Imagine a late night—strangers have been brought home by your father as you and your sister listen to the mob outside your house. The strangers disperse the mob. But now, they are telling your father he must get all his family and leave immediately for God was going to send fire from heaven and consume the city.
Your other brothers and sisters are married and think your parents are joking, or lost their mind, and say they won’t leave. What to do? Your father hesitates at the thought of leaving part of the family. Suddenly, the two angels, (for you guessed the story by now – It’s Lot, his family and Sodom and Gomorrah) take the family by hand and literally pull them out.
The angels tell your father to escape to the mountains, but he is afraid and wants to go to a nearby city. They agree, but are under duress, letting Lot know they cannot do anything until he arrives there. It is sunrise as you enter the city Zoar, as the Lord rains fire and brimstone from heaven consuming Sodom and Gomorrah and everything around it. Your mother, looking back at Sodom, becomes a pillar of salt. Can this day get any worse?
Yes, it can. Your father, devastated by his loss and frightened chooses to leave Zoar and dwell in the mountains. And so, you find yourself living in a cave. Days and weeks go by and nothing changes, as your father retreats into his grief and devastation. It is your older sister who approaches you with what must be done. “We must carry our father’s seed and bring heirs to our father.” she says, as she explains there is no man here in this desolate place to marry them and bring children. “Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father,” your older sister insists.
And so you do.
And Moab and Ammon are born They are two brothers who will grow to become great nations. But, they will never know the peace and assurance of His delight and marriage that their cousin Israel will know. Instead, in their deep sense of forsakenness and desolation, they will war with promise. But God has a plan to rescue and redeem these boys into His house, into His delight, and marry them into promise.
The story of Moab and Ammon is fascinating because it is a picture of the war inside of all of us as we struggle with our fears and traumas. This Sunday, I will, over the two services, tell the story of Moab and Ammon and how a Moabite became an Israelite.