Gems from Genesis: Chapter 19

We left chapter eighteen with the Lord visiting the earth to see if he would find any good out of Sodom and Gomorrah. The wickedness of these cities had forced his hand, and it’s only by his grace that Lot and his family are saved. Abraham’s intercession on his behalf is what led to extraordinary measures for his escape.

Our gem today is still in the rough, as this is a hard chapter to find anything that shines, except for God’s patience with Lot. I’m sharing several verses today, just so we can get a sense of Lot’s situation:

Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place. For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting. As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords. Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!” He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

Genesis 19:12-22 ESV

Sometimes the Lord saves us from ourselves.

Have you ever felt like that? Recently, in a Bible study group I attended, we talked about being our own worst enemy. Sometimes I have to tell the Lord, “Help me to get myself out of the way.” Well, this was definitely an issue with Lot. The progression of compromise in his life had led him to become embedded with the enemy to the point that he was almost destroyed with them.

After his own sons-in-law laughed at his plea to flee, Lot himself lingers when the angels urged him to move. Here’s a guy visited by angels, with his house surrounded by evil men trying to take advantage of his guests, and he’s hesitating! Not only does he linger, but then he negotiates about where they want him to go. “No, don’t make me go to the hills,” he said. “Can’t I go to that little city over there, instead?” Wow.

Burned to ashes.

The Enduring Word commentary says, “The life of Lot shows it is possible to have a saved soul but a wasted life.” When Lot chose to move closer and eventually into Sodom, he was showing where his loyalty lay. In the end, everything he had was destroyed and burned to ashes.

When we build for this world, the lasting benefit is fruitless. Only the life lived in concert with the Master yields fruit that will last for eternity. Lot would not know this kind of life.

The cost of compromise.

Lot’s compromised life affected his entire family:

  • The ungodly men engaged to his daughters chose to stay and thus died in the destruction of the city.
  • His wife, in her longing for the city, turned in disobedience and suffered the consequences by becoming a pillar of salt.
  • Lot’s daughters, after losing their husbands, lost their moral compass and got pregnant by their father.

The selfishness and compromised life of Lot led to his capture by invading kings (chapter 14), narrow escape from destruction, the loss of husbands for his daughters, the loss of his wife, life in a cave, the shame of incest with his daughters, and the birth of children whose descendants would be enemies of Israel.

Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

1 Corinthians 3:12-15

Lot was saved, but only barely, and with the smell of ash heavy on his clothes. Will you linger at the offer of the grace of God for your salvation? Learn a lesson from Lot—live a life of faithful obedience over compromise and the risk of being swept away in the punishment of the wicked.

Grace and Peace

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