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'IS IT NOT A LITTLE ONE ?'
Lot wanted to stay only a little longer. He lingered (Genesis 19:16). Lot wanted to let his daughters out to the aroused, homosexual perversion squadrons in the city of Sodom, lest it should inconvenience his (angelic) guests, in order to sate the appetites of the damned. It was perhaps some might say, only a LITTLE longer that he wanted - was inclined - to stay in the city of sundering sin, Sodom.
He had gone there because when the land was too small for the rich herds of Abraham his uncle and his own, he was given choice and took what he wanted - the lush lower plains. Selfish you might think ? Only a little, perhaps ? After all, SOMEONE had to have them.
Then again, it is clear that he was not for his own part really LIKE the inhabitants of Sodom, Sodomites in the old style language ? He was vexed by their evil talk, we find (II Peter 2:7), and further, the people of that place found him judgmental! just as so many find those now, who condemn the perversion which so aids Aids, because it leaves the natural measure of protection involved in that excellent design specification for male and female.
It was not that he was LIKE that sort of debauched degeneracy. Seemingly, perhaps, it was just a little sort of thing, certainly unpleasant, even a vexation: but tolerable. It did not REQUIRE anything to be done about it, for the social venue of Lot had long remained as it was: insalubrity itself. It was famed for it, infamous for it, historically an index to it.
It was a site very evil, yet he stayed. It was utterly reprobate and widespread, yet he lingered. When he was told that it was about to be destroyed, he lingered more. He lingered just a little longer (Genesis 19:16). It was a little here, a little there, and the result was his near loss of live in appalling circumstances, among burning asphalt and sulphur, reminiscent so much of the symbols of hell itself.
Sulphur ? you enquire. Asphalt ?
An interesting booklet by Walter J. Beasley, F.R.G.S., The Amazing Story of Sodom, specifies the archeological and geological findings that arouse great interest. In it, we learn of the large sulphur deposits, the burnt-out oil field, the deposits of bitumen, salt, asphalt, sulphur and gypsum in the area, the fault lines about the evidently slipped or fallen enclave near the region of the lower Jordan River and the Dead Sea. We gain from this source, the fact that early A.D. writer Josephus noted the remains of Sodom and Gomorrah in his own time, as still visible.
Fascinating is his Beasley's presentation of the reconstruction, on the basis of this evidence, which matches the lowest level below sea, on earth, for the Dead Sea, and the lower than sea level part of the Jordan Valley, with great cliffs arising in the area of concern.
Further historical evidence of extensive ancient irrigation is brought to light, in striking contrast with the devastated and unattractive situation today in this area.
However, if Lot found a lot of interest in Sodom, even WHEN ITS END WAS SPECIFIED and he believed it, as can be seen by his making haste to warn the sons in law of his married daughters, those being inclined to laugh at it as a joke, his wife was rather worse placed. Being warned by the trio representing God, the angels of destruction, that there was need to hasten, being taken even by the HAND with the others, to aid departure without loitering, being shown the danger of looking back, likely to lead to contemplation, they yet had this experience. Lot's wife did look back and turned into a pillar of salt.
Obviously this is a figure of speech, which would take a little time to ripen, if you think of it that way, into literal fact; but it would, given time. If she were enveloped by an erupted body of salt, hot and adhesive, and if she were smothered, and if the form moulded itself about her somewhat, leading to her suffociation and eventual bodily decomposition, then the salt would be her tomb, her shape giving some form to it. Even if it did not, the effect is her incorporation in salt.
What is not at all a matter of envisagement is this: that there were great attractions in Sodom to both Lot and his wife, though they were unpopular and on the outage with the local loutage, a large assignment who did not entirely appreciate them, criticised them for being so critical and evidently felt as if these strangers who had come into their midst, thought of themselves as 'superior', judges, moral arbiters. In fact, in this, Sodom seems not a little like Australia and the US today, to mention but two. Those who have come into their midst, in this case however, are precisely in many cases, representative of much that was once prominent if not dominant in those societies. In this, then, such countries are worse than Sodom. In some matters, there is still perhaps some distance to come ... not always a great one!
Now it is not that we have arrived at total moral oblivion, in these countries, in our own time; it is just that the means of arrival are now in place. Let us consider. Here, it is offensive to some to be called what they Biblically are; it is offensive to refuse to employ those whose morals corrupt others, in terms of Biblical righteousness, so that the Bible is offensive, while it is for some very special and most private reason, NOT offensive to make the Bible an offensive book. In such a perspective, the Bible and its application has NOTHING to do with the freedom of religion, its use is not necessary for any at large in society, and indeed it is undesirable; nor has it anything whatsoever to do with liberty of religion, that this same Bible is to be mandatorily made offensive, and wrong, and incorrect, politically de-specified and a source of calumny or various other considerations that the lithely unenlightened mind might think of from time to time, for this or that reason.
The Biblical 'culture' - as those who do not know God can readily but wrongly deem it (cf. SMR pp. 374ff.) - is deemed wrong; and as to that, it is undoubtedly part of 'multiculturalism', that it is NOT multiculturalism. It is multi-culturalism, the religion that mutes competition and does not acknowledge itself in the process. But it is known by its works. It is in fact selective - a religion of its own. Its canons may not be applied in speech and employment, except by permission, increasingly disdainfully withheld in the cultural contrivances of the day.
Sodom was similarly aroused. When the angelic visitors came to Lot, to warn him to get out of this insalubrious moral drain, since it was about to be incinerated, in keeping with its moral standing, or falling perhaps more accurately, the people of the place were interested in having sexual intercourse with the angels. Where are those men ? they enquired. In vain did Lot yield not a little in 'offering' his daughters for their express sexual convenience, virgins, for the evening, on the ground that it was a sacrosanct thing NOT to release visitors of whom you were host. However, the men of Sodom wanted men, and they were about to give Lot some lessons in being too critical, when the angels delivered Lot, and sent blindness on the perverts, just as Elisha did earlier, to an army (II Kings 6).
It is deliciously ironic that the iron of the army was made the putty of the prophet, just as the vice of the squalid city became the eyeless lust that was blind, a sort of parable in physiology. Sodom's wolves therefore, blindly bayed about the closed door. THAT, it is the product of something that God did!
DESIPTE all this, Lot lingered in the morning, and had to be ejected rather under guidance... THAT is a testimony to this, that WHEN you linger where you do not belong, as in a sold out denomination, fooling with such immoralities as this for the pulpit, despising the word of God, making up things about creation that though creative, are not creation, or even if in part they are, are yet so invaded and sequestered from the truth, that it a false vision, vitiating the truth. It applies no less where the word of God is in some other way misaligned, as by the Anglican Primate who wanted in some way to relate to Christianity while making Christ only ONE way of the many to God. In such cases, if you stay in the fallen church, and such mischiefs, such spiritual miscegenation grossly and outrageously continues, then you are loitering.
The church, unlike society, is NOT an involuntary association (once you choose to live in it). It has its own standards for entering its doors. Where these are broken down, it is like Lot in Sodom, minus the angels, for it soon becomes but a wilful continuance (cf. Romans 16:17, II John 9-10, Ephesians 5, and see The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 9). Then you are endangering yourself, your testimony, your family, your place in history, making of the wisdom of serpents and harmlessness of doves, the wisdom of doves and the harmfulness of serpents.
This is the outrage of the past century: drifting, loitering, lingering, always about to act, often seeing the wisdom of acting, rarely acting, until peaches of confusion, trifles of truthlessness like the above, begin to gain a certain 'standing', which they do the more readily, as the denomination in point, is falling. Thus the church of Jesus Christ is voided of practical help, the hypocrisies of the day make their outreach, the pretence of harmony is the name for the profusion of infidelity, and pleasing oneself, lingering in Sodom, whether spiritual or moral, mental, philosophic or physiological or both, or all: this becomes the watchword of the dead.
Some may at length be delivered, like Lot; but look what became of him. His daughters, perhaps by example too used to compromise and expediency, pragmatism and self-will, lamenting the loss (for they were virgins) of the men who might, had they not been incinerated, have served as husband one for each, decided to make Lot drunk and let him, all unconscious of the incest, serve the part. Thus arose those fateful enemies of Israel, the Ammonites and the Moabites (Genesis 19:37-38).
The very ardour of the place went with them, and their long needless incarceration, nearly an incineration as well, left its marring marks.
And how did this happen ? Another instance arises of a little thing. Indeed, the wonderfully evocative question of Lot to the angelic persons, lingers on the mind. He asked, in his way of having a little concession made for him, before the city of sin slipped to ruin, whether he might not flee to a site of his own choosing. It would be NOT to the mountains as TOLD by the angels, but to a nearby LITTLE city. Such was the nature of his request. "Indeed now, " said he, "your servant has found favour in your sight, and you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die." (We recall David's dealings with a lion and a bear, somewhat later in the history of the nation.)
is then that his special pleading rose to this dramatic point: "See
now, tihs city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one, please
let me escape there (is it not a little one ? ) and my soul shall live."
IS IT NOT A LITLE ONE ?
This has seemed to be the way of so much with Lot. It is a little thing to take the more pleasant looking land; it is a pleasant and a little thing, to stay in the vexatious presence of rampant and mountainous infamy; it is a little thing not to hurry to leave, but to linger when some of the most bestial depravity imaginable to man had just been practised, at his door the night before, or attempted in a mob fiasco of folly, only remedied by supernatural intervention. It is a little thing, then, that his daughters were actually offered as a substitute, though it was scorned. It is a small thing that the judgment on the whole area is categorical, catastrophic and almost unparalleled.
It is all made up of bits, deemed little, for lack of perspective, or lack of its application.
Notice moreover the pleading repetition, Let me escape to this NEARBY city, it is little, is it NOT LITTLE ? He is vaunting in an almost haunting fashion, the concept of little adjustments, little concessions, though as we see later, perhaps frightened by the citizens of his chosen little Zoar, or by the fury of the destruction of Sodom, he did freely depart to the mountains, in which in any case, there arose the unthinkable shame of incest. The very term for his chosen alteration of course, Zoar, means little or INSIGNIFICANT. That is the way of such things. It is always little, it does not really matter ... too much!
It was all of a piece, a patch-work quilt of crazy design. This is not to say that Lot was an evil man; not at all. It is to note that his flaws were endemic, hard to cure, bitterly paid for, led to untold suffering for nations and were with special concern for his relative, Abraham, prevented from total ruin only by a divine intervention so dramatic, that he was even told to hurry, for "I cannot do anything until you arrive there." SO was destruction delayed for the sake of one man.
It is NOT a little thing to imagine that weapons win wars; or that human courage is the determinate; or that chance determines things like Spitfires so easily on the assembly line in the nick of time in World War II, or Dunkirk. It is God who decides. Little things, like little boats may be given historic opportunity to deliver, or storms could prevent it.
Again, little things may be used ironically, systematically to denote the demotion to doom, as when Karl Fuchs betrays atomic secrets, or English homosexuals are recruited to betray their nation, amid lust and deceit (Romans 1:26-27, I Timothy 1:10), parodies of reliability, denizens of deviousness, fathers of faithlessness. Manipulable in shame, some might be further moved when once they had begun the treachery. These things ? Are they little ? Is the use of a racing car as a tractor a little thing ? In one way, it is: for is not motion and are not wheels used in each case.
In fact, however, as we know at once, the similarities in SOME things of the two usages, is mere pretence. The reality is that each is a carefully designed piece of automatic equipment, and the 'little' adaptation to the other use merely makes mockery of the time, energy, intelligence, imagination and thrust that led to each. So in morals, in doctrine, in life 'style' - defiled or other - in faithfulness, in all the lovely ingredients of possible personality, contrasted with the demonic vehemences of the slaughterers, the insufferable prodigies of the amenders, who make of the increasingly inhumane human race, a post-human invention, it is mockery of the Almighty.
This ? It is done in churches with new ideas foisted onto the Almighty's book, new philosophies, gratuitously thrust into His mouth; it is done in societies, ludicrously referring to themselves as communities, who join but can never merge good and evil, and sell themselves to themselves, forgetting their failure to make what they take, in spiritual theft, and wondering the while, how it is that any good God could possibly be less than sheerly delighted in such wonders of people, with such initiative, don't you know, and such elevated ideas and liberties.
Destruction, too, is it a little thing ? It is only around 6 feet, not much, which is shivered into unspiritual separation from God. it is only a little ground that it is taken by the corpses of the mutilated, whom the spawn of human philosophies kill, as well as their swords, or hatchets. It is only a little earth, compared with space. It is only a little space we have been here. It is only a small thing, a trifle really, it appears men think so often today, to trifle with God, for even if He cares, He can learn. Cool it, baby! seems to be the cry. We can take care of it.
But how ? Where is it verified and how? Is it in the care of starving millions, disrupted lives, dispersed wealth, wars that make folly look all but wise in comparison, lethal efforts to exterminate for Allah's sake, what is not inclined to use his name or outrages the faithful by not giving to others of the faithful, what these others want; or for Hitler's sake that was; or for Stalin's that was; or Mao's that was; or the Huns, that were, or Genghis Khan who was, and is not not around any more than the other despots whose natural rights of might, came and went, like showers on the grass, red showers.
But blood, is it not a little thing ? And justice ? is it not small, compared with indulging those who claim land as if they made it, as if they owned it, when they merely inhabited a part of it, or had none and decide now that they had this or that claim ? or want more, or this part, or that, for this reason, historic occurrence, complaint or caprice, or that ? and is it not all a matter of communication and negotiation; and is not the human soul likewise. So the patter proceeds.
As the second hand (successfully prosperous) salesman put it, he would negotiate with God!
So this turgidity replaces truth in the minds of many, and it is all a little thing. Pride rules as if God must accept the enlightened views of themselves which thieves of their own spirits, profess; and His truth is not to them, of the slightest importance. Is it not surprisingly, amazingly like the last days of Judah, before her enormous discipline in Babylon. Let us listen a little to the small talk of those days.
GENERATION HAD ITS PAY DAY:
IT IS NOT THE ONLY ONE OF ITS KIND
BUT A USEFUL PRELUDE TO THE PRESENT
Jeremiah had long pronounced doom on the sinning city, Jerusalem, the city of stirs; often had he pleaded with them reasoned, remonstrated and read out offers from the divine mercy. They despised or merely enjoyed the drama of it. Then they were overrun. Some remained, a slight assembly. They wanted Jeremiah to come with them. Let's have the religion bit. So he went and they asked him so solemnly to TELL them what God wanted.
Back came the prophet: He does NOT want you to go back to Egypt (where they had been some diplomatic occasions as the end approached). But, they insisted, we want to go, and it is only since we stopped religious duties to the "queen of heaven" they said, as if primordial Romanists, that we have suffered. Not at all, justly retorted Jeremiah, for you have offended God in so many ways for so long (as he had in detail for so long attested before the end, offering again and again, this way or that, another option to this end, now duly in place), that this is the result of it.
Quixotic, arbitary and capricious, despite the ruin of their city, the fulfilment in detail of the prophecies (right down to the fate of the king), they were however STILL filled with self-assertion. Instead of fleeing from their former ways, and finding in repentance the mercy of God, they became the more strident, just like a modern, all-knowing, free-flowing social lava flow of today, dressed up as a city.
What happened however when there was occasion for them to obey, contrary to their own minds and desires ? When this situation arrived, as it may fairly be expected to do before very long, the response on that day was very different. They insisted on the practice of convention, of formal prayers at political and educational places, where there was not even a claim that all there were Christians, at public meetings, party meetings; and did so in manifest defilement of the purity and sincerity required in II Corinthians 6:14ff.. Praying together is not 'coming out from them' as is here spiritually required, and unity of spirit in supplication and thanksgiving is not declining association, but rather mocking the Maker, violating His word and shaming His church. Some were willing, but the ruling body was not willing.
It was rebellion against the word of God, and worse, against the word whose provisions were freely adopted as a basis of life. It followed not long after their dedicated willingness, which secured them the pastor, for that had been, as it remained, necessary.
This, then, is then a pattern that can happen. It happened with Jeremiah.
DO NOT GO TO EGYPT, said Jeremiah, outlining the divine plan in some detail; nor was it by any means different or diverse.
were not slow to reply. NOT AT ALL, said they; nor will we do it. Some
were willing, but the ruling body was in a stalemate. They continued for
all their VERBAL faithfulness in ANTICIPATION of the pastorate, in ACTUAL
infideltiy of the grossest kind, when the time came, and it did not please
This was to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to worship her. It was perhaps, the reader might just possibly conceive, a little thing. It was after all
So here. But they went further, being aroused. "But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth..."
a) a supposedly supernatural being,
b) an supposedly interested being,
c) an actual work of human obeisance to some sort of sacred seeming body.
There was construed, it seems, a certain religious dutifulness about the approach. They were, they seemed to think, in doing this, being MOST religious! We need not laugh. It is precisely the same today. The most unconscionable perversions of Biblical doctrine are turning one mediator into many; one suffering sacrifice into many unsuffering ones (cf. SMR pp. 1088B-H); or the Bible, in some Protestant camp or other, into something actually said to be believed, without its words needing to be followed. It is deemed fundamentalistic to follow them. No! they teach. To believe it simply means to be impressed that something good is going on there, and to make up your own spiritual smoke by rolling the pages this way or that. It is marvellous what the print can do when the paper squirms in the twists imparted.
With deeds like this, we can never laugh at history. The real fundamentalism is humanism, which WILL not do except what comes out of its own uncalibrated, unverified, unvalidated mouth. It is commissioned by its own moral cavity.
In fact, what is the proper approach to the Bible, is not to take fundamentals, but to take what it says, as the word of God. The issue is not some religious slant, like humanism, a fundamentalism of whim and caprice, not even possibly true (cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 6 and 7, That Magnificent Rock Ch. 5, SMR Ch. 3). The Biblical approach is this. There is ONE GOD who having made the conceptual, organising, symbolic apparatus of mind, and the willing capacities of spirit, has exercised His own mind and spirit in telling us what it is all about (Amos 4:1,13, I Corinthians 2:9-13, I Peter 1:10ff., II Peter 1:19-21, Isaiah 8:20, 34:16, 50:21, Matthew 5:17-20 and see SMR Appendix D).
You can call it plenary inspirationism without misrepresentation for one good reason: that is what it is. You can call it believing in God totally correctly, for that is what it is. Fundamentalism is a corner view, of some historic fame, and has become a term so immersed in dyes of various kinds that it is all but meaningless (see The Biblical Workman, Appendix 3).
The God of creation and inspiration and validation and verification and the Bible, the Father of Jesus Christ, the one who alone has rational attestation (cf. SMR Chs. 1-3,10) and confirmation (cf. SMR Chs. 5, 8 -9), is opposed to some things. He is opposed to being re-drafted, to man re-drafting himself, and to the inventions of gods who are not there. He is opposed to their being followed (cf. Deuteronomy 32).
Man is opposed, in increasing numbers to the God of creation, and is not about to quit. Armageddon is not some frightful, unthinkable symbolic outcome. It is not just a little thin. It is in fact, a confrontation when all that mercy, love and kindness, truth and endurance can supply is not counted to have relevance, and will is made capricious king. That is, indeed, rather small when paralleled with that day in which Jesus Christ who is made judge, will judge all men (Acts 17:31, John 5:22, 8:24), not on the basis of how many crimes you committed, or deeds*1 you did, but on one thing only. DID YOU FIND IN HIM YOUR NECESSARY MERCY (Luke 13:1-3, Acts 4:11-12), or have you constructed (is it not a little thing) some gods of your own, or even yourself as the eventual arbiter and imaginary king.
truth is not dethroned by captious romance. It remains, and lying wonders
depart, and those who love them inhabit the land of their heart's desire;
though like all lies, its imaginary benefits are merely illusory. That,
it is NOT a little thing.
The sheep in the Matthew 25 assessment session, are congratulated on their good deeds; the goats are accused for their failures. Goats ARE goats, for that is their nature; but sheep follow their Shepherd (John 10:9,27-28). That is their nature.
As to these, His ransom is their standing (Matthew 20:28, Galatians 3:1-13, Romans 3:23ff.), and imaged as trees, their fruit is attestation, not ground. They are planted not by fruit, but by the LORD (Matthew 15:13, Isaiah 61:3)!