Lot: A Righteous Man [Or Was He?]

Genesis 18-19

Understanding How Lot Was Righteous

The story of Lot, Abraham’s nephew, is scattered throughout Genesis chapters 11-14, 18-19. His father Haran died when he was too young to be on his own. Abraham took him in and took care of him.

It’s clear he benefited from his association with his uncle Abraham.

  • While he lived with Abraham his possessions increased greatly Genesis 13:5-6.
  • Later, when he was taken captive, Abraham and his men rescued Lot and his family Genesis 14:11-16.
  • Abraham’s negotiation with God resulted in Lot and his family being saved from destruction Genesis 19:15-22.
Abraham and Lot decide

Abraham and Lot decide where Lot will live

Unfortunately it seems that the Bible has more bad than good to say about Lot. There were three troubling events in his life that paint him in a poor light.

  • When given a choice as to where to live he chose to live among the wicked men of Sodom Genesis 13:12-13.
  • He offered his virgin daughters to be molested by an angry mob Genesis 19:5-8.
  • He got drunk and impregnated his two daughters Genesis 19:30-36 although he did it unknowingly.

With that in mind many find it hard to understand how Peter can call him a righteous man!

But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him. Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day. 2 Peter 2:7-8 NLT

It’s clear we don’t know everything about his life. Peter gives us new information we don’t have in Genesis about him being tormented by the wickedness around him. That sounds like how a righteous person would feel in that situation!

Two Lessons About Righteousness

  1. We know Lot was righteous because God treated him as righteous. God agreed not to destroy the righteous with the wicked in Sodom. Lot was saved by the angel who had orders from God!
  2. Righteousness is based upon our faith in God, not acting righteous. It’s so hard to read about the bad choices Lot made and still think he was righteous. The reason we do that is because all we see are his actions. God sees his heart.

We don’t know when his faith in God became his own. We do know when it happened with Abraham. It was when Abraham believed God Romans 4:3. God promised Abraham a land to live in, children, that he would be famous and that through one of his children all the world would be blessed Genesis 12:1-4. Abraham believed that God would keep His word and God declared Him righteous. The same thing had to be true of Lot for God to call him righteous.

Rather than scratch our heads and wonder about Lot’s righteousness, let’s be thankful that some of the worst decisions of our lives aren’t written in the Bible for people of all ages to read and wonder about our righteousness!
Aren’t you glad that even though others only see your actions, God sees your heart? And making righteousness a priority today would be a good thing, too!

Oh, one more thing. Do you think God considers you righteous because you act righteous or because of your faith in Him? If you think it’s because you act righteous, you might want to read Ephesians 2:8-9 and re-think it.