Genesis Chapter Nineteen, Lessons From Sodom & Gomorrah

In our study of Genesis chapter nineteen, we look at God's judgment on Sodom & Gomorrah and the judgment that is to come.

Genesis 19:1

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground.

As we saw in chapter 18, these two angels were sent by the Lord to check to see if the sins of Sodom were as bad as reported. They arrived and were met at the city gate by Lot which tells us that he had become a part of the political system because it was judges and leaders that sat at the gates of cities.

Genesis 19:2 & 3

'My lords, ' he said, '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.' 'No,' they answered, 'we will spend the night in the square.' But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate.

The angels were going to spend the night in the city square but, knowing that the streets were not safe at night, Lot insisted that they stay with him. We see that he baked them bread without yeast and are reminded that, throughout the Bible, yeast was associated with sin. In this act, we see that Lot knew of the things of God and yet had become comfortable in this evil city. This is a picture of the compromising church of the last days.

Genesis 19:4 & 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 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 the city showed up and demanded that the angels be turned over to them. In this we see part of the reason for God's coming judgment on the city. They had forsaken the plan of God for men and women to be together and instead wanted to have sex with other men. This is the basis for the term "sodomy" which is used even today to describe this sin.

Genesis 19:6-8

Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, 'No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing. 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. But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.'

Here, we see the battle within Lot as well as his struggle with the men of the city. Lot had his mind on protecting the men of God which was good but to do so he was willing to go against the ways of God. He was willing to give his daughters who were already engaged to other men to the mob in order to pacify them. In this, we see the way of the politician in trying to get along and compromise even when you know that the other party is out of the will of God. Lot was just a picture of what is happening in our world today. The sin of sodomy is now being sanctioned by more and more governments (politicians) by giving them "marriage licenses". As it was with Lot, Christians have a choice of trying to pacify the mob or standing up and saying no.

Genesis 19:9

'Get out of our way,' they replied. And they said, 'This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We'll treat you worse than them.' They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

The mob admitted that Lot was different from them and they accused him of trying to be the judge. That is the problem that happens when a place rejects God as then men do not recognize any authority except themselves.

Genesis 19:10 & 11

But the 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.

Lot was rescued from the mob by the angels and they protected the house by making the evil men blind. In this, we are reminded that, if we are following the will of God, He will protect us from any consequences that we may fear.

Genesis 19:12-14

The two men said to Lot, 'Do you have anyone else here - sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.' 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.

Lot warned the men that were to marry his daughters but they refused to believe him about the coming destruction of the city. This is a reminder to us, as Christians, that we do not have the power to save anyone. All that we can do is tell them the good news about Jesus Christ and trust God to work.

Genesis 19:15 & 16

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.' When he hesitated, the men 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.

We see that Lot hesitated to leave even in the face of destruction. Whether it was because he cared about the people that would be left behind or whether he was concerned about material things and his political position, we do not know.

Genesis 19:17

As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, '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!'

The angels gave Lot and his family instructions for their survival. The instructions are a good reminder for us that, when we come to Christ, we are to leave the old life behind. We are to come in repentance and flee the old as we grab onto the promises of God. Just as the angels guided Lot, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us in our journey.

Genesis 19:18-22

But Lot said to them, 'No, my lords, please! Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can't flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I'll die. Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it - it is very small, isn't it? Then my life will be spared.' He said to him, 'Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.' (That is why the town was called Zoar.)

Lot did not see how he and his family could run all the way to the mountains for safety and so he begged the angels to spare a little town called Zoar. They granted his request and we are reminded that God only asks us to do what we can and He will do the rest. Like Lot, many Christians walk around in fear that they still will not make it to heaven because they do not act perfectly. We are reminded that God spared the little town because that was where Lot and his family were going to be. Jesus has saved us where we are and He does not want us to fear the coming destruction.

Genesis 19:23-25

By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 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, including all those living in the cities - and also the vegetation in the land.

When Lot reached Zoar, the judgment began with the raining of sulfur on the plain. The evidence suggests that God caused massive earthquakes which released tar and gases from the ground as the cities were located in an area with tar pits. The tar and gases exploded and rained back down on the earth in fire.

Genesis 19:26

But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

Have you ever wondered why she was turned into salt and not stone? Lot's wife looked back at what she was leaving because, even though the place was filled with evil, she was comfortable there. Salt is used to preserve things and she was wishing that the city and their way of life there could continue. Therefore, God made her a preservative (salt).

Genesis 19:27 & 28

Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.

We can only guess what Abraham was thinking and feeling as he saw the thick smoke rising from the plain. He must have thought that Lot had died along with the others as the Lord had promised to spare the city if ten righteous people were found. The rising smoke made it clear that there had not been ten righteous men and the Lord had said nothing of saving only Lot and his family. If you have ever been to the funeral of a relative without knowing whether they accepted Christ, you can probably understand what Abraham was thinking and feeling.

Genesis 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.

For the sake of Abraham, God rescued Lot and his daughters from that judgment. We must understand that they were saved from that destruction but, to escape the final judgment of Hell, the only way for them as well as us is faith in Jesus Christ. God still operates in the same manner today. Maybe, He has spared someone you know and love because He remembers you in the same way that He remembered Abraham. If you have a loved one tell you of a miraculous escape and they do not know Jesus Christ, you can explain this story to them and share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Genesis 19:30

Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave.

Zoar was a little town at the southeast end of the Dead Sea in what is now the Ghor es-Safi region of Jordan. Even though he had been spared from the judgment (and the little town with him), he was still afraid and left to live in a cave. We must remember that fear is not of God and is the opposite of being blessed. As we shall see, this fear will have consequences that reach even into today's world.

Genesis 19:31 & 32

One day the older daughter said to the younger, 'Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children - as is the custom all over the earth. Let's get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.'

Here, we see that Lot's lack of faith (fear) opened a door to Satan. Because they fled, his daughters looked around and did not see any men that could give them a family. Therefore, they decided to sleep with their father which is wrong.

Genesis 19:33

That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

We see that Lot drank the wine and that provided the opportunity for the girls to proceed with their plan. He could have said no and avoided the whole situation but did not.

Genesis 19:34 & 35

The next day the older daughter said to the younger, 'Last night I slept with my father. Let's get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.' So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

The older daughter convinced the younger to do the same thing that she had done and they got Lot drunk the next night. Once again, he had the opportunity to do the right thing and refuse to drink and get drunk but he did not. He had been a part of Sodom & Gomorrah and had probably got used to the partying and didn't think anything of it. This is a picture of what the devil is doing in the world today. We are around so much unholy behavior that we often do not even notice it or its effects on us.

Genesis 19:36-38

So both of Lot's daughters became pregnant by their father. The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab, he is the father of the Moabites of today. The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi, he is the father of the Ammonites of today.

Now, we see the lasting effects of Lot's decisions. The Ammonites and Moabites became enemies of Abraham's descendants (the Israelites) and their legacy lives on even today. This is a reminder that our faith (or our lack of faith) can have lasting consequences.