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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

"Comfortable in Sodom"

"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" (Genesis 19:16).

Periodically I have observed in these messages the tendency for the slide into immorality to be incremental. Offensive, abnormal behavior such as sexual immorality and perversions are such examples. This doesn't happen all at once, but with repetitive exposure, what once shocked our eyes and offended our ears becomes tolerated, and then acceptable. The next step is that the once shocking, abnormal behavior even becomes preferable and the initial "normal" behavior may very well be recognized as abnormal!  This is now happening in our lifetime.

Lot made a critical choice when he chose the more lush grazing land in the valley for his flocks (Genesis 13:10). This led him to pitch his tent near Sodom (Genesis 13:12).  Even at that time the Scripture observes that "The men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord" (V. 13).  But Lot did well and in time married, had two daughters, and by Genesis 19 he had a house in Sodom. 

Sodom had become his home and leaving was very difficult.  But God's appointed time of judgment had come and in answer to his Uncle Abraham's fervent prayers he and his family would be delivered. 

But my, was it hard for Lot to leave.  As destruction of the city loomed, consider two telling words in the daily text, "he hesitated" (KJV "he lingered").  Matthew Henry's commentary notes, "Lot lingered; he trifled. Thus many who are under convictions about their spiritual state, and the necessity of a change, defer that needful work."

Lot had grown very comfortable in Sodom and what a tragic spiritual condition.  Perhaps he had grown so accustomed to the wickedness that he no longer even saw it.  Perhaps his prosperity had blinded him to spiritual things.  His moral values are wretchedly twisted and later in the chapter we see this twisted condition in his wife and daughters as well.  Genesis 19 is one of the saddest chapters in the Bible, showing man's pathetic condition in apostasy. 

I don't want to get comfortable in "Sodom".  I don't want to hesitate when God directs me to act. "Flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness" (1 Timothy 6:11).  What about you?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Brooksyne's prayer: Lord Jesus, guard my heart so that I am not lured into reckless desires that originate from worldly thinking and godless behavior.  I know, in my heart, that these worldly desires lead to ruin and destruction as they gradually lead me to abandon godly principles and holy living.  May godless chatter always be evident to me as I reject the enemy's plan to gradually dull my senses to what is falsely called knowledge and the enlightenment of our age.  May I always pursue righteousness through a vibrant faith in You, my Lord and my Master.  Amen.

Let me share all of the pertinent notes from Matthew Henry's commentary on this passage:

"Lot was good, but there was not one more of the same character in the city. All the people of Sodom were very wicked and vile. Care was therefore taken for saving Lot and his family. Lot lingered; he trifled. Thus many who are under convictions about their spiritual state, and the necessity of a change, defer that needful work. The salvation of the most righteous men is of God's mercy, not by their own merit. We are saved by grace. God's power also must be acknowledged in bringing souls out of a sinful state.  If God had not been merciful to us, our lingering had been our ruin. Lot must flee for his life. He must not hanker after Sodom. Such commands as these are given to those who, through grace, are delivered out of a sinful state and condition. Return not to sin and Satan. Rest not in self and the world. Reach toward Christ and heaven, for that is escaping to the mountain, short of which we must not stop. Concerning this destruction, observe that it is a revelation of the wrath of God against sin and sinners of all ages. Let us learn from hence the evil of sin, and its hurtful nature; it leads to ruin."

Tomorrow I intend to share another lesson from this account.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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