Do The Ends Justify the Means?

Genesis 19:30-38

30Now Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar. So he lived in a cave with his two daughters.

31And the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth.

32Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father.”

33So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father. He did not know when she lay down or when she arose.

34The next day, the firstborn said to the younger, “Behold, I lay last night with my father. Let us make him drink wine tonight also. Then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father.”

35So they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.

36Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father.

37The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day.

38The younger also bore a son and called his name Ben-ammi. He is the father of the Ammonites to this day.

You have to admit, when God moved the biblical writers to chronicle His story, He didn’t hold anything back. What we have is an unflinchingly honest look at the lives of those who played a part in God’s story. Those of us who teach the Bible know these stories are in there – but looking at them closely is difficult. So – what can we take from today’s reading?

Lot and his daughters are the only survivors of Sodom and Gomorrah. They literally escape with the clothes on their backs and nothing more. All of their friends are gone and they are hiding out in a cave outside of Zoar. They have been spared for one reason – Abraham’s intercession. Without that, they would have perished with the rest of the wicked people. Nowhere in the text do we see them crying out to God, so there probably wasn’t much of a working relationship with Him. Instead they choose to solve their own problems. Lot’s daughters were a product of the environment in which they grew up; having sex with your father isn’t all that bad. It serves the purpose of continuing the family line. Sexually immoral actions were a part of their culture. I doubt if they gave it a second thought (although they did know Lot wouldn’t approve as he had to be drunk.) It’s just a seamy scene. These two girls don’t even look back at Sodom and realize that this type of activity is exactly what caused God to bring it to the ground.

The old cliché says, “The ends justify the means.” That was exactly what Lot’s daughters were operating under when they devised this plan. Not surprisingly, the two nations they birthed were both a blessing and a curse to the Hebrews as their story continues. We’ll take that up later in our study of Genesis. Just remember where the Moabites and the Ammonites come from later on. In truth, the ends do not justify the means. Great wickedness is born when we devise our own plans to solve our problems. We have seen that as Sarah and Abraham involve Hagar in providing a child for them and now in Lot’s daughters as they panic about their future prospects. When calling out to God isn’t the first thought you have in a problem situation, you’re probably going to come up with something that will create nothing but pain for you later. His plans are always unexpected and amazing, bringing us exactly what we need when we need it. Our shining example of that lies in Jesus Christ who came at the perfect time and brought about our salvation. Interestingly, God didn’t ask a single one of us to help Him out with that. Guess I’ll let my plans go.