Genesis 19:1 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city.
This is the account of God destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. The towns were given over to homosexuality, so God rained down burning sulfur on them (Genesis 19:24). Before he poured out his wrath, however, God sent two angels in human form to rescue Lot, Abraham’s nephew.
Lot was a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (2 Peter 2:7), wrote Peter. Lot was a child of God who was trying to live in a godless culture. He had settled down in Sodom and compromised his values. He would still be saved, but his choice to live in a godless culture would cost him dearly.
Genesis 19:8 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.
The men of Sodom surrounded Lot’s house and demanded he send out the angelic visitors to be sexually molested. Lot tried to dissuade them by offering his daughters instead. It is hard to imagine a father making this kind of compromise unless he was already severely compromised. Spiritual compromise is a slippery slope that leads to ever-increasing compromise.
Living in a wicked culture will condition us to wickedness until we think that wickedness is normal. Living together before marriage used to be called living in sin, but now it is normal. Saving one’s virginity for marriage used to be praised, but now it is ridiculed. Homosexuality used to be unmentionable, but now it is mainstream. We cannot escape our culture, but we should be aware of how it is shaping us.
Genesis 19:14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city! But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
The angels warned Lot about the coming judgment, so Lot tried to warn his sons-in-law. They were not convinced, however, because Lot’s lifestyle did not reflect his faith. The more we live like the world, the less compelling our witness will be. The more we compromise our faith, the less we will be believed.
Genesis 19:15 Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.
The angels warned Lot to flee with his family, or they would be destroyed with the city. There are some places Christians should not be, and some people they should not be with. Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you (2 Corinthians 6:17), wrote Paul. This doesn’t mean we should avoid the ungodly altogether, but that we should be careful about our associations. Bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33), wrote Paul.
Genesis 19:24-25 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities.
Sodom and Gomorrah were located near the south end of the Dead Sea. The burning sulfur may have come from an earthquake that ejected sulfur, gases and asphalt still found in that region. If ignited by lighting, they could have resulted in the catastrophic destruction this passage describes.
Genesis 19:26 Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
The angel had warned them: Don’t look back (Genesis 19:17), but Lot’s wife refused to listen. She was leaving everything she owned, and almost everyone she loved, and felt she had to look back one more time. She nearly escaped with her life, but not quite. Lot’s wife was almost saved.
The problem with looking back is that it often leads to going back. If we look back on the world we have left for Christ, we may decide to return. Let your eyes look straight ahead (Proverbs 4:25), says Proverbs.
The doom of Lot’s wife is so important that Jesus applied it to his return. On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot’s wife! (Luke 17:31-32), he said. When Jesus Christ returns, we must not look back on what we are leaving behind, but fix our eyes firmly on him.
Sodom and Gomorrah are also mentioned by Jesus’ brother, Jude. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire (Jude 1:7), he wrote. According to God’s word, we should not think of hell as anything less than burning alive forever. This is a graphic illustration of the fate of all who prefer their sin over the Savior. Hell is not a mild discomfort, but a terrible agony that will never end.
Flagrant homosexuality was the primary sin for which Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. This is clearly condemned by Scripture, along with other sins. Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10), wrote Paul. This doesn’t mean that we will never stumble or fall, but that we should always get back up, and continue to fight against sin.
A Christian man was dying of AIDS as a result of his homosexual sin. His pastor came to see him and referred to him as a homosexual. The man replied, I am not a homosexual. I am a Christian who struggles with homosexuality. My faith in Christ is deeper than any other part of me.
That was a good response. God is not against homosexuals, heterosexuals, transexuals, bisexuals, or any other kind of person. God is against sin, and he sent his Son to die on a cross so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
God expects nothing more from homosexuals than from heterosexual singles: abstinence. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13), wrote Paul.
Reflection and Review
How did living in Sodom influence Lot’s morality?
Why shouldn’t Christians look back on the world they have left for Christ?
Is God against homosexuals?