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Sunday, December 29, 2019

posted Dec 30, 2019, 12:21 PM by Site Administrator

GOD DESTROYED SODOM AND GOMORRAH

 

Genesis 19:1-38

Key Verse 19:29

 

So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.

FirstNo, we will spend the night in the square (1-9).Look at verse 1 and 2. The two angels arrived in Sodom in the evening. They met Lot, who was sitting in the gateway of the city. Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city: The gateway of the city was the place where people brought their cases such as selling property, business contract or conflicts with others, and settled the matters before those who were seated there. So, those who sat in the gateway of the city were the influential people of the city - officials and lawyers and judges. This shows that Lot was firmly rooted and established as an influential person in the city of Sodom. When he saw the two men, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground and said, My lords, please turn aside to your servant's house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning. But the two angels did not feel comfortable with his invitation, even if he invited them in the same way Abraham had done, bowing down to the ground, and humbly asking them to come to his house. So, they said, No, we will spend the night in the square. Yet, since he insisted, they went with him. Then, at his house, Lot prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast. When he insisted, it seemed that he was going to treat them really well, but, once they went with him, he did not treat them well at all. Abraham killed a choice, tender calf for them, but Lot prepared for them a simple supper of unleavened bread, just some crackers for their dinner. There was no enthusiasm, or true sense of servitude, no warm welcome. Also, no one in his family helped him – where were his wife, and his two daughters while he was entertaining the guests? Lot was successful in Sodom; he was rich and occupied an important position; yet, it seemed that he was not enjoying an abundant life; it seemed that no one truly honored or respected him, even his own family members. 

 

Look at verses 4 and 5. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They demanded Lot to bring out his two guests so that they might have sex with them. They were really pervert - whole town. This was how they used to treat travelers that came by their town. No wonder the outcry against the people of this city reached God. Sodom was a wicked city.

 

It is really shocking that Lot who was called a righteous man in the Bible, wanted to live in the city like this. The Bible says that Lot, as he lived among them day after day, was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men. He was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard. He should not have lived there, or he should have left that area long time ago. Or, if he decided to stay there, he should have lived as a man of God trying to evangelize the city of Sodom; if preaching the message of repentance was too challenging, he might have invited some of people to one to one Bible study. But he didn't do any of them. Why? It was because he liked the city life in Sodom; he liked his success in Sodom, occupying a high position. So, while being distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men in Sodom, he pursued success, knowing how wicked they were, but not standing up as a man of God; maybe, he thought that he would never be so wicked like the people of Sodom; instead, he thought that he would just live a good life, enjoying prosperity in Sodom, and of course, attending worship service once a week. But when he did not seek God's work wholeheartedly, when he did not challenge them to repent, when he did not strive to evangelize them positively, then, things did not go as he had planned, because he had been influenced by the lifestyles and value system of the Sodomites. In the passage, Lot tried to protect his guests; it was praiseworthy. But the way he tried to solve the problem was really terrible. He offered them his two virgin daughters! It was unthinkable for any father to do. But in his eyes, it was the best choice. As he had lived there, actually, he himself was becoming a Sodomite - his way of thinking, value system, hope and direction were all being aligned with those of the Sodomites. Also, his two daughters were pledged to marry the Sodomites - in Lot's eyes, it was okay. In this way, he himself had become a Sodomite. 

 

This is how so many Christians live their life in the world. Like Lot, they never intend to be wicked like the wicked people of the world; but at the same time, they have no heart's true decision to serve God's evangelical mission either; instead, they just pursue success in the world, while going to church once a week. Yet, they do not realize that, as they do so, they are becoming like the people of the world, being influenced by their value system and lifestyle consciously and unconsciously. And they do not realize what dangers are waiting for them. Jesus mentioned about these people, saying, Whoever wants to save his life will lose it. Indeed, often we see them losing everything they hold dear - family, success, dream career, fame and money, just in the same way Lot lost everything. Even if they don’t lose them in this life, their life does not carry any value, because they have done nothing for God in this life; all these people end their life in great regret. The best way of life is not Lot's way, but Abraham's way. Jesus shows us the best way of life, saying, Whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it to eternal life. Don't try to save your dream for marriage in this life, but make a heart's decision to lose it for the sake of Jesus and his gospel, then, you will find it. The world is not the place where we should try to settle down and enjoy a comfortable life in; instead, the world is the place which we should evangelize with the gospel. Don't try to save your dream for success in the world, but for the sake of serving God's kingdom work, for the sake of obeying God's will for you, lose it, let go of it, and amazingly, you will find it eternally.

 

Look at verse 9. At Lot's offer, the Sodomites were angry at him and said, Get out of our way. This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge. We’ll treat you worse than them. While Lot struggled to establish himself as an influential person, while he won the election, it seemed that the townspeople respected him; but now they showed how they considered him – anytime, when their real agenda was concerned, they ignored him and despised him; they considered him as someone they could despise any time. Lot was respected neither by his family members nor by his townspeople.

 

If love is for women, then, respect is for men. The apostle Paul says, However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Eph 5:33) Men have this desire for respect. Brothers, do you want to be respected? Then, don’t be like Lot. Even if he had a high political position, even if it seemed that he was successful, no one respected him – his neighbors and even his family. But see how Abraham was respected by everyone. The Hittites respected him so highly, saying, Sir,… You are a mighty prince among us. They considered showing him favor as great privilege. God considered him as his friend. See even how Sarah his wife respected him, calling him, My master. Isn’t this all husbands’ dream? Don’t follow the footsteps of Lot. Instead, follow the footsteps of Abraham. 

 

Second, Flee for your lives! Don’t look back (10-38).Look at verses 10 and 11. The Sodomites, after despising Lot, kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door. But the two men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door. They revealed their true identity and told Lot to get all who belonged to him out of the city, because they were going to destroy the city according to God’s decisionSo, Lot went to his sons-in-law and told them about this, but they thought he was joking. Now it was the time for Lot to leave the city as soon as possible. But Lot hesitated that he did not leave until the dawn. Let's say that the angels told him to leave the city at 11 pm; then, until 4 or 5 am, he was not leaving. So, with the coming of dawn, the angels urged him, saying, Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished. Yet, he still hesitated. Even if God's judgment was announced, and he was given a chance to save himself from it, he was hesitant between two opinions - staying in the city or leaving the city. Why did he have such a great difficulty to leave the city, to choose between heaven and hell? It was because he loved his life in Sodom - simply, he didn't want to give up his life in Sodom. When he thought about leaving the city, his pleasure-seeking life in Sodom pulled him back; his big bank account dragged him down; his factory, his fancy restaurant, his beautiful house, his orchard, his high position in the city all pulled him back. Because he loved his life in Sodom, because his life had been so deeply rooted in Sodom with his career, human network, business and positions, he could not leave the city. So, even at the angel's direct message about the destruction, he was hesitant to leave the city. 

 

Many people refuse to make commitment to God, because they want to pursue their own life in the world - maybe, for marriage, maybe, for a successful career. They say that later, they would come back to God. Later when? After retirement when they have nothing else to do, and certainly, before they die. Their plan seems really fantastic. They would enjoy their life in the world freely. Then, right before death, they would repent and turn to God and go to heaven. But things will not go as they plan. When their life is rooted in the world deeply, for about 10 years, 20 years, or even 50 years, later, on their deathbed, when they try to pull up their life from the world, simply, they cannot; they are rooted in the world deeply that they cannot move any longer. Even if they know in their mind that they must repent and turn to God for their salvation, still they cannot repent; simply, their hearts are not responsive. As of that time, they have developed completely worldly value system, worldly hope and vision, and lifestyle that they cannot change anything. Even if great signs of the last days appear before their very eyes, even if God's angels appear to them and tell them that the last days have come and that they must repent, they cannot respond. 

 

College period is the very beginning of people's real life in the world. Some people enter through the narrow gate and walk on the narrow path, while others take the wide gate, and walk on the wide path. At the beginning of the journey, there is a littledifference between these two groups of people. But as they continue on their journey for 20 years, 30 years, or even 50 years, the gap between them grows wider and deeper that, at the end of their life, the gap is so huge that no one can cross over from one path to the other - a big chasm is fixed that no one can cross over. In this way, those who walk on the wide path go to destruction, while those who walk on the narrow path go to eternal life in God's kingdom. God says in the last chapter of the Bible, Revelation chapter 22:11, Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy. (Rev 22:11) What a solemn statement it is! There is no sneaky way for salvation. Today, you make your heart’s clear-cut decision to be holy to God, then, you will live that kind of life continually for the rest of your life. Then, you will see Jesus’ smiling face on that day.

 

Look at verse 16. When he still hesitated, the angels could not wait any longer. They grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them. Literally, they dragged them out of the city. About this, verse 16 gives us the reason why the angels even yanked them out of Sodom and saved them, saying, For the LORD was merciful to them. The apostle Peter called Lot a righteous man. But Lot's own righteousness was not enough to save himself from God's judgment. God was merciful to him and saved him from the catastrophe. After bringing them out, one of the angels said to them, Flee for your lives. Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away! Lot and his two daughters obeyed this direction, and escaped from God’s judgment successfully, but Lot’s wife looked back, and she was turned into a pillar of salt. Her failure is a great warning to all those who want to escape from the coming wrath of God. As we live as the believers of Christ Jesus, we should not look back what we have left – our old sinful way of life- just looking back at it or yearning for it can destroy our spirituality. The Israel people experienced God's salvation through Exodus from Egypt. But as they lived as God's people in the desert, due to some difficulties and challenges, they yearned for their life in Egypt, saying that they missed the meat and garlic bread they ate as they had sat down by the meat pot in Egypt. All of these people who yearned for their past life could not be wholehearted to God as God's people; as a result, all of them failed to enter the promised land; instead, they all collapsed in the desert. Today, we must flee from the coming destruction. Flee for your lives. Don’t look back! Don’t stop in the middle.

 

Look at verse 29. Let’s read this verse together:

 

So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.

 

In chapter 18, Abraham pleaded for Sodom so earnestly; he lowered the required number of the righteous to ten; he never mentioned about Lot’s name in his prayer. But God knew why Abraham was praying so earnestly, and even though there were no ten righteous people in Sodom, God rescued Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the city where Lot had lived. By Lot’s own faith and righteousness, he could not be saved from God’s judgment. But because of Abraham’s prayer, he was saved. In Jesus, now we love our family members dearly; with pure heart, we want them to believe in Jesus. So, we pray. Sometimes, thinking about their salvation, we groan in deep pain and sorrows; we pray in tears for them. Our God remembers our prayers for them. He watches over them because of us. Pray for your beloved ones, and God will intervene into their lives because of your prayer for them. James 5:16 says, The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

 

The final fruit of Lot was not good at all. When Lot saw how God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, he was afraid to live in a city. He lost appetite for it. So, he left Zoar, went to the mountain and lived in a cave. One day the older daughter said to the younger, Our father is old, and there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth. Let's get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father. Their understanding was that having sex was the custom all over the earth – that’s their understanding, their perspective. As they lived in Sodom, they became nothing but Sodomites. They wanted to have sex, but there was no man available around them except their father. Then, with a lame excuse of maintaining their family line, they committed incest; thus, this family produced tragic fruit of the Moabites and the Ammonites. What a tragic life Lot had! He never imagined life in Sodom would end in this way!

 

Lot wanted to secure his wealth and enjoy a city life even by going out of God's will; he really pursued them wholeheartedly. But in the end, he lost everything – he lost his material possession; he lost his city life, instead, he came to live in a cave like animals; he lost his wife; he lost God’s blessing, and he lost even his two daughters; he produced enemies of God for the generations to come. Jesus says, Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. (Mark 8:35) Lot lost everything, but Abraham gained everything - wealth, an abundant life, son, happiness, respect and honor, and he became God's friend, bringing God's blessings to all peoples on earth. Abraham and Lot, they are the two metaphors that serve all believers about how we must live our lives as believers. If Lot were an unbeliever, we easily say that the end of unbelievers’ life is so terrible like this. But when we realize that Lot was called a righteous man, we are really alarmed. The believers’ life can be as bad as that of Lot if they compromise! 

 

Modern day, Lot’s lifestyle is absolutely prevailing among Christians, and when a Christian boy lives like Lot – saying that he believes in God and pursues the things of this world, he is praised as a good kid. But if a Christian boy takes Abraham’s way of life, giving up his life in the world and living for God’s purpose alone as a disciple of Jesus, other Christians and family members persecute him and do everything to stop him. The absolute majority of believers in our society take the way of Lot, and their life is full of blame. It is no wonder that the divorce rate among God-believing people is higher than that of unbelieving people in America. They produce really bad fruit in their life like Lot’s, too shameful even to talk about. Don’t be like those Christians! Even unbelieving people refuse to believe in Jesus, because of them. Never say, “Other churches do this or that.” It’s really hard to find a good role model church or Christians. We just study the Bible and do what the Bible shows.We must walk in the footsteps of Abraham, holding onto God's covenant vision upon our life, then, we can grow according to God’s plan and we can be used as a source of blessing for many. You will be a great and powerful nation and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. Live for this will of God so that God can fulfill His good and great plan for you.

 

God’s judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah shows God’s justice. God is love; that’s his character. At the same time, as the judge of all, God must be fair; justice must prevail. God bears with the sinful behaviors of sinful people with long suffering patience. But when sin reaches its limit, God’s judgment comes. Abraham, as God’s servant, as God’s business partner, must be aware of this. As God’s servants, we must know this as well. Now we are living in the last days. Sin is prevailing in the lives of people. In this situation, we must tell them to repent so that they may not be destroyed. 

 

One Word:Flee For Your Lives! Do Not Look Back!

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