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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

Rescued

Firemen come to the rescue when there is a fire or other emergency. Sometimes accidents just happen. Other times, however, they rescue people that got 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 happened with Lot and Abraham.

Lot was the nephew of the great patriarch Abraham. Abraham took Lot with him when he set out for the land of Canaan. Because Lot and Abraham had so many flocks and herds, however, there were ownership disputes between the herdsmen of Abraham and Lot. To resolve the dispute, Uncle Abraham gave Lot his choice of ground where his family and animals could settle. Lot chose the rich well-watered land near Sodom and Gomorrah. Unfortunately, the Sodomites were not good people - they were perverse and wicked. However, that did not stop Lot from settling there. Notice Lot's movement toward sin: In Genesis 13:12 Lot moved near Sodom; in Genesis 14:12 Lot lived in Sodom; In Genesis 19:1 Lot sat 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 did not remove his family from their influence. What lesson can we learn from Lot's poor family leadership? (Genesis 19:12-38) Because Lot chose to lead his family to live in and compromise with a sinful environment, his children adopted that lifestyle. You can remove people from their sinful environment, but it is much harder to remove the sinful environment from people. Sin is like a smoldering fire within that is hard to put out.

Angels came to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destroy them, but they first led Lot and his family out of Sodom. telling them to quickly leave and not look back. God was gracious and merciful to Lot and his family, for he saved them before he destroyed that wicked city. Lot and his daughters flew for safety to the small city of Zoar, and then God sent the fire and brimstone from heaven to destroy the cities. Lot’s wife, however, looked back at Sodom, perhaps with concern and regret, and instantly became a pillar of Salt.

Lot did 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). They soon moved to live in a cave near Zoar. Having isolated themselves, Lot’s daughters decided the only way to have a family was to have sexual relations with their father. Guess where they learned that? Right! They learned it in Sodom. The two children born of incest were Moab and Ammon. They later became nations which were 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 raised 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 were 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 was Abraham. Sometimes he made some poor choices. Abraham twice used deception to save his own skin, instead of loving Sarah and trusting the LORD. He did 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), now was being used on Abimelech, king of Gerar. Abraham told Abimelech that Sarah was his sister. Actually, this was a half truth because, although she was Abraham’s half sister, she was also his wife. Why did Abraham not get punished for his deception? Perhaps God showed him mercy and grace. Perhaps he was not punished in order to show other nations the favor God had on his people. God’s interference graciously saved Sarah from adultery and intermarriage with the Egyptians and the Philistines. God did not want his new relationship with his special people to be compromised. Apparently, Abraham later shared this story of deception with his son Isaac because Isaac repeated 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 received their promised son Isaac. God is faithful in keeping his promises and answers prayer. Because Abraham and Sarah had not waited for God's answer to her bareness, however, this created trouble in the home. Hagar's son Ishmael apparently became jealous of all the special attention that his newborn brother Isaac was receiving. Ishmael was 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 became an adversary to Isaac, mocking him. Unable to tolerate this any longer, Sarah told 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 married and had twelve sons who were like Ishmael, all men who lived 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:

  • 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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