The story of Lot contains an interesting facet. It provides some insight into the question of divine election, predestination, and human responsibility
In Genesis 19, two angels warn Lot to flee the city of Sodom because they will shortly destroy it. This warning is not unlike the New Testament call to repent and believe. It contains bad news, good news, and a call to turn and head in a new direction. Lot must turn (repent) from Sodom and flee (follow/believe God) to a new city. The sum total of his action would be faith in God. There’s only one problem.
Lot does not turn and flee. He hesitates, and this, in my mind, is where election creeps into the story. Lot knows the truth. He knows what will happen if he lingers, and still he lingers. But, despite Lot, the Lord intervenes. We read:
When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the Lord was merciful. (Genesis 19:16, NLT)
What was Lot doing? Missing the opportunity! What as the Lord doing? Saving Lot despite Lot. And what was the Lord’s motivation? Was it the righteousness of Lot? Not at all! God saved Lot “for the Lord was merciful.” His mercy motivated his saving action quite apart from the will of Lot.
If that’s not a picture of God’s sovereign prerogative to save, I don’t know what is. But there is a twist.
Lest we think the picture is so simple and clear, remember the famous scene with Lot’s wife.
Even as the Lord was sovereignly and graciously saving Lot and his family, Lot’s wife was resisting. We read, “But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26 NLT). And with that, the question of human responsibility creeps back into the story. It seems Lot’s wife had some level of personal responsibility in this whole scenario.
Where exactly does the line lay between God’s sovereignty and our responsibility? I don’t know, but the story of Lot offers an interesting case study.
So, what do you think? Am I over-stretching this story? What is the interplay here between election and freewill? Is this story admissible evidence?