Speaker: Ben Marsh
Scripture: Genesis 19:30-20:1-18

From the series Part 3

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Full Sermon Transcript

From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Nagab and lived between Kadesh and Shor. And he sojourned in Girar and Abraham said of Sarah his wife. She is my sister. And Abimelech, king of Girar, sent and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken. For she is a man’s wife. Now Abimelech had not approached her. So he said, Lord, will you kill an innocent people? Did he not himself say to me, she is my sister? And she herself said, he is my brother. In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands, I have done this. Then God said to him, in the dream. Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart. And it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. Now then return the man’s wife for he is a prophet so that he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.

So Abimelech rose early in the morning and called all his servants and told them all these things. And the men were very much afraid. Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, what have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done. And Abimelech said to Abraham, what did you see that you did this thing? Abraham said, I did it because I thought there is no fear of God at all in this place and they will kill me because of my wife. Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father, though not the daughter of my mother. And she became my wife. And when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, I said to her, this is the kindness you must do me. At every place to which we come, say of me, he is my brother. Then Abimelech took sheep and oxen and male servants and female servants and gave them to Abraham and returned Sarah, his wife, to him.

And Abimelech said, behold, my land is before you. Dwell where it pleases you. To Sarah, he said, behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. It is a sign of your innocence in the eyes of all who are with you and before everyone you are vindicated. Then Abraham prayed to God and God healed Abimelech and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children. For the Lord had closed all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. Well, good morning. My name is Ben and it is my privilege to share from God’s word with you this morning. We’re glad that you’re joining us for worship and a special welcome to anyone that is a guest either here in person or guest online. Thank you for taking the time to dig into God’s word with us and to see what it has for us today. We’re in the midst of our third series as we’re working through the entire book of Genesis and we’re in part three and over the course of the last number of weeks you’ve seen that we’re digging into difficult text and you heard JJ share it at the beginning. This week again we’ve labeled with a PG-13 rating.

So if you have any kiddos in the room that are under that age, just know we’re going to be talking about some difficult content and if you want to send them to the kids ministry, you’re welcome to do that. If you want to keep them in the room and have conversations on the ride home, that’s all right too. That’s up to you. But we recognize that there are difficult text in Scripture and if you’ve been with us the last few weeks, you’ve seen what Pastor Tim has presented to all of us is these are the options that were really given when there’s a difficult text in Scripture. This is what a pastor can do, what a church can do when they come across or even an individual. When you come across a difficult text, what are you going to do? You can simply just ignore it and just keep moving on. You can dismiss it as not important and it doesn’t really matter, but those don’t really work. Those first two options don’t work for a church like our church. See, our church believes that God’s Word is inspired, that it’s an errand, and that every word of God’s Scripture is useful and that through the Holy Spirit as we read Scripture that God is actually not only telling us historical events, but He’s also speaking to us here and now.

And because of that, there’s truth inside of Scripture, inside of God’s Word. So when we come across these difficult texts, we cannot just ignore, we cannot just dismiss, we actually have to delve in. We have to mine those texts and try to understand and try to see what is God not only telling us about His people and the history of His people, but what is He trying to tell me here today? And so that’s what we look to do. We look to find that truth inside the text, but not just truth, we also try to find that truth that we might be able to speak it to others and we might be able to speak it to ourselves as well in love. Because we need that. Our God is not only just a God of justice and wrath, but He’s also a God of love and mercy. That’s the other tension that we’ve been trying to manage over the course of the last few weeks. And you can have these questions in the back of your head, and they might even just pop up as we look at a difficult text yet again, of how does God deal with continual unrepentant sin? When does God decide His mercy has come to an end? And this third one in particular, what do you do when you’re, what are we called to do with those who reject Jesus and His teachings?

Especially, we’ll look at that later within our message. There’s a specific text in the New Testament that speaks to exactly what the church is called to do regarding that third question. So before we jump into any of that, I actually just want to begin with this. How many of you out there, even those online as well, are DIY folks? Anybody did like do-it-yourself, you’re on YouTube, you can handle things on your own, like every now and again, or maybe at the very least, you do IKEA furniture, right? Like you can, can you handle that? Maybe not. I’ve actually built a bookshelf backwards before, even I don’t even know how. Well, I think inside some of us, maybe more so than others, but inside all of us, there is some degree of wanting to take matters into our own hands. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to do things for yourself. I think that that’s okay. God has given us capacities and abilities. And within reason, all the capacities, all the abilities, all the skills and knowledge that God has given us, we are to use those things, to accomplish His will, to do good for ourselves, to do good, especially for our neighbors as well.

But I think there’s a real danger, and actually, there’s even a pitfall that might turn to sin, that when we come up to the precipice, right on the edge of what we are called to do and what we are able to do, and we want to step over that line and head into territory that only belongs to God. Let me give you an example. A number of years ago, I had been serving in a church in St. Louis for a couple of years. I received a call from a church in Texas, so then my family and I, we moved down to Texas so I could serve as their student ministry director. My wife left her job in St. Louis at the time when we had one of our boys, our oldest son was born and he’s four months old, we moved down to Texas outside of Houston. Everything is kind of, you know, falling into place for the most part. We had a rental that the church helped set us up with, and we’re getting our feet underneath us. And through conversation, as we’re realizing this, rental is not going to last forever, and we’re going to want to buy a home, and my wife and I enter into discussion about whether or not she’s going to work, and if she’s going to work full time or part time, and come to the conclusion, well, she’s going to, she’d like to work full time, we’re going to have her work full time so that we can get into a home that we want to get into.

And then within reason, to start, the loving husband, going to be able to help my wife along and, you know, network a little bit or check things out online, see what school districts are around. There’s a certain within reason, I think everyone would agree, right? You can help out, you can have conversation. Especially husbands, though, don’t we, we have a fault, right? There’s a problem, and what do you want to do? Solve it. Yeah, not talk about it, right? You want to fix the problem, we want a job, we want a full time job, and so I’m going to fix that problem. But the problem is, for me, is all of a sudden, I allowed fear, worry, anxiety, doubt to overwhelm me to the point that I needed to do something and I needed to take matters into my own hands. So while my wife was making contact, she was putting in applications, I wanted to go above and beyond, I wanted to solve the problem, not down the road, I wanted to solve it now. So I can even recall that she would be asleep in the other room and I’d be on the computer and I’d be looking up, okay, what other school districts are around here? Okay, what’s the drivable distance? What are other positions that might be open? Trying to figure out, trying to solve, trying, trying, trying by my own, by my own strength, I was going to figure this out, I was going to take matters into my own hands.

I can even recall that at one point that I had opened an application, I found a position, she’s sleeping, I think, well, I don’t have time to wake her up that she could fill this out, maybe I’ll just fill it out for her and thanks be to God that I didn’t hit submit. Thank you for staying married to me. But I wanted to take matters into my own hands and I thought, well, the ends justify the means or I’m only meaning good, but now looking back, what I really was doing is I was stepping outside of the bounds that God has given me as a husband, as someone who loves someone, that you do all that you can do to help but you don’t need to go beyond that. Because what’s driving you, what was driving me and what might drive you from time to time is actually just fear. And that fear takes hold of deception and you are deceived to believe that it really relies on you. That’s actually what we see in our text today. It’s actually what we see if we look back at the text that we just heard as well. We’re not going to spend much time on this, but just looking back quickly to what you just heard in that bumper video. We see Abraham, this character that we’ve been following, actually for the majority of our Genesis series. And we see him actually fall back into the same pattern, into the same sin, into the same doubt and fear that he had in previous chapters. You might think to yourself, have you been following along? Didn’t he already do this?

Didn’t he come across the king of Pharaoh in Egypt and that he was afraid and then he lied about his sister? That’s my sister, it’s not my wife and he did so because of fear. And that’s exactly what we see taking place here again. You just heard it, but just to highlight in verse 10 and 11, Bemolek the king, he asked Abraham, why are you doing this? Why did you do this to me? Abraham replied, I said to myself, you can see where the deceit’s coming from. It’s the conversation that’s in his own head. I said to myself, there’s surely no fear of God in this place. They will kill me because of my wife. Well, the ends justify the means. I have to take control of the situation. I have to take matters into my own hand. But you also have to recall that Abraham had a promise from God that God has actually already echoed that promise and reinforced that promise time and time again. And that promise is the fact that God is going to give him a child and not just a child by any other woman, but Sarah, his wife. And now he’s so seemingly flippantly or just out of fear. He hands off his wife, the very person that God’s promise was going to come through to another man that that other man might marry her and sleep with her. When you look at it in that light, you see just how wicked this fear made Abraham.

This how wicked this sin that’s taking place, this how much doubt he actually had in his heart that he let fear take hold. And because of that, not only was Sarah affected, but a whole nation was affected as well because our sin doesn’t happen in isolation. The fear that is birthed out of the conversations inside our own heads, it affects the people around us as well. And we see the same theme of fear take place in the lives of Lot and his two daughters. And that’s really where we’re going to be focusing today. Going back a couple of verses into the end of chapter 19, we’re picking up after Sodom and Gomorrah had been destroyed. Lot had his wife turned into a pillar of salt because she looked back. And so now here he is with his two daughters who had been betrothed to be married, yet their fiancees have died in Sodom and Gomorrah because they thought the whole thing was just a joke and they didn’t want to leave with Lot and his family. And so we pick up in Genesis chapter 19 verse 13, it says, “This Lot and his two daughters left Zor, and they settled in the mountains for he was,” say it with me, “afraid to stay in Zor. He and his two daughters lived in a cave.” To catch you back up with what has happened, angels have come, they’ve told Lot and his family they need to leave, and as they’re leaving, this is what transpires.

Though the angels tell them to go to the mountains, run to the mountains, yet Lot somehow is bold enough to make this request. He says to them, “No, my lords, please, your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I cannot flee to the mountains. This disaster will overtake me and I will die.” Again, fear inside of him that what he’s being asked to do he can’t actually accomplish, he can’t make it to the mountains. It’s not going to be safe there. So he says, “Look, here is a town near enough to run to. It is small. Let me flee to it. It is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.” Well, this town is in the exact region nearby Sodom and Gomorrah, and we get a hint about why they might be leaving this place in these following verses. Because the angel says to him, “Very well, I grant this request too. I will not overthrow the town you speak of, but flee there quickly because I cannot do anything until you reach it. That’s why the town is called Zor. Zor simply means little. But the angel says to him, “I will not overtake it.” Almost as if to say is just because you and your family are going there and you’re being spared, you’ve asked to go to that area, I was going to overthrow it anyway.

I was going to overthrow this town. And we know that actually not just Sodom and Gomorrah were potentially destroyed, but there were other cities in that region as well. You see how close Zor is, and Zor actually is mentioned a few chapters earlier because Sodom, Gomorrah, Zor, and another town were all taken into captivity along with Lot and his family, and Abraham rescued them. And now all those people are back. They’re in the same region. They might potentially, and the text doesn’t tell us this for sure, but they might potentially have the same sin taking place. And so Lot knows the sin that’s taking place inside Sodom. Lot knows the sin taking place in Gomorrah, and he goes down to Zor, and he gets there, and the angels told him it’s okay, but he sees the same stuff going on that he saw in Sodom and Gomorrah, and then he might think to himself, I can’t stay here with my daughters because this will certainly lead to this city being destroyed as well. So he finally goes to the mountains, and there he’s living with his two daughters, letting fear take hold of him. But it’s actually not Lot’s fear. That’s the primary focus of this text. You see, this fear has actually made it a level down into his daughters. And in verse 31, we see, “The older daughter said to the younger, our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children, as is the custom all over the earth.” This is not a great setup. Can any, I mean, if you’re not familiar, I mean, just look at this.

Our dad’s old. There’s no man around. Oh, boy. Well, begs the question, why do they think they’re having this conversation, this dialogue with themselves? No one talks to you more than you do. No one’s talking to them more than themselves. And so why do they lack hope for finding husbands? Well, they saw the sin in Sodom and Gomorrah. They saw that men would rather have sexual relations with one another than with them. They had men that they were betrothed to and they were annihilated, and then potentially, but not for certain, but potentially when they went to Zohar, they saw that the same sin was transpiring there as well. And even some commentators would actually argue that it is likely that Zohar was destroyed. And so they’ve seen these cities destroyed that they were living in and they’ve known nothing but destruction and they’ve known nothing but men within these regions that didn’t want anything to do with them. And so they are saying to themselves, there’s not a man in the world that wants to marry us. There’s not a man in this world that will give us children. And as they look at that, it is so very easy to think the problem is out there. The problem is outside of us. The problem is the fact that we lived in these cities. The problem is the sin in those other people. The problem is that we can’t find husbands. The problem is that we’re at this cave and our dad’s old and he hasn’t found us any other husbands. The problem is outside of us. It’s our situation. It’s our circumstance.

You have to understand I wouldn’t normally function under this kind of fear, but really the situation is pressing in on me to this point to make you consider things you would never consider. And you see this rationale that this older daughter is giving to the younger daughter. It says, “Here, let’s hatch a plan. Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.” And we want to preserve our family line. I mean, this is a good and right thing. We want to have children. Likely they wanted to have sons that might be able to help care for them as they’re older. They wanted to preserve that line. They didn’t want to end with just them. And so, of course, in their minds, the ends justify the means. Driven by fear, they’re deceived to believe that they need to take these matters into their own hands and do some despicable things in order to achieve the result that they ultimately want. And so they follow through. And here’s the tough text that night, they got their father to drink wine. The older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware when she laid down and when she got up. And the next day, the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight. And you go in and sleep with him again. Here’s the end. The ends that they want. So we can preserve our family line through our father.” So they got their father to drink wine that night also. And the younger daughter went in and slept with him. And again, he was not aware of when she lay down or when she got up.

Now, I have no idea how the details of all this work out. All we know is what God’s word says and that they had hatched this plan. They wanted to deceive their father. They wanted to trick their father so they had to get him drunk. And while it appears that his lot is passive as far as the sexual encounter, he is not passive and willing to take enough alcohol, consume enough alcohol, that he had no idea that his daughters would commit this type of act. So you look at this. This is some of the tougher texts that you actually see in Scripture at all. But you have to remember again, like we talked about at the beginning, that there’s some reason. There’s some reason that this text is in Scripture. That there’s something fruitful that has to come out of this text for us. And often a good question is you’re looking at any text within Scripture, especially any narrative text in Scripture. It’s a slowdown. And to ask yourself this question. Do I see myself? Do you see yourself here? And you might think, come on, Ben, I am not trying to find dates at family reunions. That’s not me. That’s not we are way too far north for any of this stuff. There’s no way. What are you talking about? Do I see myself in this text? This is disgusting.

I mean, by any standard, I mean, most cultures throughout history would look at this and think this is a heinous sin against another human being to get them drunk. I mean, this is horrible. I mean, on multiple levels. But I’m not talking about this direct sin. I’m asking you, do you see yourself in the same light of the daughters who allow fear to take hold of their heart that they begin to believe that it depends on them? Let me ask it a different way. What are you trying to preserve? What is it in your life right now or what has it been in the past that you are trying to preserve? For them, it’s a family line. But for you, is it simply just finances that you’re in knots over? That we’re all feeling the weight as things continue to inflate and all of a sudden you are no longer trusting God in the same way that you were before when things were a little bit easier but now that they’re a little bit more difficult, the circumstances outside you lead you to believe that it actually depends on you and you have to figure out how to manage your budget in a different way or make more income or cut back on certain things that are really going to depend on you, which is all finding good as long as you stay inside the boundaries that God is giving you to function inside of, the abilities and capacities that He’s given you, but you step outside of those things and that fear actually plants a seed alongside deception to tell you that there’s things outside of God’s will that you might actually have to consider so that you can keep up the same lifestyle.

Or is it that you have some sort of diagnosis that a doctor’s giving you and rather than just trusting those that God has given us to share medicine, you want to take matters into your own hands. And rather than just doing a little bit of research to find out a little bit more, you are like me and you get consumed and you bow down at the altar of Google and you try to solve the problem yourself. You try to take matters into your own hands and you just tell yourself, “Well, I’m just doing this because this is what God has called me to do. I’m just doing everything within my ability.” But what you don’t recognize is you actually step outside of your ability and you’re actually trying to play God to preserve something that He’s given you in the first place. It could be job, it could be family, it could be kids, it could be finances, vehicle. I mean, you fill in the blank. God knows what it is for you. And it’s okay. Again, it is okay for us to step up to the point where we need to be managers and good stewards of all that God has given us. But there is also a place of dependence rather than doubt that we as believers have to live in. Where we don’t step out in fear and allow fear to dictate our actions and that we get deceived to believe that we need to actually do more than God has ultimately called us to do.

And you see, this happens not only in history with Lot’s daughters and with Abraham and with Lot where fear takes hold and changes the course of history and changes their actions, but we know full well that this happens to us as well. And it’s not because of the circumstances around us. It’s not because there’s difficult situations and trials out there in the world. The problem does not lie out there. The problem lies within here. The problem is actually inside each of us. Both in Ezekiel and in Jeremiah, we actually told that our heart, our very heart, our very soul, our very being is actually wicked from birth, that we are born with a sinful inclination. So what we see taking place here with Lot’s daughters is not that situations have given way so that they might sin, but the situations and circumstances outside of them have actually just opened an occasion for the sin that already existed within them to be actualized. The same is true for us today. It’s not that all of a sudden because of situations outside of us, that all of a sudden those things, well, those things made me do it. Those things made me sin. The situations of being in want or being in need allowed me to step out in fear in ways that I shouldn’t have, that I sinned against God. But rather that fear and sin already existed inside of us in the first place. It already existed inside of you in the first place.

In your situation, whatever it may be, of not having enough or having some fear or having some anxiety about family, about health, about finances, those situations only have given way for what already existed inside of you to actually come out into the light, for you to actually see that, that yes, we do fall prey to deception. We do fall prey to sin. We do fall prey to fear. But God’s word is very clear that there is no freedom. There is no hope. There is no future that is actually found when we allow fear to reign. In the New Testament, in 2 Peter it says this, it’s referring to false teachers, but I think this could be applied to the false teachings that we allow come our way as we speak to ourselves. See, they promised freedom. When we allow fear to take over, it promises freedom. Well, I’ll just get to the other side. The ends justify the means. We’ll get there and things will be fine. But what happens is you, yourself, they themselves become slaves of depravity. For people are slaves to whatever has mastered them. When faith is no longer the thing that is mastering over you, that you are dependent on a God that exists outside of you, who is orchestrating all the things of your life and that he is still in control, even when it doesn’t seem like it, when we begin to believe that it really depends on us, we need to take matters into our own hands. We allow fear to reign and we actually become, as scripture says, slaves.

Slaves to our sin, slaves to our fear, slaves to this idea that we have a God who doesn’t love us enough to provide for us. And we’re no longer free. Yet the world would say that’s freedom, to be able to do whatever you want, to be able to function in whatever way you want, but actually to be dependent on God is where true freedom is found. You see, if you’re trapped in this kind of sin, and this is this upcoming verse, this is the verse where we can speak to other believers. If you are trapped in a sin of fear, or in particular, these last few texts have talked about sexual perversion. If you’re trapped in a sin of sexual perversion and you’re unrepentant of it, you don’t realize that you’re actually enslaved to it. Here’s what God has called for his church to do. In 1 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 5, Paul tells the church, “You are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of his flesh.” Paul is referring to something that he’s heard about, that there was a man there in that church who was committing heinous sexual acts because he was having sexual relations with his mother-in-law. And Paul is saying, “Yes, you have all the freedom you could ever ask, think, or imagine in Christ, but when it comes to these things, by no means may you go on and abound in sin. You actually have to send him out.”

And we could look at this and we can go, “Yes, you are to deliver the man to Satan for the destruction.” This is horrible sin. Send him outside the camp. Send him outside the church. But what we don’t often realize is that this truth is, again, coupled with the idea of love, that the love is the heartbeat behind it because it says, following this, “So that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.” This is why we speak truth. This is why we want to speak truth to those outside the church and those inside the church as well. If you are captive to sin, if you are a slave to sin, whatever it may be, when you’re repented of it, you can know full well that God has forgiven you of it. But when you’re unrepentant and hardened to heart, that as believers that we should look to one another and say that by no means may you go on sinning, and if you stay in that stance there to be set apart, not to say that we no longer love you, that we no longer care about you, but no, this is not how Christians function. And that ultimately by setting them out, that they might realize, realize just how heinous, how wrong, how wicked the sin that they’ve committed is, that they’ve been trapped inside of, that they might ultimately be saved.

Telling people it’s okay, it’s fine, it’s okay to let fear run your life, it’s okay to be caught in this sin, it’s okay to just live that way, and that’s fine. God loves everybody. He certainly does love everyone. For those of us that are inside the church and realize the blood that He shed for each of us, it is not right for us to live in unrepentant sin. We will all certainly live in sin. Don’t get me wrong. But to live in sin we know is sin, and to not confess it, to not know that it actually breaks the heart of our Heavenly Father, that we all need to wake up, we all need to see this, and we need to see this so that we and others around us might be saved. Actually earlier in the text from 2 Peter, we actually hear about Lot. I find this so curious because in our text in Genesis 19, that’s the end of Lot. We don’t see Lot anymore in Scripture. It’s referenced a couple times in the New Testament, but this is the final time that he’s actually referenced here in Scripture. It talks about the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. It says, “If God condemns the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by the burning them to ashes, and made an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly, that we know there’s a day that’s going to come, where Jesus does return, and He returns as a judge and separates the sheep from the goats, it will happen.”

And that Sodom and Gomorrah acts as an example for us, but what I find so curious about this text, it says, “If God, if He rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless, for that righteous man, living among them, day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul, by the lawless deeds he saw and heard.” I have to just do a quick recap here, because it’s for you to be able to see this. A righteous man, a righteous man, a righteous soul. Lot, he followed Abraham. God called Abraham, and Lot followed. That’s fine. And then Lot chose a better portion of land, selfishly, for himself. Not fine. Lot set up his tent outside a wicked city, and then moved into the city, and then became a prominent member of the city. And then Lot ran away, and in fear, did not trust. He hesitated even to leave. And then when he finally did leave, he didn’t even listen to the instructions, and then when he finally did listen to the instructions, he was willing to get drunk. And then his daughters committed a horrible act against him. And then here, in the record of Scripture, what we know to be true is God looks upon Lot and says he’s righteous. And the same could be said of Abraham is going, “Well, God, you called him. I can see the good things he did, but he’s a liar. He doubted you. You gave him a promise. You spoke to him. You made a covenant with him.

And yet, he still doubted. And not that he just doubted one time, but he doubted again this repeated sin, that he couldn’t trust you, God, and you look upon these men. And for all history recorded in Scripture, we are to call them righteous because you call them righteous, yet we have a list, just a small list, of all the multitude of their sins. I mean, how could this be? Here are these two guys. At first blush, they’re not even good guys. They have some wicked deeds in their life. And God is calling them righteous. God is calling them holy. We have to look elsewhere in Scripture to interpret this Scripture to understand what’s actually taking place here, because in Hebrews chapter 8 verse 12, it tells us, “For I, God, will be merciful towards their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” When God looks at Lot, when God looks at Abraham, when God looks at you, he does not see the laundry list of all the sins that you’ve committed. He no longer sees them as these unrighteous men who are liars and cheats and allow fear to dictate their actions that are continually deceived, not only into new and different sins, but are deceived to commit the same sins over and over again. So it’s not because of their actions that they are righteous, but they have sinned no more because God actually forgets their sins. And this is what we struggle to remember. This is why I actually believe that we are deceived so terribly easily, is that we actually struggle just to simply remember.

Just simply remember what God has already done for you and what is totally complete. Yet the good news is that God remembers to forget that he is willing to forget all of your past sins and all of their past sins, and he does this over and over again. As we come to him by faith, he forgives us of all of those sins over and over again. Yet this is where we struggle. We come up to the boundary. We come up to the border of where we are supposed to do what we’re supposed to do. And we forget. We forget how faithful God has been throughout the course of all history, and we forget even how faithful God has been in our own personal history. And we are left with this choice to stay within these bounds and to humbly come before God and to trust him in childlike dependence. Or we can believe that we think and know better than God and we no longer remember his faithfulness. We forget. And we step over that line again and again thinking that we need to take matters into our own hands. And the good news for us is this simple verse. And this is how, again, God is able to see Lot, he’s able to see Abraham, and he’s able to see you and I as righteous. It says, “For our sake he made Jesus to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” You see, contained within this verse is understanding the historical event of God becoming flesh as the person of Jesus, and not only to become flesh, but in that flesh that he bore all of our sins.

And as he bore all those sins, those sins were in fact nailed to a tree with Jesus. And as they were nailed to a tree, and that man, that God died on that tree, so did all of your sin. And a beautiful exchange, unlike anything we could ever imagine, this scandalous exchange where Christ comes, takes on all of your sin, past, present, and future, is nailed to a tree. And he exchanged his righteousness, his holiness, his glory, and he hands it to you, not by any merit, but not by any work on your part whatsoever, that you now may be called the righteousness of God. It’s not just mercy, it’s not just that you deserve that cross. And now it’s taken from you. It’s that you deserve that cross, and he took that cross, and he hands you his righteousness. His righteousness, he hands you his history, he hands you his record that is perfect and unblemished. So that now you can have full confidence and know full well, that just as God looked back on Abraham and Lot, and their sin, and their wickedness, yet he looks at them and he sees Christ and he calls them righteous. So no matter what it is that is in your past, what is it? Is there something you’re still hanging on to? You have to remember that he’s forgotten it. To borrow a verse from last week, Genesis 19 verse 29, God went to destroy the cities, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out. When it comes to us, God has remembered Christ, and you’ve been brought out. He’s rescued you. Lot did nothing. He has been remembered.

Christ has been remembered, and now you have righteousness, and it is seen so clearly as we close our time together in these last few verses together. Again, a difficult text. They commit this horrible sin. And as they commit this horrible sin, I love that this is in Scripture, because as they commit this awful act of getting their father drunk and committing this sexual sin against their own father, I mean, that could cover any of our sins, couldn’t it? Have you done anything that wicked, that wicked that these daughters did, that they conceived this plan that needed to take it into their own hands? Is there anything in your past that you’ve been hanging on to that you know God’s forgiven you of 99% of it, but there’s still 1% that you’re hanging on to? Well, the 1% has to be included here, because these daughters committed a horrible act against their father, and the older daughter had a son. His name was Moab. He’s the father of the Moabites today. The younger daughter also had a son. His name is Ben. I mean, he’s the father of the Ammonites today. But focus in on those Moabites for a moment. Through this horrible, sinful act of deception that was burned out of fear, we actually see that this is exactly where Christ comes from. Because if you move forward to Matthew chapter 1, and we see the genealogy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, here’s the record of his genealogy, that Jesus the Messiah was born of David, the son of Abraham, that Abraham fathered Isaac, and you work all the way down to the end, and you see that Boaz fathered, obed by Ruth, Ruth the Moabite.

That Jesus is willing to actually come in flesh with a history of incest and lie and fear and deceit in his past. As if to say that this history, this sin, this can be covered by my blood so that we can have full confidence this morning, that whatever it is, whatever it is that will last 1%, that you functioned out of fear, that you stepped over the line, that you committed a sin, that you ultimately really don’t believe that God is forgiving, that you can know full well looking at this text, that Christ has come even for that. You can have full confidence and assurance this morning, it’s covered and he sees you, and he calls you righteous. Amen.