GENESIS - CHAPTER 19
A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
Copyright 2000 James Melough
19:1. “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.”
As we turn from the record of God’s visit with Abraham, to look at the record of His visit with Lot, contrast is immediately apparent. In Abraham’s case God came in the form of three men, but in the visit with Lot He was represented by two angels. There can be communication between angels and men, but there can’t really be communion, because they are altogether different: their natures are different. In God’s choosing to appear to Abraham in the form of a man, we are being shown that it was for the purpose of enjoying communion. Abraham was permitted to enjoy this privilege because both as to his condition and position he was right with God, while Lot was right in neither. As to his position, he was dwelling in the wicked city of Sodom where, God says, “That righteous man dwelling among them (the Sodomites), in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds” (2 Pe 2:18). As for his condition, Lot’s heart wasn’t right either, otherwise he would never have come to Sodom, and much less would he have remained in such a place. Not only had he been attracted by Sodom, but having come to it, he chose also to remain in it. Sodom’s sin vexed him, but not enough to make him leave. On the contrary, he had settled down there, and had become a man of importance among the Sodomites, for we read that when the two angels came, “Lot sat in the gate....” In other words, he had become a ruler or a judge among them.
Undoubtedly the angels came to Lot in the form of two men, just as they had to Abraham, but the divine Penman has been careful to emphasize that they visited Abraham in the form of men, while to Lot their appearance was as angels.
The number of the heavenly visitors is also instructive. Three came to Abraham, but only two to Lot. Three is the number of resurrection and complete manifestation, and spiritually Abraham stood on resurrection ground, for he lived as one who was “dead” to the world as represented by the wicked cities of the plain. The two angels who accompanied the Lord on his visit to Abraham were the witnesses to Abraham’s favored standing in the sight of God, while their presence (unaccompanied by the Lord) was the witness in Lot’s case both to his own wrong state, and to the wickedness of the Sodomites amongst whom he had chosen to dwell.
Lot also stood on resurrection ground spiritually: he too, was a believer, but his life furnished no evidence of his spiritual state. He was carnal, and the lifestyle of such a believer is so much like that of the unbeliever, that it is difficult to tell them apart.
The question is frequently asked, To what extent should Christians become involved in politics? Surely Lot’s sorry end furnishes the answer. God ordained government for the good of man, but today the world is Satan’s kingdom, and its political systems simply the machinery by which he governs in opposition to God, while he usurps the place that belongs to Christ.
Christians are commanded to pray for governors and all in authority, and to obey the law (except, obviously, where any government would require an obedience that would be disobedience of God), “I exhort, therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men: for kings, and for all that are in authority ... for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior....” (1 Tim 2:1-3). “For this cause pay we tribute (taxes) also.... render therefore to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due....” (Ro 13:6). The believer who is tempted to carry his political involvement beyond prayer for kings and rulers, would do well to ponder Lot’s end.
The time of the angels’ visit still further points up the contrast. Abraham’s visitors came at noonday; Lot’s came at even. Noon is the time of fullest light; evening, of approaching darkness. Both are analogical of spiritual realities. The greater the spiritual light the greater the ability to enjoy spiritual things, and vice versa. Occupation with earthly things is not conducive to the increase of spiritual enlightenment. At Abraham’s tent God was a welcome Guest, and knowing this, He came at noon, the period of fullest light, so that they could spend the day together. He Who discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart knew that to come to Lot at noon would have been only an unwelcome interruption of the activities of the man who was busy with Sodom’s business, so the angels came “at even.” There would be time for just a late meal, sleep, and then, as Lot said, “Ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways.” Lot would provide the customary hospitality normally extended to any traveler, but he was a busy man in Sodom, and the only time he could spare for God was an hour at the end of the day, but to spend the better part of the day with Him, as Abraham had done, was just impossible: he was too busy. The spiritual discernment of each man governed the time and character of God’s visit with each. The same principle still governs our communion with God.
Do we see in Lot a picture of ourselves? When we haven’t the time for communion with God, then we are far busier than He ever intended us to be. Yet is it not a fact that in the matter of communion, God gets no more of our time than He did of Lot’s? We are so busy with the things of this world, which like Sodom, is the place upon which God’s judgment is soon to fall, that it would be an unwelcome intrusion indeed were God to draw near to us during our busy days.
God’s visit with Abraham was in the daylight hours, in contrast with the darkness that was falling as the angels entered Sodom. That darkness reflected, not only the moral condition of Sodom, but also the condition of Lot’s life. Righteous though he was, his life reflected the darkness of the place in which he had chosen to dwell. As believers we must of necessity be in the world, but being in it and being of it are two very different things. Lot was not only in Sodom, Sodom was in Lot. He was very much of it: he sat in the gate; he was one of its rulers. We cannot maintain an effective witness for God in the world by being part of it. The same Lord Who has commissioned us to go into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature, is the One Who has also said, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (Jn 15:19).
When the three men came to Abraham “he ran to meet them,” but when the two angels came to Lot, he just “rose up to meet them.” Abraham ran, Lot merely rose up. There is always the same distinction between the spiritual and the carnal believer: the one enjoys God’s company, the other endures it, being happier in the world’s company than in God’s.
We do well to note, however, that like Abraham, Lot, “bowed himself with his face to the earth.” While there was much in his life that was wrong, and while his relationship with God left much to be desired, this at least is recorded to his credit: unlike the men among whom he dwelt, he still retained his reverence for God. The believer may sin grievously, and get very far away from God, but he can never be totally like the unregenerate.
In recording this one good thing concerning Lot, the Lord would rebuke the tendency becoming increasingly apparent, of failing to render to God the reverence that becomes us in all our relationships with Him.
19:2. “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.”
Abraham had prefaced his invitation with the words, “If now I have found favor in thy sight.” No such condition accompanied Lot’s invitation. Its omission would remind us that had such a condition been imposed, it would have been impossible for the angels to enter his house. Lot found grace in God’s sight, but it is difficult to imagine, in view of where he was, that he found favor.
Lot’s state mirrors what is all too frequently our own. When neither our position nor our condition would give us favor in God’s sight, He still draws near to us in grace, giving us, not what we deserve, but what He, in grace, delights to bestow.
Abraham’s concern that his guests find rest during their visit is conveyed in the words “and rest yourselves under the tree.” Lot expressed no concern that his guests might find rest under his roof. The place chosen by Abraham for the entertainment of his guests was under the tree. The believer, walking with God, knows that the only place on earth where God can find refreshment and rest is under the tree on which the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified. It is not surprising that Lot’s guests failed to find rest during their visit with him, luxuriously furnished though his house in Sodom undoubtedly was.
Abraham’s desire to have the men prolong their visit, and the care he had for their comfort, are easily detected in his language, “pass not away ... let a little water be fetched ... wash your feet ... rest yourselves under the tree ... I will fetch a morsel of bread ... comfort ye your hearts ... after that ye shall pass on.”
The omissions of Scripture are instructive. In Lot’s invitation, water, bread, rest, and the tree aren’t mentioned, and the spiritual significance of these things tells us that they were important to God. Water is a type of the Word for our cleansing and refreshment; bread is a type of the Word as our spiritual food; the tree, of course, speaks clearly of Calvary; and rest reminds us of the rest enjoyed by both God and the believer as the result of Christ’s death on the tree. It is not that bread and water weren’t provided by Lot - they were - it is simply that in omitting the mention of them, God would remind us that to Lot, the spiritual things they represented were of relatively little importance in his life; and in thus revealing Lot’s spiritual state, He would have us examine our own. Is the Word of paramount importance in our lives? Is there that obedience to its teaching that keeps our lives clean? Is it the bread on which we nurture our spiritual life?
“Nay: but we will abide in the street all night.” This response is vastly different from that given to Abraham’s invitation.
19:3. “And he pressed upon them greatly: and they entered in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.”
It was only after “he pressed upon them greatly” that they entered his house. It can never be otherwise. It betrays a woeful ignorance of God’s holiness to expect Him to enjoy our company in a “house in Sodom” when He has called us to be pilgrims and strangers. The “house in Sodom” is the dwelling place of the unconverted, and of the believer settled down in the world. The tent “under the tree” is the dwelling place of the man who would walk with God as a pilgrim and stranger “crucified with Christ” (Ga 2:20), saying with Paul, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Ga 6:14).
”And he made them a feast.” Abraham said, “I will fetch a morsel of bread.” There was sweeter communion around Abraham’s “morsel of bread” than there was around Lot’s “feast.” Everything Abraham set before his guests spoke of Christ. The only food mentioned at Lot’s feast was unleavened bread, and while it too, is a type of Christ as the One in Whom was no sin, it seems, under the circumstances, to speak more of Lot’s self-righteousness being set before God, than of the presentation to Him of the perfections of the Lord Jesus Christ. Compared to the men of Sodom, Lot may have been righteous, but measured by God’s perfect standard, there was very much lacking. The believer settled down in the world, may seem very righteous compared with the men around him, but the only life that meets with God’s approval is that which is Christlike, for He alone could dwell in the midst of sin without being contaminated by it.
It is not to be presumed that unleavened bread was the only item of food on Lot’s table: undoubtedly there were also cakes made of fine meal, butter and milk, and meat, but in omitting mention of them, God would teach us that Lot had come down to the low level of having nothing more to attest to his being a believer than adherence to a moral code of righteousness. Enjoyment of meditation upon Christ as the perfect Man, or as the perfect Offering for sin, had little place in the life of the man who was busy with Sodom’s affairs. In this he is a picture of many a believer today.
19:4. “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.”
Abraham’s hospitality had included the invitation “rest yourselves under the tree,” and his guests had found rest; but there is no mention of rest in Lot’s invitation, nor did his guests find rest. There could be no rest for God or His messengers in a place like Sodom, and there could therefore, be no rest for Lot. God cannot rest while one of His own is “in Sodom,” and His only purpose in coming to His own in such a place must be to bring them out of it.
This verse reveals the completeness of Sodom’s depravity, and explains the corresponding completeness of God’s judgment upon it. “The men of Sodom compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter.” Like the evil things they were, children of darkness, sons of the prince of darkness, the night was the fitting time of their activity, and their deeds were like themselves, evil. They were those who “loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (Jn 3:19).
19:5. “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.”
Any question as to Sodom’s wickedness was fully answered in their words, “that we may know them.” Their intention was to sodomize God’s messengers!
19:6. “And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him.”
The mention of a door is instructive. It was Lot alone, the one who had chosen to live among them, who went out unto them. The angels didn’t go out with him. A closed door stood between the Sodomites and God’s messengers. For that wicked city, God’s time of mercy had ended, and the time of His wrath had come. That closed door speaks volumes. For a godless world, as then for godless Sodom, the day is very near when the door of mercy will be closed, and an angry God will exchange the showers of blessing for the thunder clouds of wrath.
It is significant that when announcing the judgment yet to fall upon this ungodly world, the Lord Jesus Christ said, “As it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Lk 17:28-30). The ever increasing tide of homosexuality sweeping across the world today declares that the end of the age is upon us. The destruction will come with the same lightening-like speed as that which overthrew the cities of the plain in Lot’s day.
Others have pointed out that the departure of Lot from Sodom before the judgment fell, is a picture of the Rapture of the Church. The believers of the Church age will be caught up to heaven before the Tribulation begins.
19:7. “And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.”
The extent to which Lot had departed from God is revealed in his description of the Sodomites: he addressed them as brethren!
19:8. “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.”
Everything in Lot’s life stands as a warning against carnal living. In Abraham’s time of testing he offered his only son to God. In Lot’s time of testing he stoops to an unbelievable act of vileness: he would sacrifice his daughters to the lust of the Sodomites. Abraham’s sacrifice revealed the perfect obedience of his heart. The sacrifice Lot was willing to make revealed the depths to which his first step of disobedience had led him.
As has been noted in earlier studies, the wife represents the expression of a man’s spiritual life; while sons and daughters represent, respectively, the activity and the passivity of that life. Lot, offering his two daughters, is therefore the figure of the believer who is willing to place at the service of a wicked world what belongs to God alone. “Do ye to them as is good in your eyes” is the symbolic picture of one who is willing to make his submission to God subject to the impaired judgment of the wicked word which Sodom represents. His folly is recorded to warn us against repeating it.
19:9. “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, then with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.”
The folly of attempting to be a witness for God while living like the men of the world is amply demonstrated in this verse. The contempt in which the Sodomites held Lot is expressed in their words and actions. He who would be a witness for God must, like Abraham, walk with God apart from the world. The only witness the world will heed is that which comes from a separated man standing in a separated place, calling upon sinners to separate themselves from a world that is under the condemnation of God. It is no gospel which fails to rebuke man’s sin. That rebuke will arouse the world’s anger, and bring persecution, but without that rebuke man’s conscience will be left undisturbed, and without conviction of sin there is no salvation. Lot’s experience demonstrates the folly of cowardly compromise. He earned, not only the contempt of the men of Sodom, but what was worse, he incurred the displeasure of God, and failed to lead one Sodomite to repentance.
19:10. “But the men put forth their hand, and pulled him into the house to them, and shut to the door.”
The separation that he had refused to maintain voluntarily, was finally compelled. The separation that Abraham maintained voluntarily with his tent under the tree in Hebron, stands in sharp contrast with this compelled separation that is only as thick as the door that stood between the Sodomites and God’s messengers. Abraham’s affections were centered in “a (the) city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb 11:10). Lot’s were centered in Sodom. No door was needed to shut the Sodomites away from Abraham. He had chosen to dwell alone with God under the tree in Hebron where there was nothing to attract the men of Sodom.
The believer who is tempted to choose his inheritance in this world, would do well to consider Lot’s end. Having chosen to lay up his treasure in a place destined for destruction, he went out with only his life, and everything else lost. So will it be with the believer who chooses to lay up his treasure in this doomed world.
On the eve of judgment, their last night on earth, the men of Sodom, now blinded by God, in the darkness of the night, sought for a door through which they might pass to indulge their lust. Before another night fell they would have passed through the door that separates time from eternity, to find themselves for ever doomed to the blackness of eternal night, a fit dwelling place for those who had chosen to live on earth as the children of darkness, loving darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
It is a grim and terrible picture of the men of this world. In the darkness of their spiritual night they seek to pass through any door that will provide gratification of the lusts of the flesh, while they ignore Christ’s warning, “Strive to enter in at the narrow gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand outside, and to knock at the door, saying; Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are ... depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity” (Lk 13:24-27).
And it was with such men that Lot had chosen to dwell, sitting amongst them as a judge of their affairs, but failing apparently to warn them that they were preparing themselves for destruction. It is not the believer’s business to be sitting amongst the ungodly as an administrator of their affairs: it is his business to warn them that “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Ro 6:23).
19:11. “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.”
The blindness with which the Sodomites were smitten was but a part of their affliction for it went beyond the physical: God had smitten them also with spiritual blindness, so that now it was just as impossible for them to find the door of life as it was to find the door of Lot’s house. They had passed for ever beyond the line that separates God’s mercy from His wrath.
The Scriptures abound with warnings against persistence in sin, as they do also with examples of divinely imposed spiritual blindness and hardening which make it impossible for the wilful rejector of mercy to be saved, “And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man....” (Ge 6:3); “He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy” (Pr 29:1); “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Co 6:2).
Pharaoh is an example of one, who having been warned repeatedly, hardened his heart against God, and was then given up to destruction after God imposed a divine hardening upon a heart already self-hardened by repeated rebellion against divine warnings many times repeated, but arrogantly spurned.
Israel is another example of a people frequently warned, but who having spurned those warnings, were finally afflicted with divinely-imposed spiritual blindness, which makes repentance impossible, “God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear.... Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see.... For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Ro 11:8,10,25. (It should be noted that Israel’s blindness is in part. This makes possible the salvation of the remnant in the Tribulation. Were the blindness total there could be no salvation for Israel).
2 Th 2:11-12 is another example of divinely-imposed blindness and hardening appointed for those of this present age, who having heard the Gospel, and rejecting it, are left behind when the Lord comes to the air to rapture the Church. Though the Gospel will be preached in the Tribulation, those who rejected it in this present dispensation will have no opportunity to be saved then.
It is a fatal mistake not to recognize that God has reserved to Himself the right to decide how long He will offer pardon to any individual. This does not in any way imply that some are predestined to be saved, and others lost. A sovereign God has the right to say how long He will permit any man the privilege of accepting or rejecting His gift of eternal life. God says, “Behold, now is the accepted time,” and he is a presumptuous fool, gambling with the fate of his own soul, who says, “Tomorrow I’ll be saved.” Tomorrow may be too late. It may be beyond God’s allotted time.
The Sodomites had sinned away their day of grace. They had passed beyond God’s accepted time.
19:12. “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.”
As has been noticed already, children represent the fruit of the life, and are therefore symbols or types of what we produce in our spiritual lives. Sons portray the activity of the spiritual life, while daughters portray submission; and while this verse might perhaps imply that Lot had sons as well as daughters, verse fourteen seems to indicate otherwise. If he had sons, they didn’t accompany him out of Sodom, and must therefore have perished with the Sodomites. In this, God would teach us that what sons represent was missing from Lot’s life: there was no spiritual activity. Also, since it is through his sons that a man’s life is perpetuated in the physical realm, we learn that Lot went out of Sodom, in one sense having saved his life, yet in another, having lost it. There were no sons to carry on his line. The believer who lives for the things of this world will have a similar experience. He will leave this world as Lot left Sodom: having saved his life, but without an abundant reward to be enjoyed eternally in heaven, “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Co 3:15).
19:13. “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.”
Luke 17:28-30 reminds us that it was the wickedness of the cities of the plain that brought judgment in the days of Lot, and that it is the wickedness of the world that will bring judgment again, “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”
The world today is as wicked as it was in the days of Lot, and in the removal of Lot from the place upon which divine judgment was about to fall, God reminds us that the Church will also be removed from the earth prior to the outpouring of the terrible Tribulation judgments, which will culminate with the return of the Lord to banish into hell every unbeliever on the face of the earth. Nor can the return of the Lord to rapture the Church be far off. The sin of homosexuality which brought the destruction of the cities of the plain, is the very same sin which is sweeping across the earth today, bringing in its wake the plague of AIDS.
19:14. “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.”
It is generally recognized that the correct rendering of this verse is which were to marry his daughters. They were betrothed, but not yet married.
The testimony of the lip, which is not confirmed by the life, is worthless, “... he seemed as one that mocked.” Separation from the world, and unto God, is the only ground for an effective testimony. Separation from the world alone is mere asceticism, and only chills the heart, but separation unto God lusters the testimony with the light and love of God. Service that isn’t impelled by love is worthless, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass....” (1 Co 13:1).
”No man can serve two masters.... Ye cannot serve God and Mammon” (Mt 6:24). It would seem that Lot’s first love was Mammon, and only when the folly of that love became apparent would he serve God. But God will not share His glory. He says, “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways” (Pr 23:26). We cannot serve God only when it is expedient, when there is no other choice. God’s time is NOW. The Amplified NT rendering of 2 Tim 4:2 emphasizes what our attitude should be, “Herald and preach the Word. Keep your sense of urgency (stand by, be at hand and ready, whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable, whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it be welcome or unwelcome, you, as preacher of the Word, are to show people in what way their lives are wrong) and convince them rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching.”
It is apparent that this attitude didn’t characterize Lot’s life. But God’s Word is a mirror. Do we see in Lot the reflection of ourselves?
19:15. “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.”
There is a peculiar propriety in the Holy Spirit’s having chosen to record the events of Sodom’s last night rather than its last day. The blackness of night is a fitting backdrop for the acting out of the last chapter in the lives of these sons of darkness. In the night, when others slept, they crept forth to indulge their lust, and the God Whose law they despised had prepared a fitting judgment. Their last morning was a time of judgment. For them there would be no more mornings. By their own choice they had placed themselves in the company of those “to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 13).
For Lot it was the time when he must leave for ever the place in which he had centered all his hopes, where he had laid up his treasure, where his heart was. How heavy his heart must have been that morning as the angels led him out! Everything he had lived for was lost, and he himself “saved, yet so as by fire” (1 Co 3:15). His exodus from Sodom shows us, in type, the departure from this world, of the believer who has lived for time instead of eternity. If we are tempted to walk in his steps we should consider his end, and compare it with Paul’s. As the Apostle contemplated his departure from this doomed world, he could say, “... the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing” (2 Tim 4:6-8).
Up to this point there has been no mention of Lot’s wife. It is not recorded that she had assisted in the preparation of the feast spread for the visitors, and were it not for this reference to her, it might well have been presumed that she was dead. When we remember that the wife represents the expression of a man’s spiritual life, the reason for the absence of any reference to her becomes obvious: Lot lived so much like a man of the world, that were it not for the Scriptural assurance to the contrary, we should have concluded that he did not have what the possession of a wife symbolically implies - spiritual life.
19:16. “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.”
In the symbolic language of Scripture, the hand speaks of work, and the three-fold reference here to the hand is intended perhaps to remind us that this marked the end of their occupation with the things of Sodom. Had they been able to foresee that morning, their occupation with Sodom’s affairs would undoubtedly have been very much less. “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning” (Ro 15:4). For every man, there will be a last morning on earth. He is guilty of incredible folly who does not take time to consider how the things of earth will appear in the light of that morning.
In spite of much that was wrong in Lot’s life, however, the one thing that mattered was, that by faith, he had established a right relationship with God, and because he had, God, “brought him forth, and set him outside the city” before judgment fell. So will it be with every believer: God will remove His own from the earth before the terrible Tribulation judgments fall upon it.
19:17. “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.”
In designating the mountain as the place of safety for Lot, God would direct our attention to what is connected with mountains generally in Scripture. Primarily a mountain is the symbol of a king or kingdom (see Dan 2:35). However, as the place on earth which is literally closest to heaven, it is also used to portray separation from the world and nearness to God. It isn’t just by chance that the mountain top is so frequently chosen by God as the stage upon which He displays some of the most memorable events in the lives of some of His greatest servants. The first altar and the first sacrifice of the post-diluvian age were upon Mount Ararat. It was on a mountain that Abraham yielded an obedience to God that is transcended only by that of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The first recorded sacrifice of Jacob was on Mount Gilead. It was on the Mount Horeb that Moses receive his great commission to lead God’s people out of Egypt; and it was on another mountain, Sinai, that he received the tables of the law. It was on a mountain that Christ was transfigured.
There is little difficulty therefore, in deciphering the spiritual significance of the divine command “escape to the mountain.” God had graciously delivered Lot in order that He might bring him near to Himself. God gives the same command to His own today. When He says, “Escape for thy life ... escape to the mountain,” He is bidding us turn our backs on a wicked world so that we may save our lives by dwelling with Him on a spiritual plane above the defilement and condemnation of earth.
The command, “Look not behind thee” was meant, not only for Lot: it is for every believer. God would have us focus our eyes on heaven, not on a doomed world. The command, “Neither stay thou in all the plain” is to us as much as it was to Lot. God would have His own hurry as pilgrims and strangers through the wilderness of this world on our way to heaven.
19:18. “And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord.”
He loved Sodom. His treasure was there; his heart was there. He lingered and had to be led away. He had breathed the corrupt air of Sodom so long that he couldn’t think of living anywhere else.
Do we see our own reflection in God’s mirror? As He bids us “escape to the mountain,” do we linger around the things of this doomed world? Have we lost the desire for the mountain top experience? Have we forgotten what it is like to “escape to the mountain” for even a little while, where alone with God, we may breathe the air of heaven, and have our strength renewed and our souls refreshed. Is our response to God’s command to be separate, simply an echo of Lot’s rebellious answer, “Oh, not so my Lord”?
The Sodom of Lot’s day has lain under the waters of the Dead Sea for centuries, but Satan has raised up another to take its place. This present evil world is Sodom on a grander scale. “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even so shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Lk 17:28-30). The subtle adversary who lured Lot into ancient Sodom, would lure us into its modern counterpart, and the success of his efforts is attested by the blighted lives of believers who have first only “pitched their tents towards Sodom,” and then like Lot, settled down in the midst of it.
God would have had Lot make a fresh start, but there were two conditions to be met: he must leave Sodom, and he must go to the mountain. “God speaketh once, yea, twice, yet man perceiveth it not” (Job 33:14). God had spoken once to Lot about leaving Sodom. That was in chapter fourteen, when He had caused the Babylonian kings to invade the region and carry Lot away captive with the rest of Sodom’s inhabitants. On that occasion He had graciously permitted Abraham to effect a rescue. How different Lot’s departure from Sodom might have been had he recognized that captivity and deliverance as the voice of God. But as is all too often the case, he perceived it not as the voice of God.
On that occasion he had lost everything: freedom, family, goods; but only for a little while in order that God might speak to him. The One Who had first given, took away, and then abundantly restored, for we read that “Abraham brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people” (Ge 14:16. God never takes away to impoverish, but to enrich. When He asked Abraham to empty his hands of the worthless things of Ur it was only in order to fill them with the precious things of eternal worth. When he had accomplished His gracious purpose with Job, He restored twice what He had taken away.
Had Lot recognized the voice of God in that Babylonian invasion from which he was delivered by Abraham, he could have left Sodom then with all his goods, and his wife, and his daughters uncorrupted by Sodom’s morals. But his ears had been too long attuned to the sounds of Sodom to recognize the voice of God; and the result was that now he must leave Sodom, having lost everything, through his failure either to hear or heed God’s voice in God’s time. To know the fullness of blessing, we must obey in God’s time. Irreparable loss accompanies delayed obedience. Numbers chapter fourteen is the said record of an obedience that came too late. It wasn’t yielded in God’s time, and the result was that a generation that could have entered Canaan, died instead in the wilderness.
Lot was guilty of the same sin, in responding as he did to God’s command, “Escape to the mountain.” He, as did Israel upon first coming to the border of Canaan, obeyed, but too late. As they disbelieved God’s word to give them the land, Lot disbelieved that his life would be saved by obeying the command, “Escape for thy life ... escape to the mountain.”
Abraham, called to the mountain, to offer up his son, went in faith, “accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he receive him in a figure” (Heb 11:19). Lot, called by that same God, to escape to the mountain, not to sacrifice a son, but to save his own life, refused to go. Such is the difference between faith and carnality.
19:19. “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.”
Lot must acknowledge the gracious goodness and mercy of God in having saved his life, but what contradiction is found in his words! He refers to himself as thy servant, yet he refused to yield the obedience of a servant. And his distrust of God is betrayed in the reason advanced for his disobedience, “I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die.” This is nothing short of direct contradiction of God Who had said, “Escape for thy life....” He had been directed to flee to the mountain for the very purpose of saving his life, yet in blatant unbelief he refused, saying, “ I cannot ... lest ... I die.”
There is amazing inconsistency in unbelief. With one breath he was thanking God for having saved his life, and with the next, accusing God of sending him to the mountain for the purpose of killing him. Even common sense should have shown him the fallacy of his reasoning. God could have left him in Sodom to die with the ungodly amongst whom he had chosen live. But unbelief is always ready to distrust God, and impute to Him the worst of motives. The Israelites were scarcely delivered from Egypt, till they began to accuse God of having brought them into the wilderness to kill them (Ex 14:11).
Unbelief is a subtle thing. We can wonder at the faithlessness of Lot and of Israel, and yet be guilty ourselves. How many times has some seeming adverse circumstance come into our lives, causing us to entertain the same unbelief of God’s goodness, causing us to forget that, “All things work together for good to them that love God”?
19:20. “Behold now, this city is near to flee into, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.”
Having contradicted God as to His plan, Lot then proceeded to offer his own. Being compelled to leave one city, he preferred to enter another, rather than go to the mountain. The spiritual lesson is that his carnal state caused him to prefer the fellowship of the men of the plain, rather than fellowship with God in a separated place, far above the distractions and defilement that were part of life in the plain. A preference for the fellowship of the men of the world, rather than the fellowship of God, indicates an unhealthy spiritual state.
As with every choice that isn’t left in God’s hands, the choice of Zoar was a foolish one, similar to the self-willed choice he made, when having separated from Abraham, “he chose him all the plain of Jordan.” The folly of that choice we have already considered, and examination of Zoar shows that it was an equally foolish choice. Zoar has two meanings little and bringing low. It was little in every sense of the word. What was a little city that the hand of man had laboriously raised, compared with the mountain called into existence by the word of the omnipotent God?
Since the spiritual significance of the second meaning bringing low has already been discussed in chapter 13, it needn’t be repeated here.
The first city mentioned in Scripture, Ge 4:17, was built by the godless Cain, and the first city of the post-diluvian world, Babylon, was built by the rebel Nimrod. This sets the pattern for what we find so often connected with cities - they are all too often the centers of human rebellion against God.
There is no reason to believe that Zoar was different from the other cities of the plain. Only the foolishness of unbelief could have led Lot to think that there could have been either safety or blessing in it. It was as much a city of the plain as was Sodom, and it is clear that God wanted Lot out of the plain, just as it is clear that when he called Abraham out of Ur, He wanted him in Canaan and not in Haran.
How often we follow in Lot’s footsteps, and rob ourselves of blessing by refusing to walk in the way marked out by God. When God shows us the evil in something with which we are associated, it is not to have us exchange that association for something similar, but which we think less evil: it is to have us forsake it completely. The wickedness of Zoar was no less abhorrent to God just because it was a small city, than was the wickedness of Sodom. All sin is abhorrent to God. Of Him it is written, “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity” (Hab 1:3).
It is significant that Zoar was mentioned in chapter 13 in connection with Lot’s coming towards Sodom, and now again in connection with his leaving it. From an experience that had resulted in his being “brought low,” the very meaning of Zoar might have warned him against further trifling with God, but blind eyes can read no message, deaf ears can hear no voice. The sights and sounds of Sodom had long since rendered Lot blind and deaf to any message from God. He would refuse the divine command to escape to the mountain, and seek instead to enter into another wicked city.
The preservation of spiritual sight and hearing is a blessing of inestimable worth. God sometimes writes His messages in small print, and speaks in a “still, small voice,” but there is great gain in reading those messages, in hearing that voice, and being obedient.
Zoar is also called Bela, which means swallowing. Lot had seen all he had lived for, swallowed up in Sodom, and this third meaning of Zoar should have warned him that continued disobedience was likely to result in the swallowing up of what little he had left. In all things, except size, Zoar was exactly like Sodom. The cities of the plain had a common characteristic: they were wicked. We would do well to learn the lesson that disobedience and blessing are never found together.
19:21. “And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for which thou hast spoken.”
From this verse we are reminded again that there are two parts to God’s will: one is directive, the other permissive. It is within the sphere of His permissive will that disobedience can operate, and this points to the superiority of being within the sphere of His directive will. For Lot, God’s directive will was the mountain, His permissive will was Zoar. It might be supposed that one experience under divine permission (his choice of the plain of Jordan) would have taught him the folly of entering that realm again, but God would have us see in Lot a picture of ourselves: we are slow to learn, even from bitter experience. Lot entered the realm of God’s permissive, rather than His directive will for the second time when he choose Zoar rather than the mountain. How often we are guilty of the same folly!
”... for which thou hast spoken,” might seem to imply that, as Abraham had pleaded for Sodom, so Lot had pleaded for Zoar. It would seem, however, that Lot was far more concerned about his own safety than he was about the safety of anyone in Zoar. He was looking for a place of refuge other than the mountain. The selfish attitude that desired the preservation of Zoar stands in stark contrast with the attitude of Abraham when he prayed for Sodom. Abraham prayed for the sake of any righteous who might have been in the city: Lot prayed only for his own sake. Such is the difference always between the spiritual and the carnal man.
19:22. “Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.”
In the angel’s urging upon Lot the necessity of haste in making his escape, God would impress upon us that there is the same urgency in escaping the condemnation of the world. This applies to the saint as well as the sinner. For the latter the condemnation is hell and the lake of fire, and the way of escape is to trust in Christ as Savior. For the former, the way of escape is the path of obedience to Christ as Lord, so that there will be no condemnation of the life (and therefore no loss of reward) at the Bema.
The angel’s inability to execute judgment until Lot had made his escape from Sodom, is viewed by many as indicative of the fact that the Tribulation judgments will not fall until the Church has been raptured, Lot’s departure from Sodom being viewed as a type of the removal of the Church from earth to heaven.
19:23. “The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.”
”God will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hear” (1 Co 4:5), “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light” (Lk 12:2-3). The wickedness that the night had covered, was bathed in the full light of morning when God poured down judgment. It is significant that in Scripture the morning is almost invariably connected with judgment. It was “in the morning watch” that the Lord destroyed the Egyptians in the Red Sea (Ex 14:24). It was “in the morning” that Achan’s sin was exposed, and he himself put to death (Jos 7:14). It will be when He comes as “the Sun of righteousness” (Mal 4:2) that the wickedness practiced on the earth during the night of His absence, will be exposed, and the wicked banished from the earth into hell.
19:24. “Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.”
This refutes the unscriptural doctrine of a God Who is too loving to punish sin by consigning anyone to the eternal torment of the lake of fire. Peter also confirms that man has to do with a God Who is also a God of righteousness and judgment, “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; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah ... bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those that after should live ungodly....” (2 Pe 2:4-6).
19:25. “And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.”
While the destruction of the cities of the plain after Lot’s departure from them, presents us with a picture of the judgments that will be poured upon an ungodly world in the Tribulation, there can be little doubt that the picture goes beyond the Tribulation. The scope of the judgment may point also to that which will envelope the whole earth after the Millennium. Regarding that judgment that will bring an end to this present wicked world, we read in Re 20:9, “And they (Satan and the rebels of the post-millennial earth) went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about (as the Sodomites had encompassed Lot’s house), and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.”
19:26. “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”
In previous studies we have noted that the wife represents the expression of the man’s spiritual life, and certainly there could be no more fitting symbol of Lot’s spiritual life than this nameless woman. In contrast with Sarah, who played a prominent role in Abraham’s entertainment of the heavenly visitors in chapter 18, Lot’s wife isn’t even mentioned in connection with the feast which he prepared, nor is she even mentioned in verse 12. As there was little in Lot’s spiritual life worthy of record, so is there a corresponding paucity of detail in regard to the woman who represented the expression of that life.
We should note, however, the care with which God preserves the accuracy of the type in His description of the end of the woman herself. In the NT the death of the believer is referred to as a falling asleep. The new life cannot die. Accordingly therefore, the Holy Spirit, describing the end of the woman who represents that life in Lot, says, not that she died, but that she became a pillar of salt. In Mt 5:13 it is said of believers, “Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” In Lk 17:32 the warning is given, “Remember Lot’s wife.” That warning applies as much to believers as to unbelievers, and when we link the warning with what is said about salt, we find a lesson we do well not to ignore.
An intact pillar of salt is a useless thing until it is broken into grains. That intact salt pillar that had ben Lot’s wife speaks volumes. His spiritual life had never been yielded up to God to be broken for the spiritual good of men, and now that life, represented by a pillar of salt, stood as an eternal monument to his folly. That which in life had represented his atrophied spiritual life, became petrified, useless, save as a warning to others, to us - prompting the question, What is my spiritual life? Only a pillar of salt, intact, unbroken, useless? Is there yet time to yield it up to being broken and made useful for God? “Remember Lot’s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” (Lk.17:32-33).
19:27. “And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord:”
The divine spotlight turns from the petrified symbol of Lot’s spiritual life, to focus upon faithful Abraham, who is found here, as in so many of his dealings with God, getting up “early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord.” This would seem to have been the same place, where only the day before, he had stood before the Lord pleading for the preservation of Sodom, if only ten righteous might be found there.
There weren’t ten righteous within its walls, and a righteous God had destroyed it; and as he surveyed the ruin, Abraham turned to the same place where he had presented his supplication on its behalf. That place is a picture of the throne of grace, and in Abraham’s returning to it, God would illustrate a lesson. Having presented a petition which may appear to have been denied, we should return to the throne of grace in order to obtain the grace that will enable us to accept God’s answer, even when that answer seems to be NO.
19:28. “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.”
His prayer had not been answered according to his expectations. As he looked upon the inferno that but yesterday had been the fertile plain of Jordan, it must have seemed to him impossible that anyone could have survived. Outward circumstances, however, are seldom an accurate standard by which to measure either God’s approval or disapproval: the one righteous man in Sodom had escaped. The lesson God would teach is that He does hear our prayers, but He would caution us against seeing His answers in outward circumstances.
The smoking ruin that had been the well-watered plain of Jordan must have impressed upon Abraham the wisdom of having left his choice with God, as it must also have confirmed Lot’s folly in having chosen in self-will.
The smoke has gone, but the desolate ruin remains to this day, a warning to all against the folly of living only for the things of earth, and of laying up our treasure in a place that God is going to destroy one day.
19:29. “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.”
It should be noted that Lot’s deliverance is linked with God’s remembrance of Abraham. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (Jas 5:16). Another translation of this verse is, “Tremendous power is made available through a good man’s earnest prayer.”
In spite of all appearances to the contrary, God had heard Abraham’s prayer. As was noted in our study of chapter 18, Abraham had a genuine concern for his worldly nephew, and it was mainly for his sake that supplication had been made on behalf of Sodom. That supplication hadn’t been in vain. God had preserved Lot.
Even when everything seems hopeless, even when it seems that God has said No, we shouldn’t despair. Nothing perhaps had ever seemed more hopeless to Abraham than the possibility that anything could have survived destruction in the judgment that had produced this smoking ruin - but Lot sill lived! We should never abandon faith in God. “ALL things (even seeming disasters) work together for good to them that love God” (Ro 8:28).
19:30. “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.”
The duration of Lot’s sojourn in Zoar isn’t recorded, nor are we given any other reason for his leaving than that he feared to continue living there. It may well have been that the destruction of the other cities of the plain had failed to turn the inhabitants of Zoar from their sin, causing Lot to fear that the same destruction would fall upon it, and that this time he wouldn’t escape. Whatever the reason, he did leave and went to dwell in the mountain, but as has been noted already, his obedience came too late. He should have gone to the mountain when he was commanded in verse 17.
In Ge 12:8 we read concerning Abraham that “he removed from thence unto a mountain ... and pitched his tent ... and builded an altar.” There is no mention of tent or altar in connection with Lot’s removal to the mountain. He was neither a pilgrim nor a worshipper. Having chosen to live like the men of the world, and having failed to heed repeated warnings, he was left to finish his life, apparently, as he had lived it.
It is significant that his dwelling place was a cave in the mountain. In Scripture a cave is almost invariably associated with death and burial, and for Lot, that cave was, for all practical purposes, the burial place of his dead testimony. Except for the record of his sin in the cave, his entering into it brings to a close the Scriptural record of Lot’s life. It is a sad, but fitting end to the record of a life that so greatly dishonored God; and it is all the sadder because it was the life of a believer!
From the top of another mountain (Moriah), undimmed by the passage of time, shines the glory with which God has lustered Abraham’s obedience. In an unnamed mountain outside the site of ancient Sodom, the darkness of a cave has wrapped for the same long centuries, a shroud of silence around the unrecorded final chapter of Lot’s life. “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness” (Pr 4:14-19).
Twice in this verse it is recorded that his daughters accompanied him to the cave. With his wife gone, they were apparently his only companions. The depravity of these two daughters, and the sordid details of their incest, have resulted in the almost total neglect of this passage of Scripture, with the resultant loss of the spiritual lesson which God has woven into it. The assurance, however, that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:6) warrants our attempting to find those spiritual lessons.
We have already learned that family relationships are used in Scripture to portray spiritual principles. Man, unmarried, for example, is a type of man in his natural state. He is barren, unable to legitimately produce his kind: hence God’s pronouncement concerning Adam, “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Ge 2:18). Man with a wife, however, represents man as a new creature in Christ, the wife being representative the expression of that new life. These two God regards as one, and it is a unit having the capacity to produce life, to reproduce itself. The children born of that union represent the fruit of the new life. But there are two aspects of the Christian life: one is abstention from evil, and the other is the active pursuit of good, the negative and the positive, which together make the well balanced Christian life. Daughters represent the negative or passive; sons, the positive or active aspect of the Christian life.
Lot is representative of the carnal Christian. His daughters therefore, instead of portraying submission to the will of God, portray rather submission to the will of the flesh.
A man’s wife and his children are both flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone, but the wife is so by God’s ordination, whereas the children are so by natural generation, by his own begetting, As believers, we are either producing the fruits of the Spirit, or the fruits of the flesh.
Lot, who had lived for the flesh, now sows to the flesh, and, “He that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption” (Ga 6:8). In Ro 7:25 Paul writes, “... with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin,” and it should be noted that in this sowing by Lot, it was clearly of the flesh and not of his mind, for twice it is recorded that “he perceived not” vv.33,35. In Ro 6:16 it is written, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.” Lot, who had yielded himself as the servant of the flesh for most of his life, now finds himself its helpless and unwitting slave.
The believer, as far as the flesh is concerned, is reckoned by God to be dead, Ro 6:6, “Our old man is crucified with Him....” Ga 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ....” We also learn, however, that while this is how God reckons it to be, the flesh is still with us, and still very much alive. Ro 7:22-23, “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind....” God’s desire is that this old nature should be kept in the place of death where He reckons it to be. Ro 6:11-12, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin.... Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body.” Col 3:5, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth....”
In this latter part of the record of Lot’s life, the lesson God would impress upon us is the terrible consequences of carnal living.
19:31. “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:”
In that the evil suggestion originated with the firstborn, we have another example of the truth that in Scripture the firstborn always stands as the representative of the natural state, and in God’s consistent rejection of the firstborn we are reminded that to be accepted by God, “Ye must be born again.”
Everything here points to the foolish reasoning of the flesh, and a total disregard for God. It is an OT example of what is declared in 1 Co 15:47, “The first man is of the earth, earthy.” She said, “...there is not a man in the earth.... after the manner of all the earth,” and her speech betrays the earthiness of her reasoning. “Our father is old....” To have even considered her father as the means by which she would beget offspring was a gross offense even against nature itself. “There is not a man in the earth,” was a lie. Weren’t there men in Zoar? Weren’t there men in Abraham’s household? But the flesh will achieve its ends no matter what means must be employed.
19:32. “Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.”
The use of wine, as the means by which her father was to be made the unwitting accomplice of her sin, is significant. In Scripture wine is the symbol of joy, but man finds his joy either in the things of God, or in earthly pleasure. In the present instance it is clearly the latter that is portrayed, and the warning surely is obvious. The believer who finds his pleasure in the things of earth dishonors God, for he risks becoming also the servant of sin.
19:33. “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.”
Lot, in his drunken stupor, is a picture of the carnal believer who has lived so long like an unbeliever that the ability to distinguish between right and wrong no longer exists. The unbeliever is not alone in being in danger of hardening his heart and searing his conscience through refusal to forsake sin. The believer is in equally great danger. It is to believers that the exhortation of Heb 3:13 is addressed, “But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today: lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
The believer who would see the result of carnality, has but to look at the drunken Lot, lying in the cave, insensible of the part he was playing in the service of sin.
19:34. “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.”
It should be carefully noted that this sin of the two daughters doesn’t appear to have been practiced simply to gratify fleshly lust. Twice it is recorded that the reason advanced by the firstborn was “that we may preserve seed of our father.” How often, by the same subtle cunning does Satan lead believers into sin. A worthy end is made to justify very unworthy means, but unless the means are as worthy as the end, they are very likely to be sin.
19:35. “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.”
The sin of the previous night is repeated under exactly the same circumstances, and thus is revealed the pattern of the carnal believer’s life. He spends his days in sin, with conscience so seared, that like Lot, he knows neither the enormity of his sin, nor the depths to which he has sunk. Here we are confronted with the fruit of sin tolerated in the life of a believer, just as in Re 3:17 we have declared the state of the church that tolerates sin, “Thou knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”
The exhortation given the Laodicean church is no less applicable to the carnal believer, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Re 3:18-19). The condition of the unbeliever, and of the carnal believer are so similar in many ways that the same exhortation applies to both. The difference, however, is that the one is in danger of losing his soul; the other, of losing his reward.
In the sinful activity of these two daughters we see the flesh as it really is: alive, energetic in fulfilling its lusts, in producing sin. The trio in the cave presents us with a graphic picture of the believer living according to the flesh. As Lot’s body was made to serve the sinful purposes of his daughters, so will the carnal believer’s body be made to serve the lusts of his flesh.
The cave (so often associated with death and burial), in the darkness of night, is a fitting stage upon which God would have us view the activity of carnality. The believer, walking according to the flesh is spiritually “in the cave,” he is dead as far as testimony and fruitfulness for God are concerned. He can produce only the “unfruitful works of darkness” (Eph 5:11).
There being two daughters (the number of witness or testimony) would remind us that we are left on the earth to be a testimony for God. The carnal believer however, yielding himself to the service of sin, becomes a testimony against God’s saving and keeping power. God would have us live before men so that they might see in us the peace and blessing that attend the obedient life, and be led to make themselves the recipients of that same blessing, by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.
19:36. “Thus were the two daughters of Lot with child by their father.”
These daughters who should have been the representatives of Lot’s submission to the divine will, have become instead representative of his submission to the flesh. In their having left the woman’s place of submission, in order to initiate the union that made them the mothers of Lot’s sons, God would teach us that submission to the flesh is in reality sinful activity against Him.
19:37. “And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day.
Moab means from father: what father? In the first meaning of his name there is declared his origin: she has begotten him through her own father. He is therefore, not only her son, but also her brother. What confusion of the natural order has been produced by this outrage both against God and against nature! The second meaning what father? points also to the confusion connected with his origin. Well might his name convey a question as to his origin. Lot may have been his physical father, but surely in all of this it isn’t difficult to discern the dark form of Satan, the spiritual father of all that comes from rebellion against God.
It is scarcely necessary to mention, in addition, that this wrongly begotten son became the father of the Moabites: a people who for generations proved themselves the bitter enemies of God’s people. Their history is consistently evil.
19:38. “And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.”
Benammi means son of my people, and Ammon means tribal or peoplish. Both he and the people descended from him, portray the truth annunciated by the Lord Himself in Jn 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh....” Having sown to the flesh, Lot can beget only that which perpetuates its evil activity, for the Ammonites also proved to be Israel’s bitter foes for generations. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other” (Ga 5:17).
In this sinful perpetuation of Lot’s life, God would teach us the folly of sin. How far-reaching may be the effects of even one sinful act on the part of a believer! And inasmuch as these incestuously begotten sons of Lot became themselves the fathers of the enemies of Israel, God would warn His own of the harm that may come to the whole household of faith through the sin of just one believer.
Thus ends in ignominy the life of Lot as far as the divine record is concerned: a solemn warning to every believer against obeying the lusts of the flesh, and living for the things of this present evil world.