This sermon is based on Genesis 19:1-38. Click here to read the text.
When last we saw Abraham (Genesis 18:16-33) he was making intercession before the LORD on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah. In Genesis 19, we see the effects of his prayer. Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding valley were ultimately destroyed, but Lot and his two daughters were delivered from the destruction, though not from other consequences of their worldliness.
The Sin of Sodom… In Ezekiel 16:49-50, the LORD says that the sin of Sodom was that “she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me.” Elsewhere in the Old Testament, the word “abomination” (Ezekiel 16:50) is associated with sexual sins – such as incest, homosexuality, and bestiality – and with idolatry, especially involving child sacrifice (see Leviticus 18 in particular). The primary sin of Sodom was spiritual pride. The people of Sodom had turned from God and had become “futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened… For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions… And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness…” (See Romans 1:18-32 for the full passage). The prideful unrighteousness of Sodom crystallized on the night of the angels’ inspection into a haughty display of inhospitable, lustful violence. The whole town (v. 4) had shown up at Lot’s door in order to get to “know” (v. 5) the men whom Lot was hosting, proving God was just in His final judgment of Sodom. There were not even ten righteous ones to be found within the city. The prosperity of the pridefully unrighteous may last for a season but the Scriptures repeatedly show us that God is just and that He will bring a final judgment against them (Revelation 21:8, 27).
The Mercy of God… Lot chose to live in Sodom. He saw the green valleys surrounding the city and wanted the prosperity they offered despite the risk of being associated closely with Sodom’s worldliness and unrighteousness. Even after Sodom was previously captured by Chedorlaomer and then redeemed by Abraham, Lot returned to live among these people (Genesis 14). Yet, because of Abraham’s righteousness and his intercession, God showed mercy toward Lot. The angels warned Lot about the coming destruction. More than that they took Lot, his wife, and his daughters by the hands and delivered them to safety. Lot was saved from the destruction of Sodom by the mercy of God through the intercession of Abraham. You and I are saved by the mercy of God through the intercession of the crucified, risen, and ascended Christ Jesus.
The Tragedy of Lot… Despite being a recipient of God’s grace in deliverance, Lot’s story proved tragic, at least in the here and now. Upon being led out of Sodom he was called to flee to the hills. He doubted he could make it there before the fire rained down, which is to say he doubted the LORD’s sovereign grace and patience. So, he requested an incomplete salvation that fit his incomplete faith. God granted him his request and allowed him to flee to Zoar, though his respite there would be short-lived. Upon arriving to Zoar, Lot’s wife looked back at Sodom, expressly disobeying the LORD’s command, and she forever became a warning to God’s people that those who look away from salvation in Christ back to the world are not fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:61-62; 17:28-33). Lot became afraid in Zoar, but instead of fleeing to the hills (which likely meant a return to Abraham) he and his two daughters lived in a cave. Caves are the abodes of animals, the hideouts of outlaws and refugees, and the resting place of the dead. Oh how far mighty Lot had fallen. He who was once so prosperous that he and his uncle could not exist in the vicinity of one another, had been reduced to the status of cave dweller. His tragic descent, however, had not yet reached bottom, for love of the world breeds fear, despair, and desperation. In fear he had left Zoar. In despair he turned to a cave. Perhaps he had also developed a pattern of turning to alcohol in his despair. Certainly he seemed to be an easy target for drunkenness when his daughters crafted their desperate plan for “salvation” through childbearing, by conceiving with their father. Lot’s love affair with “the world” had brought him to the point of this grave dishonor. More than that, the sons his daughters did bear were none other than Moab and Ammon, the fathers of people’s that would cause great consternation for Israel in the future. Lot’s tragic circumstances are a clarion warning that even those saved by grace from final judgment can fall prey in the here and now to the temptations of worldliness and suffer the grave consequences of such a love affair. May we walk, as Abraham did, by faith and not, as Lot did, by sight as we pursue holiness to the glory of God.
Discuss and Pray – Genesis 19:1-38
- In what ways does the worldly culture in which we live mimic Sodom in its prideful dismissal of God (see Ezekiel 16:48-50 and Romans 1:18-33)?
- Read 2 Peter 2:6-10). In what ways are the righteous in Christ distressed by living in the midst of such a culture? What hope do we have in the Lord to be rescued from trials?
- The angels had to take Lot, his wife, and his daughters by the hand to lead them to safety. Describe a way or time in which you were unwilling or unable to be rescued but God in His mercy “took you by the hand” and dragged you out of danger (spiritual, emotional, etc.).
- Sin and worldliness often times have consequences in the present, even for those saved eternally by grace. What are some examples of such consequences in your own life, either because of your own sin or that of another? How can we walk by faith and not by sight as we seek, in Christ, to rise above the fear, despair, desperation, and dishonor of the tragedies of our sin?