Title: Fire Raining Down from the Sky!
Text: Genesis 19.1-29
CIT: God is righteous and just and merciful
CIS: Let us rise up and live godly lives that reflect through our deeds the repentance of our hearts.
Introduction: Where are we? Abraham has headed back down the heights to his camp. He’s probably concluded that:
- Sodom is going to be destroyed.
- His intercession for the righteous showed there were probably none…at least not 10.
Do you remember why Abraham is given this opportunity to see what God is about to do?
- You will be a blessing to all nations
- You will command your children and household. This is what unrighteousness produces: death and destruction.
I’ve divided this passage into 4 actions:
- The actions of a righteous man
- The actions of wicked men
- The actions of mighty angels
- The actions of a Righteous God
Transition: let’s begin with the 1st action…
I. The Actions of a Righteous Man (1-3)
exp.: 2 Peter 2.7; Peter calls him righteous; rd v 1a; These angels travel fast! Where is Lot? In the city gate. This is a place of prominence and prestige. He’s come a long way; 13.12; 14.12; Being a city boy hasn’t taken the country out of him! Look at his action: rd v 1b;
- He’s humble; rd 2a
- He’s hospitable; rd 2b-c
- He’s cares; he’s concerned for their safety and welfare, not just their weariness. Rd 3;
- He’s persistent! He wrestled with them, as it were;
- He’s a gracious host; lavishing on them a feast. Funny, they ate earlier with the LORD at Abraham’s place.
ill.: we learn a lot from this man’s actions. What we see, tells us about him: his character (some people who feel prominent wouldn’t bow themselves down before traveling strangers), his concern (some people would have just rather have gone home and worried about their own).
app.: Here we see the actions of a righteous man persist in doing good deeds…
Transition: next, we see the
II. The Actions of Wicked Men (4-9)
exp.: rd v 4; evidently, Lot wasn’t the only man at the city gate, others were there and saw; they then told others and behold, they appear at Lot’s house. But, they didn’t just show up at the front door, they surrounded it! rd v 5;
- They’ve been plotting – They saw them and lusted after them, so they plotted on how to get them; obviously, they decided force is the best way to go about this. Which tells another things about wicked me…
- They’re controlled by their feelings
- That we may ‘know’ them; they’re going to rape these angels (they think they’re common men)
- Adam knew Eve and she had a son; Genesis 4.1, 25; These men are lusting after the ‘men’ in Lot’s house.
- Leviticus 18.22, 24; 20.13, 23 were written for the Israelites for when they inherited the land, that they wouldn’t adopt the practices of the people before. Their homosexuality was an abomination to God. Death was the penalty! Rd v 6-7; hence, their title wicked men; rd v 8;
- What! Why?
- The value of women? Hughes says: Even if he thought that his daughters would suffer no harm, because they were betrothed as virgins to their fellow Sodomites (and the Mesopotamian law code made betrothal as sacrosanct as a consummated marriage—the offender would incur the death penalty), the offer was a monstrous breach of fatherly duty.
- Pashtunwali; a moral code to protect the visitors in your home: Lone Survivor; Marcus Luttrell; in the story (60 Minutes) an Afghan saves Marcus and institutes Pashtunwali to save him from the Taliban; battles ensure, men are shot, wounded and die, but they protect Marcus Luttrell;
- I suppose there is some sort of code Lot is upholding; it’s a moral ground for him – like the Pashtunwali. So, how do these wicked men respond? Rd v 9;
3. Absence of approval is assumed judgmentalism. Who are you to judge us! 1 Peter 4.3-5; Isn’t that the typical response when one confronts sin. Remember what he said: do not act so wickedly! Oh yeah? Who are you to judge us!
ill.: I read that Natalie Grant left the Grammy’s early. Not because she was protesting, it was just that there were things that were bothering her and she thought that it would be better if she left. She was harshly criticized. Well, do you know what happened at the Grammy’s? I watched a short video clip and it was gross! A night at the Grammy’s could have been called “At night at Sodom and Gomorrah.” The performances in the clip were disgusting. The gay marriage ceremony! I say: people get ready. Luke 17.24-30; rd Gen 19.9c;
4. Take matters into their own hands. This is the ultimate reaction to a sinful heart. We see it, we want it, the desire grows, we then take action to acquire what the heart has been lusting after!
app.: Sin has a progressive pattern to our lives. Hebrews 3.12-13; evil, unbelieving, falling away, hardened heart. AH says, we need accountability to help us not move in that direction.
Transition: Lot’s actions are righteous (except maybe they way he offers his daughters!), The men of Sodom’s actions are wicked; now, look at…
III. The Actions of Angels (10-16)
exp.: rd v 10;
- They grab Lot; rd v 11
- They blind the wicked; rd v 12-13
- They offer an escape to Lot and others; rd 14; rd v 15-16; maybe they were in a hurry because Lot wasn’t in a hurry?
- They hurry Lot along, even as he lingers, they take them by the hands. 2 Peter 2.9;
app.: I wonder as we approach the 2nd coming of man, do we have a lingering attitude like Lot, like Lot’s wife?
Transition: The Actions of the righteous, the wicked, the angels, and lastly,
IV. The Actions of a Righteous God (17-29)
exp.: rd v 17-20; Can you believe this man? God has worked miraculously in all of this. Now, he seems to be pushing the envelope! Look at God’s actions:
- Mercy: v 21
- Patience: v 22a; Then, the sun comes up; rd v 22b-24;
2. Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
- A rain of sulfur and fire on the city (24)
- Total elimination of life. (25); Von RAD (p. 221) mentions in his commentary the natural possibilities of this happening since the area of the Dead Sea is on a tectonic plate and the area is filled with asphalt and petroleum and gases. A lit fire or torch would easily have ignited it all. However, remember – the LORD rained sulphur and fire from heaven.
3. Disobedience by Lot’s Wife brings her destruction; rd v 26 Lot’s wife lingered longer and suffered the same fate for it. Listen to Kurt Strassner: Finally, walk back with me to Lot’s house and observe his wife, packing her belongings. She looks around longingly at her beautiful living room, a symbol of the status she has gained as a high-society woman in Sodom. She wishes she could take it all. Tears fill her eyes. She wonders whether or not she really wants to leave it all and follow God. And when it’s time to go, the angels literally have to drag her, aching over the loss of everything that she holds dear, out of her home (19:16). That is why she “looked back” in 19:26. Because she, like the rich young ruler after her, loved her material possessions and her societal position more than she loved the Lord. Evidently, there was a pillar of salt in the area that people believed was Lot’s wife and stood as a monument to her disobedience. Josephus says he actually saw it. Read Josephus; How is this possible? Evidently, the key is in the word ‘behind’ in v 26; she lingered and lagged behind. Jesus gives us some insight here: Luke 17.29-33
Conclusion: So, how can we conclude this? Moses tells us: Rd v 27-28; Abraham stood in the place where he had interceded with God and got his teaching lesson. Can you hear the silence of the moment and see in your minds eye the plumes of smoke rising from the scorched earth in the distance? He’s what Abraham learned: He was taught that a righteous judge is just and merciful. Just, because he destroyed the cities of wickedness (rd v 29a); Merciful, because he saved Lot and his daughters.
Transition: So, who then should we live our lives in view of God’s justice and mercy?
Observations & Implications:
- In what ways does this story affect your prayer life?
- Does the world around us not get anxious about The return of Jesus because we don’t get anxious about it either? Do we really act like He’s coming soon?
- Let us remember the Lord’s pronouncement of the Great Day of the Lord. Here is Strassner again: As it was “in the days of Lot,” so it will be “on the day that the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:28–30). Hellfire and brimstone will come again. Only, on that day, there will be no mountains and no town “near enough to flee to” (Gen. 19:20). Our only refuge will be in the shadow of the Lord Jesus, who alone can forgive the sins that bring God’s judgment on the world.
- Our hearts should be broken over our nation and the deplorable, ungodly behavior we’re observing.
- It is important to live righteous and godly lives. Isaiah 1.9: If the Lord of hosts had not left us a few survivors, we should have been like Sodom, and become like Gomorrah.