Genesis 19:1-8 (ESV)
The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant's house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.
But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”
This passage shows the words “men” and “angels” being used interchangeably. No explanation seems necessary; these are just a normal ways of describing them. Obviously, they look like men, and just as obviously, they are actually angels, with immense powers. This is an important lesson in how the Old Testament uses words. We shouldn’t split hairs in interpreting terms like these.
But the big lesson in this passage comes from analyzing Lot’s offer of his virgin daughters to the men who want to rape the angels. This seems insane but it isn’t. Note:
- Lot is instantly aware of his guests’ stature. Everything else is less important. Everything.
- The offer is shocking and is offered in that spirit. It shows Lot’s absolute resolve.
- They’re not going to be interested in his daughters anyway.
- Given who Lot’s guests are, he’s embarrassed but not afraid. He knows their power. Otherwise, he would never have gone outside and shut the door.
So, Lot’s over-the-top bluster is really just that. He’s being as hospitable as possible in a totally insane situation. He’ll talk a good game, and if need be the angels will take over.
Lot’s predicament looks dangerous on the surface but not when you know the whole situation. Then again, great danger lurks. The whole valley is about to be wiped out.
This is a great example of how spiritual vision changes everything. There are many examples of how Christians perceive things differently – such as our understanding of sin – but spiritual vision can be so much more.
There’s a useful workbook that teaches this concept in 24 lessons. Titled, “The Landscape of Unseen Things” it can be found here (under Bookstore/Christian Discipline).
The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here: