“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. And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord:” – Genesis 19:17-18
Lot and his family had chosen to live in the wicked cities that dotted the plain round about the Dead Sea. Abraham, his uncle had interceded on Lot’s behalf after being told by God that He was going to destroy these cities. God obliged the request of His faithful friend Abraham and sent angels to save Lot and his family.
Upon receiving word from the angels of the eminent destruction of these cities because of their detestable sins against the Lord, Lot gathered those of his house who would believe and were through great mercy delivered from the city.
Now let me make this clear, Lot did not deserve to be saved nor did his household. It was only because of the loving intercession of his uncle that he was even given the chance to be saved. In this we can see Sodom as a type of the sinful world, Lot as the undeserving sinner living in it, and Abraham as an archetype of Christ, our great intercessor.
However, as soon as Lot is delivered from the city (sinful world), being told to come out from among it because it will soon all burn…. something happens. The first mistake we see Lot make is that he thinks that his salvation is because of God’s favor on him, that he somehow deserves this. When in reality it was because of God’s favor on Abraham. This mind set that he was not just as worthy of destruction as every other vial person in Sodom led him to not appreciate his deliverance as much as he ought.
This then leads to him thinking that he has grounds to bargain with the Lord, that the Lord would harken to his compromise rather then trusting in the wisdom of the God who had just saved him. The word of the Lord to Lot was, leave the cities, don’t look back, get out of the plain altogether, and keep climbing unto you reach the top of the mountain.
Now Lot has been saved from the city (obvious sinful whirl fitted for destruction), but he is told “don’t stop there!”. Get as far away from it as possible, don’t go near it, avoid even the appearance of evil, don’t stop reaching for higher, keep climbing, get so far away that you can’t even see it or be reminded or tempted to go back or even look back!
At that point Lot says, “no”. Yes Lot wanted to be saved from burning (hell) but he didn’t want to give up the ease, comforts, and pleasures of the plain. He didn’t want the hardship and sacrifice of the wilderness, the labor of the climb, the separation from the things of the world, and the dependency on God alone that the path God was telling him to take would bring. So he chose to reject God’s word to leave the plain and though he left the city, he stayed just close enough to it to enjoy the fringe benefits of it’s pleasures and the since of (false) man made security that it provided.
God had just saved him from the city but he did not have faith that God could sustain him better then the things of man, so he opted to go to an other city on the same plain.
“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. And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: 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: Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.” – Genesis 19:17-20
Oh Lord, I’ll give up this big sin because I don’t want to burn in Hell but surely I can get away with keeping this little one? It’s just a little thing on the same plain. I’ll give up the big sins of the world but I’ll stay as close to them as possible and indulge in these little things that don’t seem that bad. I can handle it, I won’t be tempted to go back to the big ones, I won’t look back to Sodom.
Here’s the problem. Lot was almost destroyed with Sodom because he stayed so close to it, but because he refused to get away from it completely he caused it to destroy those closest to him, his own family. Lot managed to not look back but his wife did not and was destroyed with the same fate as Sodom. It never would have happened had he obeyed God’s word and gotten himself and those who loved him completely away from it. Understand that his decision caused his wife to stumble with grave effects.
I have seen it all too often. Someone gets saved for fear of hell’s fire, but when God tells them to not just get out of Sodom but to get away from even the plain they refuse and others pay the price for it and eventually they themselves also. God says to get as far away from sin as possible, don’t even participate in things that might appear to be close to sin or worldliness. Don’t do anything that might cause someone else to take sin lightly or desire to look back to the things of the world or the temptations of sin. I assure you that those you love most will suffer for it.
I’ve seen to often a parent that says, “I can handle a little wine with dinner, it’s not whiskey, I’m not getting drunk, it’s not Sodom, it’s just a little city on the same plain.” Then watch as their children look back to Sodom and become alcoholics because they were not willing to leave the plain.
I make a clear example of this principal with alcohol but it applies all the same to every other sin. Lot’s entire family was eventually destroyed because of his faithless and selfish decisions. Further more, He birthed a lineage (the Moabites) that would generation after generation tend more and more toward worldliness and wickedness and would forever hinder, pollute, and persecute God’s Holy people (those who were willing to be obedient to God’s voice and be set apart from sin and worldliness), those who desired to climb higher.
So let me make this plain, as plain as the plain of Sodom and Gomorrah. You’re life and your decisions will either create the floor that your children will stand on as they start their climb where yours finished or else it will create the pit that they fall in, that you dug yourself. Choose to give them the best possible example. Choose to give them the best possible ground to stand on. Choose the mountain, not the plain.
Good leadership in ministry, in life, or in your family is the product of absolute selflessness. This is why Jesus said that the greatest among His people will be a servant to others. Living for yourself will keep you and those who love you on the plain in the path of destruction. Living selflessly will send you and those who love you climbing the mountain. So choose, but know that you don’t only choose for you. Everyone effects someone else. Let it be for good and not for bad.
“Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to stumble.” – Proverbs 4:14-16
“It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.” – Romans 14:21
“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:22
“… be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12
“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:14-16
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” – 2 Corinthians 6:17
“Remember Lot’s wife.” – Luke 17:32