Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. Tonight, is study #7 of Genesis, chapter 13 and we are going to read Genesis 13:11-13:
Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before JEHOVAH exceedingly.
We know that Lot is a true child of God and Abram was also a true child of God. Their separation is spiritually letting us know that the Lord’s solution for resolving “strife” was, to a large degree, to allow separation to take place within the corporate church during the 1,955 years of the church age. As Lot separated from Abram, he journeyed east and, again, “east” is a direction that identifies with the kingdom of heaven. He journeyed toward the “sun,” and the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son.
So, Lot is going the right way. There is no indication at all that Lot did something wrong by selecting a good land that was “well watered every where” and as the garden of JEHOVAH. He acted properly, with no wrongdoing, in doing this and he separated from His Uncle Abram. Abram continued to dwell in the land of Canaan and we read in verse 12 that Lot dwelt “in the city of the plain.” The cities of the plain were Admah, Zeboim, Sodom, Gomorrah and Zoar. We are told here that Lot dwelled in the “cities,” (plural). We are accustomed to linking Lot with Sodom because later he did dwell in Sodom when God came to destroy that city. However, initially, for some period of time he was a sojourner going from city to city in Admah, Zeboim, Sodom, Gomorrah and Zoar. He would have moved his livestock to where there was grass and water. Then when they had eaten the grass, he would move on, so Lot, the righteous soul, dwelt in all five cities of the plain as he moved about.
That is exactly what God’s people do in this world. We sojourn or travel. We are strangers in a strange land because God has “taken us out of the world” and made us citizens of the kingdom of heaven and we are no longer citizens of this present earth. That is one of the major reasons we do not become involved in the things of this world, like its battles and politics. It is not our country – it is not our permanent home. We are pilgrims and we are sojourning, dwelling (as it were) in “tents” and moving place to place. That has been the nature of God’s people all through history. That is why for large portions of their lives, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived in tents as they took care of their flocks. So, Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and then it says in Genesis 13:12:
…and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
Again, he was not in Sodom, but his tent was pitched “toward” Sodom. The word “toward” can also be translated as “before,” so before you would enter into Sodom in that ancient time, you would find Lot dwelling in his tent before you came into the city. The “tent” signifies the presence of God in the church. We read in Psalm 78:58-60:
For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images. When God heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel: So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men;
We know the “tabernacle” was the dwellingplace of God and it is also called a “tent,” as it is here. It says in Jeremiah 10:20-22:
My tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords are broken: my children are gone forth of me, and they are not: there is none to stretch forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains. For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought JEHOVAH: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered. Behold, the noise of the bruit is come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons.
The word “commotion” is a Hebrew word that can be translated as “earthquake” and this passage describes the judgment of God upon the corporate church. It says, “There is none to stretch forth my tent anymore, and to set up my curtains.” The one that would do that is the Lord Jesus Christ, but the spiritual picture is that Christ has departed out of the corporate church, so there is no man. There is no one to establish God’s presence, as signified by the tabernacle or the tent. Again, as we are reading Genesis 13, much of this information is looking ahead to the church age during the proper time period that God would be with His people and His people were in the churches and congregations of the world. The land of Canaan is a representation of that and so is Lot dwelling in the cities of the plain and pitching his tent. Again, this is “righteous” Lot and we can also look at Lot as being a type and figure of God’s elect or of Christ Himself, because Christ is the righteous one. Lot pitching his tent toward Sodom is picturing a righteous one pitching his tent that identifies with the tabernacle, signifying the presence of God within the churches.
Again, this is happening before JEHOVAH destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, as we were told in verse 10. Sodom and Gomorrah can be a picture of God’s judgment on the corporate church as well as God’s judgment on the entire world. That is why in Revelation, chapter 11 when the two witnesses are lying dead in the street, the Lord says they were lying in the “great city which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt.” The (corporate) church became like Sodom. Since this was before Sodom’s destruction, it is before God ended the church age and God dwelt in the midst of the churches prior to that point.
Then it goes on to say in Genesis 13:13:
But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before JEHOVAH exceedingly.
The men of Sodom were renowned for their wickedness or for being sinners. The Hebrew word translated as “wicked” is Strong’s #7451, and it would be pronounced “raw-aw.” It is a very common word in the Old Testament. We have already come across this word in Genesis 2:9:
And out of the ground made JEHOVAH God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
The word is translated as “evil” here. It is found in Genesis 6:5:
And JEHOVAH saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
The words “wickedness” and “evil” are translations of the same Hebrew word “raw-aw.” The Bible tells us much about the evil of mankind and the wickedness of mankind, so there are many different words that are synonyms for this and, in this case, “wickedness” and “evil” are translations of the same word. It could say that “the evil of man was great in the earth and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only wicked continually.” The words “wickedness” and “sinners” are words the world mocks and ridicules. We will not find these words in the world’s vocabulary, except for mocking, because the people of the world like to think of themselves as basically “good.” You may hear the word “evil” applied to some terrorists that have just done something horrendous, but it is not the typical word they apply to people. It is amazing that it is not more commonly used because when we look around, what do we see? We see evil everywhere. We see wickedness everywhere. When you use Biblical words like “sinner,” the world reacts like you must be a 17th century Puritan if you are referring to man as a “sinner.” However, that is the language of the Bible. Men are wicked. Men are sinners. Their thoughts are “only evil continually.” This does not just refer to serial killers or terrorists or other individuals that do the “unspeakable,” but this refers to all human beings. We are conceived in sin and born speaking lies and the judgment of God is that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, without exception: “There is none righteous, no, not one.” There are none good. All of them are wicked. This is the nature of all human beings. Just look at Romans 5:19:
For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
It was through Adam (because we were all in his “loins”) that all human beings were made sinners – desperately wicked and desperately evil. Adam and Eve wanted to know “evil.” There was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God was good. The world was good and they were good, but they had a curiosity about “evil,” so God tested them and they failed the test and they learned about “evil.” Evil is disobedience to the commandments of God. It is going contrary to the thing that God has said. It is going against God’s will and His goodness and His love. It is going against all that is God and ever since Adam and Eve fell into sin, all their descendants have been born in an unrighteous condition and in a wicked condition, as it says in Jeremiah 17:9:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
The heart is most “evil.” And, therefore, when we read that the men of Sodom were “wicked,” it means they were evil and sinners before JEHOVAH. They are a type and figure of all unsaved people in the world.
You know, when it comes to sin, we tend to assign degrees to the level of sins. “This person is really sinful, but that person is not as sinful.” And, yet, transgressing the Law of God is wicked and it is evil. We have all sinned. We have all transgressed God’s Law. All mankind is born into sin and we are children of wrath, even as others. It is only by God’s grace that He had a salvation program designed to save some of us out of our desperate wickedness and sin, as it says in Romans 5:8:
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
While we were in our sin, God worked out His salvation program on behalf of the entire company of elect and He died for our sakes. He took that tremendous multitude of sin upon Himself, as it says in James 5:19-20:
Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
The word “one” and the masculine pronoun “he” both apply to Christ. Christ has converted us (His elect) and saved our souls from death and He has hidden “a multitude of sins.” That multitude of sins applies to just one individual, but all the sins of His elect were laid on Christ as He bore them in His body on the tree at the foundation of the world. He died for those sins, because the Bible says, “The wages of sin is death.” Christ made that payment for our sakes and that payment satisfied the Law’s demands, freeing us and granting us liberty that we might stand in the liberty that Christ purchased for us. If Christ has made us free, we are free indeed. We are free from the condemnation of the Law wherein we are no longer under wrath due to our transgressions.
Every time one of God’s elect sins (and we do sin while we are in our physical bodies), when God views that sin He knows that this sin, too, was laid upon Christ and, therefore, there is no breaking of our relationship with God. There is no wrath upon us because the sin has been taken care of, too. It was not “overlooked,” but it was paid. That includes sins that are past and sins we commit today and sins we will commit during the rest of our earthly lives. All sins in thought, word and deed have been cast into the depths of the sea and removed from us as far as the east is from the west. They will be remembered no more. We will not have to account for them because they have already been accounted for in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, in His love toward us while we were yet sinners. He made the payment for us. The child of God is a sinner like everyone else. However, the Lord moved the Apostle Paul to write these wonderful words in 1Timothy 1:15:
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation…
He is saying this of himself, under inspiration, but it is also worthy for you and me to accept it as applying to ourselves. When God works in the life of someone He has saved and as they grow in understanding of the Bible, they learn more and more Laws of God and they see their sins all the more. As we grow in the grace and knowledge of God, it is not that we think we are more holy, righteous or just than other people. The fact is that we think we are more “wicked” and more “sinful” than anyone else because now we are knowledgeable and we have understanding. As it says in Romans, one of the chief purposes for the Law of God was that all would become guilty and have the knowledge of sin. The more we read and study, the more we see our failures and, yet, it goes on to say in 1Timothy 1:15:
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…
Remember what Jesus said? He said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance,” and He said that because there are none righteous, no, not one. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners! That is a fact. He did not save every human being, but He saved certain ones whose names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Nonetheless, He came into the world to save sinners.
Paul was a pattern of the believers. Writing under the inspiration of God, Paul added, in 1Timothy 1:15:
… of whom I am chief.
Do you know what that means? That means he was the “number one” sinner. He was the head sinner. He was the greatest sinner. There was no sinner above him, as far as the way the Apostle Paul saw himself. Well, you might say, “Well, yes, but he was a blasphemer and he went around hailing men and women and persecuting Christians, even unto death. He did many evil things.” Yes, but this is being written after Paul was a child of God and he is summing up his whole life, not just his life before God confronted him on the road to Damascus and converted him and opened his eyes. He is speaking of his whole life – he was chief of sinners. There was none greater. And this worthy of all acceptation, for you, me and every true believer. Who are we? We are living in a world where iniquity abounds and evil is everywhere. There is evil in the churches and evil in the world. We are bombarded with evil all around us and our righteous souls are vexed day by day by their unlawful deeds. Therefore, it is essential that we do not lose sight of the fact that we are no better; we are sinners, like the sinners of Sodom. They were exceedingly wicked and we, too, are sinners and more so – we are chief of sinners. That is how we should view ourselves and not as if we were better or holier than anyone else. That is not true. We know God’s Law and we understand the Word of God, the Bible, because He has shown us many things. And the more we see, the more we know we do not measure up perfectly in any area of our lives, except in our born-again souls. That is why Lot’s righteous soul was vexed. His body was as sinful as our bodies are because it had not been resurrected as yet.
So, here we are and we must put up with the condition of the world and the present evil day we live in and the evil that is everywhere, but let us remember that Christ came into the world to save sinners. That is who we are and we are not the least of sinners, but we are the greatest of sinners – we are the chief of sinners.