Lot 7

Q. Is Lot a good man or a bad person?

A. My opinion is mixed, based on the description of his character in Genesis. On the one hand, he had some good qualities:

CourteousGen 19:1 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground.
HospitableGen 19:2, 3 “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.” … But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. …
Protective of his guests and familyGen 19:6-8, 14 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. … But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.” … So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!”
GratefulGen 19:19 Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. …

On the other hand, he had some very serious character flaws and significant errors in judgment:

Worldly, choosing what looked good. Some might excuse him because he didn’t know Sodom was wicked, but he must have known soon after his arrival and yet chose to stay. Gen 13:10-11, 13 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.) So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company. Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.
Compromised in participating in the affairs of the city – Gen 14:1 … sitting in the gateway. The custom in those days was that the elders sit at the city gate to decide on the city’s affairs e.g. Gen 23, Jos 20:4, Prov 31:23. Again some might excuse him as trying to save the city by trying to reform it from within, but the overall picture is that he had no impact whatsoever. Gen 19:9, 14 “Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” … But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
Bizarre thinking – Gen 19:8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. What parent would do that to their children? Certainly not one who bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:4). It’s totally absurd!
VacillatingGen 19:19-20, 30 … But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.” … Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. At first he chose Zoar, against the advice of the angels (Gen 19:17). The reason was not given, possibly because it was more convenient and comfortable than living in caves. Then he left it for the mountains for he was afraid. Possibly Zoar was influenced by Sodom and he was scared of what the people might do to him. In any event he did not think carefully before he acts and was a coward.
Morally depravedGen 19:33, 35 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. … So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. Some might argue that he was not aware of it, but he allowed himself to get so drunk that it led to debauchery (Eph 5:18), and cannot escape responsibility.

However, the final assessment in the NT was that he was a righteous man. This was repeated 3 times in 2 verses:
2 Pet 2:7-8 and 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)—
He was distressed and tormented, but he was also weak and ineffective as a witness. The only thing I can conclude is that despite his checkered past, he repented and finished well. Many of us are like Lot, positionally we are saved by the blood of Jesus and children of God, but in terms of our state we are poor witnesses for Christ. Remember Lot’s wife (Lk 17:32), and Lot! Learn from his mistakes. I hope we all do better.

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