Lot is a perplexing man who knew the truth of God yet followed the sinful passions of his heart. Certain of circumventing divine judgement, Lot stubbornly blundered on with the life of his choosing. Wrong choices, bad company, and a life of hypocrisy were calculated risks Lot settled for.
The lengthy story spans Genesis chapters 12 to 19 with many twists and turns. Lot was Abraham’s nephew. They lived and carried out business together with much blessing from the Lord. When the time came to separate, Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. 13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord (Genesis 13:12-13). The LORD said… the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave (Genesis 18:20).
Wanting the benefits of prosperous business in the bustling metropolis called Sodom, Lot willingly sacrificed his conscience, his testimony, and eventually his family for the lifestyle of his choice. Through a series of many foolish decisions, and his unwillingness to turn back and start again, he sacrificed all. Had it not been for the grace of God, he would have lost his soul also.
Lot would have thought that he was getting away with his dualistic lifestyle. But, as is always the case, the day of unforeseen reckoning arrived. Lot’s near-sighted and shallow belief of double standards was about to reap its reward.
Genesis 19:1 recalls the two angels of judgement arriving, with Lot sitting in the gate of Sodom. This was the position of a city leader who would vet the people entering the city. Lot’s compromised beliefs had enabled him to rise to leadership of this wicked city. Peter records that Lot was greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (2 Peter 2:7), but conscience proved insufficient to motivate Lot’s separation from wicked Sodom.
The morning of judgement day arrived. Rescuing angels were inside the house urging Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” 16 But he lingered. So, the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city (Genesis 19:15-16). Weirdly, Lot did not want to be rescued this way. But God’s mercy prevailed over Lot’s reluctance.
Well, God kept His promise of judgement (Genesis 18:20-33). The LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulphur and fire… and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground, God destroyed everything (Genesis 19:24-25).
Genesis 19 leaves Lot in the pitiful cave of despair. Having lost everything except his two daughters and a supply of alcohol, Lot sadly reaps the fruit of his life. Tragically, his daughters enticed him into a drunken stupor, then committed incest with their father so they could have children.
Learning from Lot, 2 Peter 2:9 explains God’s mercy with a warning. The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment. We learn that God is faithful to his Word, to His justice, and to relationships which He has established with wayward people of weak faith and dubious living. While we struggle to understand the life of Lot, and we certainly do not approve of his double standards, we understand with gratitude, that only the grace of God keeps us, as it did Lot.