The Two Men said to Lot: Don't Look Back

19: 12-22

DIG: Why was it safe for Lot to venture out into the streets of Sodom? Does Lot hesitate to leave his condemned city? Why didn’t he have any influence on those closest to him? What did the angels finally have to do to get them out? Where did they flee to? What delayed the angels from destroying the cities of the plain? How is that a picture of the Rapture of the Church?

REFLECT: In parenting, it can be argued that more is “caught” than “taught.” How can a father’s compromise with the world affect his children? Since Yeshua said that life would go on as usual right up until the day the Son of Man is revealed, how should this affect the way we live our lives? How should this influence your ministry?

The Lord’s judgment was imminent. There was no turning back. The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here – sons-in-law, sons or daughters?” They pleaded: Is there anyone else in the city that belongs to you? Get them out of here (19:12). But there were none. There was no spiritual fruit while he was there in Sodom for all those years! In an atmosphere of emergency, the angels clearly announce their intentions. Lot’s family exodus needed to happen quickly, they said: 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 (19:13).

Because the men of Sodom were stricken blind, it was safe for Lot to go out into the streets. So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He begged: Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city! But his sons-in-law thought he was joking (19:14). They laughed at him. They ridiculed him. He had lived there for so long as one of them, without making any real difference, that they took his warning as a big joke. Long before that night, Lot had lost his credibility with the two men who were pledged to become members of his family. As a result, Lot’s two daughters, his sons-in-law, and all the other citizens of Sodom perished.320 This is a sober reminder to us all. When a father compromises with the world (First John 2:15-17; also see James 4:4), it may have deadly results within his own family.

With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot saying: Hurry! Take your wife and your two virgin daughters who are here in the house (the other two daughters were with their husbands), or you will be swept away when the city is punished. But when told to run for his life Lot hesitated, because his heart was still in Sodom. The angels’ order to Lot had no more impact on him than his command to his sons-in-law. He urged them to flee, but he wouldn’t go. Therefore, the angels who had the appearance of 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 (19:15-16). This scene would always be a reminder to Israel of Lot, lingering and halting, being dragged to safety.321

As soon as they had brought them out, the angels warned them, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain because the entire area is going to be destroyed! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” Again Lot tries to compromise. He said to them, “No, sirs, please” (19:17-18)! What a strange way of reacting when someone tells you that your life is in imminent danger.

He asks if he could only escape as far as Zoar, and gives two reasons for not wanting to go to the mountains. First he exaggerates the situation: Your servant has found favor in your eyes and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But believing that he didn’t have enough time to make it to the mountains, he says: this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. Secondly, he continues to compromise: Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is so small, its inhabitants are but a few, so it can be left alone, since there cannot be many sinners in it. Let me flee to it – it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared (19:19-20). The irony of the whole situation is that ruin is about to strike Sodom, and Lot is arguing about the escape route! First he hesitates about leaving Sodom, then he speculated whether he had time enough to flee.322

Through the angels, the Lord granted Lot his wish and said: Very well, I will grant this request, too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of (19:21). It is implied that except for Lot’s request, they were going to destroy it also. It was only spared because Lot was there. Once again we have a display of the Lord’s grace toward Lot. But the angel said to flee there quickly, because he cannot do anything until Lot reached it. At that point the town was called Zoar (19:22). In the Hebrew text there is a play upon words. The Hebrew word for little or small is meitzar and Zoar in Hebrew is actually tzoar. The tzoar is meitzar. The original name of the city was Bela (14:8). Therefore, Bela became the only city of the five cities of the plain to survive the destruction, and this was only because of Lot’s intercession. It is interesting that he actually ended up in the mountains where the Lord told him to go in the first place. Like the Rapture of the Church (see my commentary on Revelation By – The Rapture of the Church), when wrath comes, the Lord, who rescues us from the coming wrath (1 Thess 1:10), cannot do anything until we are out of harm’s way (Revelation 3:10).

They couldn’t go on with their mission as long as Lot was there. Why? Because Lot was a righteous man (Second Peter 2:7). His abhorrence for the sin of those around him was a sure indicator that he was a believer (Psalm 97:10; Proverbs 8:13; Romans 12:9). At times, Lot might have been materialistic and morally weak, but he did not want any part of the filthy lives of lawless men. For that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard (Second Peter 2:7-8). He was a mess in many ways; however, like Noah and his family, Lot stood against the sin of his day and refused to follow demonic doctrines and immoral practices that permeated ancient society. By highlighting the salvation of Lot, the Spirit comforts the righteous of the TANAKH, reminding them that they have nothing to fear.323

If this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men and women from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the Day of Judgment, while continuing their punishment (Second Peter 2:9). Luke records the words of Jesus saying: It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating, drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed (Luke 17:28-30).

 

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