On a recent Sunday I sat in on Canon Gibbes’s Sunday school class on Colossians, during which he showed a clip from the movie Toy Story 3. The scene shows Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang sliding down a vast chute of old discarded toys to meet their final end in the blazing fire of an incinerator. Their struggle to free themselves now futile, they grasp hands and await their certain demise. Suddenly an unexpected crane arm with a claw on the end of it bursts into the chute, swings down upon them, scoops them up, and lifts them to safety. Saved from certain death by THE CLAW.
Although Toy Story 3 is a fictional, animated movie, its depiction of rescue is not so unlike the account we find today in Genesis 19 of the rescue of Lot and his family from the destruction decreed by the Lord upon Sodom. The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah because of their great and grave sin has come before the Lord, so he sends two angels to see whether the outcry is justified.
The depravity of mankind is on full display as the men of the city press upon Lot’s home, demanding that he bring out his two angelic guests so that the men might “know them,” that is, have sexual relations with them. Unable to stop the pressing crowd with an appeal to moral reasoning—“do not act so wickedly”—Lot offers his two virgin daughters so that the men of the city might do to them as they pleased. Are you kidding me?!
Having seen enough, the angels tell Lot that the Lord has sent them to destroy the city and that Lot, his wife, and his two daughters need to up and flee lest they, too, be swept away by the destruction. What follows is one of the most amazing depictions of the grace of God in the salvation of men and man’s complete inability to extricate himself from the deserved judgment of God:
But he [Lot] lingered [hesitated]. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. (Gen. 19:16)
Thanks be to God, who, being rich in mercy, loved us even when we were dead in our trespasses and sins and made us alive with Christ:
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col.1: 13-14)
What influence did the interceding of Abraham in chapter 18 have upon this rescue of Lot? Answering that question is probably above my pay grade but interesting to consider. Here is a man who knew the grace of God. God had chosen Abraham and made His covenant with him. Having received mercy and upon hearing what the Lord was about to do in Sodom, Abraham draws near: “Behold I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes” (Gen.18:27).
Should not we be so bold to speak to the Lord? Having received grace and mercy, having been grasped by the hand of the Lord and transferred into his kingdom, should not we then intercede for others, asking God to grasp the hand of a spouse, a child, a sibling, an extended family member, a friend, a co-worker, or a neighbor, who may be lingering in sin, and pray that God would grasp them by the hand and bring them out?