Provoking the Beehive
The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. Genesis 19:1
I got stung by a couple of bees yesterday. It was my own fault. In the woods of our property, for some reason, a previous owner buried an old box spring years ago. I’ve been meaning to dig it up, but I’ve also seen a lot of bees flying in and out of a hole in the ground in the middle of it. I ignored the warning signs though and began digging at the edges of the box spring. As soon as I lifted the metal frame, and all the earth packed into it, bees erupted from a hive underneath it. I knew the bees were there and yet I proceeded to provoke them. What did you think would happen?
I often see a similar phenomenon while working with those struggling with addiction. It has nothing to do with bees, but it does have to do with predictable consequences of certain situations. For instance – I’ll ask a patient why he started drinking alcohol again. He’ll tell me that he was at a party where alcohol was being served. He wanted to talk to a girl who was drinking and so, he drank. Wait. What? Why were you at that party in the first place? What did you think was going to happen?
This is the question I have for Lot – Abraham’s nephew. Why were you living in Sodom? In today’s passage, we’re told two angels were sent by God to destroy Sodom. At the city gates, they were met by Lot, who is described as a righteous man. Lot begged the men to stay with him, appearing to know what evil lie in wait for anyone new to the city. Sure enough, when night fell, the men of the city surrounded Lot’s house, demanding that the two strangers be brought out to be raped. It’s a horrible story, one in which Lot offers his two daughters to the mob instead. Thankfully, no one gets raped, and the angels strike the would-be-rapists blind. The fact though, is that sexual assault seemed to be a normal activity in Sodom. In 2 Peter 2:7-8, we’re told that Lot was tormented by the wicked deeds of those in Sodom. So why did he live there?
The answer lies back in Genesis 13, where Abraham told Lot to choose the land he wanted. Lot looked at the land adjacent to Sodom and desired it greatly. So, Lot basically moved to Sodom for his own financial gain. He grew roots and as his estate grew, he became inextricably attached to Sodom. To leave Sodom would have meant tremendous personal sacrifice. Basically, Lot hated the evil of Sodom, but he enjoyed the financial benefits of living there.
To live in faith and recovery means that some things must be sacrificed for the new life. To be specific, the old life must be sacrificed. We may enjoy the old life in some ways, but if we want to be free from its destruction, we can’t continue to live in it. If we struggle with alcohol, we can’t hang out in a bar – even if that’s where our old friends hang out. If we provoke a beehive, we’ll get stung. If we go back to the old life, we’ll return to the old self-destructive behaviors. What did you think would happen? If we desire the new life, the old one must go – even if that requires significant personal sacrifice.