The strong pull of the world
Lot pitched his tents near Sodom. Lot hesitated to leave Sodom. Genesis 19:16
Vv. 1-6 – We see some signs of why Lot is called righteous (2 Peter 2: 7-9) but his later actions show the mercy of God in sparing him from judgment as is true for all of us who are saved by grace from God's judgment.
Vv. 5-7 – Maybe the angels appearing in human form were especially attractive to cause the Sodomites to be so aggressive in their sin. But what Lot did was carrying protection for his guests way too far.
V. 9-10 – Lot had lost his saltiness and was about to be trampled by men except for the miraculous intervention of the angels. "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men." (Matt. 5:13) "Salt seasons food, hinders the spread of corruption, creates thirst and brings out flavor. So as Jesus' followers we are to add Christ's aroma to society, serve as a moral preservative, and make others thirsty for Jesus' righteousness. If salt lost its flavor in those days it was good for nothing except that it was placed on paths, or walks, as we use gravel. If a believer fails to exhibit this spiritual reality, men will tread his testimony under their feet. The world has only contempt for an undedicated believer."(Believer's Bible Commentary)
V.14 – Either Lot's future sons-in law were mockers or Lot had not lived in the fear of the Lord himself before them. "The fool says in his heart, "There is no God (i.e., there is no accountability for my sin)." (Psalm 14:1)
V. 16 – "When he (Lot) hesitated…" Even with angelic messengers warning him to flee for his life, Lot hesitated. Why we may ask? Maybe the world had a hold on him. Lot had moved from outside of Sodom (Gen 13:12) to inside Sodom and been there almost 25 years. Sin is not a blowout but a slow leak with one little compromise leading to the next. Like the frog in the kettle that does not feel the gradual rise of heat and thus does not jump out, but boils to death, so sin and worldliness have a gradual but unnoticed effect on us if we "soak" in it. Heed Psalm 1:1 "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked (ungodly) or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers." ("The parallelism in this verse speaks of an increasingly deeper involvement with wickedness: 1) "walking beside," 2) "standing with," 3) "sitting beside." Similarly, the terms for the wicked are progressive: 1) ungodly, 2) sinners, and 3) the scornful. The imagery of this verse presents an ideal righteous person-one who is in the world but quite unaffected by the world."( Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary)
V.20 –"Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it-it is very small, isn't it?" Lot loved the city life (the world) and had become a city builder versus a kingdom builder. "Not even fire and brimstone will make Lot a spiritual pilgrim." (Kidner)
Vv. 24-25 – "Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah-from the LORD out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities-and also the vegetation in the land." That formerly fruitful valley is today, what is known as the Dead Sea (Num. 34:12) and has no living creatures in it. God's judgment for sin may be delayed but it will come. "When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong. But even though a person sins a hundred times and still lives a long time, I know that those who fear God will be better off."(Eccl. 8:11-12 NLT; Also see Psalm 73)
V. 26 – "But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt." It is wise to burn the bridges to our past life of sin or we may turn back to it. "But Jesus told him, "Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62)
V. 29 – "So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, (See Abraham's prayer in Gen. 18:22-33) and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived." This is a picture of the end time judgment to come. "Then he (God) used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly (unsaved) people will be destroyed " (2 Peter 2:6-7) Like Abraham we are to pray for our family and friends. We will not know the full effect of our intercessory prayers till we reach heaven. "The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results." (James 5:16 NLT)
V.36 – "So both of Lot's daughters became pregnant by their father." God got Lot out of Sodom but that did not get Sodom out of Lot. His sin continued through him and his daughters to bring about two of Israel's perennial enemies: The Moabites and the Ammonites. They became infamous for sexual sin (Numbers 25) and the horror of child sacrifice to Molech. This all began when, "Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom." (Gen 13:12) Small compromises with "little sins" can lead to big consequences.
Worldliness clouds our spiritual vision, and our faith and hope. We begin to give too much significance to things that are not truly significant in the eyes of God. The true significance of something is determined by how long it will last. For example compare the significance of your job, your possessions and even your trials, to people, your character, and God's Truth. "And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave."(1 John 2:17 NLT)
Discussion Questions FOR APPLICATION OF GOD'S WORD
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men."
(Matt. 5:13) As Jesus' followers we are to add Christ's aroma to society, serve as a moral preservative, and make others thirsty for Jesus' righteousness. What are some things we can do to stay salty?
In John 17 Jesus says we are to be in the world but not of the world. How can we do that and avoid what happened to Lot? Jesus says to the Father, "I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I'm not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy (set apart- different) by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world." (John 17:14-18 NLT)
"But Lot's wife looked back" – Jesus says, "Remember Lot's wife." (Luke 17:32) It is wise to burn the bridges to our past life of sin or we may turn back to it. "But Jesus told him, "Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God."
(Luke 9:62) Have you had to burn some bridges to your old life before Christ?
Are you praying for your household for God to have mercy on your children and grandchildren and spare them from the judgment to come per 2 Peter 2:6-7?
We determine the significance of something by how long it will last. For example compare the significance of your job, your possessions and even your trials, to people, your character, and God's Truth. "And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave."
(1 John 2:17 NLT) What may you be giving too much significance to?
"Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever." (1 John 2:15-17 NLT)