It doesn’t appear that he tried to instill the values that he claimed to hold on his own family.
He was a leader in a sinful city but had no apparent spiritual influence on that city (Genesis 19:1) probably because his “religion” was a private matter that he kept to himself. Traditionally, the political and economic leaders of a society sat at the city gates, which was where God’s messengers found him.
He was willing to prostitute his daughters to the world he chose to live in (19:6-8). Lot’s daughters, in turn, prostituted themselves with him (19:30ff).
Lot listened to God’s messengers and fled the destruction, but he didn’t abandon his belief that life was better for him surrounded by evil than it was to get as far away from it as possible (19:18-20).
It's interesting to note that when Abraham asked God to spare the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18, he did not mention his nephew by name. But God knew who Abraham was concerned about, and chose to honour the unspoken request and rescue Lot. It was not Lot's righteousness that saved his life, but God's response to Abraham's faith. Lot was bordering on what Paul described to Timothy as, "People will be lovers of themselves...rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power" (2 Timothy 2, 5, NIV).
Sin bothered Lot—but not enough for him to stop accommodating it. The story sounds strangely familiar.* Strong’s Concordance