Summary: God will judge sin - both obvious and hidden sins.
Have you ever found yourself in this predicament? You’re late for an appointment and halfway to your destination you run into a sign that says, “Road Closed Ahead.” The sign isn’t exactly blocking the way forward so you decide to proceed anyway. At first there’s no trouble. But then the road turns into gravel, and then mud. Now you’re in danger of getting stuck and it’s clear that there is no way forward. You’ve wasted precious minutes and now you’ll really be late for your appointment. You should have taken the warning seriously and not ventured down that road.
That’s what Abraham’s nephew Lot learned on his journey of faith: take God’s warnings seriously. That’s also what the people of Sodom and Gomorrah should have done, and what we should do. Let’s find out more.
Last Sunday we heard the LORD tell Abraham that he was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness. In turn, Abraham pleaded that God not sweep away the righteous with the wicked. He was thinking of his nephew Lot who lived in Sodom and who was still a believer. Lot demonstrated his faith in the concern he showed for the angels, who, as far as Lot knew, were just normal travelers passing through Sodom. When they walked into the city, Lot insisted that they spend the night at his house and not in the town square. Lot also prepared a meal for them, though you wonder just how hungry they could have been after the feast Abraham had recently fed them.
Before they could settle down for the night, 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. What struck me is how we are told that it was men of all ages, both young and old, who wanted to engage in this sinful behavior. So no, it’s not just the young who struggle with sin, so do senior citizens. I don’t think any of you would argue that point, but could it be that we adults are often quick to condemn the actions of young people while ignoring our own sins? We accuse the youth of being disrespectful, but we ourselves think nothing of mocking those God has placed in authority over us. We lament the foul language that spews forth from adolescents, while the same foul language courses through our minds, though we might be “grown up” enough not to say what we’re thinking.
As the mob clamoured for the visitors, Lot went out to try to reason with them. You have to admire his courage. Lot was more concerned for his visitors’ safety than his own. But then your heart sinks when you hear Lot say, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them” (Genesis 19:7, 8).
What? It was wicked for men to want to have sex with other men, but not wicked for Lot to offer his daughters to this mob? Have we also adopted Lot’s attitude? Do we, for example, think that the sin of homosexuality is worse than other sexual sins, like letting our eyes linger where they should not? And are we callous to our sins of greed, of gossip, of going through the motions of worship, but excuse ourselves by saying, “At least I’m not a practicing homosexual!” But what was it that Jesus once said? “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3) Fellow members, let it be said of this congregation that we are bold in condemning the sin of homosexuality, but let it also be said that we are bold in condemning and confessing our own sins, every single one of them. For if we ever make excuses for our sins or downplay their danger, then we’re not taking God’s warning against sin seriously and that’s utterly foolish!
As it was Lot himself barely escaped God’s judgment. 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. The angels warned Lot to get out of the city because God was going to destroy it. But when Lot raised the alarm with his future sons-in-law, they thought he was joking.
I bet you have plenty of friends who think you are a joke for believing that God is going to bring this world to an end with fire. But notice how Lot himself had a hard time taking the angels’ warning seriously. Instead of grabbing his family and running for the hills as he had been urged to do, Lot hesitated. Did he think the impending judgment wasn’t going to be so bad—that he could wait it out in the cellar? Even after the angels grabbed Lot and his family and forcibly led them out of the city, Lot pleaded that he be allowed to run to a nearby village instead of into the hills. Even at that crucial moment Lot was trying to make compromises with God. That’s not what strong faith does, however. It takes God’s warnings seriously.