THE DESTRUCTION OF SODOM AND GOMORRAH
“The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgement to be punished“ (II Peter 2:9).
I Prevailing Prayer
1. God heard the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their grievous sins, [Genesis:18:20-21].
2. Abraham petitioned God to spare Sodom from destruction if there were ten righteous in the city, [Genesis:18:22-33]; [Exodus:32:30-32]; [2 Samuel:24:16-17]; [Romans:9:1-3]; [Romans:10:1].
3. God answered Abraham‘s prayer, [Genesis:19:29].
II Deliverance of Lot
1. Lot welcomed the angels of God to his home when they came to Sodom, [Genesis:19:1-3]; [Hebrews:13:1-2]; [Luke:24:28-31].
2. The men of the city sought to do injury to Lot‘s guests but were supernaturally prevented, [Genesis:19:4-11]; [2 Kings:6:18].
3. Lot‘s warnings to his household were ridiculed, [Genesis:19:12-14]; [2 Peter:3:3-4]; [Matthew:24:42-51]; [1 Thessalonians:4:8].
4. The deliverance of Lot and two of his daughters by divine intervention is typical of the deliverance of the saints of God in the Rapture from the Great Tribulation, [Genesis:19:15-17]; [Matthew:24:40-41]; [1 Thessalonians:5:1-9].
III Wrath of God
1. Lot begged and received permission to take refuge in a small city of the plain, [Genesis:19:18-23].
2. Judgement was suspended until the righteous were safe, [Genesis:19:22]; [Isaiah:26:20].
3. God destroyed the cities of the plain -- punishment typical of all God‘s judgements upon sin and sinners, [Genesis:19:24-29], [2 Peter:2:4-10]; [Jude:1:5-7], [Jude:1:15]; [Revelation:6:17].
4. Lot‘s wife looked back and became a pillar of salt, [Genesis:19:17], [Genesis:19:26]; [Luke:17:28-37].
Power of Prayer
Abraham‘s righteousness caused God to inform him of the destruction that was soon to fall upon Sodom and Gomorrah. It was in Sodom that Abraham‘s nephew, Lot, had his home. The terrible wickedness of the citizens of the cities of plain had so provoked God that He was about to destroy them from the face of the earth. (See [Ezekiel:16:49-50].) Abraham was alarmed at such news, and immediately began to intercede with the Lord to spare the city of Sodom. The Lord agreed to spare the city if there were found fifty righteous in it. Abraham must have been well informed as to the wickedness of the citizens of that city because he persisted in his intercession for the city until the Lord agreed that the city would be spared if there were but ten righteous found in it.
It should be a matter of great encouragement to all men who pray to the living God to know that often the judgements of God can be delayed, and even prevented, by the prevailing prayers of one righteous man of God. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much“ [James:5:16]). God alone knows the number of men and women who through the centuries, have been spared from death and the pangs of hell because of the prayers of someone who loved them enough to prevail with God to spare their lives and their souls until they would repent of their sins. Unfortunately for Sodom and the cities of the plain, despite the prayers of Abraham, there were not found in Sodom even ten righteous; and so the judgement of God came upon them with all its fury.
Messengers of Opportunity
Two angels were sent to Sodom by the Lord, to determine, perhaps, Lot‘s status in the city of Sodom and to rescue him from the coming destruction. Lot, being in the gate of the city, perceived they were strangers and invited them to stay with him. It was well for Lot that he showed such godly courtesy to strangers. He did not know they were the angels of God, did not know of the destruction that was about to fall upon the city, and that they were there for that purpose; but his courtesy and hospitality reaped great dividends that night.
Undoubtedly the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews had this incident in mind when he counselled the Hebrew Christians to “let brotherly love continue,“ and not to be forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares [Hebrews:13:1-2]). The Scriptures state that it was because of Abraham‘s prayers that Lot was rescued from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (See [Genesis:19:29].) But Lot could have ignored the angels of God, refused, as did Lot‘s own son-in-law, to listen to the warning to flee, and have perished despite the escape that was offered him.
Way of Escape
Although the prayers of the righteous will often prevent for many years the certain judgements of God from being carried out, the day of reckoning will finally come. If the way of escape is ignored, then nothing is left but to suffer the righteous anger of God. There are too many men and women who have been reared under the guidance of godly fathers and mothers and have grown into adults without availing themselves of the salvation of Christ they have been taught since their youth. Oftentimes they will say that their parents‘ prayers will avail for them and that is sufficient. No parent‘s prayers can save anyone. Those prayers can force men into a decision for or against God‘s salvation; those prayers can and do hold off the day of reckoning for a season; those prayers will prevail with God as did Abraham‘s for his nephew Lot; but Lot could have lost his life and soul, nevertheless, if he had not fled with the angels of God who came for him.
The Blood of Christ, which washes away the sins of the soul is the means that God has provided for mankind to escape the judgements that God is soon to send upon the world. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ“ [1 Thessalonians:5:9]). Noah‘s escape from the Flood, in the ark he built at the Lord‘s direction and guidance; the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, and their protection from the plagues and death that swept Egypt; and the deliverance of Lot from Sodom -- are all typical of the salvation of the righteous from the final judgement that will come upon the world and all sin. Jesus warned His listeners of these things, testified to them of the wickedness of the people of the days of Noah and Lot, and promised them a like ending if they did not repent of their sins.
In the final consummation of all things, Jesus shall return and catch away His own people to Himself. The righteous dead shall be raised to eternal life, and the living saints shall be caught up with them to meet Christ in the air; but the wicked dead shall not live again for a thousand years. (Read [Revelation:20:5-6].)
Remember Lot‘s Wife
Lot escaped Sodom with his life, but he had to leave all his earthly possessions behind him. The true believer in Christ has the treasures of his heart where thieves cannot break in and steal away, and where moths and rust do not corrupt. (Read [Matthew:6:20].)
Although Lot was a righteous man, he had his possessions in Sodom; and they were lost with the destruction of the city. Abraham, his godly uncle, had chosen the better part, and had placed the keeping of his treasures with the Lord. Abraham had chosen the things of God, spiritual things, for his treasures, and they are still in his possession to this very day. (See [John:4:36].) He is reaping wages unto eternal life, whereas Lot had his works burned up by fire, and he himself barely escaped destruction. (Read [1 Corinthians:3:10-15].)
Lot and his family were warned by the angels to flee the plain, and not to look back. Lot‘s wife stopped in her flight to gaze back at the city from which they were fleeing, and she turned into a pillar of salt. Her treasures were still in the city and when she did not restrain herself from looking back, the judgement of God struck her. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also“ [Matthew:6:21]).
When once a person has been delivered from sin, there should never be a “looking back“ to the old life, because that would be sin. Jesus solemnly warned His listeners of the judgement that would come upon the earth; and then used the fate of Lot‘s wife, who looked back, as a warning to those who would so foolishly tarry in the face of certain disaster, and not make their heavenly calling and election sure. At another time Jesus advised His listeners that “no man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God“ [Luke:9:62]). Peter in like manner warned of the danger of looking back to the old life of sin. “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. 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“ [2 Peter:2:20-21]). Thus Lot‘s wife who looked back to Sodom lost her opportunity of escape, and paid with her life and soul, and has been ever since a symbol of the folly of backsliding.
“Remember Lot’s wife.“
1. How did Abraham learn that Sodom and Gomorrah were to be destroyed?
2. Why was Abraham concerned about his nephew Lot?
3. What did he do to insure Lot‘s safety?
4. What was the business of the two angels in Sodom?
5. Why did Lot take the two angels home with him?
6. Why did Lot‘s sons-in-law not believe Lot‘s warning?
7. In what manner is Lot‘s escape from Sodom typical of the Rapture of the saints?
8. Why did Lot’s wife look back?
9. What happened to Lot‘s wife?
10. Why did Jesus tell His listeners to remember Lot‘s wife