Memory Verse: Proverbs 13:15 “Good understanding giveth favor: but the way of the transgressor is hard.”
Your lesson tells the story of Lot and his family who lived in Sodom, one of two very evil cities. The other city was Gomorrah.
Lot had chosen to live in the lush, green plains of the Jordan Valley and had chosen to disregard the fact that the people who lived in this area were very evil. While living amongst these evil people, Lot and his wife and two daughters had somehow managed to stay uninfected with the evil prevailing around them. He had become a person well regarded in Sodom.
We left off last week with Abraham showing hospitality to three men, one of whom was the Lord God. As they were leaving, the Lord told Abraham that the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah had reached a critical level.
20 “So the Lord told Abraham, “I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant. 21 I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard. If not, I want to know.”
Abraham knew that God was speaking of judgment on those two cities. His nephew Lot and Lot’s family lived in that area. Abraham feared for their safety. He asked God to spare the cities if fifty righteous people could be found living there. God said He would spare them if He found fifty. Then Abraham continued pleading for the righteous until God said He would spare the cities if He found only ten righteous people there. Abraham must have thought that surely there would be at least ten righteous people between the populations of those two cities. What Abraham did was to pray – remember he was talking directly to the Lord God – that God would spare those cities even if there were only ten righteous people. Remember how God spared Noah and his family and certain animals because Noah was a righteous man, perfect in his generations, while destroying the rest of humanity with a flood? Sin had infected Noah’s world and God destroyed it so it wouldn’t spread. Sin had infected Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain, so God decided it must not be allowed to spread any further and destroyed those cities.
Sin is like a virus. When a virus invades your body it penetrates a cell’s nucleus. It then takes the matter inside that nucleus and uses it to make many, many copies of itself. Your immune system doesn’t know what is going on because the cell still looks like it should. Your immune system can’t see the danger. When the cell membrane can no longer hold those copies, it ruptures, spilling those copies into your system. Those copies infect other cells, making copies of themselves until your immune system can’t keep up, and then you get sick.
Sin infects society and when society doesn’t or won’t recognize something as sin and doesn’t take measures to stop or remove it, it infects more and more people until all of society is infected and becomes sick. Sodom and Gomorrah were infected with sin. The sin mentioned in your Bible was homosexuality.
Lot knew the kind of people among whom he was living. When the two men showed up, Lot insisted that they come stay in his house. He did this to protect them. Apparently strangers were not safe spending the night in the city square. Lot wanted to keep them safe from those in the city that would do them harm. Lot’s fears were justified because after dark, all the men of the city, young and old, came to Lot’s house and demanded he turn the strangers over to them so they could rape them. God had told Abraham that the sins of these two cities were so bad that there was a crying out to Him to do something about it.
1 “That evening the two angels came to the entrance of the city of Sodom. Lot was sitting there, and when he saw them, he stood up to meet them. Then he welcomed them and bowed with his face to the ground. 2 “My lords,” he said, “come to my home to wash your feet, and be my guests for the night. You may then get up early in the morning and be on your way again.”
“Oh no,” they replied. “We’ll just spend the night out here in the city square.”
3 But Lot insisted, so at last they went home with him. Lot prepared a feast for them, complete with fresh bread made without yeast, and they ate. 4 But before they retired for the night, all the men of Sodom, young and old, came from all over the city and surrounded the house. 5 They shouted to Lot, “Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them!”
You can see how evil these men of Sodom were.
6 “So Lot stepped outside to talk to them, shutting the door behind him. 7 “Please, my brothers,” he begged, “don’t do such a wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two virgin daughters. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do with them as you wish. But please, leave these men alone, for they are my guests and are under my protection.”
9 “Stand back!” they shouted. “This fellow came to town as an outsider, and now he’s acting like our judge! We’ll treat you far worse than those other men!” And they lunged toward Lot to break down the door.
10 But the two angels reached out, pulled Lot into the house, and bolted the door. 11 Then they blinded all the men, young and old, who were at the door of the house, so they gave up trying to get inside.
12 Meanwhile, the angels questioned Lot. “Do you have any other relatives here in the city?” they asked. “Get them out of this place—your sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone else. 13 For we are about to destroy this city completely. The outcry against this place is so great it has reached the Lord, and he has sent us to destroy it.”
14 So Lot rushed out to tell his daughters’ fiancés, “Quick, get out of the city! The Lord is about to destroy it.” But the young men thought he was only joking.”
Lot tried to intercede for the strangers but was almost attacked himself by the crowd. The angels pulled Lot back into the house, bolted the door and then blinded the men in the crowd. Then they told Lot to gather up his family and leave immediately because God was going to destroy these evil cities. He tried to get his daughters’ fiancée’s to leave but they thought he was joking. Homosexuality in that society, as it has in ours, had become accepted as normal and they saw no reason to leave.
15 “At dawn the next morning the angels became insistent. “Hurry,” they said to Lot. “Take your wife and your two daughters who are here. Get out right now, or you will be swept away in the destruction of the city!” 16 When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the Lord was merciful. 17 When they were safely out of the city, one of the angels ordered, “Run for your lives! And don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley! Escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away!” 18 “Oh no, my lord!” Lot begged. 19 “You have been so gracious to me and saved my life, and you have shown such great kindness. But I cannot go to the mountains. Disaster would catch up to me there, and I would soon die. 20 See, there is a small village nearby. Please let me go there instead; don’t you see how small it is? Then my life will be saved.” 21 “All right,” the angel said, “I will grant your request. I will not destroy the little village. 22 But hurry! Escape to it, for I can do nothing until you arrive there.” (This explains why that village was known as Zoar, which means, “little place.”) 23 Lot reached the village just as the sun was rising over the horizon.”
Lot failed to realize the peril he was in and procrastinated in leaving Sodom. The angels had to forcibly remove him and his wife and two daughters out of Sodom. He requested to flee to Zoar and the angel allowed it, commanding them not to look back or stop anywhere else.
24 “Then the Lord rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. 25 He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt.”
As soon as Lot had reached Zoar, God released His judgment on all the cities of the plain. Except for Zoar, they were utterly destroyed. But Lot’s wife didn’t listen and she looked back and was immediately turned into a pillar of salt. Why did she look back? Was it out of curiosity or was she regretting leaving her home? You cannot afford to look back with longing on your life before receiving Jesus into your life as your Lord and Savior. When you repent of your sins and accept Jesus’ sacrifice for your sins and are baptized, you start a whole new life in Him.
The world of Lot is much like your world today. Society has embraced deviant behavior and sin. No longer is sin considered wrong in today’s culture, rather it is promoted as fun, desirable and acceptable in books, movies, magazines, TV, the internet, music. Shame is considered an out-dated idea. Every imagination of man’s evil thoughts is available for sale.
Lot managed to stay untainted by the flagrant sinning of those around him. He acted graciously toward the strangers, offering them hospitality and safety in his house. Lot was a righteous man. His wife and daughters, however, were tainted. His wife looked back longingly to Sodom and was turned into a pillar of salt. His daughters, sometime after the cities were destroyed conspired to make Lot so drunk that he wasn’t aware what was happening and both went in and had sex with him, both getting pregnant. They were the mothers of the Moabites and Ammonites who later on caused trouble to Israel. (Genesis 19:30-36)
What does the story of Lot say to you? What can you do to keep from sinning when people around you accept sin as normal and acceptable? Even though you may be able to remain untainted by the sin of society, those you love and those around you may not be able to resist the pull and enticement of sin made to look appealing. Flee from situations that may cause you to sin. Stay close to God and fill your mind with His words and thoughts. Don’t be afraid to be different than those around you – you may influence others to be different too. Stand up for what is right and be able to discern or tell what is evil so you can avoid it. Realize that if you accept sinful behavior in others that you will accept it in yourself more easily. Be really careful of the things you look at (TV, movies, video games, books, magazines) and listen to (radio, CD’s, mp3 players, books on tape etc.). Be careful what you allow into your mind. Over time, the repetition of evil speech and behavior can affect and reduce your perception of the evil in them. Discover what things that God has decided are wrong so you know what is right and wrong.
How should you treat those who accept
sinful behavior and practice it? Should you stand up and point your finger at
them and condemn them? Will that cause them to repent of their sins? What did
Jesus do with sinners and how did He treat them? He reached out to them in compassion
but He did not accept nor join with them in their sins. He died for their sins
as well as for yours, so forgiveness and salvation are also available to them
should they ever decide to repent. Realize that your example – the way
you live your life in a godly manner and the way you treat them -- is the loudest
testimony you can give to those caught up in a sinful life. Your example, good
or bad, will say volumes that words can’t. Finally, realize that sin is
like a virus that can and will infect and destroy you too, if you let it become
part of your life.
Scriptures to study:
Leviticus 18 – whole chapter
I Corinthians 6:9-20
I Timothy 1:8-11
2 Peter 2 and 3 – both chapters
Jude – all