When God decided to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of its depravity (compare Genesis 18 and 19), Lot lingered (Genesis 19:16), rather than fleeing from such an ungodly place. But eventually sanity prevailed, and Lot, his wife and his daughters escaped from the scene of such ungodliness. Lot’s wife, however, “looked back” and died (Genesis 19:26). While there are a number of aspects of this story that could be discussed, I want to just briefly mention two of them in this editorial.
First, it seemed that Lot and his family had become so accustomed to wrong behavior and a society that had strayed so far from the way of God, that escaping from such a place seemed madness, so much so, that Lot’s sons-in-law thought he was joking (Genesis 19:14). Apparently, even righteous Lot did not think that God would actually DESTROY the place. So, why should they flee? For example, today homosexuality is considered an alternative life style rather than the perversion and the abomination that the Bible describes. No doubt, many of the attitudes displayed today are a reflection of the same sort of attitudes that prevailed around 4,000 years ago in Sodom and Gomorrah. Nothing, it would appear, seems to change! But the place was obviously a hotbed of sin of all descriptions. Lot and his family were to forsake the city emotionally as well as physically, and were to loathe it as God loathed it. Do we feel the same about the Sodom and Gomorrah-type-society that we live in, and loathe its many sins?
Second, it is obvious that such reluctance to flee the place was because they accepted the society which afforded them a pleasant life and a comfortable standard of living. Even though Lot “tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds” (2 Peter 2:8), he still had chosen to dwell and stay there (same verse), because of the wealth it had to offer (compare Genesis 13:9-11). As an Englishman abroad at present, currently in southern California for the Church conference, I have, yet again, been reminded that this is truly a land flowing with milk and honey, probably much greater than that promised to ancient Israel (compare Deuteronomy 6:3). There is a super abundance of everything which just seems to be taken for granted by so many. But, do we trust in our riches and have we set our hearts on them, so much so, that we would be unwilling to leave them behind, if God were to require it?
Let us remember these two important lessons that can easily be forgotten:
(1) We must not accept ungodly behavior, irrespective of what is happening around us and what society deems to be acceptable.
(2) While we must never take for granted the many blessings that God constantly gives to us all, we must never set our hearts on physical things. A godly attitude in every aspect of our life will enable us to obey God and to cope with whatever faces us in the future. Failure to trust God as we should will prove to be a recipe for disaster.
1 Corinthians 10:11 sums it up perfectly: “Now all these things happened to them as examples and were written for our admonition….” Let us be among those who learn from history, which is something that rarely seems to happen.