But when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Avraham and sent Lot out, away from the destruction, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot lived.
(Gen 19:29 CJB)
"LOT A RIGHTEOUS MAN ... "
Maybe I like to stand for the downtrodden, but I’d like to talk about Lot today. Lot is often given a bad wrap but this week I took an extra look at what the Tanach says about him.
First of all, it is not ethical to utter judgment about people when they are not present to defend themselves. We would certainly not like it to be done to us. All we really know about Lot is what we are told in the Bible so let’s see.
Lot decided to follow his uncle Abraham. We could conclude by that that Lot saw something important in that uncle of his. Later Lot, seemingly motivated by greed and selfishness, moved to the city of Sodom where he and his whole family were captured by the five kings of the East who came to conquer the area. This prompted Abraham to battle for the deliverance of his nephew. The sages of Israel say that Abraham went to rescue Lot because he saw the Light of Messiah on him.
LET’S LOOK AT LOT’S SPIRITUAL RECORD.
First Lot seems to make a wrong choice when he leaves Abraham to go to live in Sodom. And even after Abraham delivers him, Lot returns to live in Sodom. When the city is about to get destroyed, 2 angels mercifully try to drag him out of there.
"Get up," they said, "and take your wife and your two daughters who are here; otherwise you will be swept away in the punishment of the city." But he dallied, so the men took hold of his hand, his wife's hand and the hands of his two daughters --Adonai was being merciful to him -- and led them, leaving them outside the city. When they had brought them out, he said, "Flee for your life! Don't look behind you, and don't stop anywhere in the plain, but escape to the hills! Otherwise you will be swept away." Lot said to them, "Please, no, my lord! Here, your servant has already found favor in your sight, and you have shown me even greater mercy by saving my life. But I can't escape to the hills, because I'm afraid the disaster will overtake me, and I will die. Look, there's a town nearby to flee to, and it's a small one. Please let me escape there -- isn't it just a small one? -- and that way I will stay alive." (Gen 19:15-20 CJB)
After the merciful angels deliver him, Lot still wants to go live in another one of these wicked cities. Finding themselves in a desperate situation, Lot’s daughters entice their father into an incestuous relationship which gives birth to 2 tribes that would eventually be cursed away from Israel. As far as Lot’s spiritual life is concerned, it seems one can hardly get any “lower” but yet, the sages of Israel proclaim, as I wrote before, that Abraham could see the Light of Messiah in him.
WHAT MORE DOES THE TANACH SAY ABOUT LOT?
When Abraham bargained with HaShem to spare Sodom, he had Lot and his family in mind. Knowing that his righteous God could not destroy the righteous with the wicked, Abraham tried to use Lot’s family’righteousness as a bargaining chip against impending judgment. In Abraham’s eyes, Lot, his wife, his daughters, and their husbands were righteous (see 2 Pet 2:7). That was 6 people. HaShem did not go further down than 10.
Avraham approached and said, "Will you actually sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Maybe there are fifty righteous people in the city; will you actually sweep the place away, and not forgive it for the sake of the fifty righteous who are there?Far be it from you to do such a thing -- to kill the righteous along with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike! Far be it from you! Shouldn't the judge of all the earth do what is just?" (Gen 18:23-25 CJB)
Much is said about Lot in the writings of the apostles. Yeshua talked about this story. He talks about it comparing the rescued righteous of the end to Lot. He says,”Likewise, as it was in the time of Lot -- people ate and drank, bought and sold, planted and built; but the day Lot left S'dom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.” (Luk 17:28-29 CJB)
Peter also said that HaShem “ rescued Lot, a righteous man who was distressed by the debauchery of those unprincipled people; “ (2 Pe 2:7 CJB)
It seems that the sages of Israel were on par with what Yeshua and Peter said. Here is something else the sages of Israel said. “The Light of Messiah enters into the world in these broken and lowly places and situations and the lower it goes, the higher it will rise!”
What they meant by that is that the Light of Messiah doesn’t necessarily enter into the world through the elevated, proud people self-assured of their religiosity. The Spirit of God enters the world through regular people like you and me. Like water, the Spirit of God always seeks for the lowest level where to flow, the humblest soul where to nest. HaShem knew and He portrayed it in the humble bearthly birth of Yeshua. Yeshua knew it and so He did not choose His disciples from the great yeshivahs of Galilee but stumble-bum people of the street like you and me.
The sages of Israel also said the HaShem cannot live in the same space with the proud who is full of himself, as it leaves no room for Him. The sinner may not be perfect, but at least he knows it.
Abraham did not know it at the time, but there is another reason why he may have seen the light of Messiah in Lot. The Seed of Messiah does comes from Abraham, but the seed of Lot intermarried with the seed of Abraham. Lot’s daughters gave birth to the Moabites and the Ammonites (Gen 19:38) of whom the Torah says, "No `Amoni or Mo'avi may enter the assembly of Adonai, nor may any of his descendants down to the tenth generation ever enter the assembly of Adonai, (...) So you are never to seek their peace or well being, as long as you live. (Deu 23:3-6 CJB).
When all is said and done, Ruth the Moabite married Boaz and became the great-grandmother of King David and King Solomon married Naamah the Ammonitess. The ten generations deadline had expired by the Boaz and Solomon married them. Both Boaz and King Solomon are in the genealogy of Messiah.
This means that part of the lineage of Yeshua the Messiah stems from Lot; that Lot is an actual ancestor of Yeshua. The sage of Israel already knew that the Messiah would be a descendant of Lot as they said, “The source of Messiah is rooted in Lot. All the genealogies and generation are [for the sake of] David and Messiah. The reason that Lot walked with Abraham was so that the spark of Messiah would go forth from him.” Rokeach in Yalkut Moshiach: Lech lecha, 35par, 19.
That could be the reason why Matthew mentioned them in his genealogies alongside 3 other special women. It’s all the more special when genealogies usually only include men.
Personally, I do not like passing judgment on some of these Bible characters, especially when Yeshua uses them as an analogy of the righteous and peter qualifies them as righteous souls.
This lesson should teach us that according to HaShem, more righteousness is found in the lowly souls, in the valleys of humankind than in its proud mountains. In its message about the coming Kingdom of Heaven, John the Immerser took up the message of Isaiah when he said, “Every valley must be filled in, every mountain and hill leveled off; the winding roads must be straightened and the rough ways made smooth.” (Luk 3:1-6). Yeshua taught the same message when he said, “Whoever promotes himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be promoted.” (Mat 23:12 CJB)
R' Gavriel Lumbroso
with the inspiration of R' Zelig Pliskin and others.
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