Sermon Based on Scriptures from Genesis 19 (Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed) – July 21st 2013
One of the reasons I started this blog was because I felt prompted to do so while sitting in church one Sunday. But I also recognized that in spending time each week writing about my thoughts and reflections on each weekly sermon, that I would grow in my Christian walk by applying what I learn to my everyday life.
Little did I know at the time, that the lessons (and writing about them), would also challenge me way more than I ever imagined. As each sermon reveals new lessons behind the scriptures taught, I continue to see myself in many of the biblical characters talked about, and while some of my character traits line up with good and “righteous” behaviors, others definitely do not.
Genesis 19 was a tough bible chapter for me. It tells the story of Abraham’s nephew Lot, and the mistakes he made as he attempted to live as a Christian in a vile and corrupt city. Lot and his family had settled in the city of Sodom, after Abraham had given him “first dibs” on land options. The lure of what looked like the most lush and prosperous looking piece of land captured Lot’s eye, and he immediately laid claim to it. Unfortunately, the land he led his family to was also inhabited by a group of people who lived such despicable and immoral lives, that God sent angels to destroy both the land and the people. Remembering his promise to Abraham however, God allowed the angels to first rescue Lot, his wife, and his daughters (unfortunately, Lot’s wife perished as they fled the city):
Genesis 19:24,25 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt because she disobeyed a direct order from the angels to flee from the city and not stop to turn and look back. The question has to be asked: “Why did Lot’s wife look back?” Had she gotten so comfortable with her life in Sodom that she could not help but take one last glimpse at what she was leaving behind? Genesis 15 and 16 offers a subtle inference which implies that Lot too, may have been a little reluctant to leave the city in which he had built his new life.
- Genesis 19:15,16 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.” When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them.
The preceding and following verses in Genesis 19 also imply that Lot’s faith was somewhat sketchy. It’s obvious that he was a “believer,” but he lived amongst a group of people who may have influenced his religious values and lifestyle choices. There is a premise which is often promoted in business and fitness circles; it’s the concept that who you surround yourself with is who you will become. In other words, if you want to be a successful business person, or motivated athlete, then you need to spend time with like-minded people or people who have already succeeded in those areas. On the other hand, if you spend time with people who lack motivation and drive, then you’re probably going to follow suit and be that way inclined instead. I think the same holds true in any area of life, and that is where I found this sermon to be both convicting and challenging.
Like Lot, I too am guilty of sometimes tossing my faith aside in order to pursue things that at the time seem enjoyable, but are not necessarily things that God would want me to indulge in or pursue. I’m also guilty of sometimes “going with the flow” in situations which would cause onlookers to question my faith – simply because I am afraid of confrontation and would rather keep the peace than say or do anything that might cause offence. In other words, I can be easily tempted to follow suit in certain situations, even if I feel that I probably shouldn’t.
God calls us out on our sin though, whether we deliberately set out to sin or not, and there are always consequences. Lot’s inability to set an example and show his sons-in-law, his wife, and his daughters that he was a man of strong faith, led to harsh repercussions: his sons-in-law doubted his credibility and stayed in Sodom, where they were consequently destroyed with the rest of the townsfolk; Lot’s wife also perished, presumably because she yearned what was behind her instead of that which lay ahead of her; and Lot’s daughters deceitfully lay with their father in an effort to preserve their bloodline – their children would eventually start a new generation of Moabites and Ammonites who would lead the Israelites astray with their love of idols. All of these choices were likely made because Lot demonstrated a very “shallow” faith which caused his family to have very little trust in him, and even less trust in God.
It’s so easy to get caught up in lifestyle habits which lead us away from our faith, but thankfully God is merciful and forgiving. The key is to turn to him and repent before it’s too late. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, Paul gives us hope by assuring us that God will give us the strength to resist all temptations (to sin), and that when we do fall into sin, God will show us a way out and give us the ability to endure.