Vs 12 – 14: The men now tell Lot what they are about to do. They tell him to get his household ready because destruction was coming swiftly because of the outcry of the city. Remember God said they wanted to go down and check out the city for themselves and they have now seen firsthand the extent of the sin in this city. Lot goes to his son’s in law (they were betrothed to be married; they weren’t actually married yet) and tells them what is going to happen. Their response was laughter and unbelief (much like Sarah’s) but this unbelief would cost them their lives. For one reason or another they thought Lot was joking and did not take him seriously.
Vs 15 – 22: When morning arrived the Angels urged Lot to pack up and leave the city immediately. God is keeping his promise to spare the righteous among the wicked. Surprisingly after all that has been going Lot is reluctant to go; we are told he lingered or hesitated. Why? That is a good question. The two angels grabbed him and told him it was urgent that he leave with his wife and two daughters. The angels have two direct commands…
1. Escape, or leave while you can and go to the hills.
2. As you leave do not look back.
In this rush Lot actually has the audacity to argue with the men because he doesn’t think this is a good idea. He thinks he will die in the hills. He says he will not go to the hills, so would they consider letting him go to the city of Zoar instead? We see in this picture that Lot is going to go but he is going reluctantly. Lot went kicking and screaming. He may be leaving the city physically but part of his heart wants to stay there. The Angels show him mercy and agree to his terms.
Vs 23 – 29: As the sun rose God rained down his judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and sulfur. Everything was destroyed, the inhabitants and all living things. The city was decimated.
In the fleeing for their lives Lot’s wife stops and looks back and we are told she becomes a pillar of salt (if this is literal or symbolic we are not told. Some have suggested that a strange rock formation around the Dead Sea would have been the reason this story was told this way). All in all it seems kind of harsh doesn’t it? When we look at the literal translation of the words “look back” we get a better understanding as to why things happen the way they did. The NET Bible translates this verse, “Lot’s wife looked back longingly…” Her look was not a curious gaze over the shoulder. It was more of a longing to go back. She turned around and may have begun to literally go back to the city as it was being destroyed. She disobeys a God directed command to not look back. In her disobedience she forfeits her deliverance from destruction and perishes as well. God offered her salvation and she denied it by looking back longingly on the life she left behind. Note the parallel of the Garden of Eden… Disobedience equals death. Instead in this case it was literal death.
There is very little encouragement in this account. It is also very difficult to pull out any practical application for that matter. However difficult it may be it is not impossible and I do believe there are some action steps for us to take home today. In looking at this account we can see just how much sin and compromise can affect our walk with the God. I have three points that I would like to bring to light that we can easily apply to us today.
1) Christians are to be in the world but not of the world. We are told many times in the Bible that we are not to love the world because this world system is not of God. Sin has corrupted this world and thus we are not to love it. This simply means that the world system is a godless system and we are not to allow the world to influence us. Actually we are called to influence (or be witnesses for Jesus Christ) the world. When we allow the world to influence us it changes us and affects our relationship with God. Lot was sitting in the place of authority in a godless city. He was in a position where he could make a difference for the sake of the Kingdom of God but his affection for the city was far greater than his affection for God.
As Christians we are called to the world or to the city or place we live (which is for the most part godless). The question we must ask ourselves is “How can we make an impact on the city for the Kingdom of God instead of the city making an impact on us thus severing or hindering our relationship with God?”
2) Sin bites and it bites hard – When Lot tries to calm the mob they turn on him…The sin he was overlooked, tolerated and maybe even condoned is now working against him. This is what sin does. It may appear to be attractive, appealing, and good but if left unchecked it will eventually turn against you. Sin may seem to bring happiness but ultimately it brings death.
3) When God calls us out of sin do not look back. So many of us (myself included) may tend to look back on our “old lives” with fondness and affection. This is a dangerous place to be. God has called us out from the sin-filled lives we once lived according to and into his glory. God has literally given us heaven and we so often settle for second or third best. We must be reminded (and sometimes daily) that we (who are in Christ) are new creations in Christ Jesus the former ways are gone (they are behind you), behold all things are new. Since this is true let us keep our eyes on God and the path he has called us.