May 3, 2021 — A Riddle About A Muddle

Here’s a family tree that looks like tumbleweed. No wonder they go wherever the wind blows.

Here’s a Bible riddle: “Long ago two boys were born. Each was the brother of the other one’s mother, and their father was their grandfather. Who were they?” That’s the theme of our story today. And, yes, their mothers were also their grandmothers, their aunts, and their sisters, too. How did that happen? Human beings have a very bad habit. We often think we know better than God. When we act independently from Him, we jump from the frying pan into the fire—and then blame Him for our troubles! When the angels dragged Lot and his daughters out of Sodom, they were told to flee to the mountains. Not so, said Lot, the mountains are too dangerous. Let us live in the town of Zoar, meaning “little.” This the angels reluctantly allowed them to do. And what happened? We read that Lot “was afraid to dwell in Zoar” (Gen 19:30). Perhaps a visit showed him that little Zoar was as troubled as Sodom, and he was fearful God’s judgment would also fall there. So he and his daughters headed where? To the mountains where they had initially been told to seek refuge. There they found a cave in which to live. The move to Sodom had been expensive indeed. Lot lost his wealth. He lost his peace of mind, being “oppressed [lit., worn down] by the filthy conduct of the wicked.” He lost his wife, too. And now he was going to lose his reputation because his daughters had learned the sinful ways of Sodom. Getting their father drunk, they bore children by him! What shameful behavior! And the two boys became the fathers of two nations that were constant enemies of Israel—Moab and Ammon. It was Sir Walter Scott who wrote, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, / When first we practice to deceive.” Amen to that!