Genesis 19: Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed
Have you ever known a person or family to be utterly devastated by sin? God gives examples like this passage to warn us.
Genesis 19 records the destruction of Sodom, Lot’s deliverance with the help of angels, God’s judgment on his wife, followed by Lot’s drunkenness and the wickedness of his daughters.
We have in Genesis 19, one of the most disturbing passages in the Scriptures.
vv. 1–3 - the two men that visited Abraham with the Son of God in chapter 18, are now revealed to be angels. They arrive in Sodom by evening. Lot has gained position in the city which is why he sits at the gate. He immediately discerns something about them and quickly brings them into his home. It seems like he discerns the danger they are in.
vv. 4–11 - every man in the city gathers around Lot’s home desiring to abuse and hurt the visitors in a very wicked way. Lot knows this, which is why he says “do not so wickedly” (v. 7). In v. 9, the men of the city get angry at Lot, reminding him that he is an outsider and has no business being their judge. Now Lot’s life is in danger. The angels intervene, rescuing Lot from the men and smiting them all with blindness. There are those that wish to suggest that the men of Sodom were guilty solely of the sins outlined in Ezekiel 16. But the terminology of wanting to “know” the men and Lot trying to substitute his daughters reveals the sins to be much more sordid. Under Asa’s reign we are told he gets rid of the sodomites in the land. These were not just inhospitable people, but deviant people. Jude v7 says it was going after strange flesh.
vv. 12–14 - the angels give Lot opportunity to warn all his connections. So he finds the two men espoused to marry his daughters to warn them, but like Noah’s warnings to the world before the flood, Lot’s words fall on deaf ears.
vv. 15–22 - the angels reissue their warning, but even Lot seems to not perceive the imminent danger. He “lingered” but the Lord shows mercy, and the angels grab all four of them, one in each hand, and lead them to a place of safety where they are further instructed to keep running away from the city and go to a nearby mountain.
vv. 23–29 - God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah just after dawn, and Lot’s wife disobey’s v. 17, and is judged by God while Abraham watches the devastation. What is the significance of a pillar of salt? A pillar has the idea of a monument, and salt is a preservative. The sense seems to be that she is preserved as a monument to warn people.
vv. 30–38 - Lot now feels like a man without a home. He has lost everything and his two daughters also feel cut off from the world, leading to further sins and greater consequences.
The company you keep will affect your judgment. Lot gained security, position, and respect in Sodom. But the sins of Sodom affected Lot. His willingness to offer his daughters to the men of Sodom, his slowness to respond to the warnings to escape, reflect the polluting influence of Sodom on his soul. Be deliberate about your friendships and company.
Be careful you don’t commit one sin in order to avoid another. Lot’s protection of his guests was right, but substituting his daughters was wrong.
The only intimate relationship permitted by God is between a man and woman. Anything else i) distorts the created order, and ii) disobeys the call to fruitfulness. You must honor God by upholding this no matter how unpopular. The desire is sin, not just the action.
Do not think little of small disobediences. The angels said, “look not behind thee” and perhaps it seemed like hyperbole. But Lot’s wife is judged for not taking the command to heart. Jesus tells us to remember her, meaning she is an example of what not to do in every generation. Jesus said, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62). Not just going back, but even looking back.
Just because you escape some consequences for sin, doesn’t mean you will escape all consequences for sin. Lot had rebelled much against God in going to Sodom, and escaped with his life. But he lost his wife, his wealth, and became the father to two groups of idolatrous and sinful people.
Children, be careful of what John Bunyan calls ‘eye gate’. Lot’s downward spiral began with a look, and his wife’s life ended with a look. Even looking at things forbidden by God can destroy your life and family.
Christ will return one day with his angels to judge the nations in flaming fire, taking vengeance on any that do not know God and do not obey the gospel. But as God remembered Abraham and spared Lot, so God remembers Christ and spares all His people. Make sure that when Christ returns you are not destroyed in the judgment.
“And if, my Brother, you and I, ourselves saved, wish to be the means of saving others, we must not merely tell them the old, old story, however simply, earnestly and as often we tell it—but we must come to wrestling with them! We must plead with them, we must weep over them and we must make up our minds that if we cannot break their hearts, we will break our own.” — Charles Spurgeon