Today’s Reading: 2 Peter 2
You made your bed, now lie in it. Have you heard this phrase? It means you made that decision, now you have to deal with its consequences.” That is true if it weren’t for the grace of God.
Today’s chapter brings back Old Testament stories to the reader. Peter speaks about Noah, Sodom and Gomorrah, Balaam, and the character he introduces with an adjective I would never assign to him, righteous Lot. Not Lot, but righteous Lot:
If He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation. (2 Peter 2:7-9)
When I read the story of Lot, I don’t see him as righteous. Thank God I’m not God. I judge people too fast. It’s easy to assign adjectives to people who God never sees and believes about them. The part of this verse that puzzles me about God, though, is that Lot is called righteous, and God rescues him. But Peter explains and tells us why it’s important to us.
He says that God rescued the righteous Lot from Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot was being oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men. You might think, This is a godly brother who got stuck in a really bad neighborhood that God had to burn down with fire from heaven.
Not even close to the truth.
Lot chose to live in Sodom. Sodom was his first choice when Abraham, his uncle, said he could have any part of the land he wanted. Lot not only chose Sodom, but Genesis says, “He sat in the gate at Sodom” (Genesis 19:1, KJV). That means he was part of the government of the city. And despite all this, God showed off His graciousness by rescuing him from his really bad choice.
God didn’t rescue a man who had something unfortunate happen to him. God rescued a man who made a really stupid decision. How many of us have made a bad decision before? How many of us are so thankful for the grace of God?
Nineteenth-century Bible teacher J. Wilbur Chapman said: “Anything that dims my vision of Christ, or takes away my taste for Bible study, or cramps me in my prayer life, or makes Christian work difficult, is wrong for me, and I must, as a Christian, turn away from it.”
Lot didn’t think that way. And if we are honest, you and I have made decisions that violated Chapman’s grid. So many times, God rescues us before we are swallowed by our poor choices and decisions.
There are also times that God just vetoes bad decisions—in this case, bad prayers. One of the biggest atheists over the centuries was Robert Ingersoll. At a lecture, he opened his pocket watch for all the students to see and said, “I will give God five minutes to strike me dead for the things I said.” When the five minutes were over, he shut the watch and said, “God did not retaliate because God does not exist.” When evangelist Joseph Parker heard about the incident, he responded, “And did the gentleman think he could exhaust the patience of eternal God in five minutes?”
God is bigger than our threats. Because God is love, God is patient. And because God is love and patient with us, He calls Lot righteous. Righteousness has nothing to do with our perfection but with God’s view of us. I can be the righteousness of God in Christ and an idiot at the same time.
I think many would think Lot should have perished in the fire of Sodom, but not God. Peter reminds us that God knows how to rescue the godly. Even if rescue means dragging a man out of danger when he is dragging his feet with no urgency. That was Lot’s story during God’s rescue plan. No gratitude from Lot, just an amazing, gracious God rescuing him.
After a wedding, the newlyweds contacted one of the guests to inform her that her present wasn’t generous enough. The unnamed guest posted to a forum asking for advice after she was told her cash gift wasn’t enough. She revealed how the couple, who had asked for cash gifts, had emailed to say, “We were surprised that your contribution didn’t seem to match the warmth of your good wishes on our big day. In view of your own position, if you wanted to send any adjustment, it would be thankfully received.” The wedding guest assumed that the reference to her position was in regard to a recent inheritance she’d received.
One thing you will never be able to say to God is, “I am surprised by your contribution, God. I suggest an adjustment.”
When it comes to what we don’t deserve, God gives crazy generous mercy and grace every day to us—even when we do stupid things. We need no adjustment from Him. Just a grateful heart because He rescues people when they make really bad decisions. Righteous Lot is amazing proof.