“They thought he was joking” – Gen. 19:14
There’s an interesting verse that you may not have ever heard mentioned in a sermon. In Genesis 19, the story of the destruction of Sodom is recounted. If you’re unfamiliar with it, I recommend you read the chapter. Lot – nephew of Abraham -- was being visited by angels who were forewarning him of Sodom’s impending destruction for their many sins. He was being urged to leave quickly. So Lot set out to get all his kids, family and in-laws to understand the gravity of the situation and how urgent it was for everyone to leave. And then we read this:
“So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, "Get up, get out of this place; for Yehoweh (the LORD) will destroy this city!" But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking.”
Other translations say Lot came across “as one that mocked” (KJV). NET Bible says the sons-in-law “thought he was ridiculing them”. Could it be that Lot may have developed a reputation as a kidder, a jokester, or someone always trying to pull the wool over someone’s eyes in a “practical joke” manner?
Have you ever noticed that verse before? Could it be that Lot had at least 3 married daughters and, had they all believed Lot, there could have been 10 righteous in the city, and the city would have been spared, because of Abraham’s intercessory prayer in the previous chapter? See Gen 18. But because they felt Lot was “pulling their leg” one more time, they didn’t heed his dire warning.
Some of us are known jokesters. Everything becomes a tease, a joke, a trick, a slight of hand, a wink of the eye. I know I’ve been guilty of seeing how far I can “kid” someone and get away with something to make people laugh. But there are times when there’s no laughing matter, no joke – and people need to know we’re serious. But if we’re constantly making people the butt of our “practical jokes” – and they feel mocked or ridiculed as a result – when we DO need to be taken seriously, will they believe us?
So what happened? Lot’s sons-in-law basically ignored Lot’s warnings. I can hear them now, “OK Dad, we know about your jokes. But this time we’re not going to be made a fool of.” So Lot has to leave town with just his wife and 2 unmarried daughters – and EVERYONE else who were a part of Lot’s family and household died along with the rest of the people of Sodom.
The time is coming soon when some of us may be given end-time warnings from angels just like Lot experienced. We may be given the opportunity to share a dire warning, an urgent message, with loved ones, brethren and believers. But will they think we’re just pulling their leg, or will they believe us and act?
Kidding around may be fine on occasion — at the right time and place. But especially as we come to the darker hours of the end times, we need to put childish pranks away and think and act more soberly , more seriously, more believably. The lives of our very own loved ones may hang in the balance.
I personally feel there’s too much jesting, joking around, foolish talking and just senseless banter going on among too many of the people of God. Right now we all need to grasp more of the seriousness of the times. I preach to myself too! There’s a lot of kidding that seems connected also to drinks and drinking. Both Peter and Paul lay out the admonitions to become more serious. See 1 Pet 5:8; 1 Thess. 5:6-8. Here are two more:
Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded,
Ephesians 5:4 (Holman publishers)
And coarse and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks.
Please give this serious thought. If you’re known as a constant jokester, learn from Lot’s experience. Sometimes having the reputation as always being the funny guy can end up costing the very lives of people we care about the most.
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