• The photographer for a national magazine was assigned to get photos of a great forest fire. Smoke at the scene hampered him and he asked his home office to hire a plane. Arrangements were made and he was told to go at once to a nearby airport, where the plane would be waiting. When he arrived at the airport, a plane was warming up near the runway. He jumped in with his equipment and yelled, "Let's go! Let's go!" The pilot swung the plane into the wind and they soon were in the air.
• "Fly over the north side of the fire," yelled the photographer, "and make three or four low level passes."
• "Why?" asked the pilot.
• "Because I'm going to take pictures," cried the photographer. "I'm a photographer and photographers take pictures!"
• After a pause the pilot said, "You mean you're not the instructor?"
Gen 19:1-2 The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth 2 and said, "My lords, please turn aside to your servant's house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way." They said, "No; we will spend the night in the town square."
• Two angels, not three visitors.
• Notice that his response to the visitors was the same as hospitable Abraham.
• But there is a difference.
• Psalms 1:1-2 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
• Lot was easily influenced, by Abraham when he was with him, and now with the attitudes and worldviews of Sodom.
• He looked towards the rich valleys of Sodom, walked that way, lived among them, and now was sitting with the spit and whittle club discussing politics and religion.
• The angels would have been safe in the town square because the carried God’s supernatural power.
• They were bringing God’s supernatural power.
• And if it were God’s will for them to truly stay there, they could not have been dissuaded.
Gen 19:3 But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.
• They suggested staying at the town square to illustrate that Lot understood the sin and wickedness that abounded there.
• Many find themselves in this situation.
• “It won’t affect me. I will probably influence them for Christ before they could pull me down.”
• 1Co 15:33 Do not be deceived: "Bad company ruins good morals."
• We will see over the next few weeks that the single look away from God caused a downward spiral that was beyond regrettable.
• The Angels ultimately took the hospitality and invitation of Lot.
Gen 19:4-5 But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. 5 And they called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them."
• These men of Sodom had very bad intentions for the “visitors” of Lot.
• Isa 3:9 For the look on their faces bears witness against them; they proclaim their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves.
• The shamefulness of their ideas will not be described now, but can be seen in the following verses, along with the depth of Lot’s spiritual state.
Gen 19:6-8 Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, 7 and said, "I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. 8 Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof."
• Oh, yeah, that is much better. Lot, send out your daughters to be abused and violated.
• We are first touched by Lot’s closeness to these wicked men.
• “I beg you, my brothers…” the implication was that he had more in common with these men than he did with Abraham.
• We are next disturbed because he never tried to talk them out of wickedness, but change one wickedness for another.
• Why couldn’t he say, “Guys, forget it, it’s not right. Can’t you think of something good to do for evening instead of being slaves to your base nature?”
• I think the answer of this is revealed in the Isaiah 3:9.
• He could tell by the look on your face that they were bent on lust and wickedness.
• We are next taken aback by the fact that he offers his daughters to be abused.
• What kind of father would do that? Oh, how far Lot had fallen.
• His best solution to protect these travelors and his reputation as a host was to sacrifice his family to moral debauchery.
Gen 19:9 But they said, "Stand back!" And they said, "This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them." Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down.
• The wicked men of Sodom began to yell, “Get out of the way. Who are you to move your family here and then act high and mighty to judge us?”
• “For that, we are going to riot and do what we came to do, plus, we are going to abuse you also.
Gen 19:10 But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door.
• The Angels reached out the door and pulled Lot inside before he could be hurt and shut the door.
• You get the sense that this is the time the Angels will take over this situation.
• The men of Sodom have revealed the depth of their wickedness.
• Lot had been shown his own evil residing in his heart.
Gen 19:11 And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.
• Again, there are some things that really stick out when we read this verse.
• The Angels caused the rioting mob who were filled with evil lust with physical blindness so they could figure out where the door was or how to open it.
• What type of men were these? This shows the horrible wickedness that was in this region.
• In Hebrew “from the Kawtone to the Gawdole’” indicates from the very smallest to the very biggest, or from the very youngest to the very oldest.
• The significance that small and large, or young and old, are specified in the text and context indicates that this was not a group of men in their 20s and 30s.
• It would have only called them young men. It means there were teen, perhaps some preteens, and all the way up to grandpas.
• The elders had ceased to instruct and guide the youngest in morality, but had, instead, included them in their most shameful deeds.
Gen 19:12 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. 13 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."
• OK, Lot, is there anyone here in town with whom you have a positive influence over, because we are about to blow this place to smithereens.
• Sons-in-law, sons, daughters who live outside your house, any close friends? You better go get them.
• The angels knew the answer here, but they are still revealing to Lot the depth he had fallen.
• He had no one else in the city that would listen to his witness. It was gone outside his house.
Gen 19:14 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.
• Lot’s daughters were promised to a couple of men in the city, but his influence was gone with his future sons-in-law.
• They thought it was April 1st and they were not going to fall for the joke.
Gen 19:15 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."
• There is a sense of the need for hurrying. God’s time bomb had been set and Lot needed to get his family out of Dodge.
Gen 19:16 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.
• Here we get the first sense of Lot’s emotional condition. He didn’t hurry.
• He was grieved because the life he always wanted was over.
• His plans, dreams, influence, friends, and even his pet sins were coming to an end.
• So, perhaps out of depression, he moved slowly.
• However, the angels, hurried them, actually drug them, out of the city.
• What Lot thought was grieving the loss of, God was delivering him as an act of mercy.
• Wow, we could stop and preach right here.
Gen 19:17 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."
• Look at the commands: “Escape, don’t look back, don’t stop until you get to the hills.”
Gen 19:18-20 And Lot said to them, "Oh, no, my lords. 19 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. 20 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!"
• “Lord, I have a better idea.”
• The very concept seems stupid to us when we see it in other people’s lives.
• Yet how many times do we act the same way. We go against God’s plan because we are think something would be better for us at this time, or we deserve it, or we are afraid of God’s way.
• Lot said, “Lord, we don’t want to go to the hills, but there is a nice little town we would like to stay in.”
• This town was called Bela, later called Zoar. Zoar means “little”.
• Many times, when God calls us to leave a sinful life, we ask if we can just cut back for now.
• We seek a little city to restore our lifestyle instead of being completely called away from it.
Gen 19:21-22 He said to him, "Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. 22 Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there." Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.
• The Lord very, very seldom will take us where we are unwilling to go.
• That is part of the importance of giving us new hearts, hearts that long after Him.
• What a blessing it is that God has written His will on our hearts and He is working in us to will and to do His good work.
• Yet, we still have to die to the dread of leaving an old habit and the fear of walking in new territory for us.
• If not, God will grant us our desire and we will fall short of His blessings and abound in our trouble.
Gen 19:23-25 The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24 Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven. 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.
• Deuteronomy 29:23 indicates that four cities exploded with falling fire and brimstone, or burning sulfur.
• As Lot was entering into the city of Zoar, boom, the four cities went up.
• The closest we can understand to this is the explosion of a volcano, such as Mount St. Helens, if you remember that, or a nuclear bomb, if you remember the videos.
• However, the explosion was not that far reaching, for Lot only traveled 3-5 miles to Zoar.
• But until the development of the H-bomb, I am told we could not picture the single explosion destroying an entire city and the valleys between them.
Gen 19:26 But Lot's wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
• Remember the angel’s commands?
• “Escape, don’t look back, don’t stop until you get to the hills.”
• Don’t look back means, don’t look back.
• Lot’s wife is first mentioned in this passage.
• Jewish translations and literature state that Lot’s wife was from Sodom.
• Some state that her name was Edith, Arith, or Ado.
• If “don’t look back” means “don’t look back”, then I believe a pillar of salt means a pillar of salt.
What was the sin of the men of Sodom?
• The NIV translates YADA as homosexuality.
• The men of Sodom said, “Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”
• Lot said, “Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please.”
• I believe the meaning and intention of these wicked men is obvious.
• Liberal theologians are saying that these men are guilty of inhospitality.
• Inhospitality? You mean they didn’t offer the angels a cookie and Kool-Aid? Come on.
• Only until recently do men pretend they have no idea what was going on here.
• The Bible clearly states that homosexuality is a sin.
• The Old Testament law forbids homosexuality under the penalty of death.
• Lev. 20:13 - If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.
• Though we are not under the Old Testament Law because it could not redeem us, the New Testament list homosexuality as having no place in the Christian life as it lists it with other sins.
• Rom 1:26-31 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 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. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
• 1Co 6:9-10 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
• I want to be clear here. I will not say that homosexuality is no worse than any of the other things listed as sin.
• That is excusing sin. I will say, nothing on the list is any better than anything else on the list.
• We like to rate sin according to evil. We don’t see a little gossip as being as bad as homosexuality and murder.
• God never presents it that way. He says all sin is filthy, despicable, unacceptable, polluting and harmful.
• A little slander from my lips is no prettier than adultery in someone else’s. Sin is ugly and horrible.
• The greatest sin? I believe it is for God’s people to live in denial and unrepentance before God.
What is a sinful spiral?
• A sinful spiral comes in two phases.
• First the progression of sin as seen in Proverbs 1:1-2.
• It begins with the look towards evil, the leaning towards it, the steps of walking to it, the standing and loitering with those who commit evil, and finally the fellowship of sitting and making judgments.
• Unfortunately, I have seen this spiral too much in the lives of my history.
• I have seen the beginning of a Christian youth with much promise begin looking towards the unchristian girl or boy.
• Next thing you know, the youth drops out of regular Church service.
• The next thing you know, we are being called in by parents to counsel and intervene.
• The look, the lean, the steps, and eventually the lifestyle seem acceptable to the person falling until the next phase comes.
• The second phase is the unfolding of consequences.
• These do not come between the steps of the first phase, but seems to come rapidly when they start.
• By the time they begin, no steps can be undone, and that is the sadness of it.
• For Lot, he saw his reputation begin to erode.
• The people of the city did not respect his opinion to allow him to be a good guest.
• Then there was the loss of safety, as the men decided to violently turn on him.
• Then he lost his way of life that he treasured, as the angels told him to pack up and leave.
• Then he lost control of his life, as the angels had to drag him out of town.
• Then he lost all of his friends and property, as the city behind him blew up.
• Then he lost his wife, as she wouldn’t respect him enough to follow him and looked back.
• Yet it is not over. He has much more to lose.
• His options are this, continue down the path of resentment towards God and loss, or he can repent, have God’s strength and grace through the upcoming consequences, and stop further mistakes.
• Let me conclude by focusing on a terrifying consequence of sin.
How does sin affect relationships?
• Lot’s downfall began when he walked away from God through his relationship with Abraham, his mentor, to pursue the joys and riches of the world.
• That sounds innocent in one sense, until you realize the cost of moving away from God.
• The first relationship we see is that God could not honor his standing in the community.
• He lost all of his influence in Sodom.
• Secondly, we see it costing his family in many ways.
• First, how painful and hurtful it must have been to his daughters to hear their dad virtually throwing them to the lions.
• To hear a father offer to destroy the lives of his daughters must have created wounds that lasted a lifetime.
• Secondly, for a wife to hear a husband offering the kids for his own reputation must be terrible.
• We see similar today where fathers do not serve their families in search for careers.
• Third, we see the future son-in-laws literally laughing at the pleading of Lot.
• Fourth, we see all of Lot’s friends being blown to smithereens.
• Fifth, we see Lot’s wife, Edith, if you may, turning into a pillar of salt.
• Sin always destroys our earthly relationships because it affects our heavenly relationship with God.
• When we are out of sorts with God, it is impossible to maintain healthy relationships on earth.
• When you are in conflict with God, you will not have peace in your heart and conflict will be spread by your lack of peace in all your relationships.
• Truly, we must resist being deceived, “God is not mocked. Whatever a person plants, he will have to harvest.”
Gary Richmond, a former zoo keeper, had this to say: Raccoons go through a glandular change at about 24 months. After that they often attack their owners. Since a 30-pound raccoon can be equal to a 100-pound dog in a scrap, I felt compelled to mention the change coming to a pet raccoon owned by a young friend of mine, Julie. She listened politely as I explained the coming danger. I'll never forget her answer. "It will be different for me. . ." And she smiled as she added, "Bandit wouldn't hurt me. He just wouldn't." Three months later Julie underwent plastic surgery for facial lacerations sustained when her adult raccoon attacked her for no apparent reason. Bandit was released into the wild. Sin, too, often comes dressed in an adorable guise, and as we play with it, how easy it is to say, "It will be different for me." The results are predictable.