Theme: Faith (Part 3)
(Key sections in Genesis for this discussion: Gen 12:4-5; Gen 12:9-10; Gen 13:1-11; Gen 14:1-16; Gen 19:1-38)
God’s revelation of Jesus starts off with the unveiling of our old man or the things in the natural and their purpose in the plan of God (Rev 1:1; 2Th 2:1-5). Although the natural things are just the total opposite of the spiritual things of God, it is through the spiritually dead things that we are firstly introduced to the invisible spiritual things of God as we live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (1Co 15:45-46; Mat 4:4):
Rev 1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last.
Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
In our discussions on the foundational theme of faith we know that God used Abraham to typify what the faith of Christ is about (Eph 2:16; Php 3:9; Gal 3:6-9). It is only through the gift of the faith of Christ that our justification and sanctification is worked to become the righteous spiritual sons of God:
Rom 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
By the redemptive work of God’s chastening grace all will be saved through “the law of faith”, and that is indeed not a work of our flesh and our will, but it is the gift of God as God alone works all things after His will (Eph 2:8-10; Tit 2:11-12; Heb 12:6; Eph 1:11):
Rom 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Rom 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Rom 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Rom 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
The life of Abraham is given to us to learn how this gift of faith is given and how that develops as Abraham sojourned with his tent and his altar always looking for the true city of God:
Heb 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
Heb 11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 1
Heb 11:0 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Mankind was never in spirit or perfect, but made flesh first (“of the ground”) and is in a process of being made or conformed in spirit after the image of God, even Jesus Christ (Gen 1:26-27; Gen 2:7; Gen 3:19; Psa 51:5; Jer 18:4; Joh 3:5-6; Rom 8:20; Rom 8:29; 1Co 15:22-28; 1Co 15:50). We all start off in the house of our old man, the first Adam, as Abram (only later called Abraham) started in the house of his father, Terah, in Ur in the land of the Chaldees in Mesopotamia. From here Abram’s family started the journey together on their way to go to the land Canaan. But Terah and his family stopped halfway in a place called Haran – which was still in Mesopotamia (“on the other side of the flood” or river Euphrates) – where Terah eventually died (Jos 24:2; Act 7:2-4). As our old man dies, we are driven forward by God. But it is a painful and humiliating process to be separated from our physical attachments. Every physical thing we attach to ourselves serves a purpose on our journey to spiritual perfection, even though we will lose it all in the end. Sarai, Abram’s wife, was barren at first, and they took Lot, Abram’s dead brother’s son to live with them (Gen 11:30-31). This barrenness of Sarai typifies our own carnal barrenness in the flesh even when we are given the gift of faith as one of the first principles of the doctrine of Christ (Heb 6:1-2; 1Co 1:7; 1Co 3:1-4). But this foundation, even faith, needs expansion and growth as that is how we all will get to spiritual maturity which is the end purpose of faith, even the salvation of our souls (1Pe 1:9). This first stage of immature faith is also represented by Abram’s connection to his nephew Lot:
Gen 12:4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
Gen 12:5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.
Lot’s name means “covering” or “veil”, as we all initially cannot see that the principles of the doctrine of Christ are not the perfection or maturity in Christ. The false doctrine of having spiritual perfection or maturity when we first encounter Christ in the flesh is an evil stronghold few can escape from in this age (Joh 6:26-27; 2Co 5:16; Gal 3:3). This deceit also applies to faith and this is what the life of Lot typifies for us. But Lot is even referred to as “just” and “righteous” in the scriptures:
2Pe 2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
2Pe 2:7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
2Pe 2:8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
But this righteousness of Lot was not the righteousness of Christ as Lot and all people in the Old Testament (including all Gentiles) lived under laws which are after carnal or outward commandments. These laws did not clean the inside or the heart and mind of mankind (Mat 23:25-28). There are many examples in the scriptures of this outward righteous – the cleaning of “the outside of the cup and of the platter” (Gen 6:8-9; Luk 18:9-25; Php 3:4-6). Paul, who also once was deceived by this self-righteous spirit sent by God, calls this type of righteousness “dung” because no one will be justified before God with that (Gal 2:16; Php 3:8-9). This is what Isaiah called this righteousness:
Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
It is only by the faith of Christ, which was typified by Abram that anyone will be made righteous inside and acceptable to God (Heb 11:6). Lot moved around under the leadership of Abram and grew a type of faith in his own moral judgements which proved to be devastating to him and his whole family in the end. Through the life of Lot we learn how to discern this counterfeit faith in ourselves and how to move and grow away from that, if God permits (Heb 6:3). Lot also represents our immature stage as a carnal Christian who is unable to endure the severity of the fiery trials of faith and needs protection and a hedge around. Lot’s development and trials also typify the process of our leaving of Babylon and its constant pulling to return to the womb and the familiar territories when we are given a clear command to “come out of her my people” and trust God alone to deliver (Psa 22:8-10; Psa 71:6; Isa 66:9; Rev 18:4). Spiritually Egypt and Babylon play their roles as the earthly womb or a hedge of protection for our old man and his natural spirit of lust for the things of the world at different stages of this developing maturity (Job 3:1-23; Rev 17:1-5):
Jas 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Jas 4:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
When Abram and his family arrived in Canaan it was not long after that when a famine caused them to move south and they eventually ended in Egypt where they all, Lot included, were increased with worldly goods:
Gen 12:9 And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.
Gen 12:10 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine wasgrievous in the land.
This is our time of spiritual compromise when we think we can sidestep the inevitable judgment of God on our flesh – the famine in our land. It is under these conditions that Abram convinced Sarai to become a part of the harem of the Pharaoh to save his own life (Gen 12:11-20). This reveals how our first deadly wound inflicted by the sword of God is healed as we want to save our life again (Rev 13:1-3). The healing of this spiritual wound and prosperity of our flesh is not good for our spiritual growth as that brings us back to worldly desires as we again admire and worship the beast in us (Mat 13:20-22; Rev 13:4-18). Going south is to avoid the trials (the spiritual famine) which are actually meant for good, but our natural mind cannot receive this seeming contradiction:
Mat 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
To complain about our trials betrays our spiritual immaturity, even when we are deceived to believe that we are strong or mature in faith, as Job also openly expressed as coming from his self-righteous state of mind (Job 10:7-9; Job 27:5-6). But trials and tribulations are good to the development of the spirit man in us because they take away the life or blood of the old man. This was typified by the blood of the animal which was drained at the north end of the altar (Lev. 1:4, 5,11; Lev 3:2, 8; Lev 6:25; Lev 7:2). Judgment comes from the north spiritually, and that is why we all go south to avoid the killing of our beast (Jer 6:22-23):
Eze 1:4 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.
Jer 1:14 Then the LORD said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.
When Abram and his family left Egypt, he and Lot were increased with goods:
Gen 13:1 And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.
Gen 13:2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.
Gen 13:5 And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents.
The riches and blessings, with the accompanying cares of this world, always bring a spirit of lukewarmness with regards to spiritual matters and we are taken to a deeper delusion not to see our miserable Laodicean condition:
Rev 3:15 I know thy [the church in Laodicea] works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
This lukewarm situation always brings about strife and contentions, even with our own spiritual family as represented by the herdmen of Abram and Lot:
Gen 13:6 And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.
Gen 13:7 And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.
When he was prompted by Abram to choose a separate route and dwelling place, Lot “lifted up his eyes” and from his physical perspective and desires he was attracted to the well watered areas of “all the plain of Jordan” (Rom 8:5-8; 1Jn 2:16):
Gen 13:10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
Gen 13:11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan [Hebrew: “yardên” = “descender” (as it descended to the Dead Sea)/ “river of judgment” (according to Hitchcock’s Bible Names)]; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
All of these confirm the meaning of Lot’s name and his desire to return to the protection and immaturity of natural man in “the garden of the Lord”, as far as Zoar, which means “little” or “insignificant”. From God’s spiritual perspective the first man Adam and all physical things are relatively insignificant because that is what spiritual death is all about – even the river Jordan (Rom 8:5-8). Journeying east is always in the wrong spiritual direction as God’s light always starts or rises in the east and moves westward, as the entrance of the physical tabernacle and temples in the east also typified. We must move with the Sun (of righteousness) because that is when we get healing, as our faith gets stronger within the heat of His “oven” – God’s burning fiery furnace (Dan 3:16-30; 1Co 3:13-15). This is how our wicked old man is turned into ashes:
Mal 4:1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
Mat 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
Mat 4:3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.
Lot started in his tent which he pitched “toward Sodom”, but eventually he and his family settled in the city (Gen 14:12; Gen 19:2). While Abraham remained a sojourner with his tent and his altar, Lot had no place for a tent anymore; even less did he need an altar (sacrificing self and earthly desires). In this state of mind we make choices and say things which will open us up to deeper evil spiritual levels. This is what happened to Lot and his family:
Gen 14:1 And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations;
Gen 14:2 That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.
Gen 14:12 And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
As the kings in our flesh will always want to have control and rule, we are captured by their strong wiles as we fall seven times to be humbled completely in that process (Eph 6:11; Pro 24:16). But God will send his angels to rescue us and in this case Abram heard about Lot’s capture. Abram interceded and was in fervent chase to rescue Lot and his family. Abram and his three hundred and eighteen trained servants pursued these kings and their armies up to Dan. Dan means “north” and north is associated with judgment as earlier explained and this again confirms that forgiveness and salvation are always accompanied by judgement (Lev. 1:4-5,11; Lev 3:2,8; Lev 6:25; Lev 7:2; Jer 6:22-23; Eze 1:4; Jer 1:14):
Gen 14:13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram.
Gen 14:14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained [Hebrew: “chânı̂yk” = experienced / disciplined / excercised] servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued themunto Dan.
A next level in Lot’s life now is revealed when he and his family returned again to live in Sodom and get even more involved there. Now Lot wanted to be more relevant to play a more significant role in his community, even as Lot sat as a judge to point out the problems of Sodom to prevent being taken captive again. He wanted to save the flesh from its inevitable fate. In this stage of our spiritual growth we not only want to expose the world’s evil, but even employ our efforts to improve the doomed cities of flesh and corruption. The gate of a city is a place of importance in the scriptures, and this is the position Lot also aspired to (Deu 21:18-21; Rut 4:1-11; 1Sa 4:18; 2Sa 18:1-5; Est 2:19-23; Job 29:7-25; Psa 69:12; Pro 1:21; Isa 28:6): Lot sat in a prominent position, even as a judge at the gate of Sodom, where the two angels of God eventually came to pronounce God’s true judgment on the evil cities in that region (Gen 19:9). The two angels also represent the true witness or the true church of God and the doctrine of Christ. God’s judgment overrides the subjective judgment within the gates of brass (our own carnal mind) as His judgment alone can make “the crooked places straight” (Psa 107:16 Isa 45:2; Isa 26:9):
Gen 19:1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground.
Lot is now more spiritually awakened to see where his loyalties should be, even as the world questions his preference to protect the two angels rather than his two daughters (Gen 19:1-11; Mat 10:36-40). Lot, in all his labors to help Sodom, failed miserably as all his efforts fell on deaf ears as even his sons-in-law mocked him when he told them of what the coming judgment of God entailed:
Gen 19:14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.
Lot and his family were eventually dragged from the city by the two angels – they did not leave of their own free will because no person was ever given such a will by God (Gen 19:16). Every step of every creature is from the Lord and He alone is the Saviour of every person at their appointed time (Jer 10:23; Pro 20:24; 1Ti 2:3-4; 1Ti 4:9-11; 1Co 15:22-28). Lot was not saved from Sodom because of him being just and righteous, but because “God remembered Abraham”. It is because of the work and the faith of Christ that all the earthly cities in us all will be overthrown through the fire of God’s word:
Gen 19:29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.
Lot was told to flee to the mountain, but because of fear of death he did not want to go there:
Gen 19:19 Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die:
Gen 19:20 Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.
This reminds us of the Israelites who also sent Moses up into the mountain “less they die” (Exo 20:18-21). It is indeed on the mountain of the Lord where all flesh will die and the spirit will be saved (Gen 19:18-23; Mic 4:1-2; Oba 1:21; Mat 24:16):
Isa 2:2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
Isa 2:3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Lot was unable to see that mountain of salvation as he preferred Zoar instead:
Gen 19:22 Haste thee, escape thither; for I [the angel of the Lord] cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.
Gen 19:23 The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.
But Lot’s lingering to leave Sodom was also much stronger in the hearts of his family. Although Lot’s wife left physically, her emotional attachment to Sodom was her downfall. Lot’s wife could not let go of her entanglement with the things of the world, and she deliberately disobeyed God’s commandment not to look back and was turned into a pillar of salt (Gen 19:26). At the end of the day it will be in the application (the “keeping”) of God’s word that spirit and the savour of life is made manifest. Spirit life is not in the “sayings of the book” (the letter) or the quoting of scripture verses, which is a savour of death – even Satan and devils believe and tremble, but they cannot “keep the sayings of the book” (Mat 4:6; Luk 4:10-11; Mat 7:24-27; Rev 1:1-3; Mat 5:13; Luk 14:33-35; 2Co 2:15-17; Jas 2:19; Rev 22:9):
2Co 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest [“he who does the will of My Father”] the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
God promised Lot protection in Zoar, but yet Lot moved from Zoar because he was afraid yet again:
Gen 19:30 And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters.
Lot did not fear the Lord in respect of obeying and doing the word of the Lord at any stage. It is in this dark cave of fear to let go of earthly things and obey God’s commandments where other evils are being birthed. The word for cave in Hebrew is “me‛ârâh” which comes from the root word “ûr” which means naked. When there is no fear of God in us we are exposed to the attacks of fleshly evil (Gen 3:1-5; Psa 51:5; Jer 18:4; Rom 8:20). This is Lot’s story and the story of all flesh from start to finish (Gen 1:2; Job 1:21; Ecc 5:15; Rev 3:18; Rev 17:16). Lot’s two daughters made their father drunk and slept with him to produce an offspring for them without Lot even having knowledge of this (Gen 19:30-35; Job 38:2; Isa 5:13; Hos 4:6). This is how the nations of the Moabites and Ammonites came about, and these tribes were usually closely associated with each other in their evil role in causing many problems for the physical nation of Israel, including the sexual seduction of their women, (Num. 22-24; Deu 2:8,9; Jdg 3:12-30; 2 Ki 3; Deu 2:37; 1 Ki 11:33; 2Ch 20:1; Neh 13:1-2; Psa 83:5-7; Jer 48;Zep 2:8):
Gen 19:36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.
Gen 19:37 And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day.
Gen 19:38 And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.
Our own sins will testify against us and our own wickedness shall correct us (Isa 59:12; Jer 2:19). But even through the evil God produces good as only He can do, when He brought the physical line of Jesus through a Moabite woman, called Ruth (Gen 50:20; Mat 1:5; Rth 4:21-22). God also caused king David to subdue the Moabites to become his servants typifying the judgment and rulership of Christ over all flesh and evil, even with the waters of the Word that will overflow every cave of fear and hiding place of evil (Rev 6:12-17):
2Sa 8:2 And he [David] smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive. And so the Moabites became David’s servants, and brought gifts.
Isa 28:17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.