Summary: The danger with a little bit of sin, is that we can sin just a little. However, we must know that there are grave consequences when we choose to follow our own desires rather than following the will of God.
“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.’ Lot said to them, ‘Oh, no, my lords. Behold, your servant has found favour 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 favour 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.
“The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulphur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.”
Lot built his life on compromise. In this, he was not unlike many contemporary Christians. Even while the world as he knew it was moving inexorably to a catastrophic conclusion, he attempted to compromise his values and his life as a worshipper of the Living God. The text before us exposes his effort to preserve life as he wanted it to be; it also reminds us of the high cost of compromise. Christians can learn a great lesson through reviewing Lot’s compromise and what it cost him.
*Forced Evacuation* — Recently, forest fires in Kelowna have forced many families to leave their homes on very short notice. Some people reported that they had two minutes to evacuate. Forced evacuations are painful for those who must leave everything—often on extremely short notice—to flee for their lives. Lives are disrupted, security is threatened, the emotional toll is great. As we read the account of the forced evacuation for Lot and his family, we are at first moved with a sense of compassion, knowing the disruption and emotional trauma they were experiencing. However, it is difficult to continue such generous feelings toward Lot when we remember that he placed himself in jeopardy; the divine intervention was a mark of mercy for one who had refused to accept responsibility for doing what was right and honourable.
That Lot tarried, even after the danger was evident, is apparent from even a casual reading of the text. After the threat from hostile townspeople and his rescue by the angels dispatched to the city, Lot was told the purpose of their visit. “We are about to destroy this place,” they announced, “because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it” [*Genesis 19:13*]. Accordingly, Lot was told to warn any family members to leave with him.
Perhaps Lot was moved in part by the peril he had just faced, but he urged the men pledged to his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city” [*Genesis 19:14*]. I must wonder whether his future sons-in-law had been part of the mob that had threatened Lot the night before, since the divine text is quite specific that “all the people to the last man” [*Genesis 19:4*] compassed his house during the night. It is likely that not all the men of the city were homosexual, but all approved, at least tacitly, of the practise, and we must concede that Lot’s daughters’ fiancés were probably included in the pack that stalked the visitors on the evening before. Nevertheless, to his sons-in-law, Lot appeared to be joking [*Genesis** 19:14b*].
He was sufficiently agitated during the night that he pleaded with the men pledged to his daughters, yet, when the morning dawned the angels were compelled to urge Lot once more to leave. “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city” [*Genesis 19:15*]. The divine text pointedly notes, “But he lingered” [*Genesis** 19:16a*]. Moreover, Lot’s indecision had an impact on his wife and daughters, for the angels seized him together with his wife and two daughters [*Genesis** 19:16a*], apparently dragging them outside the city. The text suggests that they used force to compel them to leave the city.