Rescued by the Hand of the Lord!
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But before [the men who came to Sodom and entered Lot’s house] lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. 5 And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” 6 Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, 7 and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. 8 Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” 9 But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down. 10 But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door.11 And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door. – Genesis 19:4-11
It was early summer. Not yet fully hot. But the corn was as high as an elephant’s eye in the rolling hills of Iowa. The transmission of our car had given out. We were parked on the side of Interstate 80. Chevy Chevelle and U-Haul trailer. Diane and our unborn son stood nearby while we hoped that someone would stop and rescue us. Thankfully someone did. Two days later we were on our way again in a new-to-us car. We had been rescued.
Maybe you’ve been in a similar or even worse situation. Life threatening or peace-disturbing situations and dangerous predicaments are all around. Like the life-taking chaos of Afghanistan, the dangerous and destructive winds of Hurricane Ida, the earthquake in Haiti: these all put people in situations of rescue’s need. If no one comes to the rescue people can die.
This is what unfolds outside Lot’s house in Sodom. The men of the city are threatening him and his family. He was in mortal danger. His pleas had been ignored. His life threatened. His situation was dire. And at just the right time, the men (angels) in Lot’s home reach out and pull him to safety.
I wonder why they needed to do that? Couldn’t he just have come back into his home on his own? Was the door barred from the inside? Was he physically restrained by the mob? Or was he trying to plead with them? Trying to get them to be reasonable? It seems he went out to them to appease them. He tried to make a (very bad) deal with them. Maybe he thought he could reason his way out of the situation.
I wonder whether we’re a lot like Lot. We live in the midst of evil and we think we can reason with it. We imagine evil isn’t really that bad. We’ve been jaded by being immersed in the rotten culture of our day. We may even have a higher opinion of ourselves than we should. We might think we don’t need God’s rescue. We may not even really want it.
Thankfully that doesn’t stop God from acting. Like the angels reaching out and dragging Lot back into the safety of his house, God sometimes intervenes dramatically. Sometimes obliquely. And sometimes he waits for us to admit our need. In this case Lot didn’t admit his need. But God rescued him.
Maybe you’ve seen or felt the rescuing hand of God. Maybe you’ve not. But the angels of God watch over his people. And sometimes circumstances unfold that can only be the providential care and rescue of a loving God who wishes none to be lost, for all to be found and be saved from eternal doom.