Genesis 11-25 The man of faith…Abraham, cont’d.
Genesis 18:1-8-“Now the LORD appeared to him.” Three men appeared to Abraham…One was the “LORD”, Yahweh (v. 1,13,14,17) and the other two were angels (cf. 19:1). Abraham probably did not immediately realize that this was God. His response was typical of the custom of the day when travelers arrived…to receive them as guests.
Genesis 18:9-15-One of the three asked where Sarah was. She was close by in the tent…close enough to hear the conversation. The man spoke again and told Abraham that they would be back in one year…and at that time Sarah would have a son. This time, Sarah laughed…because either she did not know of God’s previous promise to Abraham, or she knew that it was very improbable that she would have a child since she was 99 years old. This time, the one Who speaks is the LORD, and He asks Abraham why Sarah laughed and doubted that she would have a child. He then says, “Is anything too difficult for the LORD?” The word “difficult” means “beyond one’s power, difficult to understand and as a result that which is wonderful, extraordinary”. This word is used of God, Himself (Judges 13:18; Isaiah 9:6) and of His works (1 Chronicles 16:12,24; Psalm 96:3; 98:1). When confronted, Sarah denied that she had laughed…but she was corrected.
Genesis 18:16-33-The men rose to leave, but the LORD decided to tell Abraham about His intent to destroy Sodom. God says that He has chosen Abraham “in order that” (for the purpose) he will lead his descendants to believe in the LORD and live a life in keeping with His character. He will do this ”by doing righteousness and justice”. The result will be that the LORD can fulfill His covenant with Abraham.
God told Abraham that He was going to Sodom to see if it was as evil as He had been told. Abraham asks Him if He would destroy all of Sodom if there were 50 righteous people living there. God says that He would not destroy the righteous just because they live among the wicked. Abraham asks if He would destroy Sodom if there were only 45 righteous there. God says that He would not. Abraham continues to press his point by asking if God would destroy Sodom if there were 40, then 30, then 20, and finally 10. Each time, God says that He would not destroy Sodom if there were that many righteous people living there. Having said that, the LORD leaves. These verses speak of the omniscience of God. He is totally aware of the acts of all men. It also addresses the rightness (righteousness) of God's judgment. When God judges...as in the case of Sodom...He is right to do so...because His judgment is upon those who have sinned...and He knows every man who has sinned and that there are none who haven't.
Genesis 19:1-3-The two angels arrive in Sodom after dark. Lot was sitting at the city gate. The city gate was the center of public activity. Often city officials would gather there to make decisions and do business. Lot’s being there may indicate that he was among the community leaders (see 19:9). He invited the men to stay in his home.
Genesis 19:4-11-Later, the men of the city came to Lot’s house and demanded that he send the men out so that they “may have relations with them” (:5, this is a euphemistic term that speaks of homosexual intercourse). Lot refuses to do so…but, he offers his two virgin daughters to them, instead. This sounds almost unbelievable that he would do such a thing. However, given the prevailing customs of the day to protect those that are guests in your home, he may have thought it was the right thing to do. Even though, one would think that he would placed the highest of value on protecting his own daughters. Or, it is possible that Lot knew that these men were homosexuals and would not engage in sex with his daughters. So, it was just a ruse to try to convince them to leave. In other words, they might think that if he was willing to give them his daughters to protect the men, he would do whatever else it took to protect them, also. Whatever his intentions and reasoning…these men were so sexually perverted and determined that were going to engage in sex with them, that they were even willing to do so forcibly. And now, their passions had risen to such a degree that they intended to include Lot in their homosexual orgy. They attempted to drag him out of the door and to break it down. At that moment, the angels grabbed Lot and pulled him into the house. Then, they “struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness” (the Hebrew word means that their vision was distorted and caused mental confusion and bewilderment)…and they could not find the door, so they left.
Genesis 19:12-14-The angels now told Lot of God’s plan to destroy the city. They told Lot to bring anyone that would come with him and escape. He went out and told his sons-in-law who were about to marry his daughters (they were already engaged), but they just laughed at him.
Genesis 19:15-22-When morning arrived the angels urged Lot to move quickly, but he hesitated, so they grabbed him, his wife, and two daughters and fled the city. They warned them, “Do not look behind you…” (the words convey the idea of not wanting to leave, to look with the desire to stay and thus to slow them down and put them into danger). The angels reinforced this need to get far away from Sodom and tell Lot to escape to the mountains…to not stay in the valley…because it would be dangerous, there. Lot complained that he didn’t have time or energy to make it to the mountains and asked that he be allowed to escape to a small town, instead. The angels agreed.
Genesis 19:23-26-By the time Lot reached the town (here called “Zoar” and called “Bela” in 14:2-means “little”) the sun had risen. The LORD rained down “brimstone and fire”.
19:24 brimstone and fire. Deposits of sulphur (brimstone) and asphalt (cf. 14:10) have been found in this area. Possibly an earthquake occurred and lightning ignited the gases that were released, causing a rain of fire and smoke.
The Ryrie Study Bible, 19:24, footnote, p. 35
God destroyed all of the cities and inhabitants in the valley. Lot’s wife had lagged behind and “looked back” and became a “pillar of salt”. Mrs. Lot was not quite willing to leave Sodom and she didn’t move quick enough. She kept looking back. Nothing had happened, yet. Then she looked again…and again…and again…until she slowed to a walk. Then the fire and brimstone fell from the sky.
Lot’s wife, who was trailing behind him with her heart still in Sodom, looked back, died, and possibly was enveloped by blowing salt, which formed a ‘pillar’ around her body. This even was used by Jesus as a warning to others not to look back (Luke 17:21-33).
The Ryrie Study Bible, 19:26, footnote, p. 35
The Hebrew word for “pillar” means “something that is placed over something else”. As the salt fell it encased Mrs. Lot.
An example of this is the city of Pompeii and the explosion of the volcano Mt. Vesuvius, A.D. 79. When they excavated the ruins of Pompeii they found the remains of people who appeared to still be going about their normal business…they had been frozen in time by the ashes that dumped down on them by the tons in just moments.
See this website for pictures of how the bodies were found…
When I finished writing this devotional I talked with my wife about Lot’s wife looking back at Sodom and how it eventually caught up with her. She said, “Isn’t that just the way it is with sin. You think that you are getting away with it and then one day it catches up with you.” What a great thought. Sin is not only deceptive in that often it doesn’t appear to be as bad as it really is. It is also deceptive in that often we don’t see the consequences, immediately…so we continue to do it. But eventually, inevitably, sin will catch up with us. And there are always negative consequences.
Genesis 19:27-29-That morning Abraham looked out across the valley and saw the smoke rising from the cities. God “remembered” (He took pity, gave mercy) Abraham…and for his sake He saved Lot.
Genesis 19:30-Lot was afraid that if the people of Zoar found out that he had lived in Sodom that they might think that because he was now there, Zoar would be destroyed next. So, he took his daughters and moved to a cave in the mountains. Sad to say, when Lot moved his family into Sodom, it wasn’t long before Sodom moved into his family. We have already seen this in Mrs. Lot. Now we see it in Lot’s daughters. The older one convinces the younger one that it would be a terrible thing for them to die without having had children…and there was not another man around, other than their father…so, they should get their father drunk and have sex with him. She agreed. Both of them became pregnant. The oldest daughter named her son “Moab” (meaning “from the father”)…his descendants are the Moabites. The younger daughter named her son “Ben-ammi” (meaning “son of my people”)…his descendants are the Ammonites.
Prayer: Father, what a tragic story this is. But in the middle of it I find a lesson. You rescued Lot…because of Abraham (:29). Lot was blessed…because of his relationship to Abraham. Please Lord, help me to grow so close to You that there will be an overflow of Your blessing on me that will touch the lives of others. Help me to live for You.