Genesis 19- The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
This is a sad story in this chapter- made even sadder when you realize how much like Sodom and Gomorrah we have become in the United States and indeed in the world.
Twice in Genesis, God has revealed to us there is a tipping point with Him. A critical point in an evolving situation that leads to inevitable judgment by God. We saw it in the flood, when only 8 souls were left who acknowledged God and now in this account of Sodom and Gomorrah.
God does not change- given the same set of circumstances, God acts in the same way He did before. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and escape of Lot in the nick of time illustrate the doom of the world and the escape of the church. God sets a limit to wickedness then there is the tipping point. It is unsuspected by the majority of the world. But as Christians we should recognize the signs.
Lets look at some other verses that are relevant to this account:
Luke 17: 32,33: the Lord Jesus speaking remember Lots wife. Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it and whoever loses his life will preserve it.
II Peter 2:6 ..He condemned Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly.
II Peter 2: 7&8: And if He rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed (vexed) by the filthy lives of lawless men ( for that righteous man) living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard..
I Cor. 3: 13-15: It (our works) will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each mans work. If what he had built survives, he will be receive his reward. If it is burned up, he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through fire.
Romans 1: 16-32:
Notice the truth is suppressed by wickedness – unrighteousness.
God has revealed Himself through the witness of creation. His invisible qualities His eternal power and divine nature being CLEARLY SEEN, being UNDERSTOOD from what has been made, so that men are WITHOUT EXCUSE. For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God or gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
The witness of creation described here and in Psalms 19 and the witness of conscience discussed in Romans 2 tell us everyone knows there is a God. They have a two fold witness- creation which declares His Glory (an external witness) and the conscience which bears witness to right and wrong.(an internal witness)- for the law has been written in their hearts.
Here is what we see over and over: degenerate, sinful and lawless behavior begins with a rejection of God as Creator and Sovereign. You may think evolution and science are intelligent approaches- but if they deny God as Creator and Sovereign it will lead to a depraved society.
Jesus said this is the verdict- light has come into the world but men preferred darkness. In other words they suppress the truth in wickedness- in sin.
Paul goes on to tell us in Romans 1- that for these reasons- God gives them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They have exchanged the truth for a lie and worshipped and served created things (creation) rather than the Creator who is forever praised. Amen. A tipping point has been reached when you look at America as a Christian with the truth of the Scripture what do you think God is thinking? Should we not take to the streets as Jonah did and say judgment is coming? Should we not imitate John the Baptist and tell people to repent for the kingdom of God is at hand? What was the text of Jesus first sermon? From that time on, Jesus began to preach :Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand?
As we study this story- look at in the context of today and based on the fact of an unchanging God who responds the same way when a tipping point is reached tell me where you think we are headed.
In regard to Gods world and environment, we should take care of Gods creation- being good stewards. However- when a society has been given over in their sinful desires- they get out of balance- more concerned about the environments purity while sin is rotting our society- more concerned for the life of animals and their young, to the point of making it against the law to destroy the egg of a bald eagle, while destroying the unborn baby ( a human life) in the womb is a constitutional right rather than a crime.
Paul goes on to describe the result of their shameful lusts: men and women abandoning the natural relations to commit indecent acts with one another. These acts of homosexuality are called by God- sinful, perversion, wickedness, evil, and depraved. These words are considered hate crimes and are punishable under the laws of many nations. Can you imagine- the world is accusing God who is Love of committing crimes of hate by telling us the truth.
But listen to the outcome of this unchecked and accepted behavior: : Although they knew Gods righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do those very things but also approve of those who practice them Romans 1:32. A description of an out-of-control society. It was true in Pauls day in the Roman Empire, it was true in Noahs day and it was true in Lots day. And sadly it is true in our country today where homosexuals take to the streets in parades in celebration of Gay Pride week. They have no shame- they are proud of their sin. Now you may be thinking but those people were born that way. We all were born with sinful natures- with proclivities for certain sins- strong urges- but that does not make them right.
Here we read of the extreme of sin- when a society applauds sin rather than regrets sin or judges sin. They call darkness light and light – darkness. A society that tolerates and recognizes this type of behavior as acceptable and admirable is a society according to Gods Word, that is a totally abandoned society. If it will not take action- God will.
The men of Sodom and Gomorrah marched in the streets and demanded the right to practice their sin and for their lifestyle to be recognized as an accepted and appreciated life style. Certainly not to be criticized or told their acts were criminal. No- we demand the right to live and behave the way we want to- the original Sodomites claimed. Gay pride marches are as old as Sodom and Gomorrah.
What we have seen in the last few decades is a successful campaign for homosexuality to be not only accepted in our society but applauded. Jesus said as it was in the days of Sodom-so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man.
Lets review what we know about nephew Lot. He was taken into the home of Abraham and Sarah after his father died and treated like a son. He left Haran with Abraham to go to Canaan. He went with Abraham down into Egypt, where both became even wealthier.
Then problems arose with arguments between Lots herdsmen and Abrahams herdsmen. Abraham, as you recall , let Lot choose where he would go with his flocks. We read that Lot looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah and noticed these things about the area- it was well watered like the garden of the Lord; and it was like the land of Egypt. In other words Lot saw an opportunity to increase his wealth because of the business opportunities. We are told Lot chose for himself.
There is an important principle for believers: it is stated clearly in Matthew 6:33: Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you also. Did Lot seek first the kingdom of God? No- he sought first what would make him the most money. There was no mention of prayer, an altar or seeking the advice of his more spiritually mature Uncle Abraham.
The Bible tells us though that Lot was a righteous man. The verses II Peter describes Lot as righteous. But we will see as the story unfolds- he was also carnal. And because he was carnal, the verses in II Peter tells us his life was one of distress, he was vexed and tormented. So it is always with the carnal Christian. And Lot is , if nothing else, the Poster Boy for carnality.
We are told Lot first pitched his tent toward Sodom and Gomorrah. Next we read when Lot was captured in battle of the kings he had already moved into Sodom and Gomorrah. And in chapter 19, we read Lot has a house and is a member of the city council in Sodom and Gomorrah. Sounds like a success story, right? Wrong- he lived a life of distress and torment. The only kind of life a carnal believer can live- as they try to serve two masters. Compromising principles and rationalizing their life until their words pertaining to Gods judgment and righteousness are a joke.
19:1 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. ( This denotes in that time and culture, Lot holds a position of authority in the city- like an alderman or city council member. This position tells us Lot has learned to go along in order to get along. He obviously knows the lifestyle is wrong- but has rationalized he is not going against the status quo in order to be accepted and thus successful. He has not committed these sins, but has by his actions and silence condoned them.) When Lot saw the two men, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground.
Vs.2 : My lords, he said , please turn aside to your servants house.You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning. No they answered, we will spend the night in the square. ( Interesting-these two angels who readily accepted the similar invitation of Abraham- at first reject Lots invitation.)
Vs. 3: Lot may have had enough spiritual insight to recognize these were not ordinary men. He insists strongly , urges them to go with him and they enter into his house. Lot knew what took place at night in the Sodom in the streets and that it was not safe.
Vs. 4 &5: before they go to bed, all the men from every part of Sodom- both young and old- surrounded the house . They called to Lot Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them. ( KJV uses the phrase know them- the same words used when Adam knew his wife, referring to having sexual intercourse with her.) See the demands of the people in a society out of control they want their own way. Lot was a representative of the local government- so in some ways they were demanding their representative of their government give into their demands. You might think of them as lobbyists lobbying their representative to give them what they wanted.
Vs. 6-8: Lot confronts the mob and addresses them: No my friend dont do this wicked thing. In KJV, Lot addresses them as brothers.. But he only inflames them more when he calls their proposed actions- wicked. I confess I do not understand why Lot would offer his two daughters to this crowd except that in his panic to do the right thing- he, as a carnal, double-minded man is not thinking clearly. Needless to say it did not satisfy the appetites of these Sodomites.
Vs.9: Lot learns a truth- although he has lived there for years and achieved a position of leadership- he is still considered an outsider. So it will always be with the carnal Christian- out of fellowship with the Lord but never really accepted by the world. Truly wandering in the wilderness-
Vs 10-11 : These two angels recue Lot and struck the mob with blindness. Take note of how judgment always works: first they are warned, often repeatedly ; they harden their hearts and suppress the truth in unrighteousness; then a tipping point is reached and they are blinded and come to believe a lie. Can you see how so many of our population in this country have come to believe the lies of the enemy ? Abortion is a constitutional right, homosexuality is an accepted alternative lifestyle to be not only tolerated, but appreciated and taught to our children and grandchildren as normal. To call it sinful, indecent, wicked, perverted and depraved behavior will not be tolerated. We have become a nation that more closely resembles Sodom and Gomorrah and Christians who seem to have taken Lot as a role model rather than the One who died for our sins.
As a result of the life Lot has lived- of the danger of compromise- Lots witness is a joke. Told of the impending destruction by the angels, Lot rushes into the streets to tell his two son-in-laws- who laugh at him and mock him. As it was in the days of Sodom so will it be at the coming of the Son of God.
Finally the two angels urged Lot , his wife and two daughter to flee or be swept up in the destruction to come.
They are so hesitant, the angels actually grab hold of them and lead them safely out of the city. ( vs. 16)
Next the angels warn Lot and family: flee to the mountains- dont look back or you will be consumed. Do you see that Lot was saved as one through flames. He lost everything, although he, himself was saved as one scorched by fire.
The danger of becoming a carnal Christian is revealed here in Lots attitude and thinking:
He was reluctant to leave Sodom and now is ready to stop and once again choose for himself. He did not want to go to the mountains- he wanted to go to a city. God intervenes to save Lot from the total destruction- but once Lot is out of harms way, he wants to return to living life the way he wants to live it.
The angels agree to allow Lot and his family to travel to Zoar, a small town in the area. As the sun comes up, the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah from the Lord out of the heavens. Note: where Gods wrath against unrighteousness is revealed- from the heavens against all godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
Remember Lots wife, the Lord said and we see why He told us to remember her: She looked back perhaps for one more glance at the house that she had lovingly decorated with great care- but she had been warned and she was turned into a pillar of salt.
In his book of Antiquities, Josephus wrote some 2000 years ago, that this pillar of salt remained in his day and he had seen it.
There is a brief interlude in this story as verse 27 tells us early the next morning Abraham go up and returned to the place where he had stood with Lord to look toward Sodom and Gomorrah and see the smoke rising from the cities like a furnace.
But God remembered Abraham and saved Lot and his family. Lot had lost everything- Abraham had not even lost a nights sleep. What a contrast between two believers.
The last verses of this story- do not get any better for Lot and his two daughters. It is hard to understand how they could have fallen into such a condition- but clearly Lot was a man no longer of making good decisions. His daughters behavior the incest that followed I cannot fully comprehend or explain.
Evidently his daughters had observed and absorbed how their father compromised and chose for himself the way to live his life. Children do not just listen to what parents say- they watch how they behave, how they live and how they make decisions. Lot chose for himself- we never do read of Lot building an altar and calling on the Lord. In fact when instructed by angels where to go and what to do and not do- Lot chose for himself and sadly so did his daughters.