After the failed attempt at building the tower of Babel, the citizens of Shinar had scattered all over the globe and the focus of the author of Genesis shifts to one single family. Terah and his sons lived in the land of the Chaldeans in a place called Ur and he was part of the lineage of Jesus, the snake crusher that was to come (Genesis 3:15). Terah had three sons Nahor, Haran and Abram, they were all idol worshipers (Joshua 24:2) but after the deaths of Terah and Haran, God spoke to Abram and called him to leave his father’s household and set out for the land that God had kept for him. Haran’s son, Lot, also set out on this expedition with his uncle. They travelled from town to town as God led them and along the way kept accumulating wealth in the form of manpower and cattle.
…the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And quarrelling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. – Genesis 13:6-7
Abram and Lot were so blessed that the land could not sustain both their households. Abram came up with a solution that they should split up and gave Lot the option to choose. Lot looked around and chose the well-watered plain of the Jordan near Zoar, a land that reminded him of his time in Egypt. The fact that the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord did not seem to bother him. Moreover, he was willing to separate from his uncle to whom the Lord had promised to bless into a great nation. There was no reason for Lot to go so far from his uncle or stay in Sodom even after everything that had transpired. Sodom was captured by a group of kings and Abram and his band of 318 men had to save the entire city of Sodom along with four other kingdoms. Abram returned the possessions of Sodom to its rightful king but Lot still chose to stay in that sinful city.
Even after being rescued by Abram after being captured, Lot could have decided to stay with Abram but he chose to go back to Sodom. That is how sin grabs us, preventing us from coming back to God. We fear that if we come back to God we will have to give up our extracurricular activities and that fear is what Satan uses to separate us from God.
Lot has to flee from Sodom
God revealed His plan of destroying Sodom to Abraham but Abraham pleaded for the sake of his nephew for God to reconsider. The two angels who were there with the Lord, went on ahead to the city of Sodom to get Lot and his family out before the destruction started.
The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.” – Genesis 19:1-2
Like his uncle, Lot was also able to recognize the two heavenly beings and was immensely hospitable to them. He invited them to his house and gave them food and shelter all the while, not knowing the reason for which they had come to the city. He was so hospitable that in order to save these heavenly beings, he was ready to offer his two unmarried daughters in a plea deal. The status of women in the Bible has always been marginalized but what Lot was thinking took that to new heights.
The angels did not need Lot’s protection and sure enough, they struck the men of the city with blindness and revealed God’s plan to Lot.
The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.” – Genesis 19:12-13
Immediately, Lot went out and spoke to the men who had pledged to marry his daughters, warning them about the impending destruction and asking them to leave the town with him. They laughed at Lot’s advice and did not take heed to his warning. Morning had dawned upon them and Lot was still hesitant to leave his hometown. The angels urged Lot to leave Sodom but Lot was still not ready to leave the place that he loved. Perhaps he wanted to take his belongings that he had acquired or perhaps he wondered what will happen to his daughters’ relationship with their fiancé. For whatever reason, Lot just could not leave the sinful city even when sulfur was about to rain down on it.
Sometimes we are entangled in our sins to the extent that we don’t take heed to God’s warnings. Cain did not listen to God and killed his brother, Saul did not listen to God and spared the Amalekites. Similarly, are we ignoring God’s warnings to change our lives and are desperately holding on to our past lives.
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. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” – Genesis 19:16-17
The angels had to literally drag Lot and his family out of the burning city and told Lot to flee to the mountains, this is probably where Abraham was residing but Lot did not want to go there. Maybe he felt ashamed and did not want to see Abraham or perhaps he was really worried that he in his tiredness could not reach the safe place and will burn on the way. In both cases, Lot’s distrust on God is evident. He asks to be spared by going into a nearby town of Zoar thereby altering God’s plan to destroy that town.
When we lack faith we also enter into negotiations with God to test him or perhaps to build up our own faith. In the book of Judges, we see Gideon test both God and the angel of the Lord before he gave his commitment to God’s cause. Do we take God at his word or ask for something as a pledge like Tamar had asked Judah as she did not trust her father-in-law? (Genesis 38)
So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived. – Genesis 19:29
Lot and His Daughters
Lot lost his wife when fleeing from Sodom and was left with his two daughters, the very ones that he tried to use as a bargaining chip back in Sodom. He left the city of Zoar and started living in caves, probably because he feared that the heavens could open up again and pour down fire on his world. Whatever fear he had, prevented him to even reach out to his uncle Abraham. Perhaps, he was too proud to reach out to him or just the opposite, too ashamed. He and his daughters continued to dwell in caves.
One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth. Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.” – Genesis 19:31-32
Even though Lot was not aware because he was drunk, this incident is still an indication of the upbringing and how their minds have been corrupted due to their prolonged stay in Sodom. When we are surrounded in an atmosphere of sin, it eventually takes over us without us even realizing it and the acts which once we condemned seem to appear as normal, as a ‘part of life’ to us.
In the Gospel
Jesus warns us about his second coming and uses Lot’s example,
It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. – Luke 17:28-29
The fire and sulfur rained down on the unsuspecting city of Sodom and on Lot’s family when one day their lives changed forever. In a similar fashion, the ‘god of this world’ is trying to distract us that we may not see the King come in all his glory. Let us learn from Lot and submit ourselves to the will of God rather than to the will of this world.