There are two fathers in the book of Genesis that God warned of impending doom. One was Noah, whom God told to build an ark because He was going to destroy every living thing on the earth with a flood. The other was Lot, who was warned of the impending destruction of Sodom by angels.
Each father went to his family to share the warning and extend the Lord’s offer of salvation. While Noah’s family believed him and joined him in the ark, Lot’s family responded with reluctance.
Both fathers are described as righteous in the New Testament. Both men and their families lived among ungodly people. Both shared an outrageous message from God. In Noah’s time, there had never been rain because God watered the ground with a mist — they had no concept of water falling from the sky, much less drowning them. Until Lot’s story, we never read about God raining down fire from the sky to judge a city for its evil deeds.
So, why did Noah’s family go along with him immediately, but Lot’s didn’t?
“This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.” Genesis 6:9
This verse paints a good picture of Noah. He had integrity and a relationship with the Lord. Scripture says Noah walked with God. Walking with someone is an intentional act that requires a unified direction and goal. The Bible says that God looked at the people on earth and they were all wicked — except Noah, who pleased the Lord. The depth of their relationship was further demonstrated by God sharing His plans for judgment with Noah and instructions to save his immediate family and a great multitude of animals.
Walking with [God] is an intentional act that requires a unified direction and goal
The Bible is silent on the conversation that took place between Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives after God’s revelation — but we do know his family willingly joined him on the ark. Another important clue regarding Noah’s character is his obedience to the Lord’s direction. It is commonly believed that it would have taken years for Noah to build a boat of such magnitude, but we are told that “Noah did according to all God had commanded him”. What faith to spend time and resources for years in order to obey God!
“Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) Genesis 13:10
The Bible paints a vivid picture of Lot’s life in Genesis chapters 13-19. He was a man with an affinity for prosperity. Scripture tells us that when he left his uncle Abram, he chose to live near the good land in Sodom. It made economic sense, even though the people of Sodom were already known for being wicked and sinful. Later, we are told that Lot sat in the gate of Sodom, indicating that he was an important member of its society.
When the angels (disguised as men) came to Lot’s house to warn him and his family of God’s judgment, men of the city came to Lot’s house to rape his guests. Instead of barging through the doors, the men of the city knocked as if expecting Lot to allow them in. Only after Lot refused to open the door did they try to break through. Sadly, Lot even tried offering his own daughters to the mob. After that, Lot told his sons-in-law of God’s impending judgement, but they laughed at him.
Sadly, in the 30 times the Bible mentions Lot by name in the Old Testament, this warning is the only recorded time Lot refers to God. Ultimately, only Lot, his wife, and two daughters decided to leave — but they lingered so long that the angels had to grab their hands and pull them out of the city. Scripture goes on to explain the physical and moral demise of Lot’s wife and daughters. Unlike the Noah account, nothing in Genesis describes Lot’s fellowship with the Lord. In fact, because of his story, most people would probably assume he was unsaved, except for a small passage in the New Testament.
Unlike the Noah account, nothing in Genesis describes Lot’s fellowship with the Lord
“If he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)…” 2 Peter 2:7
Scripture tells us that Lot trusted God with his soul, but he had little use for God in day-to-day living. He lived based on what he could see and what made sense, instead of inquiring of the Lord for direction and guidance. His faith was largely unobservable to those who lived life with him.
When we look at Noah and Lot, there are some differences in their lives that explain the different responses of their families. Noah lived in an evil world. He could not escape where he lived but he clearly chose to live differently. Lot also lived in the middle of an evil society, but he chose it for himself because it was comfortable and sensible.
Prior to the flood, the writer of Genesis recorded Noah’s actions as direct obedience to the Lord’s commands. The same writer points out many events and decisions in Lot’s life prior to the destruction of Sodom, but not once is he recorded as consulting God. Perhaps Noah’s family responded to his warning because trusting God had already been modelled for them. Lot, on the other hand, didn’t seem to have an observable relationship with God that influenced his family.
However, it’s important to remember that both Noah and Lot were believers. Whether you are a parent or living under your parents’ roof, how observable is God in your daily life? Are daily testimonies something that the people in your household or circle of friends hear? Or is a testimony something that is saved for a big audience on a special occasion? In your mind and heart, how much of the good in your life is attributed to Him and how often is His input necessary for even the smallest decisions? Are you a Noah or are you a Lot?
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