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From Sodom to Carina Brisbane

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From Sodom to Carina Brisbane

tells one of the most dramatic stories in all the Bible. Even people who never go to church know that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with a flood of burning sulphur. They have heard about Lot’s encounter with the angelic visitors, the desperate last-second escape, and the strange, sad tale of Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt. As if that weren’t enough, tucked away at the end of the chapter is a sordid story of sexual perversion. No wonder Hollywood has made several movies based on this chapter, it has all they are looking for.But there is another angle to consider. For many years skeptics proclaimed this story a legend because no one could find the remains of Sodom and Gomorrah. However, in recent years new excavations at the southern end of the Dead Sea have uncovered ruins of ancient cities built near tar pits. These cities appear to have been suddenly destroyed in a devastating fire, which fits the description found in .
Genesis 19 KJV 1900
1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; 2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. 3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. 4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: 5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. 6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, 7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. 8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. 9 And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door. 10 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. 11 And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door. 12 And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: 13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it. 14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law. 15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. 16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. 17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. 18 And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: 19 Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: 20 Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. 21 And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. 22 Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. 23 The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. 26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. 27 And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord: 28 And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace. 29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt. 30 And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. 31 And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: 32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 33 And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 35 And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. 37 And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. 38 And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Ben-ammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.

Lot Makes Good

As this chapter opens we find Lot sitting in the gateway of the city (v.1). To us that might not mean much, but to ancient readers it meant that Lot had finally “arrived.” Although he was a nephew of Abraham who grew up in the rural areas, he had come to the big city and done well. In fact, to sit at the city gates means that he had become one of the chief rulers of the city, something like a modern alderman or village trustee. The people brought their concerns to the city gate where all the leaders gathered for discussion and settling of disputes.So now Lot, the man of God has become a leader in a city given over to moral perversion. A study of his life reveals a slow, sad, downward spiral:

First, he looked at Sodom ().

Genesis 13:10 KJV 1900
10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.

Second, he lived near Sodom ().

Genesis 13:12 KJV 1900
12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Third, he lived in Sodom ().

Genesis 14:12 KJV 1900
12 And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

Fourth, he ruled over Sodom ().

Genesis 19:1 KJV 1900
1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;
I pause to comment that no doubt Lot meant well. I don’t think he even intended to do harm to himself or his family by moving to the “Big City.” Perhaps he even hoped to do some good by mingling with the pagans who lived there.
As I have pointed out in an earlier sermon, Christians must be in Sodom because they can save Sodom.
So there is nothing intrinsically wrong with living in a sinful city.
However, motivation makes all the difference.
Some people go to the mission field because they are called by God; others live in the world because they love the world and its attractions.
Lot seems to belong to the latter category.

Lot and the Angels

The Bible tells us that two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening. Because he was a gracious man, and because it was the custom of the day, Lot invited the two men to spend the night with him. He had no idea they were angels. This was simply an act of hospitality.As word spread throughout Sodom that two men had come to visit Lot, the true character of the city becomes clear. Verses 4-5 tell the story so plainly that little comment is needed:

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 called to Lot, ‘‘Where are the men who came to you tonight?

Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

The men of Sodom were homosexuals who wanted to have sex with the two strangers. From this shameful episode comes the word “sodomy” and “sodomites” to describe both the sin and the perpetrators of homosexual acts. It would be hard to find a more perverse, disgusting picture in all the Bible. Here are hundreds of men inflamed with lust coming after two visitors to their city.In response to their lewd cries, Lot does something even more terrible. He offers to give the mad mob his two virgin daughters to do with as they will (vv. 6-8). But the mob would have none of it. Inflamed with unnatural desire, they again demanded that the two men be given to them. In response, the angels pulled Lot back inside and then struck the crowd blind (vv. 9-11).

“Hurry! Hurry!”

At this point Lot begins to realize who these two visitors are. They have been sent by God to destroy the city. But first they must give Lot and his family one last chance to escape. When Lot tells his sons-in-law about the coming judgment, they laughed, thinking he was joking. As the dawn breaks, the time has come for Lot, his wife, and their two daughters to leave Sodom. The angels now deliver one final message:

With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, ‘‘Hurry!

Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.” ()

Genesis 15 KJV 1900
1 After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 2 And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? 3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4 And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness. 7 And he said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 8 And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. 10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. 11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. 12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. 17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 18 In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, 21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
Genesis 15 KJV 1900
1 After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 2 And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? 3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4 And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness. 7 And he said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 8 And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. 10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. 11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. 12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. 17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 18 In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, 21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
Verse 16 adds a sad and tragic phrase—

"When he hesitated.”

Lot hesitated because he loved the city of Sodom. Here were his friends, his neighbors, his co-workers. Here were all the pleasures of the world. Here was the good life he and his wife so much enjoyed. Here he could indulge himself. Never mind that he himself was no homosexual. Never mind that he personally found homosexuality repulsive. He would live with that ugliness simply because he loved all that Sodom represented.In biblical terms, Lot loved the world. Not as in

“God so loved the world"(), but as in “love not the world, or anything in the world” ().

John 3:16 KJV 1900
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
1 John 2:15 KJV 1900
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
God’s love is pure and redemptive and completely separate from evil, but the love 1John warns against is the love of one who loves all the wrong things for the wrong reasons. Most of us have heard that we should be in the world but not of the world. D. L. Moody illustrated that point by saying that, "when the boat is in the water, that’s good. But when the water is in the boat, that’s bad." Lot hesitated because the water was definitely in the boat. He loved Sodom so much that he was nearly destroyed with it.

His Tact Nearly Cost Him His Soul

Don Cole offers this helpful analysis of Lot’s dilemma:
Lot was the soul of tact, but it nearly cost him his soul. He was tactful when he should have been indignant, if not downright angry. There are occasions when it’s better to be politely blunt than tactful.There are occasions when it’s better to be politely blunt than tactful.As a politician, he was accustomed to the speech of conciliation; he had a smooth tongue. The rub is that this occasion called for holy indignation, not smooth words; reproof, not persuasive words of conciliation.Lot’s weakness lay in his lack of conviction. His sense of the sinfulness of sin sufficed to make him uncomfortable in Sodom, but it was not enough to make Sodom unendurable. He had adjusted to it quite nicely; otherwise, he would have left, for he certainly had had opportunity to do so. Lack of conviction had kept him there, whereas profound conviction kept his uncle Abraham in the promise land, notwithstanding his years of disappointment.In that city of perverts, Lot’s sense of values had become perverted.
In fact, he was so enamored with the world that he begged to be allowed to go to a nearby town instead of fleeing into the mountains (vv. 18-20). Perhaps he couldn’t bear to leave the evil city or perhaps he didn’t quite believe what the angels were saying. In any case, they agreed because they couldn’t do anything until he and his family left Sodom.

Unspeakable Sin

Several things now happens in quick succession:

First, the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed in broad daylight by burning sulfur ().

Genesis 23–25 KJV 1900
1 And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2 And Sarah died in Kirjath-arba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. 3 And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, 4 I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight. 5 And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him, 6 Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead. 7 And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth. 8 And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, 9 That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you. 10 And Ephron dwelt among the children of Heth: and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the audience of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying, 11 Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee: bury thy dead. 12 And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land. 13 And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there. 14 And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him, 15 My lord, hearken unto me: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver; what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead. 16 And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant. 17 And the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about, were made sure 18 Unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city. 19 And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan. 20 And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace by the sons of Heth. 1 And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. 2 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: 3 And I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: 4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. 5 And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest? 6 And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again. 7 The Lord God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence. 8 And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again. 9 And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter. 10 And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor. 11 And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water. 12 And he said, O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham. 13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: 14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master. 15 And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. 16 And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up. 17 And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher. 18 And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. 19 And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. 20 And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels. 21 And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not. 22 And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold; 23 And said, Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee: is there room in thy father’s house for us to lodge in? 24 And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor. 25 She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in. 26 And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the Lord. 27 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master’s brethren. 28 And the damsel ran, and told them of her mother’s house these things. 29 And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well. 30 And it came to pass, when he saw the earring and bracelets upon his sister’s hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, Thus spake the man unto me; that he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the well. 31 And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the Lord; wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels. 32 And the man came into the house: and he ungirded his camels, and gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet, and the men’s feet that were with him. 33 And there was set meat before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat, until I have told mine errand. And he said, Speak on. 34 And he said, I am Abraham’s servant. 35 And the Lord hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses. 36 And Sarah my master’s wife bare a son to my master when she was old: and unto him hath he given all that he hath. 37 And my master made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell: 38 But thou shalt go unto my father’s house, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son. 39 And I said unto my master, Peradventure the woman will not follow me. 40 And he said unto me, The Lord, before whom I walk, will send his angel with thee, and prosper thy way; and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my kindred, and of my father’s house: 41 Then shalt thou be clear from this my oath, when thou comest to my kindred; and if they give not thee one, thou shalt be clear from my oath. 42 And I came this day unto the well, and said, O Lord God of my master Abraham, if now thou do prosper my way which I go: 43 Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink; 44 And she say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels: let the same be the woman whom the Lord hath appointed out for my master’s son. 45 And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the well, and drew water: and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee. 46 And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: so I drank, and she made the camels drink also. 47 And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands. 48 And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the Lord, and blessed the Lord God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master’s brother’s daughter unto his son. 49 And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me: and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left. 50 Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the Lord: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. 51 Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master’s son’s wife, as the Lord hath spoken. 52 And it came to pass, that, when Abraham’s servant heard their words, he worshipped the Lord, bowing himself to the earth. 53 And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things. 54 And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away unto my master. 55 And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go. 56 And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the Lord hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master. 57 And they said, We will call the damsel, and inquire at her mouth. 58 And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go. 59 And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant, and his men. 60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them. 61 And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way. 62 And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahai-roi; for he dwelt in the south country. 63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming. 64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel. 65 For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself. 66 And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done. 67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death. 1 Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. 2 And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. 3 And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim. 4 And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah. 5 And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. 6 But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country. 7 And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years. 8 Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people. 9 And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre; 10 The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife. 11 And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahai-roi. 12 Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s handmaid, bare unto Abraham: 13 And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, 14 And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa, 15 Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah: 16 These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations. 17 And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people. 18 And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: and he died in the presence of all his brethren. 19 And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham begat Isaac: 20 And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan-aram, the sister to Laban the Syrian. 21 And Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the Lord. 23 And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, And two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; And the one people shall be stronger than the other people; And the elder shall serve the younger. 24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. 26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them. 27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. 28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: 30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. 31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. 32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? 33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

Second, Lot’s wife looked back at the destruction and was became a pillar of salt ().

Third, the next morning Abraham stood and surveyed the smoking ruins ).

Fourth, the daughters of Lot got their father to drink wine, and while he was drunk, they committed incest with him ().

This last episode is so sordid that one might wonder why the Bible includes it.
On one level it explains the origin of the Moabites and Ammonites—nations that were perpetual enemies of Israel.
On another level it shows how polluted Lot’s family had become.
Even though Sodom is destroyed, the spirit of the city is reborn in the cave.
Thus do we learn that the problem is ultimately in the human heart.
Cities aren’t evil, people are evil.
Unless the heart is radically changed, you can destroy every city in Australia but the sin of the nation would be reborn in a wheat field.

Why God Destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah

As we stand back and look at the events recorded in , several questions come to mind.
The central one relates to the actions of God.
Why did he destroy these cities?
After all, surely many others cities were also extremely sinful.
Why Sodom and Gomorrah and why now and why is such a fiery conflagration?

1. Because the city was utterly given over to moral persversion.

If there is ever any question as to how God feels about homosexuality, this chapter should put all questions to rest. serves as an Old Testament illustration of . Any nation or city or village that permits or encourages homosexuality comes under God’s judgment. These are the words of Andy McQuitty:
Homosexuality represents man’s wholesale abandonment of God’s ways with respect to sexuality.
lays out three kinds of “exchanges” that men make in their abandonment.

First, the worship of God is exchanged for various forms of idolatry (23).

Next, the truth about God is exchanged for lies (25).

And finally, natural sexual relations are abandoned for unnatural ones(26-27).

Homosexuality is the end of the line for rejectors of God.

That’s why homosexuality is uniformly condemned in the Bible as

“wickedness” (),

Genesis 19:7 KJV 1900
7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.

“abomination” (),

Leviticus 18:22 KJV 1900
22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

“a detestable act” (),

Leviticus 20:13 KJV 1900
13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

“folly” (),

Judges 19:23–24 KJV 1900
23 And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly. 24 Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing.

“unnatural and degrading passions (),

Romans 1:27 KJV 1900
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

and “gross immorality” ().

Jude 7 KJV 1900
7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them, in like manner giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
To say that homosexuality is an alternative form of sexuality is like saying that bulimia is an alternative form of eating and drunkenness is an alternative form of drinking. It is not simply a benign “alternate lifestyle.”
It is a perversion of God’s plan for mankind resulting in misery, sin and death. (Andy McQuitty, “

2. As a warning to the ungodly.

makes the same point: “Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.” God judges these wicked cities so that the ungodly will know that he does judge sin. Let any one doubts this truth visit the Dead Sea today. It’s dead because those ancient cities are nothing but charred rubble.
Jude 7 KJV 1900
7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them, in like manner giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

3. As an act of mercy to the surrounding cities.

By judging Sodom and Gomorrah so swiftly the Lord ensured that their wickedness would not spread any further. This was a form of massive capital punishment that served the common good. These cities were so evil that by destroying them, God removed a moral pollutant from the earth.

4. Because the righteous failed to make a difference.

If ever the salt had lost its savor, it happened right here. Even though the ;7 calls Lot a righteous man who was vexed by filthy lives of the Sodomites, he himself was so in love with the city that he was powerless to change it. He lost his testimony and in so doing, he lost his own family, and almost lost his own life.
2 Peter 2 KJV 1900
1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. 4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: 10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. 11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. 12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; 13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; 14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. 17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. 18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

Four Questions For Lot

In his sermon on this passage Ray Stedman poses four questions that we should ask Lot at this point. They serve to remind of the sin of dabbling in the world.

First, we need to ask Lot,

“How has living in Sodom affected you personally?”

The verse in 2 Peter tells us that Lot was a righteous man who was deeply distressed by the evil he saw all around him. He hated what the homosexuals had done and how completely they had taken control of the city. reminds us that “when the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.” Truly the righteous were thriving in Sodom and Lot groaned in his spirit when he saw the city so corrupted. Lot wanted the best of both worlds. In doing so he lost everything.
Proverbs 29:2 KJV 1900
2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: But when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

That leads to a second question we would like to ask Lot:

“How much have you influenced the city for good?”

This is embarrassing because the answer is that he didn’t influence the city at all. His own sons-in-law laughed at him. His daughters committed incest with him, and his wife was turned into a pillar of salt. “His political power was great, but his spiritual influence was absolutely nil.”

Third, we would like to ask Lot,

“What do you have to show for years in Sodom? What did you gain by living there?”

Remember, he chose the well-watered plain near Sodom because he thought it offered a good place for his flocks. Surely Lot has become a rich man through his association with Sodom. The truth is, although he may have become rich, when the city was destroyed, he lost it all. Ponder this penetrating paragraph by Ray Stedman:
If you want to know how much Lot made in Sodom, I suggest you make a trip to the Holy Land. Go and stand by the shores of the Dead Sea and look out over that lifeless, brackish waste, the lowest and most desolate spot on the fact of the earth, 1300 feet below sea level, and listen to the lifeless waves lap on the beach in an unending monotone of death. Nothing grows there, nothing lives, nothing moves in all that forsaken valley. ("The Wasted Years,” p. 5)
How much did Lot lose? He lost it all. Absolutely everything. All his wealth vanished in the smoke. All his herds were utterly destroyed. He left Sodom with nothing but the clothes on his back.

The fourth question is most terrible one of all.

“Lot, what happened to your family?”

He lost that, too. His wife was destroyed and his daughters should have died for their evil sin. Although his daughters are technical virgins, they had already become whores at heart. They had become so accustomed to obscenity and unrestrained passion that in the cave they seized the thinnest reason to commit a heinous act of sexual sin. Jesus told us that whoever tries to save his own life will lose it in the end. Lot wanted to get the best of both worlds. In so doing, he lost everything—his home, his family, his family, his children, his career, his fortune, and his reputation. Four thousand years have passed and Lot still stands the ultimate picture of the worldly Christian who loves the world and loses it all.

Lingering Lessons From an Ancient Tragedy

Before we leave this story let’s wrap up some lessons for today.

1. The Seductive Power of Small Decisions.

Lot didn’t come to be an alderman in Sodom overnight. It happened because he made the wrong choice in the beginning. Even so, small decisions made today may lead to disaster tomorrow. Remember this: Every decision either leads you toward the light or deeper into the darkness. You never made a meaningless choice and you never will. From tiny acorns grow mighty oaks. Even so, from momentary choices come vast consequences.

2. The Deadening Effect of Moral Compromise.

Little by little Lot became adjusted to the evils of Sodom. Like the frog in the boiling pot, things around him changed so slowly that he become comfortable with situations that once made him very uneasy. Even so we who live in the 20th century face that same temptation. Is it true that we no longer blush at sin? Is it possible that sin doesn’t seem so sinful anymore? Can it be that we have allowed so much moral filth to flow into our homes and cars that it seems almost natural to us? Have we become so accustomed to evil that we are no longer repelled by it? The answer for many of us is yes.

3. The Certainty of God’s Judgment on Sin.

This is the primary lesson drawn by the New Testament from this story. If you doubt that God will judge sin, take another look at those smoldering ruins. Don’t ever mistake God’s patience for his approval. We know that it is the patience of God that gives sinful men an opportunity to be saved. That’s why he hasn’t destroyed America yet. As Billy Graham has often pointed out, if God doesn’t judge America, he’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah

.4. The Terrible Cost of Living in Two Worlds.

You can have the world or you can have God, but not both. No man can serve two masters. If you are trying to live that way, you will lose it all, just as Lot did. Many people fight their way to the top of the heap by adopting the ways of the world only to say with the songwriter, “Is that all there is?” If you decide to live in the world, you will eventually look back on a burned-out life, with nothing to show for your efforts but wasted years and missed opportunities. How desperately we need to teach these things to our young people.How desperately we need to teach things to our young people. Many Christian teenagers feel the pull of the world, wanting to be popular and to have what everyone else has. They want to be liked by their friends at school and also by their friends at church. They want the Lord and the approval of the worldly crowd as well. That’s why so many of them do exactly what Lot did—compromise little by little, trying to have it all. They put popularity above Jesus and self above Christ. Some dabble in the sins of the world—drinking, drugs, and sexual experimentation. They do it because they think this is way to be accepted by the crowd. Or they do it because they are tired of being so tied down at home. That’s why they go to the youth retreat one weekend and the Homecoming Dance the next.

5. The Tragic Cost of Compromise.

Not only did Lot hurt himself, his compromise ultimately destroyed those he loved the ones he loved the most. What was the greatest pang in his heart that day as he watched his beloved city go up in smoke? Was it not what his compromise had cost his family? Our children watch us close to see what we value the most.In much the same way our children watch us close to see what we value the most. They know that you go to church and give your money, but they also know how much you want to be liked and respected by the world. They know that you will move your family just to get a higher salary or a nicer home even though you already have everything you need. Your children know what you do in your spare time, they watch the shows you watch, and they listen to the words you say. They know that you would rather buy a new car than give money to world missions. They know that you would rather stay at home than go to a prayer meeting or make excuses than volunteer to serve in Awana. They see it all.

What happens then?

Bit by bit they lose interest in the bible, Sunday School and church.
They resolve to get ahead in the world and win the respect of Sodom, no matter what moral restraint they have to throw overboard to do it.
This is why we see the tragedy of Christian homes in which children are turning from God.
And the sorrow you will carry to your grave, the deepest sorrow of your heart will be that, though you still have your own faith, yet because of your compromise, you have lost your children.
This tragic story of Lot is taking place right here and now in the modern Sodom and Gomorrah in which we live. (Ray Stedman, “The Wasted Years,” p. 7)

It Doesn’t Have to End This Way

Let me close this sermon with two final points.
First, things don’t have to end this way for any of us.
A few weeks ago when I preached on and how Lot chose the well-watered plains and left the rest to Abraham, I asked the question, “Who won?”
From the standpoint of the world, Lot won and Abraham lost.
The clever nephew pulled a fast one on his doddering old uncle.
But now the tables are turned. As Abraham stands and surveys the smoldering ruins of Sodom, ask yourself again, “Who won?”
The answer is clear. In the end Abraham won it all and Lot lost it all.
If you follow Lot and choose the way of the world, you will lose it all in the end.
But if you follow Abraham and live by faith, though it may mean taking the lesser place in terms of worldly achievements, in the end you will be the winner.

He’s Going to Start With Us

Second, when God judges Carina, he will begin with us.
Let me remind you of some strange and unsettling words of Jesus in
Matthew 11:20–24 KJV 1900
20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: 21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. ‘‘Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
Because of the moral condition of Oak Park, we may be tempted to think that God’s judgment will begin with gross sinners.
Not so.
Jesus said that Capernuam would be judged more severely than Sodom.
Why?
Because Capernaum ignored the miracles of Jesus and paid no attention to the Son of God.
Their sin was greater because they had more light.
The greater the light, the greater the judgment when the light is rejected.

A Little Lot in All of Us

Certainly Capernaum was a nicer place to live.
They didn’t have all so those corrupt perverts running around and boasting about their sin.
But God said that if Jesus had worked his miracles in Sodom, the people would have responded in faith and love.
But when Jesus worked miracles in Capernaum, the people yawned. Jesus wasn’t very exciting to them.
Let us take these words to heart whenever we are tempted to think we are better than we really are.
When God judges Oak Park, he won’t start with the gays and lesbians.
He’ll start right here at 289 Stanley Road Carina.
I’m not saying God won’t judge the sinners of our village.
He will, but the first sinners to face him will be self-righteous, religious sinners.
That leads me to one last word. Lot lingered and lost it all.
Jesus exhorted us to “Remember Lot’s wife” ().
Luke 17:32 KJV 1900
32 Remember Lot’s wife.
While we’re at it, let’s remember Lot’s wife’s husband.
He didn’t fare so well either.
What happened to him can happen to any of us who love the world more than we love God.
As we consider these solemn truths, let us in response flee to the Cross and lay hold upon Jesus Christ by faith.
He died so that our sins could be forgiven.
He rose from the dead so that we might be justified.
It is only by his power that we will overcome the world.
Sodom still lives today—not just outside but on the inside.
There’s more than a little Lot in each of us.
What he did we can all too easily do ourselves.
We can follow Abraham or we can go the way of Lot.
If we forget his story, we will almost certainly repeat his mistakes.
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