10 January 2009

Old Testament Tabloids

You can't help but eye the big black and white headlines on the tabloids as you're standing in line to checkout at the supermarket. Some of the headlines are simply ridiculous*:




Okay, okay. Most of our parents taught us at a young age that the tabloids are grossly exaggerated or simply bogus. What about the regular news? Some headlines from CNN:

Minced onions force emergency landing

Drew Peterson is scaring me, neighbor says

Stephen King, bikinis help heat Maine

Print media has been around for awhile. The earliest recorded "newspaper" is from about 59 B.C. Julius Caesar had upcoming events posted in major cities to keep the public informed about important political and social issues. "Tabloids" didn't really make their appearance until the late 19th century. This is probably a good thing; when you read the accounts from the Old Testament, these events certainly do not fall short of tabloid-worthy status.

I'm reading through the Old Testament, and Genesis 19 really stuck out to me. The chapter is about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot is in Sodom when two angels appear to him and he asks them to stay at his house. The men of Sodom show up at his door and say,

"Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them." (Genesis 19:5)
Instead of just refusing to allow the sin of these men, Lot makes them an offer.
"No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof." (Genesis 19:7-8)
Really, Lot? This is a horrendous, unjustifiable offer. The men try to break into his house and they are struck blind so they cannot find the door. The two angels tell him to get his family out of the city because it will be destroyed for its wickedness. So Lot goes out of the city with his wife and daughters. The Lord tells them not to look back. (His wife does, probably because she is grieved to be leaving her possessions, and she is turned into a pillar of salt.)

Now Lot and his daughters retreat to a cave in the mountains. The daughters start to worry because there are no men around to have children with. So they say, "Hey, let's get Dad drunk and have sex with him." Well, not in those exact words...
One day the older daughter said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth. Let's get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father." (Genesis 19:31-32)
Lot and his family lost everything in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah -- yet they had wine with them in the mountains. This shows the priorities of a compromising heart; they either brought it with them or obtained it shortly after leaving the city. The sin of Lot's daughters was desperate. Perhaps they thought the entire earth had been destroyed and it was up to them to repopulate it. In any case, under these trying circumstances, they chose to do everything except to trust God.

The people of Sodom and Gomorrah didn't take God seriously. The seriousness of sin is no less today than it was during Lot's time. The thing is, God is just and he will always punish sin (maybe not today or tomorrow, but he as he is holy and righteous, he cannot overlook it). However, God is also loving. We are just as sinful as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, but God provided Christ to satisfy his wrath toward our sin. Now that should be making headlines.


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