|The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, by John Martin, 1852|
In reading the Word of God, it is such a delight when one re-reads the same passage and yet unearths new insights. It’s a delightful mystery to me how this happens, but it is also a wonderful confirmation that the Word is living and active, just as was promised. (Hebrews 4:12).
In reading through Genesis, I’m up to Genesis 19. This is the pivotal chapter where God sends Jesus in a pre-incarnate visit along with two other angels to speak with Abraham and to render destruction onto Sodom (and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboiim, and apparently Zoar was also slated for destruction but mercy came when Lot pleaded to be allowed to live there).
In searching out the parallel scriptures the Spirit brought the following to mind:
Mrs. Lot. I’ve always wondered about her turning into a pillar of salt. I’ve always wondered about the admonition from Jesus to “Remember Lot’s wife!” (Luke 17:32).
Well, if you read right before verse 32, Jesus is saying what NOT to do when the day of Destruction comes,
31On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. 32″Remember Lot’s wife.
Mrs Lot had turned back. She was already behind, and she did not merely glance back, but had turned back, thus becoming embroiled in the destruction. Also by her action she demonstrated which path she wanted to take (the broad path).
I was also astounded to learn there is another parallel verse which mirrors the language of Genesis 19, in Judges 19. When I read the parallel verses I had to double-check them to make sure I wasn’t reading the same incident.
But 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, that we may know them.” 6Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, 7and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. 8Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any 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.” 9But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down.
That we may know them …” This is a euphemism for homosexual intercourse. “This is the carnal sin of pederasty, a crime very prevalent among the Canaanites,” and also the unfailing characteristic of paganism. ~James Burton Coffman Commentary
Judges 19:22-26. Gibeah’s Crime
22As they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, worthless fellows, surrounded the house, beating on the door. And they said to the old man, the master of the house, “Bring out the man who came into your house, that we may know him.” 23And the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brothers, do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not do this vile thing. 24Behold, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine. Let me bring them out now. Violate them and do with them what seems good to you, but against this man do not do this outrageous thing.” 25But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and made her go out to them. And they knew her and abused her all night until the morning. And as the dawn began to break, they let her go. 26And as morning appeared, the woman came and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her master was, until it was light. (Judges 19:22-26).
James Burton Coffman Commentary says
“Stand back …” If Lot had thought up until that moment that he enjoyed any real influence in Sodom, it disappeared with this blunt rejection. The gratification of carnal lust is supreme with every homosexual. They would even subject Lot himself to their vile passions. The corollary to this is that, given the size of the sadistic mob converged upon Lot’s house, the unhindered gratification of their lust upon three men would inevitably have ended in their murder as well. The insight into this kind of situation which is provided by a similar incident in Judges 19 is all the proof that is needed that murder would have resulted.
And this brought me to pondering human nature. If a society turns away from God, aberrant sexuality always results. This is because giving in to lusts and passions always results. It is our nature. The incident at Gibeah exemplifies the parallel to Romans 1:24-25. The incident at Sodom exemplifies Romans 1:26-27.
the permissive views of the current society are not sufficient grounds for setting aside divine law. Furthermore, it may not be supposed for one moment that God is any more pleased with the sexual aberrations associated with Sodom in our own day than He was then. ~James Burton Coffman Commentary
In another interesting tidbit, Genesis 19 opens with a report that Lot sat at the gate. This means he was an administrator of some sort of the city, enjoying status in adjudicating and enjoying a measure of influence and status.
However that instantly came to naught when Lot asked the men not to gang-rape the angels. First the men revealed what they had thought about him all along, ‘you’re a foreigner, not one of us!’ Despite all of Lot’s compromises, all his trying to fit in, ‘be relevant’ amid a hostile and polluted people, it didn’t work. It will go well for us Christians if we remember this. We are aliens, and as much as we may be tempted to dampen the Gospel message, make it ‘palatable’, drinking beer with the fellows and making crude jokes, being relevant ourselves, it will not work. They know we’re not of them, even if we forget this once in a while.
Secondly, the minute Lot asked them not to gang-rape the angels, their next response was “Don’t judge us!” Again it will go well for us to remember that no matter how many happy laughs you have shared with unbelievers, the moment you point out their sin they will cry foul. Worse, if you’ve been a hypocrite and tried to blend in with them, they will have a legitimate complaint against you in saying you’re the pot calling the kettle black.
Lot was barely hanging on to righteousness there in Sodom. He was as low as he could go and still be called a righteous man. If he was a New Testament believer he’d be like one of those barely making it in, as through the fire (1 Corinthians 3:15). As for the rest of those in Sodom,
The judgment of the Lord upon Sodom was justified. The apostle Paul stated flatly that proponents and practitioners of the type of sins visible here are “worthy of death” (Romans 1:32), and the permissive views of the current society are not sufficient grounds for setting aside divine law. Furthermore, it may not be supposed for one moment that God is any more pleased with the sexual aberrations associated with Sodom in our own day than He was then. ~James Burton Coffman Commentary
And as I pondered depraved human nature after reading Genesis 19 and Judges 19, it makes me all the more in awe of God. All the scriptures testify about Jesus (Luke 24:27, John 5:39). His love for us even as we are depraved sinners is a profound truth, one that humbles my mind and crushes my heart. What a sinful degradation Sodom was (and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboiim) yet the Lord spared Lot and his daughters. He spared them even knowing they would incestuously lie with one another and begat a tribe that would be at enmity with Him until the Day of His return. What love! What mercy! What a mystery why our God loves us so. I am tremendously glad He does though.
I am Lot. I am Mrs Lot. Do I have an intercessor pleading for me like Abraham did for Lot? I do. Not just my elder relative as Abraham was to Lot, but the Head of the Family, Jesus. (Romans 8:43, Hebrews 7:25). My High Priest intercedes for His people. What grace there is in that. What comfort there is in salvation.
Yet that comfort should not make us comfortable. The Day of Reckoning will come for the world like it did for Sodom, which is an EXAMPLE of the coming wrath to the ungodly. (2 Peter 2:6). Sodom and Gomorrah are used as warnings, repeatedly in the Old Testament to a rebellious Israel. (Isaiah 1:9; 3:9; 13:19; Jeremiah 23:14; Ezekiel 16:46-49; Amos 4:11; Zephaniah 2:9)
And through it all, Jesus said, Remember Lot’s wife!
REMEMBER LOT’S WIFE (Luke 17:32) J. B. Coffman:
I. She is a warning to all who are tempted to sacrifice their safety in order to win or keep more of this world’s goods.
II. If we strive to possess the best of both worlds, we are likely to lose both.
III. She is a reminder that being “near safety” is not enough.
IV. She is a warning that having begun to follow the Lord’s Word, one may still turn back from the way and be lost.
Yet He protects the righteous. He protects his children.
So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived. (Genesis 19:29).
How great is our God.