Our Children in Sodom; Sodom in Our Children
“Now Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar. So he lived in a cave with his two daughters. And the firstborn said to the younger, ‘Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father.’ So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father. He did not know when she lay down or when she arose.
“The next day, the firstborn said to the younger, ‘Behold, I lay last night with my father. Let us make him drink wine tonight also. Then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father.’ So they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day. The younger also bore a son and called his name Ben-ammi. He is the father of the Ammonites to this day.”
Psychologist Trayce L. Hensen, in a study largely ignored by major media outlets, found that “children reared by openly homosexual parents are more likely to engage in homosexual behaviour than children raised by others.” This information should be disturbing to all right-thinking people, and the more so in light of unrelenting indoctrination imposed by social engineers that seemingly have foisted on the educational process a view of culture that is radically different from that recognised by the majority of the population.
Are we really surprised by that finding? It is well documented that children raised by alcoholic parents tend to have higher rates of alcoholism as adults. Children raised in homes where parents smoke are more likely to smoke than children raised in the homes of non-smokers. Children raised in the homes where parents are abusive to their spouse are more likely to be abusive to their spouses when grown. There is a pattern in life that reminds us that behaviour that is normalised through repeated exposure will almost assuredly be adopted as normal by those raised in such an environment. Certainly, the behaviour that is observed in the home is accepted as normal and viewed with approval by children as they enter adulthood.
There is a broader implication that should cause Christian parents pause. When we who are Christians tacitly approve of wickedness—perhaps even participating occasionally in sinful activities—we sacrifice our integrity and our moral authority. Consequently, we sacrifice our children. Not surprisingly, when we act as the world acts, our children will adopt the attitudes of the world, and finally drift into a lifestyle that is indistinguishable from the world in which they live. Similarly, when we permit ourselves to be indoctrinated by the world, adopting the worldview that is antithetical to the divine plan for life, we become facilitators of evil in driving our children into the darkness of this fallen world.
The events that are recorded of Lot and his daughters after they were delivered from Sodom provide a study in the impact of a godless environment on people. Though God delivered these girls from Sodom, they carried Sodom in their hearts. The accuracy of this assessment is demonstrated through their actions after being delivered from divine judgement.
Life After Sodom — For far too long evangelical pulpits have passed over the account of the incestuous relation of Lot’s daughters as inappropriate for a sermon text, just as they failed to speak of the wicked actions of the residents of the cities of the valley. That is odd since the Bible includes these accounts. Perhaps the moral cesspool confronting churches today is the result of the embarrassed silence of the pulpits of the land. Perhaps the reason youth are forsaking the faith in record numbers as soon as they reach their teen years is because the pulpit is light-years behind the entertainment industry in the matter of speaking about moral issues.
It is a shocking truth that by the time an individual turns thirteen, he or she will have watched on average 18,000 hours of television! On average, those same children will have spent 2,184 minutes (less than 37 hours) in meaningful conversation with their parents! The average child will have invested about 487 hours in watching television for every one hour spent in meaningful conversation with their parents.  If parents sit with their children in weekly church services, rather than depositing the children in a glorified baby-sitting service, those same children will have listened to about 600 sermons during that same period of time.
What should be evident from these studies is that parents are not shaping the character of children today—television moguls are. In the broadest sense, children are not being trained in righteousness from the pulpit—they are imbibing moral instruction from polluted fountains of contemporary entertainment. Entertainment moguls are shaping the moral character of Canada through indoctrination of our children. Since we now have a couple of generations that have absorbed such impoverished training, it should not be surprising that, broadly speaking, society increasingly reflects godless attitudes expressing opposition to righteousness and in which everyone does what is right in his own eyes [see Judges 17:6].
Many rap stars and/or television stars will not let their children watch what they create! “Closer” star Clive Owen will not let his children watch anything he has been in. Neither does Stephen Colbert permit his children to watch the Comedy Central show. Rapper Ja Rule claims his kids cannot even watch MTV—the station that plays his music videos—in the afternoon because he says the station promotes homosexuality as normal. Michael J. Copps, US Federal Communications Commissioner, says, “Every day I hear from Americans who are fed up with the patently offensive programming coming their way so much of the time. I hear from parents frustrated with the lack of choices available for their children. I even hear from broadcast station owners that something needs to be done about the quality of some of the programming they are running. I had a high-powered TV executive in my office a few months ago who told me he doesn't let his children watch television unless he's there to man the remote.”
Mr. Copps went ahead to state, “I've referred to a ‘race to the bottom,’ but recently I'm beginning to wonder if there even is a bottom to it. I’m reminded of Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities. It is the best of times; it is the worst of times. On our TV screens today we have some of the best television ever. And we have undoubtedly the worst.” While many famed movie directors and producers reportedly will not permit their children to watch what they produce, these same individuals apparently expect you to permit your children or grandchildren to watch all that they produce, screaming “Censorship!” at the top of their lungs if you attempt to shield your children from watching the filth they peddle. Though arguing that they are only presenting what people want, it seems obvious that they are foisting on society training that must, of necessity, transform each succeeding generation into one which is more degenerate and more decadent than the last.
In previous sermons we saw that Lot is recognised as a righteous man. Lot was saved from destruction by God’s mercy. However, the personal cost for his deliverance was high. All his valued possessions were buried in the rain of sulphur and now lie at the bottom of the Dead Sea. Lot went from being a man who was as wealthy as his uncle, Abraham, to living in a cave. Though he had been blessed through his association with his godly uncle, he squandered what God had entrusted to him through using it to advance his personal ambitions rather than blessing others. No would survive God’s judgement on the wicked cities.
All his relationships were lost because of his decision to compromise with evil—his wife longed for Sodom even more than he did, and as a consequence lost her own life even as God rained down judgement on the city. His daughters lives were preserved, but they had adopted the pragmatic view of the world that says they must make their own way rather than relying on God to direct them in the Way. They seem to have decided that they were the last people on earth, so they could violate God’s rules for righteousness with impunity. Lot’s lack of integrity is exposed by his daughters’ incestuous plan after they had forsaken the valley. What did Lot gain by compromising his convictions? No more than any man gains through compromise with evil.
Sober assessment of their actions will reveal that Lot’s daughters were only implementing lessons they had learned during their formative years—that their personal estimate of right and wrong was valid for every situation. They had been situated at the centre of their universe, and so they continued living as though the world revolved around them. They appear to have received little parental guidance in righteousness. Their mother’s disobedience as she was leaving Sodom would indicate that she had modelled before them a self-centred life. Lot’s mad pursuit of position at all costs within the city had taught them that personal satisfaction and self-aggrandisement were to be more highly esteemed than was righteousness.
Perhaps it will be valuable to recall the Proverb that teaches us:
“Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
The expression “the way” in Hebrew can be rendered “according to his way.” “His way” refers to “the way he should go,” as it is rendered in this version of the Word. The construction reflects the point repeatedly stressed throughout Proverbs that there is a standard of life which a child must attain. Throughout the Book, there are only two ways that an individual can go—the way of the wise (righteousness), or the way of the fool. One takes training; the other does not.
Living in Sodom, and especially living in Sodom without taking care to instruct his family in righteousness, had lasting consequences for Lot and for his family. In a similar fashion, modern families living as though morality was of no vital importance, or living as though one must tolerate every form of wickedness without speaking against it, or living as though moral turpitude is inconsequential, will experience lasting—and detrimental—consequences. It is certain that parental lifestyles and attitudes will be magnified in the lives of their children. Life after Sodom may not be as pleasant as people imagine!
The Basis for the Daughters’ Decision — “The firstborn said to the younger, ‘Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father.’” I suspect that the divine text presents a synopsis rather than a detailed account of the conversation between these two sisters. What is apparent is that they were both in agreement with the plan proposed by the elder sister. It is not likely that the elder sister was compelled to resort to persuasion; her argument appeared well thought out and unimpeachable to her younger sister by her ready response to the proposal. However, the plan they hatched was gravely flawed, being defective both in the premise and in the execution.
The premise for her proposal was that they would not be able to have children. The premise was in error on several grounds if she had thought the situation through. First, it was only the cities of the valley that were destroyed. As he urged them to get out of Sodom, the angel had repeatedly said that they had been sent to destroy the city. For instance, the angel had said, “We are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it” [Genesis 19:13]. The Hebrew is quite specific, indicating the destruction of that place and not another place. Again, the angel had said, “Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city” [Genesis 19:14]. Moreover, Zoar, where Lot and his daughters had temporarily resided, was left untouched. Thus, it was evident that all life was not destroyed, nor were all the cities of the world destroyed.
These young women should have realised that God gives life, and not man, especially if Lot had assumed the responsibility assigned to every father to educate his children. To their credit, the sisters do appear to realise that sex is given to provide for procreation, which is more than many seem to know today. One could easily imagine that the Baby Boomers discovered the pleasure of sex by the emphasis on the act. However, our generation has forgotten that there are other reasons God gave mankind sex.
Our generation seems to have forgotten that marriage was also given to promote purity and for procreation. The Word of God teaches, “It is better to marry than to burn with passion” [1 Corinthians 7:9]. Christians must also remember the admonition, “Let marriage be held in honour among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled” [Hebrews 13:4]. The world encourages divorce as a means of self-fulfillment. Christians need to hear again the word of Malachi on this. “You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favour from your hand. But you say, ‘Why does he not?’ Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. ‘For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts’” [Malachi 2:13-16].
Perhaps the sisters had received a thorough education in the public system of Sodom, and they had been trained in a naturalistic philosophy that denied that God gives life. Like many youth today, perhaps though they were well versed in the biology of life, they knew nothing of the morality of life. Knowledge of the mechanics of sex without the moral base on which to ground one’s life is a dangerous knowledge that will lead to disaster. Their moral compass was swinging wildly without a fixed reference, turning whichever way seemed appropriate at the moment. Lacking grounding in the love of the Living God, they seem to have drunk deeply from the dark cisterns of human philosophy that man just happened rather than being created. Surely, if they knew that they were created, they would have realised that they were responsible to the Creator. However, they assumed that they had responsibility to no one other than themselves.
The most generous supposition I can advance is that these girls thought that all the suitable young men who worshipped as they did had perished. Being generous, I would advance the proposition that they had just enough religion to seek someone who shared their religious views, but they didn’t want to be bothered by knowing God. If this is the case, they can best be described as cultural God-worshippers, and not as those who seek after Him. If this is accurate, they were like many people today—religious but lost. They knew all the techniques—the rites and rituals—that were necessary for “worship,” but they had never worshipped the True and Living God. They were able to recite the creed for their faith, but they had never embraced that faith. Consequently, they had no reason to honour God with their lives; they felt safe because they “knew the magic code” that would permit them to avoid repercussions for their choices.
What really was happening in the lives of these young women? I suggest that several elements combined to ensure that these young women made the choice that they made. First, they were driven more by culture than by righteousness to want children. These young women were, by our standards, young. Remember, it was expected that a girl would marry by age twelve to fourteen. These young women were driven to let the cultural demands override their responsibility to be godly. Something similar happens in this day as young men and women are told that they must wait for marriage until they have an education, until they have a house and a car, until they have acquired things. Today, the median age of a first marriage for women is 26, and for men 28, the oldest average since the US Census Bureau started keeping track. Consequently, the biological clock is ticking all the time, and young women, especially, feel panicked at the thought that they may never have children. Marriage is more strongly dictated in this day, and likely in that day, by cultural expectations than by the desire to glorify God!
Again, they convinced themselves that they would need to take charge over their lives. It is evident that the women in Lot’s household were independent of his patriarchal views. When the angels came to town and were invited home by Lot, there is no evidence that his wife was present to assist in showing hospitality. Perhaps she was busy with her bridge club, or exercising at the spa, or seeking fulfilment through obtaining training in flower arranging. The point is that she was nowhere present to fulfil the responsibilities associated with making guests welcomed in her home. Clearly, her daughters demonstrated an independent streak, unrestrained by their father when they got him drunk and used him to impregnate themselves.
Finally, they doubted the goodness of God. Having lost their friends and all their possessions, they appear to have doubted God’s goodness toward them. Unable to see that His deliverance was a demonstration of His love, they could only see their loss. The same thing is true so often when you and I encounter rough stretches in our lives. At such times we become so focused on our personal loss that we question God’s goodness. We are vulnerable during those rough stretches, and if we do not have a solid foundation on which to build our lives, we will jettison our trust in the mercies of God and bemoan our situation.
When Jeremiah condemned Israel for secretly worshipping “the queen of heaven,” the response was met by a pathetic bleating about how hard it was to serve the Lord. “All the men who knew that their wives had made offerings to other gods, and all the women who stood by, a great assembly, all the people who lived in Pathros in the land of Egypt, answered Jeremiah: ‘As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you. But we will do everything that we have vowed, make offerings to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we did, both we and our fathers, our kings and our officials, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no disaster. But since we left off making offerings to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.’ And the women said, ‘When we made offerings to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, was it without our husbands’ approval that we made cakes for her bearing her image and poured out drink offerings to her’” [Jeremiah 44:15-19]?
The Aftermath of the Daughters’ Decision — “Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day. The younger also bore a son and called his name Ben-ammi. He is the father of the Ammonites to this day.” The dreadful events that are recorded in the Bible happened as an example to those on whom disaster fell, but “they were written down for our instruction” [1 Corinthians 10:11], according to the Apostle.
The account of this terrible sin should be as instructive for us as it was for ancient Israel. The recitation of incest provides details of the origin of two people groups that were a thorn in the side of Israel throughout their history. “Moab” means “From Daddy”; “Ben-ammi” means “Son of My Kinsman.” The attitude of these girls, who named their children rather than deferring to the father, as would have been the custom, was audacious, brazen, brash. During the wilderness journeys, Israel was kept from taking any land from the Moabites or the Ammonites [see Deuteronomy 2:9, 19]; despite this prohibition, these two nations were constantly opposed to Israel. Perhaps you will recall that Balak, King of Moab, hired Balaam to curse God’s people [see Numbers 22-24]. In later years, there were many wars between these two neighbours of Israel. Finally, Amos was delegated by the Lord God to prophesy the destruction of the Ammonites [Amos 1:13-15] and of the Moabites [Amos 2:1-3]. The consequences of sin are never confined to the one sinning; but it grows and contaminates many people until God at last removes the sinner.
Contemporary society is disintegrating. I marvel at the pace of the disintegration and wonder whether this culture can long survive, discarding as it does the virtues and values that made it great. The evidence for this is often seen among the children of evangelical Christians. Bemoaning the attitudes their children express, parents complain that the pastor is not doing enough, or the church is not entertaining enough to distract their children. Of course, this is a silly complaint, for the parents deliver their children over to the world system to train them, and then, when the children act like they have been trained to act, the parents express surprise!
Parents are responsible to be godly and to instil godly values in their children. In a recent article I accessed online, a woman named Debra Anderson makes a vital point concerning the degeneration of sexual mores in youth today. I do not know her religious background; I do know that she is imbued with a healthy dose of common sense. She writes, “There's a tree in my back yard that is breaking up the sidewalk. A friend advised, ‘If you kill the root, the tree will die.’ I thought about her advice as I read the latest information on teen pregnancy and spread of AIDS in Mississippi. Should we ever agree on what the root of the problem is, we can eradicate it.
“If the truth is ever accepted, abstinence is really the only way to prevent pregnancy, teen or otherwise. Sex education, whatever it is deemed to be, might slow the pace, but not kill the root.
“The root cause is not lack of information. Teens already know what causes babies and where they come from. They know what condoms are used for. Teens know the fundamentals.
“That being said, unless we kill the root of the problem, it will keep growing. Could the root be attitudinal, in the way teens view sex?
“It seems sex has no value or sanctity. Sex is just a means of meeting a basic physical need. Their cavalier attitudes are evident by repeated behaviour. Could it be that they just don't give a flip?
“They don't seem to care about what anybody says on the issue and aren't the least bit troubled by warnings that their behaviour is unsafe, unhealthy, irresponsible or immoral. They simply don't care!
“Pregnancy, contracting AIDS or dying doesn't frighten them. They are unconvinced about the likelihood of living in poverty. And, they are definitely unconcerned about moral accountability.
“Teen girls are undaunted about being abandoned with babies and males aren't the least bit embarrassed to walk away and duplicate the same situation elsewhere. In the teen sub-culture, such behaviour is acceptable, even expected.
“Young people are not sexually uninformed; they are brazenly unconcerned. They don't care.
“In Christendom, we call it being spiritually dead. These casual attitudes are nurtured by our sexually permissive American culture, including our communities, neighbourhoods, peer choices and our homes.
“I believe failure of parents to set high standards and establish and enforce boundaries is the strongest contributor.
“Schools can't emphasize values for fear of offending someone. Yet, society is less offended by sperm donors who populate the world with children they have no intention of parenting. Government makes things worse by forbidding biblical influence.
“Why teens don't care is a question every parent should ask his or her own children. The cycle of sexual apathy must be broken at home.
“A good start would be for parents to reassess their own lifestyle and determine its impact on their children's attitudes about sex.
“Mothers might start by simply paying attention to how their daughters dress and who they are dating. Fathers must re-evaluate their own actions and attitudes toward women and determine if they are truly teaching their sons to respect girls. Younger parents should seek advice on child rearing from more experienced parents.”
Honesty compels me to make a final observation concerning Lot; I see no evidence that he ever repented and returned to a walk with the Lord his God. Ammon and Moab were located east of the Dead Sea, the opposite direction from where Abraham was then living. When the angels brought Lot out of Sodom and commanded that he escape from his life [Genesis 19:17], it seems likely that they pointed him toward Mamre, where he had previously lived with Abraham. They likely urged Lot to return to the place of blessing. However, if the descendants of the two boys settled where they lived, then it is likely that Lot turned and went the opposite direction. In other words, his descent into sin would not be halted in this life, but he would run, and continue running, from facing his godly uncle.
James Boice makes a good point concerning Lot’s failure to repent. He wrote, “When I was preaching on Lot on one occasion, someone asked me why I did not compare Lot to the prodigal son. It was a good suggestion. Both had great resources. Both set their eye on a distant country. Both lost all they had in that country. But there is this difference: the prodigal eventually ‘came to his senses.’ Lot, so far as we know, never did.
“What happened when the prodigal son (Luke 15) came to his senses? Three things. First, he admitted his condition. Before this, he would have denied it, as Lot probably continued to do until the day he died. He would have said, ‘Well, things are not too bad. Perhaps if I just hang on a bit, they’ll get better.’ When he came to his senses, he was done with this reasoning. Now he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!’ (v. 17). Second, he returned to his father (v. 20). He did not merely talk about it. He did not merely discuss it as the best of his remaining options. He did it. He went home. Third, when he got home, he confessed his sin. He said, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son’ (v. 21). But, of course, he was his father’s son, and the father immediately welcomed him and restored him to favour.”
James, the brother of our Lord, made a significant statement when he said, “Desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” [James 1:15]. Dr. Boice noted that Jesus twice mentions the father’s word that “this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found” [verses 24, 32]. That father is speaking of a resurrection from the dead; and that is what it means when a sinning saint turns again to follow the Master. The Apostle Paul has written that a woman who “is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives” [1 Timothy 5:6]. He also attested that each Christian struggles with sin. He testified, “I find a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand” [Romans 7:21].
Here is the wonderful news for each child of God—you may sin, but you need not be cast headlong [see Psalm 37:23] into defeat. You can return to your Father, and He will receive you. Though you now appear to be dead to grace, you can live again. Though for the moment it seems as if sin wins every battle as you struggle to do what is right, through Christ the Lord you can be victorious. This is the promise of God. Indeed, though “the righteous falls seven times,” he “rises again” [Proverbs 24:16]. Turn again to the Lord that you may be restored.
For any who have yet to know the life that is offered in Jesus the Master, know that He died because of your sin and rose for your justification. On the authority of His promise, I tell you that “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ believing in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you shall be saved.” That word concludes by promising that “Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved” [Romans 10:9, 13].
We invite all who hear the message to life—full, complete, abundant life in the Saviour. Put your faith in Jesus the Son of God, believe His message of grace, call Him to take control over your life. Now, the doors to the church stand open to all who are willing to enter. Amen.
 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 “Pro-Homosexual Researchers Conceal Findings: Children Raised by Openly Homosexual Parents More Likely to Engage in Homosexuality,” Trayce Hensen, Ph. D., http://www.drtraycehansen.com/Pages/writings_prohomo.html
 Norman Herr, Ph.D., “Television and Health,” http://www.csun.edu/~vceed002/health/docs/tv&health.html, accessed 13 August 2009
 “Clive Owen on the hunt for a family film,” http://breakingnews.iol.ie/entertainment/?jp=cweysnauidmh, accessed 13 August 2009
 Michael Scherer, “The truthiness hurts,” http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2006/05/01/colbert/print.html, accessed 13 August 2009
 JA RULE INTERVIEW W/COMPLEX CATCHING HEAT, http://concreteloop.com/2007/09/ja-rule-interview-w-complex-catching-heat, accessed 13 August 2009
 Michael J. Copps, http://www.mediainstitute.org/Speeches/copps.html, accessed 13 August 2009
 See the Translator’s Note in The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2006)
 Eric Gorski, “Wait for sex and marriage? Evangelicals conflicted,” Houston Chronicle, http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/hotstories/6566470.html, accessed 14 August, 2009; Mark Regnerus, “Say Yes. What Are You Waiting For?,” Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/24/AR2009042402122.html, accessed 14 August, 2009; Mark Regnerus, “The Case for Early Marriage,” Christianity Today Magazine, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/august/16.22.html?start=2, accessed 14 August, 2009
 Debra Anderson, “Teach Our Children!” Clarion, Mississippi Ledger, August 2, 2009, http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009908020318, accessed 3 August, 2009
 James Montgomery Boice, Genesis: An Expositional Commentary (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI 1982) 640
 Author’s translation