Genesis 19 (NRSV)
The Depravity of Sodom
The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of Sodom.
There has been a steady progression of compromise in Lot’s life. He went from looking toward Sodom (Genesis 13:10), to pitching his tent toward Sodom (Genesis 13:12), then to living in Sodom (Genesis 14:12) and losing everything. Now Lot sits in the gate of Sodom, indicating he is a civic leader.
Lot himself was a righteous man who was grieved by the sin he saw around him (2 Peter 2:7-8), but because of his compromise few of his family and none of his friends were saved. Compromise destroyed his testimony.
When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2He said, “Please, my lords, turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you can rise early and go on your way.”
They said, “No; we will spend the night in the square.”
3But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.
4But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; 5and they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so that we may know them.”
6Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him, 7and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. 8Look, I have two daughters who have not known a man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”
Lot! The offer of your daughters is horrible and cannot be justified, even when we consider the low place of women in the pre-Christian world and the very high place of any guest in one’s home in the ancient world. You are showing your true colors, and it isn’t pretty!
9But they replied, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came here as an alien, and he would play the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near the door to break it down.
10But the men inside reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11And they struck with blindness the men who were at the door of the house, both small and great, so that they were unable to find the door.
Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed
12Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city—bring them out of the place. 13For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”
14So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up, get out of this place; for the Lord is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.
15When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Get up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or else you will be consumed in the punishment of the city.”
16But 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 left him outside the city. 17When they had brought them outside, they said, “Flee for your life; do not look back or stop anywhere in the Plain; flee to the hills, or else you will be consumed.”
18And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords; 19your servant has found favor with you, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life; but I cannot flee to the hills, for fear the disaster will overtake me and I die. 20Look, that city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one? —and my life will be saved!”
Lot! Whining and badgering and complaining to angels while the brimstone is starting to fall on your head! You are showing your true colors, and it isn’t pretty!
21He said to him, “Very well, I grant you this favor too, and will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. 22Hurry, escape there, for I can do nothing until you arrive there.” Therefore the city was called Zoar. 23The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar.
24Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven; 25and he overthrew those cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.
26But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
(Not sure that being a pillar of salt isn’t preferable to being the wife of a husband like Lot . . . just sayin’ . . . )
Luke 17:22-32 (New International Version)
Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. People will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ Do not go running off after them. For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.
“It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
“It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 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!”
Bob Dylan sings Lot’s Wife’s song (at least that’s how I hear it): “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.”
27Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord; 28and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the Plain and saw the smoke of the land going up like the smoke of a furnace.
29So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the Plain, God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had settled.
“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.”
–Ezekiel 16: 49-50 (NIV)
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
–James 1:27 (NIV)
How painful it is to look back on our lives and see where we have been “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned . . .” What can you and I do even more intentionally to “help the poor and needy” and “look after orphans and widows in their distress”?
The Shameful Origin of Moab and Ammon
30Now Lot went up out of Zoar and settled in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar; so he lived in a cave with his two daughters. 31And the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the world. 32Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, so that we may preserve offspring through our father.”
33So they made their father drink wine that night; and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; he did not know when she lay down or when she rose.
“Ironically, in his own drunkenness Lot carried out the shameful act that he himself had suggested to the men of Sodom: he lay with his own daughters.”
34On the next day, the firstborn said to the younger, “Look, I lay last night with my father; let us make him drink wine tonight also; then you go in and lie with him, so that we may preserve offspring through our father.” 35So they made their father drink wine that night also; and the younger rose, and lay with him; and he did not know when she lay down or when she rose.
36Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father.
Lot! Words fail me.
37The firstborn bore a son, and named him Moab; he is the ancestor of the Moabites to this day. 38The younger also bore a son and named him Ben-ammi; he is the ancestor of the Ammonites to this day.
The Moabites and the Ammonites will be enemies and obstacles for Israel, just like the descendants of Ishmael.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.