“Righteous Lot was vexed (tormented) in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard daily.” 2 Peter 2: 8
By Christine Darg, Jerusalem Channel
Are you continually vexed by the general lawlessness, the injustices, the vulgarities coming especially out of the mouths of women, the hatred of babies in the womb?
I could go on and on with examples of great daily irritations, including the blight of re-emerging antisemitism.
Upon watching the BBC’s “Panorama” investigative programme into the institutional antisemitism of the Labour Party, I was shocked to see one eloquent young member of the party say that he had actually contemplated committing suicide by jumping from atop the Labour Party headquarters –because of its antisemitism.
Vexation of spirit has always been a characteristic of the righteous, but I believe constant communion with the Holy Spirit brings tranquility of spirit and hidden springs of joy, enabling believers to withstand the tyranny of our times and treacherous, ugly behaviour on all sides.
One may ask, well, if Lot in the Book of Genesis was so righteous, what was he doing living in the cesspool of Sodom? Surely, he would have been less vexed if he had lived outside in a solitary tent as his uncle Abraham did. Living in cities brings us close to the sloughs of sin. But for many, city life is inescapable. We must have an inward pool of tranquility to which we constantly retreat.
The commentaries on this verse teach us that a rose does not refuse to grow and to emit a sweet fragrance because there are noxious weeds in a garden. “A rose is a rose in the midst of thorns and thistles.” A believer is a believer under all circumstances, even when the world is full of tares, and when the Church is swarming with hypocrites. One reason why God suffers evil men to exist is to test and to refine the good. Parabolically, the best lilies thrive amongst thorns.
I believe one of the signs that we are growing in grace is when we quake at the thought of the eternal damnation, unless they repent, of some of the people who are the loudest and most coarse in the news. Do we pray for the most hateful politicians, the brazen liars and the celebrities who thumb their noses at God?
In England, a man who spoke out against the grooming gangs of young girls is continually jailed because the politically incorrect truth is too threatening. Even though he has reformed from some of his earlier right-wing leanings, this man is continually painted as a fanatic. John Bunyan’s wife once broke out in tears, interceding for the souls of hard-hearted British judges— “to think what a sad account such poor creatures will have to give at the coming of the Lord, when they shall then answer for all things whatsoever they have done in the body, whether it be good or whether it be bad.”
The Apostle Peter not only spoke of the Biblical character of Lot as being righteous, but a few verses before, in 2 Peter 2: 5, he described Noah as a “preacher of righteousness.”
The historian Josephus preserved theHebrew tradition concerning Noah’s ministry. After describing the sinfulness of the people, Josephus added, “But Noah was very uneasy at what they did; and, being displeased at their conduct, persuaded them to change their dispositions and acts for the better; but, seeing that they did not yield to him, but were slaves to their wicked pleasures, he was afraid they would kill him.”
And that’s a wake-up call for every true believer: the danger of speaking out is our duty. Commentaries on this passage teach that the ministry office ascribed to Noah is required in every generation. J.R. Thomson observed in the Pulpit Commentary,
I. THE NECESSITY FOR PREACHERS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
“….Human beings are constituted with moral capabilities and with faculties to be employed in a moral life. Intelligence, conscience, and will are the prerogative of men among the inhabitants of this earth. And even the most degraded, those most nearly allied in habits to the brutes, are susceptible of elevation in the scale of moral life. . . . .
II. THE IMPORT OF THE PREACHING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
. . .The violators of the Law of righteousness have to be rebuked. . . . .The restoration of righteousness by means of the Divine Mediator has to he proclaimed. There is a righteousness which is by the Law; but there is also a higher righteousness which is by faith in Christ unto those who believe, and this is exactly adapted to the needs of sinful men, who upon repentance and faith may become just with God.”