Fiery end

17 fiery end

The two visiting angels asked Lot, “What other family do you have in Sodom? Round everyone up and get out of here. We’re on a mission from God to annihilate the whole place.”

Lot ran to the houses of his future sons-in-law and warned them about what was about to happen. They thought he was joking and didn’t pay any attention to him.

The next morning, the angels jostled Lot from sleep and said, “Wake up! Take your wife and daughters and go, unless you want to die with the wicked.”

Lot was moving too slowly, and his wife was frantic, trying to pack everything they owned.

“There’s no time for any of this!” the angels beckoned. “It’s now or never.”

The angels literally took Lot and his immediate family by the wrists and forced them out of the city. “Now, run for your lives and don’t look back,” they warned. Don’t stop anywhere in the plains. Run to the hill country or you’ll be swept into oblivion.”

Lot argued, “Please, masters, you’ve shown favorable kindness by saving me and my family, but I can’t go to the hills. I wouldn’t survive a week in the wild.” Lot motioned over to the other side of Gomorrah and said, “Look, that small town is close enough to escape God’s wrath.”

“Fine,” one of the angels answered. “I’ll spare that small area for your sake, but hurry. I can’t bring down fire until you get there.”

Lot, his wife, and his daughters arrived at Bela by daybreak. (Afterward, this town was renamed Zoar, or “Little.”)

As fire rained from the sky over Sodom, Gomorrah, and the rest of the plains, Lot’s wife, who was straggling, turned to look at the devastation behind them. At that moment, her body was turned to a salt mound.

Meanwhile that morning, Abraham exited his tent at Mamre Oaks and stood where he and the Master had spoken before. Looking out to the southeast, he saw smoke rising like a smoldering fire pit from Jordan’s plains.

Inspiration: Genesis 19

Welcoming committee

16 welcoming committee

The two angels arrived at Sodom during the night and encountered a man sitting at the city gate.

When Lot saw the two men approaching, he bowed low out of respect for the strangers. “Please, masters,” he said. “Come stay the night with your servant and wash your feet. You can get up early and be on your way if you wish.”

“No,” they said. “We’ll spend the night down in the square.”

Lot knew better than to let the men fend for themselves in Sodom after dark, so he pressed them until they relented and followed him home. He presented a feast before his guests, and recognizing them to be righteous and noble, he served bread made without yeast to symbolize the purity of their assembly.

As they were turning in for the night, they heard from outside the shouting of an approaching mob. All the men of Sodom, young and old, surrounded every side of Lot’s house and began banging on the walls.

“Where are your guests?” one of the Sodomites shouted. “Bring them out so we can give them a proper welcome.”

A roar of laughter followed and the banging on the walls grew louder.

Lot went out and latched the door behind him. He said, “Please, brothers, curb your evil for one night.”

The men stepped closer as Lot’s back was pressed against the door.

“I have two daughters,” he suggested in a panic. “They’re virgins, and you can do whatever you want with them. Please spare my guests, whom I have sworn to protect.”

One of the Sodomites reached around, grabbed Lot by the nape of his neck and said, “Down, dog!” Lot faltered, and his knees hit the hard earth.

Another Sodomite chimed in. “This man came to Sodom as an outsider, and now he’s trying to play magistrate. Suppose we tie you up naked and invent new ways to violate your laws.” And another said, “That’ll teach him to judge us.”

The crowd pressed in harder, some clamoring for Lot’s tunic and others rattling the latch of the door. Suddenly, the angels appeared from inside and pulled Lot back in the house, shutting the door behind them. Those who clawed at the door were struck blind and could no longer find the latch.

Amid the sudden but deafening silence, the mob dispersed unassuaged, assisting the blind men back to their sordid dens.

Inspiration: Genesis 19

Negotiating terms

 

15 negotiating terms

The visitors finished the food that had been prepared by their gracious host, and then stood to leave Mamre Oaks. Gazing out over the distant waters toward the fertile plain of Sodom, the Master asked, “Should I hide what I’m about to do from you, my chosen one?”

The sun began its early evening descent, and a warm breeze wafted through the encampment.

“You’ll be a great and mighty nation,” the Master said, his eyes meeting Abraham’s. “Every nation will be blessed because of you. I’ve chosen you to teach your children and their children to keep my ways, to walk justly and uprightly. This is the way of the promise.”

The Master turned again toward Sodom. “Sodom and Gomorrah have brought their wickedness to new levels. I’m going down to see just how bad it has become.”

The two men traveling with the Master began their way toward Sodom, but Abraham stood on the path, the words of the promise echoing in his ears.

Then he asked, “Master, will you destroy the good with the bad? What if you find fifty good people in Sodom. Will you still destroy the entire city? In other words, would the Judge of all the world do what’s unjust?”

The Master said, “If there are fifty good people in Sodom, I’ll spare everyone.”

Abraham then asked, “Who am I to press the issue, but what if you only find forty-five good people? Will you still spare the whole city?”

The Master answered, “For forty-five, I’ll spare both Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Abraham continued, “Forgive me for asking, but what if there are only thirty good people in Sodom? What then?”

The Master said plainly, “I won’t destroy the city if there are thirty good people living there.”

Again, Abraham spoke. “What if you find twenty?”

“Then I’ll spare the city.”

“Ten?”

The Master put a hand upon Abraham’s shoulder and smiled. “For the sake of ten good people, I will spare the entire city.” Then he set out for Sodom.

Abraham went into his tent and slept soundly.

Inspiration: Genesis 18

Promise confirmed

14 promise confirmed

The glory of God appeared to Abraham one afternoon as he sat expectantly at the entrance of his tent at Mamre Oaks. Looking up, Abraham saw three men standing near, so he ran to them and knelt at their feet.

“Master,” Abraham said, “if you please, allow your servant to bring water for your feet and bread for your hunger. Rest under the shade tree awhile before continuing your journey.”

The men nodded. “Very well.”

Abraham called to Sarah and said, “Hurry, make three cakes with the good flour.” Then he ran over to his stockyard, took a tender calf from the herd, and gave it to a servant for preparation.

He served his guests roasted calf and cakes with butter and milk, and he stood by, serving them as they ate under the shade tree.

As they ate, the men asked, “Where’s Sarah?”

Abraham answered, “She’s in the tent.” He realized these strangers knew him and his family.

One of the men said, “I’ll be back when the time is right, and she will have a son.”

Hearing her name, Sarah put her ear closer to the entrance of the tent, and she laughed under her breath. She thought, Imagine an old woman and her lord having a child at our age.

The Master said to Abraham, “Why’d your wife laugh? Is anything too difficult for the Master?”

Abraham’s face grew solemn. He had heard this promise before and realized his guests perceived Sarah’s doubting. At that moment, he knew he was in the presence of heavenly beings on a mission to confirm the way of the promise.

“When the time is right, I’ll return. Your wife will have a child.”

Sarah came out of the tent and blurted, “I didn’t laugh.” She was noticeably shaking with fear.

The Master closed the case, saying, “Yes, you did.”

Inspiration: Genesis 18

Hard reboot

04 hard reboot

In the days of Noah, the average human life span extended hundreds of years, and the race propagated with vigor across the earth. Because rebellion against God rule is a genetic predisposition, the increasing population engendered a crescendo of violence and corruption. A certain company of men who descended from God lusted after the daughters of men, and they defiled them. Taking them as wives, they created the Nephilim race, “fallen giants,” the titans of renown.

God lamented over humanity’s wickedness and swore, “I’m cutting them off. Human lives will be shortened to no more than a hundred and twenty years.” Even so, he regretted ever creating such an insurgent breed and decided to eradicate them, along with their pets, wild animals, birds, and anything else that creeped along the ground.

Enoch’s great-grandson, Noah, was perfect compared to any other specimen, so God brought him into his circle of one.

“I’ve decided to destroy the earth and its inhabitants with a great flood,” he told Noah. “Make a three-story vessel from cypress wood and waterproof it. When the waters emerge and surround you, everything outside the vessel will die. Bring your family along. It will be an unforgettable ride.”

He further instructed Noah, “Bring a male and a female of every living thing into the vessel, and keep them alive. In addition, bring seven pairs of all split-hooved grazers and birds. Finally, store up plenty of food for you and the creatures you bring in with you.”

Noah obeyed God. He was six hundred years old when he and his family boarded the vessel together with all the animals and provisions in preparation for the catastrophic deluge. Just as promised, the pipes burst from deep beneath the seas, and torrential rains emptied themselves from the heavens. It rained for forty days and nights, and when the highest mountain peaks were buried in a sea of foaming floodwaters, every living thing outside of God’s protective haven perished.

Inspiration: Genesis 6-7