Descent into Darkness
Lot and his daughters left Sodom before the fire fell from heaven and moved into Zoar, instead of going where the angels told them to go, to the hills. Lot was afraid he could not make it to the hills. Next thing you know, Lot took his daughters to the hills and moved into a cave, because he was afraid to live in Zoar. Fear took him to Zoar, and fear pushed him out. Donald Grey Barnhouse wrote, “When a man is out of the will of God, he is haunted by the bogeys of his imagination.” And… you just have to wonder, why didn’t Lot see that his life had been on steady decline since he separated from Abraham? He moved away because of land and water issues, but room for livestock is not a problem now…he is living in a cave with his daughters! What kept Lot from running, not walking, as fast as he could go, to the oaks of Mamre? Was it pride? Or shame? Or was his mind so dulled by fear and depression that he could not think clearly anymore? It is a sad story.
The metaphorical descent into the darkness and isolation of a cave is sad enough. But there’s more.
Just when we think life could not get any worse for Lot, it gets horribly worse, as his two daughters get him drunk and seduce him, one after the other, so they can each have a child. Make no mistake: Lot is not a victim in this story. His daughters are not without blame, and what they did was unthinkable. But they were their father’s daughters. Children learn what they live with, and Lot’s own corruption paved the way for his daughters to make the choices they made. His worldliness as the leader in his home in Sodom set the course for his wife and daughters, even though each was responsible for her choices. Lot did not make his wife look back at Sodom and lose her life in the process. Lot did not make his daughters hatch the plot that they did in the cave. But his decisions, his lifestyle, his character, his lack of true leadership in Sodom and in his own home, made it easier for them to go to a very dark place.
In Genesis 19, “The firstborn said to the younger, ‘Our father is old and there is not a man on earth (for you and me.)’” There are so many things wrong here. First, we see that the fear Lot had that made him flee to the hills and live in a cave has taken up residence in his daughters, at least the older one. Her fear is that they are so isolated that there is no possibility of marriage and motherhood for them. The truth is what God said to Abraham and Sarah: “Is anything too hard, or too wonderful, for the Lord?” To the young ladies or young men who entertain the thought that there is no possibility you could ever find a godly husband or wife in the ‘little ol’ burg where I live,’ I would say… your God is too small. Replace that fear with faith.
The second wrong we see here is the deadly influence the older daughter has on the younger. She encourages her to join her in getting their father drunk so that, she says, “we may preserve offspring from our father.” If I asked for a show of hands here this morning of the people who had an older brother or sister who at one point or another led you into sin, I think the response would be shocking. It happens often. Older brothers and sisters have a tremendous opportunity and a godly opportunity to do just the opposite, to be an encouragement and an example of faith for their younger siblings. But, younger siblings, you don’t have to follow your older siblings into sin! This is where the younger sister could have said, “What are you talking about?! You and I both know that what you are suggesting is sinful and wrong. Even the pagans around us know that is wrong.” But she was also a daughter of Lot, and her moral compass, like her older sister’s and like her father’s, had been corrupted. Sodom was in their souls. They used wine to get their father drunk, but alcohol also cannot be blamed for Lot’s sinful actions that followed. As Kent Hughes writes, “Alcohol was no excuse. Lot’s drunkenness simply facilitated the working out of the dark side of his own heart…sin was alive and well in ‘righteous’ Lot’s family. And he was the father of it all!” As we have mentioned before, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” It certainly did so with Lot.