Summary: If take warning signs posted by local authorities about thin ice, it’s even more important for us to take God seriously when he warns about the coming judgment.
Every year people require rescuing after falling through thin ice. Some don’t make it. They drown before help can arrive. That’s why provinces spend tens of thousands of dollars warning people to stay off thin ice. People could avoid a lot of trouble for themselves and others if they just took these warnings seriously.
If it’s important to take seriously warning signs posted by local authorities about thin ice, it’s that much more important to take God seriously when he warns about coming judgment. That’s something a man named Lot failed to do. While Lot himself managed to escape serious harm, other members of his family weren’t so fortunate. Do you want to avoid a “Lot” of trouble? Then pay attention to what our text says: take God seriously.
Lot was the nephew of Abraham. He had traveled with Uncle Abraham to Canaan but the two went their separate ways when it became clear that they needed more grazing land for all their animals. Lot chose to live in the city of Sodom because the land around it was well watered and good for grazing. From a business point of view Lot made a wise decision. Spiritually speaking, however, Lot could not have made a worse choice. Sodom, like Vegas, New Orleans, and Bangkok today, was known as a city in which you could readily indulge your sinful cravings.
Did Lot think he could “handle” the temptations that came with living in Sodom? Did he even suppose that he could have a positive influence on his wayward neighbors? Whatever he thought, God’s warning in 1 Corinthians proved unfortunately true: “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33). That became evident with the arrival of two strangers to Sodom. The strangers were angels sent by God to rescue Lot before they destroyed Sodom and its surroundings. When Lot laid eyes on the two he insisted that they spend the night at his house and not in the town square as they were “planning” on doing. Before they could settle down for the night, however, men of all ages came to Lot’s house and demanded that he produce the two visitors so that they all could have sex with them. Instead of denouncing the mob’s insane lust Lot tried deflecting it. He offered to give them instead his two virgin daughters! Living in Sodom had obviously dulled Lot’s moral sensitivity.
Lot got himself and his family into this trouble because he had failed to take seriously what God says about faith. It’s the most important thing we have. Holding on to our faith in Jesus as savior is more important than earning a six-figure pay check. Yet how often don’t we fail to take seriously what God has to say about keeping our faith strong through the study of his Word and regular worship attendance and instead make life choices that will help us earn more money even though it will put our faith in jeopardy because we can’t be regular in worship? Avoid a “Lot” of trouble, Friends, and take God seriously when he says, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” (Matthew 16:26) Make life choices that will strengthen, not weaken your faith.
When the mob started closing in on Lot the angels grabbed him and pulled him back inside the house. They then blinded the crowd so that they were disoriented and couldn’t even find Lot’s door. I see here another way in which we can avoid a lot of trouble. Like Lot, we too live in an evil world. We can no longer let our children ride their bikes to the park by themselves. We don’t readily open our doors to strangers. We don’t even like to shake hands anymore because of the “H1-No-Fun” virus. But before you let fear and paranoia take over remember what the psalmist said: “[God] will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Psalm 91:10). You may not be able to see these angels as Lot did but they’re there. No harm will come your way that God won’t somehow use to your eternal advantage (Romans 8:28). Take this promise of God’s seriously and you’ll avoid a lot of problems that come as a result of stress.
After the angels pulled Lot to safety, they told him to warn his family to get out of the city because God was going to destroy it. But when Lot raised the alarm with his sons-in-law, they thought he was joking. Is that what you thought when you heard the Gospel lesson this morning? When Jesus warned about the stars falling from the sky, when he said that the sun would stop shining, and that this world would burn up did you think: “He’s exaggerating. He’s just saying those things to scare us into behaving.” No. Jesus isn’t trying to scare you; he’s preparing you. Take his warning seriously or you’ll find yourself in a lot of trouble.