How Faith Can Overcome Fear

J.R. Heimbigner

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If I am completely honest, this is one of the most disturbing chapters in the book of Genesis. If you don’t remember, in Genesis 18, Abraham contends for the righteous in Sodom and Gemorrah. As God intends to destroy the cities and their wickedness.

Turns out, there were only Lot and his family who could be considered righteous in these cities.

Now, most of us have heard this story. But to give us all a quick overview, the two Angels who were with the Lord at Abraham’s camp went into the city. They were going to test the city by sleeping in the square, however, Lot insists they stay at his house.

While the angels are at Lot’s home, every man in the city comes to his house and insists on sending the angels out to them in the order they have sexual relations with him. (The first time I read this passage, I could not believe it was in the Bible)

The angels tell Lot and his family to flee to the mountains. And Lot gathers his wife and daughters up to go. He approaches his future sons-in-law and they thought he was joking and stayed behind.

Once Lot and his family were clear from the city, God destroys it. And while the destruction is happening Lot’s wife turns back to see and becomes a pillar of salt. At this point, we only have Lott and his daughters.

The story gets weird.

While Lot and his daughters are in a cave in the mountains, the daughters decided it is up to them to carry the family line. So they get Lot drunk and sleep with him in order to get pregnant. They both have sons.

And then the chapter ends.

How Can We Possibly Derive Any Sort of Moral Meaning From This?

After reading through this a couple of times this morning, it dawned on me. Lott’s family is driven by fear. In contrast, Abraham’s family is driven by faith. Each family follows patriarch’s leadership. Lott is a fearful man and Abraham is a faithful man. Lott’s family acts out of fear. Abraham’s family acts out of faith.

How Do I know Lot is Fearful?

First, at the beginning of the chapter, the angels intend to sleep in the square of the city. But Lot insists they stay with him. Most likely he did this out of honor, but there seems to be something else. Because immediately, after they have dinner all the men arrive to take the angels away. It appears Lot feared this would happen.

Second, he responds out of fear. When the men don’t go away from his house when he goes out to meet them, he offers his daughters to the crowd. What a coward to offer up his daughters to this mob. He is trying anything to preserve whatever he has in his mind about the city.

Third, Lot hesitates to leave. All he has known is about to be destroyed and he hesitates. Why? I believe it is because he is afraid of the unknown. He doesn’t know what will happen when they leave the city.

Forth, Lot asks to go somewhere else other than the mountains to which the angels have instructed him. They grant his request, and yet, after being in the city, Lot decides to leave the city for the mountains out of fear anyway.

His life is marked by fear.

Abraham’s Faithfulness Was Imparted to Lot

So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived. — Genesis 19:29

Our faith can extend out to people in our lives. God remembers those who are faithful. I am reminded of stories where people believed in miracles for family and friends while those same people could not. And God made miracles happen.

Our faith has the power to bring people out of catastrophe.

Lot’s Family and Fear

Lot’s wife was afraid of the terror which was happening behind her and her family. As they fled the city, she looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. This speaks to me in one way, because Lot was afraid she could not look to him for comfort and strength, she could only fear too.

And the cost of this fear was her life. Lot’s fear cost his daughters their mother, his wife. It seems to compound over time. Not only being afraid of where they lived and what they were going to do but even to the point of how their family line would continue.

Lot’s daughters feared their family would end with them since they were in a cave alone with their father. He kept them away from the world after the tragic events of Sodom and Gemorrah. And so, out of their fear they took matters into their own hands and defiled themselves and their father.

Out of this act, they bore two sons. Moab and Ben-Ammi both of these sons would-be fathers of nations one day. Moab, the father of the Moabites. And Ben-Ammi, the father of the Amorites. These two peoples would be at odds with each other for many years.

God Redeems Fallen Events

However, God would bring some redemption to the fall, and defiled nature of Lot’s fearful family. In the story of Ruth who was a ‘woman of Moab.’ Check out Ruth’s story. The short is this: Ruth ends up part of the line of Jesus even though she starts out a pagan and was distantly related to Abraham via Lot.

Even though Lot’s family was defined by fear and it created two cultures that were at odds, God brought them back into his story for the good of the world. And he does this in our world today.

What I Have Learned from Genesis 19

Fear causes problems. Fear drove Lot’s family over the edge. Seclusion, the loss of a loved one, in-breading, and generations of trouble it destroyed so much of Lot’s family.

Fear can be overcome by faith.

Abraham knew God so well, he could trust everything God told him. Yet, I wonder if Lot didn’t know God well. If his ‘faith’ was inherent only from Abraham and then when he struck out on his own his relationship with God was not there.

We can know God more and more. Our faith can grow as we know who God is, and understand his work here on earth. It is through this growth of faith that we are able to know God. And then access the total power of his Kingdom through Holy Spirit here on earth.

The more I know God, the less I need to fear. The more I can trust him and let faith drive my life.

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