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December 10, 2010

Homily on the Righteousness of Lot, Nephew of Abraham

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

"And Lot said, 'I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly'" (Genesis 19:7).

Lot, a righteous man among the unrighteous, lived in Sodom with his wife and two daughters. The faithful Abraham asked God: "Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?" (Genesis 18:23). God answered the faithful Abraham that not only would He not destroy the righteous, but if there were to be found ten righteous in that city, he would spare the entire city because of those ten. However, only one righteous man was found in Sodom - Lot - and he was a stranger.

Just as before the flood there was only one righteous man in the world, Noah, so before the destruction of Sodom there was only one righteous man in that city, Lot. Lot was similar to his uncle Abraham in every virtue, notably in his obedience to God and his hospitality. The Sodomites hated him as a stranger and even more as a righteous man.

"Brethren, do not so wickedly," Lot exhorted them. He called the corrupt people his brethren in order to calm them and to remind them not to commit evil, in order to save them. But his brotherly words provoked them to even greater wrath. Lot was found worthy to have the angels of God visit him and deliver him from that corrupt city whose sins cried out to God. And the reprobates attacked the home of Lot to defile the sanctity of hospitality.

"Brethren, do not so wickedly," Lot implored them. But why would these brutes listen to a man if they did not fear God? That is why the angels of God punished them with blindness: "And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great" (Genesis 19:11). Then the angels led Lot from the city of the unrighteous and let loose a storm of brimstone and fire upon the city. Thus, the evil city perished, and the one righteous man in the city was saved. "Better is one righteous man than a thousand sinners" (Sirach 16:3).

O righteous God, Who never abandonest the righteous man, correct our unrighteousness and save us. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.