Has your pastor preached on this text in Genesis 19:30-37?

Has your pastor preached on this text in Genesis 19: 30-37?                         by Jack Kettler

“And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. And the firstborn said unto the younger, our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. Thus, were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. And the first born bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day.” (Genesis 19:30-37)

The text from Genesis 19:30-37 is a text rarely preached from in churches. Possibly this is because it presents the case of Lot and his daughters engaging in incestuous behavior, which is embarrassing. Attempts to justify the behavior are futile since these efforts fall under clear Mosaic condemnation. While not yet given formally, the Mosaic law was in force through the very fact that God’s law is written on every heart.

In starting, it will be helpful to gain an overview of the account from two commentary entries.     

From the Pulpit Commentary on Genesis 19:32:

“Verse 32. – Come, let us make our father drink wine, – either, therefore, Lot had not left Sodom totally unprovided (Inglis), or some little time had elapsed after his escaping to the mountain cave, since his daughters are provided with this intoxicating beverage – and we will He with him. Considering the town in which the daughters of Lot had been reared, the mother of whom they were the offspring, and the example they had received from their father (Ver. 8), “we can understand, though we cannot cease to abhor, their incestuous conduct” (Kalisch). Their proposal was revolting and unnatural in the extreme. By subsequent Mosaic legislation a transgression of such enormity was rendered punishable by death. Even in the present instance the perpetrators were not wholly unconscious of the wickedness of their conduct. The fact that they required a stratagem for the attainment of their purpose shows that at least they could not calculate on their father’s approbation. The entire story has been regarded as the invention of later Jewish hatred to the Moabites and Ammonites (De Wette), a conjecture believed by some to be ” not improbable (Rosenmüller); but if so, how should the same writer exhibit Abraham (Genesis 18:23) as filled with compassionate tenderness towards the cities of the plain? (Havernick). That we may preserve seed of our father. Literally, quicken or vivify seed (cf. Ver. 34). Lot’s daughters may be credited with whatever virtue may be supposed to reside in this motive for their conduct. Genesis 19:32”

 Matthew Poole’s Commentary adds additional information on Genesis 19:32:

“Wine they carried with them, amongst other necessary provisions, either from Sodom or Zoar.

This, though an incestuous and abominable action, yet they thought was made lawful by the supposed necessity, as in the beginning of the world the marriage of brethren and sisters was lawful because necessary; and when it ceased to be necessary, because of the increase of mankind, it became incestuous.”

How can this sinful action be understood in redemptive history?

In addition to Moabites, the Ammonites are also the descendants of Lot. Lot’s daughters shaped the birth of the Messiah, who came through the line of Lot by Moab. Through God’s sovereign action, the Moabite Ruth marries Boaz and conceives a child, Obed, who becomes the grandfather to King David. Thus, God is able to overrule sinful actions and prepare the way for the Messiah to be born in the course of redemptive history.

Does this mean that God permits and even ordains what we would call sinful events?

As shocking as this may sound, yes, God permits evil and even ordains it, and yet even in wicked events, He turns it for good. In addition, it is seen when the Scriptures inform about Joseph in Egypt. As seen, this turning evil for good is most evident in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the case of our Lord, evil is seen in its most horrifying magnitude, and yet, from this most wicked act on the part of sinful men comes forth the salvation of God’s elect.

To prove the assertion about God’s predetermined events that are turned for good, the prophet Isaiah says:

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” (Isaiah 53:10)

The passage in Isaiah is a prophecy about the crucifixion and death of God’s Son. It was a wicked act on the part of the Jews to turn Christ over to the Romans to be killed. Yet, when considering the New Testament Scriptures, they testify in no uncertain language that God ordained evil men to crucify the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:23).

How can this be? How can turning an evil event into something that fulfills the Divine will and is good be accomplished? From a human perspective, this seems impossible. When it is properly understood, the outworking of God’s Sovereign will in Scripture, one stands in awe at His Majestic Sovereignty. Only God can turn the wicked events of man into God’s glorifying events.

The account of Lot and his daughters falls into this same category of God overruling for His purposes the sinful actions of mankind and using it for a greater purpose.

In redemptive history, the story of the fallen race of mankind is expounded along with God’s intervention to bring about the salvation of His people.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)

Notes:

1.      H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Numbers, Vol.2., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 261.

2.      Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Matthew, Vol. 1 (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 46.

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at www. JackKettler .com

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