Introduction: This week we see the Lord rescue Lot, teaching us, as Peter puts it, that: ‘If God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes…and if He rescued Lot …then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials…’ (2 Peter 2:6-9). May such assurance of rescue give us courage as we face this dangerous world and help us to persevere in prayer for others to be rescued as well.
Monday: read Genesis 18:25, 19:1 and 2 Peter 2:6-8. The angels’ arrival in Sodom to rescue Lot is God’s answer to Abraham’s plea in Gen. 18:25: ‘Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?’ Abraham knows that, because of God’s righteous character, all His attributes, including His justice, work in perfect balance with His grace and patience. He will spare the wicked as long as possible, pleading through the witness of men like Lot – who is not only a witness for God in Sodom, but also in a sense judges his neighbors’ behavior by virtue of his godly life, living every day, as Peter says, ‘grieved by their evil behavior’ (2 Peter 2:8).
Meditate and Pray: Thank God that He never leaves Himself without witness. Right now, men suppress the truth of God’s rule and justice over their lives (Romans 1:18-20). But the day is coming when every tongue will confess that God’s judgment of their lives was right and true. The Judge of all the earth does what is right in every human life. What a privilege for you right now to commend your ways into the hands of this Judge, by faith knowing that Jesus Christ on the cross absorbed the just wrath due to you for sin so that now the awesome Judge is also your Father and Protector.
Tuesday: read Genesis 19:1 and Hebrews 13:2. We may wonder why Lot was sitting at the gates of Sodom when the messengers of judgment (angels in the form of men) arrived. One answer is that Lot, as Abraham his uncle also did in Gen. 18:1-3, fixed a great amount of importance on showing hospitality to strangers, and stationed himself where he could help strangers in their search of food and lodging.
Meditate and Pray: As you look back over your life, and how the Lord brought you to Himself, thank Him now for the hospitable Christians who took you in and encouraged you. Pray that your home and church would be a haven for the hungry and the needy, in search of such hospitality. Such hospitality is important enough to be something God will look for in our past lives at the final judgment (Matthew 25:34-35). Let us also remember the words of Hebrews 13:2: ‘Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.’
Wednesday: read Genesis 19:1-5 and Judges 19:12-21. We may again consider an even more urgent reason why Lot stationed himself at the gate of the city of Sodom and so urgently insisted that the angels stay and eat with him, rather than in the square. Lot knew how dangerous his world had become because of the increase of sin and wickedness. In such times it is dangerous to travel. Just as later in Judges 19:20 an old man would insist on protecting the Levite who visited his dangerous town, so Lot’s fears prove to be well-founded as a riotous crowd of young and old surround his house in Gen. 19:4-5, bent on abusing Lot’s visitors in the worst possible way. In our day also the number of sexual predators in our society appears to be at an all-time high. Such an obsession with sex frequently leads to violence as minds enslaved to all sorts of evil imaginations begin to act out their perverse fantasies even as the crowd surrounding Lot’s door wanted to do.
Pray and Meditate: In such an evil day, we may well ask the question of Psalm 11:3: ‘When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?’ Thank God that the Psalmist also answers the question for us: ‘The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord is on His heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men; His eyes examine them. The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence His soul hates. On the wicked He will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur…. (Psalm 11:4-6),’ which is exactly what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah.
Thursday: read Genesis 18:27 and 19:1-5. Lest we are tempted to proudly despise the men of Sodom as if we in ourselves our superior, it is good to remind ourselves of Abraham as he approached God in prayer for that very city. In his confession in Gen. 18:27, he recognized that as mere ‘dusts and ashes’, God could return him to the dust of death just as easily as He could Sodom and Gomorrah – and he trembled. Can you think of other Bible characters’ similar responses to God’s holy power? Isaiah’s terrifying experience before the holiness of the Lord in Isaiah 6:5 comes to mind, where he prayed: “Woe is me! For I am lost.” John fell at the feet of the Lord as though dead (Revelation 1:17). In the same way, Lot himself bowed with awe before the angels sent to search out and destroy Sodom, addressing them as ‘lords’ in Genesis 19:1-2. Humility before others’ sins is always the proper response, coupled with an urgent prayer to God to restrain us from the same evil.
Meditate and Pray: Thank God for the restraining work of His Spirit in your life. Just as the Lord Jesus committed Himself to praying for Peter (Luke 22:31-32) in his evil day of temptation, and recalled him from his terrible sin of denial with a compassionate look of Almighty Power (Luke 22:61), so He is committed to rescuing you from all soul-destroying sins. Such sinful pestilence that would consume your soul will not come near you (Psalm 91:5-8).
Friday: read Genesis 19:1-9 and 2 Peter 2:6-10. While not overlooking the sins of Bible characters (such as Lot and his daughters in next week’s notes), we nevertheless marvel at how the great men of the Bible spend so much time, like Lot in Gen. 19:1-2, with their faces to the ground before God and His messengers. Now contrast such awe before God with the men of Sodom, who want to abuse these regal visitors and reject all who would judge them, including Lot. Their rejection of all authority rings out in Gen. 19:9: “Now Lot wants to play judge over us! We’ll treat you worse than them.” With those terrible words the angles find out what they came to discover. The time for destruction without the sparing of life has come for this place. Within a few moments, the doom on Sodom is pronounced (Gen. 19:12-13). How terrible.
Meditate and Pray: Ask God to use this terrible picture of Sodom to instill within you a fear of transgression and of soul-destroying sin. God in His Word said men would become like this: ‘This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority’ (2 Peter 2:10). At the same time, I urge you to realize that with God there is abundance of pardon and grace when we return to Him. The two go together: a fear and awe of God’s holiness; and boldness to run to Him for forgiveness when we transgress. Thank God for this truth in your life: ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved.’ (Isaac Watts). Or even better: ‘But with You there is forgiveness; therefore You are feared.’ (Psalm 130:4)