The Destruction of Sodom, & the Deliverance of Lot
This chapter records the sad consequences of Lot’s spiritual decline; then Lot passes off the scene while Abraham’s story continues. Abraham was the friend of God, but Lot was the friend of the world; and the contrasts between these two men are easy to see.
Lot Entertains Two Angels
The two heavenly messengers arrived in Sodom that evening, and Lot was sitting at the gate of the city. When Lot saw them, he went out to meet them and bowed low, his face touching the ground.
Genesis 19:1 (VOICE)
When the heavenly contingent came to visit Abraham, he was at his tent door; but Lot was sitting in the gate of a wicked city. Abraham was a pilgrim and stranger, only passing through this world; but Lot had gradually abandoned his tent and settled down in Sodom. Instead of keeping his eyes on the heavenly city (Heb. 11:10, 14-16), Lot looked toward Sodom and began to walk by sight. Then he moved his tent near Sodom, and finally he moved into Sodom. Lot’s location in the gate indicates that he was a man of some authority, for that was where official business was conducted.
Had Lot gone to Sodom because God directed him, his being there would have fulfilled divine purposes. After all, God put Joseph in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon, and Esther in Persia; and their presence turned out to be a blessing. Worldliness is not a matter of physical geography but of heart attitude (1 John 2:15-17). Lot’s heart was in Sodom long before his body arrived there. No doubt he got his first love for the world when he went to “Egypt” with Abraham (Gen. 13:1, 10), and he never overcame it.
It was early afternoon when the Lord and His angels visited Abraham, but it was evening when the angels entered Sodom. Abraham was “walking in the light” while Lot was “walking in darkness” (1 John 1:5-10).
Only the two angels visited Lot, for the Lord could not fellowship with Lot and his family as He did with Abraham and Sarah. Even though Lot was a believer, his life was such that the Lord did not feel “at home” with him. It is the separated believer who enjoys the close walk (2 Cor. 6:14-18) and communion (John 14:21-24) with the Lord. Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest translated Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:17 “that the Christ might finally settle down and feel completely at home in your hearts through your faith” (Wuest). Unlike Abraham, Lot had no tent or altar; and the Lord could not fellowship with him.
The righteous person sought the good of these strangers, while the wicked sought to abuse them for their own perverted enjoyment. Righteous people bless others. Wicked people use others.
Lot: Please, my lords, take time to come into your servant’s house to spend the night and wash your feet. Then you can rise early and be on your way.
Messengers: No, we will be fine spending the night in the city square.
Genesis 19:2 (VOICE)
It is the custom of many to refuse offers at first out of politeness.
It is interesting that Lot recognized these angels as worthy of honor. In Genesis 19:1, he bowed himself to the ground when he met them. He sought their welfare by trying to protect them in his house. They definitely looked like mere men. The men of the city certainly thought so. But to those who have eyes to see, God’s messengers are always different. Lot had some spiritual perception.
But Lot persisted and urged them to come home with him and enjoy his hospitality. They agreed finally and came with Lot to his house. Lot prepared a huge meal for them, served with unleavened bread, and they ate until they were full.
It is unclear at this time whether Lot recognized these two men were angels; he certainly recognized they were not average men. Lot called himself a “servant,” but you do not see him hastening to prepare a meal as Abraham did; nor did he stand by to see what further service he could render.
The Vicious Sodomites Stricken With Blindness
But before they could lie down to rest for the night, the men of the city—that is, the men of Sodom, young and old alike, every last one of them—surrounded the house and called out to Lot.
Men of Sodom: Where are the men who came with you to your house tonight? We saw them go in with you! Bring them out here. We want to have sex with them!
Genesis 19:4-5 (VOICE)
This was not an isolated act of a few people. Every man in the city joined in this wickedness. I would suppose this included Lot’s sons-in-law. This shows the whole city was corrupt and worthy of the judgment God imposed on them.
The tragic experience with the men of the city, at Lot’s house, demonstrated that the ugliest situation imaginable prevailed in Sodom. The angels, who had come under divine orders to discover the extent of human depravity there, needed no further disclosure. The vilest, most unspeakable brand of sin was practiced openly and brazenly.
Lot slipped out of the door to address the men, shutting it firmly behind him.
Lot: Look, I beg you, brothers, don’t do this. Don’t sink to this level of depravity! Look—I have two daughters. Both are virgins. How about this: I’ll bring them out for you instead. You can do with them as you please. But please don’t do anything to these men. They are my guests. They deserve the protection of my home.
Genesis 19:6-8 (VOICE)
But the arrival of the men of the city at the door for immoral purposes was the climax of the evening. If Lot knew these two men were angels, this might be more understandable. Certainly protecting God’s messengers was worth anything he had to give. But if he knew they were angels, then he would have known they could protect themselves. Therefore, it can be supposed that Lot was not aware of their true nature. Lot was willing to sacrifice his two unmarried daughters to the lust of the crowd, but the angels intervened.
What had happened to Lot’s personal values that he would offer his daughters to satisfy the sensual appetites of a mob?
Lot leaves the safety of his home to negotiate with the men of the city, all of whom seem determined to have sex with his guests. Although his courage is commendable, his solution is deplorable—offering his virgin daughters for the deviant pleasures of his neighbors. But Lot knows their sexual preference is for his guests, not his daughters; so the offer is safe, and he has bought some time.
Men of Sodom: Get out of the way, man!
(To each other) Look, this guy came to our city as a stranger. He’s not one of us, and yet he thinks he has the right to judge all of us!
(To Lot) You better watch out, or we’ll treat you far worse than we will your guests!
They came at Lot and pushed him hard against the door until it was about to break. Just then the men inside reached out and pulled Lot into the house with them, shutting the door securely to block the men of Sodom out. Then the heavenly messengers struck all of the men pressing at the door with blindness—both young and old alike. It wasn’t long before they exhausted themselves blindly groping for the door.
Genesis 19:9-11 (VOICE)
Somebody needed to judge them. The vilest, most unspeakable brand of sin was practiced openly and brazenly. They had lost their minds. If they had submitted to Lot’s judgment, Sodom might have been saved.
No good can come from a believer’s failure to flee from sin and temptation