The Natural is one of my all-time favorite movies. It is a baseball movie that is not about baseball. It begins with a young Roy Hobbs playing catch with his dad. The movie ends without any words. It ends with a moment of an older Roy Hobbs playing catch with his son. Most of the film Roy is unaware that he himself is a dad. One day in Chicago, after about fifteen or sixteen years, he meets up with his high school sweetheart Iris. Roy is in her home and notices a baseball glove. Iris says that it is her son’s glove. A surprised Roy asks, “Is he with his father?” “No,” Iris responds. “His father lives in New York. But I’m thinking he needs his father; he’s at that age. He needs him.” Then Roy says, “Sure. A father makes all the difference.”
A father makes all the difference.
So He Lived in a Cave
Lot makes all the difference. And Lot was a dad. Listen carefully to Genesis 19:30. “Now 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.” This is a key verse to Genesis 19:30-38. It is about Lot. He has two daughters. And he is living in a cave.
The big question from this key verse is: How did Lot end up living in a cave?
Caves are dirty. Caves are musty. Caves have spiders. And caves are dark. Caves are dark during the day and even darker at night. Often in Scripture caves are used for graves (Genesis 23:9; 25:9). Again, how did Lot end up living in a cave? Pay close attention to how verse thirty begins. “Now Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar.” The key word is Zoar. Zoar was a town and according to verse thirty it was a town that Lot had lived in. Most interesting is what Zoar means and how it got its name.
In Genesis 19:19-20, as Lot is being divinely rescued from the destruction of Sodom he tells God’s rescuers, “But I cannot escape to the hills.” Pause there. In Genesis 19:30, where do we find Lot? Living in the hills. “But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one.” Guess what little means here. It means Zoar. It means insignificant or petty. So, how did this small town get its name? It all stems from how Lot thought of it. He thought it petty. He thought it insignificant. He thought it little. Lot thought it a safe place to be.
But why did Lot think Zoar to be so insignificant? Was it little in size? Maybe, but maybe there is something more. When we call something little or insignificant, it is always in comparison to something that is significant or big. In other words, it is always in comparison to something we know. In Lot’s case he knew Sodom. He had lived next door to Sodom. He had lived in Sodom. He had sat in Sodom. And he set his eye on Zoar. It had opportunity just as Sodom, but not as significant. It had success to offer just as Sodom, but not as significant. It had comfort to offer just as Sodom, but not as significant. It had prosperity to offer just as Sodom, but not as significant. And it had sin just as Sodom, but not as significant.
I am wondering if this is to give a little insight into Lot’s thinking. Is this how he reasoned through life? Is this how he rationalized things? It is okay to live near Sodom; it is okay to live in Sodom; it is okay to sit in Sodom just as long as we do not enjoy what it enjoys. It is okay to live in Zoar for their sin is not as significant as it was in Sodom.
How did Lot end up living in a cave? He was living in Zoar. Why was he no longer living in the comfort of Zoar? “For he was afraid to live in Zoar.” Why was Lot afraid to live in this little town? Was it not insignificant? Or so Lot thought. Today, some of the nation’s greatest drug epidemics are found in little towns.
How did Lot end up living in that cave? It was through his own thinking. It was not a thinking that began in running for his life out of Sodom or while in living in Sodom. It was a thinking that began way back in Genesis 13. He thought it little just to live near Sodom, a place of wicked men and great sinners.
Lot left Zoar for a cave – a dark and dirty and spider-filled cave. He left Zoar because he was afraid. Apparently, he was not afraid of the discomfort of a cave. He was not afraid of the dirt. He was not afraid of the spiders. He was not afraid of the dark. We will see that the darkest of deeds will take place in this dark cave and at night when it is especially dark. This will become the darkest context on earth.
Lot Was Not Careful About Little
Lot thought little and as you watch his life, this righteous man, it can be pointed out that Lot was not careful about little. He was not careful even about a little wine.
The next few verses are hard to read. These verses are embarrassing. Lot was a dad. Lot had two daughters. These daughters’ names are never mentioned. We only know them as the firstborn and the younger. The younger is never recorded as speaking. Where did she get that from? The firstborn does all the talking. Actually, the firstborn does all the thinking.
Listen to her reasoning. “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth” (19:31). Sodom had been destroyed. These daughters were engaged to be married (19:14). Their fiancés were swept away in the destruction of Sodom. In this firstborn’s thinking, which apparently the younger agreed with, there was not a single man left on the earth, only dad. This absolutely cannot be true. This family had lived in Zoar and had just moved out of Zoar. This insignificant town was not destroyed and surely there were men there, viable men for marriage.
Listen to her reasoning. “Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father” (19:32). And that night they made their father drink wine. The firstborn slept with her father and she became pregnant. Listen to the end of verse thirty-three. “He did not know.” The very next night the younger does the very same thing. They made their father drink wine. She too became pregnant. Listen to the end of verse thirty-five. “And he did not know.”
Where did this family get all this wine, living isolated in this cave? This was a sin what these two daughters did. Sleeping with their father was a sin. Lot’s daughters intentionally sinned. Listen to their reasoning. There was no man available to preserve for them offspring. This act with their dad seemed little to these two daughters. Where did they learn to think like that?
Twice Moses mentions that Lot did not know. He was so drunk that he did not know what was happening. He was so drunk because he was not careful about a little wine. Little piles up and becomes much. He had to know what the wine was doing to him…gradually doing to him. It is the same with little sins. Little sins pile up and gradually overtake a person.
Lot did not know. Due to much wine Lot was forgetful about the night before. Genesis 19:30-38 is the last mention of this man in the Old Testament. “We may learn that drunkenness, as it makes men forgetful, so it makes men forgotten; and many a name, which otherwise might have been remembered with respect, is buried by it in contempt and oblivion.” Matthew Henry wrote those words. Where did Matthew Henry learn to think like that? He wrote a classic Bible commentary. Do you know where he learned the truths of the Bible? From his dad. His commentary was the product of his dad leading the family in devotions every evening. A father makes all the difference.
A quick note about Lot’s daughters and their children. They bore sons by their father. The firstborn named her son Moab. The younger named her son Ben-Ammi. From Moab will come a great nation called the Moabites. From the Moabites will come a woman named Ruth the Moabite. She has a book of the Bible named after her. From Ruth will come a great grandson named David. He will become King of Israel, a man God called “a man after my own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). From David will come a man named Jesus the Christ, the King of Kings. He is the Savior of the world, one who the Bible says, “will save people from their sins;” even the awful, embarrassing sins. He through his death on the cross will cancel the record of your debt by nailing your sins, the little sins and the awful, embarrassing sins to the cross. And they will be remembered no more. It is all because of Jesus who is related to a man named Lot.
Dads, Talk to Your Daughters
In these final nine verses, there is no record of Lot ever talking. His name is barely mentioned, but he never talks. And nowhere in Genesis 19 is Lot ever recorded talking…to his daughters. Do not blame their thinking or reasoning on growing up in Sodom. Growing up in Sodom did not help matters, though. These daughters thought like their dad. Why is that? A father makes all the difference.
There are many applications that can be made from these nine verses, but there is just one huge application…for me. I have two daughters. Here is the application for me: dad, talk to your two daughters. And it is no matter their age. They might be thirteen and fifteen or they might be thirty or fifty or even older. And it is not just daughters. Dads, talk to your sons, talk to your kids. Talk about what?
Last Christmas I gave my two daughters a gift just from me. It was a journal. The front cover reads: Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10). I wrote in the journal. I wrote in the journal fourteen reminders because I love being their dad. Here are just a few reminders I shared with them. Beware of boys who wear their hat backwards. It is an indication that they do not take life seriously. Nothing good happens after 9 p.m. A $5 steak will taste like a $5 steak. In other words, you typically get what you paid for. Treasure God. Listen to him with the intent to do what he says, but also to know him better and to love him more.
Dad, talk to your daughters. Dad, talk to your sons. Dad, talk to your kids. What should we talk about?
First of all, my child, think magnificently of God.
Magnify His providence; adore His power, pray to Him frequently and incessantly.
Bear Him always in your mind. Teach your thoughts to reverence Him in every place
for there is no place where He is not.
Therefore, my child, fear and worship and love God;
first and last, think magnificently of Him!
 R. Kent Hughes, Genesis: Beginning and Blessing, page 282.