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Lot's descent - Can God Save when you're Living in the Lowest Place on Earth?

Updated: Apr 28

I loved visiting the Dead Sea and seeing the lowest place on earth. It was amazing. The fresh, flowing water of the Jordan River ends in an overly salty sea, where the waters can sustain no life due to intense heat and extreme evaporation. The valley of the Dead Sea is 1350 feet below sea level. By comparison, Death Valley, the lowest place in America, is only 260 feet below sea level.

The Dead Sea, the lowest place on Earth, is also one of the hottest places on the planet. It is a most inhospitable region. Very little lives along the shores. There are a few hotels along the shores where tourists float and soak in the waters - But don't get that water in your eyes or cuts; it stings like crazy because the salt content is 30 times higher than that of the oceans.

There is a bar at one of the tourist locations, and it is famed as the 'Lowest Bar on Earth.'

It's the lowest of the low.

It wasn't always so dreadful. The area was lush at one time, like The Garden of Eden. It was beautiful and able to sustain a lot of life, people, fish, cities, and flocks. It was so full of life that the patriarch Abram's nephew desired it as a location. As the story goes, Abram arrives in Canaan with his nephew Lot. Independently, they each increased in wealth, flocks, servants, influence, and followers. It became challenging to dwell together as each needed larger areas for their flocks and decided to part ways. Abram, being older and following God's leading, offered his nephew the first pick of the land.

Looking down from the hills of Bethel, Lot looked toward the valley.

Genesis 13:10, "And Lot looked out and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan, all the way to Zoar, was well watered like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose the whole plain of the Jordan for himself and set out toward the east. And Abram and Lot parted company".

Lot, who had faithfully followed Abram for hundreds of miles and lived in community together as a family for years, now ventures on his own. From the higher hills of the desert areas of the Negev, (Bethel is 2900 feet above sea level - see graph below) he makes his move, descending into the valley. This geographical descent symbolizes a significant shift in his journey and the narrative.

12 "Abram lived in the land of Canaan, but Lot settled in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13 But the men of Sodom were wicked, sinning greatly against the LORD".

Interestingly, the scriptures contrast the valley's physical features against the area's spiritual features. Things aren't always what they seem.

Sadly, as the story continues through Genesis 13 and 14, we see Lot move from the heights of Bethel at 2900 feet above sea level to 1300 feet below sea level. That is almost a mile difference in height. He descended to live in the lowest habitable place on Earth. Lot descends and Abram moves higher to Hebron, at 3300 feet above sea level.

Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom. It is interesting.

As time passes, Lot moves ever closer to Sodom and is found residing within the wicked city. In Genesis 14 marauding kings come from Babylon (current Iraq) and take the city of Sodom captive. Lot is one of those taken as a prisoner back toward Babylon. Abram learns of it and goes to fight for him. Abram and his 318 trained men vanquish the kings and return all the captives to their homes. Lot returns to Sodom.

Genesis 14:11"The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food, and they went on their way. 12 They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since Lot was living in Sodom."

Fifteen years later, Genesis 19 tells us the city's wickedness had reached a point where God was fed up with it. Their wickedness needed to receive its due reward. A day of reckoning was about to take place. Abram was made aware of the plan and pleaded with God for the sake of the righteous within the city. God sent angels to the city, and Lot met them at the gates of Sodom. The gates of the ancient cities were where judicial order, policy, politics, business, and influence took place.

1 Now the two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When Lot saw them, he got up to meet them, bowed facedown, 2 and said, “My lords, please turn aside into the house of your servant; wash your feet and spend the night. Then you can rise early and go on your way.”

“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”

3 But Lot insisted so strongly that they followed him into his house. He prepared a feast for them and baked unleavened bread, and they ate."

The men of the city are evil and have horrible intentions. They harass Lot's home and seek to abuse the visitors sexually. Lot isn't unscathed by living in the city and adjusting to its lifestyle all these many years away from his righteous uncle. He tries to satisfy their lustful desires by offering his virgin daughters to the men but the angel's next move spares Lot and his family.   The city's men are blinded; Lot tries to warn others but they scoff, and things become more dangerous as morning dawns.

Genesis 19:15 At daybreak the angels hurried Lot along, saying, “Get up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.” 16 But when Lot hesitated, the men grabbed his hand and the hands of his wife and his two daughters. And they led them safely out of the city because of the LORD’s compassion for them."

God's mercy and compassion saved them!

2 Peter 2:7-8 tells us that God "rescued Lot, a righteous man distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless deeds he saw and heard." Now I know that the scripture says of Lot that he is righteous, but Don't tell me the moral code of the city didn't influence his morality and ethic system or that of his family members. They were not righteous necessarily because of their moral or ethical code, but because He believed in the God of Abraham, even though he dwelt in a wicked city and land. The wrath of God was not meant for him. God sought out the righteous and saved them!

God's compassion grabbed them by the arm and led them safely out!

That is a tremendous encouragement!

Salvation and deliverance were found even from the LOWEST PLACE ON EARTH!

There is no pit from which he cannot save - What a comfort! Even when Lot hesitated, the Angels grabbed him by the arms and essentially dragged them out of the city. Sometimes, God's deliverance is forceful. I thank God for that!

We see God's salvation brought to the lowest places of our world further displayed in the ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus chose his disciples from the Galilee region. This region is also below sea level, about 400-600 feet below sea level, as the Jordan River continues to wide its way downward toward the Dead Sea.

The Sea of Galilee, is not really a sea at all. It is the lowest freshwater lake on Earth. This is the place where Jesus went fishing for men.

The good news of Jesus' kingdom is that God's mercy and compassion can be found even in the lowest places on Earth. Not only did Jesus go to find his disciples among those living in these lowly places, but he also went to the very lowest habitable city in his day, Jericho, which at its lowest is 900 feet below sea level and is still the lowest city on Earth. Jesus, fished for men from the lowest freshwater lake in the world. Then Jesus traversed the land and went even lower, bringing salvation to the house of Zaccheus (Luke 19). He proclaimed truth and redemption within the then-lowest city on the planet, Jericho.

Once Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, Jericho, was the next lowest place on earth to live, but now instead of a lush valley, it was a desert waste land. Jericho is known for having wells, and considered an oasis in the desert after that cataclysmic event. It was known for its antiquity, and as an oasis in the desert. Herod had built a palace there, and it was the first city conquered by the Israelites when they entered the promised land under Joshua. It is believed to be the oldest continually inhabited city in the world.

Luke 19

1 Then Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man named Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, who was very wealthy. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but could not see over the crowd because he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see Him, since Jesus was about to pass that way.

5 When Jesus came to that place, He looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down, for I must stay at your house today.”

6 So Zacchaeus hurried down and welcomed Him joyfully. 7 And all who saw this began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinful man!”

8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, half of my possessions I give to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will repay it fourfold.”

9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Jesus was willing to reach into the lowest places and bring salvation. Galilee, Jericho - some of the lowest places on the planet where people live.

Isaiah 59:1 tells us that the LORD's hand is not short that it cannot save. We see truth in Lot's deliverance and Zacchaeus' salvation.

Jesus still seeks out those needing salvation from the lowest places on the planet.

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