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Scripture reading – Genesis 19
Abraham interceded with God and prayed that the city of Sodom might be spared, “peradventure ten [righteous souls] shall be found there” (18:32a). The LORD honored Abraham’s request saying, “I will not destroy it for ten’s sake” (18:32b).
Genesis 19 – The Tragic Judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah and the Cities in the Plain
On the same day, the LORD assured Abraham He would be merciful should he find ten righteous souls residing in Sodom, the angels who appeared before Abraham arrived at the gate of Sodom (18:2, 16). Sadly, they were greeted by Lot, who had progressed from pitching his tent toward Sodom to becoming one of the leaders and judges of the city. We read, “Lot sat in the gate of Sodom” (19:1), where government and commercial business was transacted.
Seeing the “two angels” and perceiving they were strangers, Lot “rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground” (19:1). Calling them “lords,” for he knew the “men” were not of the character as those of that wicked city, Lot urged them to accept refuge in his home (19:2-3). At first, the “two angels” refused his accommodations, but Lot “pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house” (19:2). That evening, Lot made his guest “a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat” (19:3).
The Gross Wickedness and Depravity of Sodom (19:4-11)
“Before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: 5And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them” (19:4-5).
Tragically, the wickedness and depravity of the city were displayed that night as sodomites (homosexuals)encircled Lot’s house. They demanded he would turn his visitors into the street to be violently and sexually assaulted (19:4-6). Instead, Lot defined their lusts as wicked (19:7) and offered his virgin daughters to satisfy their cravings (19:8-9).
Though he was a citizen and a leader of Sodom, his righteous judgment of their wicked passions infuriated the men. They mocked and ridiculed his hypocrisy as a sojourner (an alien, an outsider). Those men would have attacked Lot and broken into his house had the angels not rescued him, for they “put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut the door” (19:10). Although they struck the sodomites with blindness, those men of that city continued, “both small and great…[and] wearied themselves to find the door” of Lot’s house (19:10-11).
An Offer of Salvation (19:12-14)
Displaying God’s grace, the angels pressed Lot to go to his sons, daughters, and spouses and urge them to flee Sodom before the LORD destroyed the city for its wickedness (19:12-13). Yet, Lot’s children and their spouses refused his pleas and despised him, for he appeared “as one that mocked unto his sons in law” (19:14).
A Display of Mercy (19:15-22)
As the morning light crested the plain, “the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city” (19:15). Though knowing the judgment of God was imminent, Lot “lingered,” and the angels mercifully took hold of him, his wife, and daughters and “brought him forth, and set him without the city” (19:16).
Though admonished to “escape for [his] life; [and] look not behind…escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed” (19:17), Lot foolishly protested God’s place of safety and pleaded that a nearby city, “a little one” (19:20), might be spared as his refuge (19:19-20). The LORD heeded Lot’s request (19:21) and spared the city called Zoar (19:22).
God’s Fiery Judgment (19:24-26)
With the sun risen and Lot safely removed from Sodom, “the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; 25And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground” (19:24-25). The scene was utter destruction, a burning inferno, as though hell rained from heaven upon the wicked. Tragically, Lot’s “wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt” (19:26).
Abraham’s Vision from a Summit (19:27-28)
Abraham arose early that morning, perhaps anxious that Sodom might have been spared. So he went “to the place where he stood before the LORD” (19:27). There he “looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah…and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace” (19:28). Abraham saw the severity of God’s judgment upon that wicked city and its inhabitants. Yet, in answer to Abraham’s intercession and a reminder that the LORD will spare the righteous in His judgment, “God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt” (19:29).
Lot: An Object of Grace (19:29-38)
Why were Lot and his daughters spared judgment? First, scripture says, “God remembered Abraham” (19:29). What a blessed thought to realize that God never forgets His promise. Surely, we would hope Lot’s straying from the LORD would end with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, but that was not the case. Lot, a man whom the Scriptures declare was righteous (though he chose to dwell among the wicked, 2 Peter 2:8), became drunk with wine. Then, succumbing to his daughters’ enticement, tragically, Lot committed the morally depraved sin of incest (19:30-36).
The eldest daughter conceived a son she named Moab. He became the father of the Moabites (19:37). The youngest daughter conceived a son named Ammon, of whom would be born the Ammonites (19:38). Both nations, the Moabites and Ammonites, would become a curse and perpetual trouble for the nation of Israel.
Closing thoughts – Genesis 19 portrays man’s sinful depravity and God’s inevitable judgment of the wicked. We have been reminded of the shadow and influence of parental character and how today’s choices will have consequences for our children and grandchildren. Yes, Lot’s spirit was vexed by the sinful, “unlawful deeds” of the wicked, but he failed to separate from them. The consequences of his failure were innumerable, for he lost his wife, children, possessions, and neighbors.
Are you ready for God’s judgment?
Romans 14:11–12 – 11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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