Forgotten Stories from the Old Testament: Abram Rescues Lot

A funny thing about a lot of the forgotten stories in the bible is that while they are often interesting stories, they contain no particular lesson. Perhaps that’s why they are forgotten.

One such story involves a little mess that Lot, Abram’s (Abraham’s) brother got into. You probably remember that when Abram and Lot first arrived in the land of Canaan, they divided the land in half, and each took a half. Well, there were still people and cities in those lands, and Lot picked a land that was more fruitful, but it was also in the middle of a pretty nasty war.

Lot built a home on the outskirts of Sodom. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were apparently losing the battle, because the armies of those cities fled to an area that was full of “slime-pits,” or bitumen pits – a sticky, petroleum-based goop. The few who were left back at home fled into the mountains, and when the opposing armies collected spoils of Sodom, they took Lot and the people of his household prisoner.

Among the group taken, one escaped and ran to tell Abram about it. Abram, not involved in the war, but having a decent size household of his own, sent his men to rescue Lot.
After having success, two kings came to Abram – the king of Sodom and the king of Salem, who’s name was Melchizedek. Melchizedek blessed Abram, even offering Abram some sort of sacrament.

Sodom, on the other hand, tried to cut a strange deal with Abram. Having retrieved much of the spoils that the captor army had stolen from Sodom, Abram had returned the stuff where it belonged, but the king of Sodom was more interested in having people than stuff. He offered Abram the recovered stuff in exchange for the recovered people.

I don’t know exactly what Sodom wanted with the people, but remember that the city of Sodom was deeply entrenched in homosexual practices – so much so that Lot later had to flee with his family for their lives while being chased by overanxious Sodomites.

Of course Abram flatly refused any kind of deal with the king of Sodom.

Here’s the account:

Genesis 14:8-24

8 And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim;
9 With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five.
10 And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.
11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.
12 And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
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.
14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.
15 And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.
16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
17 ¶ And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale.
18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:
24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.

Why I Do Not Support Gay Marriage

This life is not the beginning of our existence, and death is not the end of it. In fact, this life is a very short part of our eternal existence.

It is an eternal principle that family consists of a man and a woman with their children. It is also an eternal principle that every man has always been a man, and every woman has always been a woman. Likewise, every man will always be a man, and every woman will always be a woman.

The few occasions where there is a physical defect in which a baby is born with either no sexual organs or both male and female organs does not change the eternal identity of that child, which includes his or her gender.

Gender is part of our eternal identity, and according to eternal principles, marriage is to be between a man and a woman. No other combination is a marriage in the eternal sense, and therefore no other combination can last forever. No matter what the government decrees, that eternal principle will not change.

For those who live a life in accordance with eternal principles, a simple mortal marriage is the seed that grows into an eternal marriage in the next life. No other seed will grow into an eternal marriage. There is no way for it to happen. Just as a pebble planted and watered cannot grow, a marriage between two people of the same gender cannot grow into an eternal marriage, and will end with death.

The sad part about this is that those who are in such marriages do not realize that the end result of their choice is only suffering. Part of that suffering will come when they realize that what they once thought of as an inborn orientation was only a mortal challenge that ends with death.

Many people think their tendencies are part of their identity, and ever will be. They think their attraction to their own gender is part of who they are.

Certainly such tendencies have a great impact on them. Certainly they lead to almost unbearable longings that seem like they can only be relieved by either sin or death. Certainly this is a trial that can seem insurmountable.

But this life is not intended to be easy. Our trials are intended to help us realize the extent of our potential. We will never know how strong we are until we face our biggest challenges and overcome them.

The agency and choices of the individual are stronger than life itself with ALL its inherent challenges.

Someone who faces the trial of same gender attraction faces a difficult trial – perhaps even comparable to the trials faced by someone who is quadriplegic, or someone who has lost every person that they ever cared for, or someone living on the streets with mental illness.

Gratefully, God has provided that all of these people, by living faithful to His commandments and enduring their trials well, can in the next life receive every blessing denied them in this short life. For those who are truly faithful to God, these blessings will be accompanied by more and greater blessings than they can now imagine. There is no suffering in this life that will not be well compensated for in the next life if we are simply willing to follow the commandments of God.

Some feel that God will accept them the way that they are, and that He will love them and bless them with all the blessings He has to offer regardless of who they marry. But God doesn’t break His own laws. He teaches the eternal, unchanging principles, and allows His children to choose whether or not to follow them. He even allows them the freedom of choice whether or not to believe them. But He does not remove the eternal consequences of those choices.

To anyone, anywhere that is in a same gender relationship, I plead with you: consider the eternal nature of life. Consider that the way you see things now is not the way you will always see things. The way you feel now is not the way you’ll always feel. You may have tendencies and attraction towards people of your gender. You do not have to act on those feelings. Know that in time, if only in the next life, those feelings will pass, and if you have followed the Lord’s commandments, the true and eternal nature of attraction will return to you. That may seem impossible to you now, but it’s true. Your power of choice is stronger than your tendencies.

I am not suggesting that you marry someone of the opposite gender in hopes that you will someday be attracted to them. I am suggesting that you stay close to the Lord and He will be with you. If you stay close to Him, He will guide you and give you all the help you need.

If my desire to save people from suffering can be called intolerant, so be it. If it is bigotry to make an effort to establish laws that the same people will someday be grateful for, I guess I’m a bigot. But I won’t just look the other way while people hurt themselves. And in this case, those who try to redefine marriage may also be hurting generations to come.

Read the follow up entry on this topic