Hearing And Heeding
“Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.” Psalm 91:14
When God was about to bring judgment on the people of Sodom and Gomorrah He sent angels to Lot and his family warning them of what was to come and to get away from the city to a place of safety because all of these two cities would be destroyed because of the great degree of sin the people had debased themselves from the youngest to the oldest, men, women and children.
“And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it. And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.
It was the mercy of God and the favor of God that came to take him and his family out of harms way for two reasons; one, because of God’s covenant with Abraham and two because Lot was a man who regarded God and hated the ways of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. God wanted to save all of Lot’s family but his sons in law were more willing to dismiss him than to heed his warning. So the angels intensified their warning, “Get out, get away from this place now lest you be consumed in the destruction to come.
And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.
Still, Lot lingered; maybe because he hoped his sons in law would come around or maybe because his wife was tarrying with what to bring and not really wanting to leave. Or perhaps he lingered because he himself was not fully convinced of the imminent danger they faced. Nevertheless, the angels finally took them by the hand and brought them out of the city. This was an act of mercy, to go to the extraordinary length of moving on their behalf despite their hesitating and disregard for the gravity of the situation.
And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.
Now a rather interesting negotiation takes place at this point. From our vantage point looking back at this event we would not think to do anything but listen to the angels and do what they said. First of all they are angels which is extraordinary enough, but secondly, they’ve saved them twice now by force, removing them from danger. [see Gen 19:1-11] Clearly God is looking out for their welfare, so they should just trust that whatever He tells them to do they can be confident that it is the best for them.
But, from Lot’s perspective, that was not enough to convince him. He was afraid that he would die at the hand of some evil in the mountain. What? Really? You just got saved from the cataclysmic destruction of two cities and you actually think God did that just to send you into the mountains to die by some kind of evil taking you? Hello!!!!
So, he negotiates to be allowed to go to a small city nearby, making the argument that it’s just a small town, nothing to fear there. So the angel mercifully grants him his desire.
And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord: Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.
And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.
Zoar means “little” or “insignificant”
The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:12-26
Everyone that’s ever attended Sunday school as a child heard the story of Lot’s wife looking back and turning to a pillar of salt. On the surface of the story is the theme of what results from disobedience. Digging a little deeper there is a message of motivation and the sin of dismissing God’s warning as nothing to take seriously. It is a warning about what happens when the heart is so seared over with lusts and passions for this world that it cannot receive God’s Word as truth to be taken seriously and heeded without hesitation or delay.
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey and the threat posed by Hurricane Irma, many people have heeded the warning to evacuate the areas in the projected path of the storm, but some have chosen to remain despite the repeated calls for them to move out. Why? There are probably many reasons people choose to stay, they don’t believe the threat is as severe as reported, they think whatever it is they can ride it out, they resign themselves to fate thinking whatever will be will be and there’s nothing they can do about it. Among these are those who think that God will protect them from the storm and they will escape it right in their home.
Those who presume such an attitude without God are acting foolishly. Those who claim faith in God but ignore the warnings of those whom He has charged with protecting the welfare of the city based on reasonable measures of scientific research might just be tempting God, daring Him to abandon them to the ravaging winds and rains of the storm.
What is the reasonable wise choice to be made in such circumstances? Let me say unequivocally that atmospheric events such as this are not God’s judgment on people or property. They are also not just natural disasters without some spiritual force behind them. There is one source and force of death, destruction and evil in the world, Satan and his minions. We as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are here to war against him with the life of Jesus, the Word of God, the blood of the lamb and our testimony.
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Luke 10:19
There is no sin or lack of faith in both praying and believing God and in acting wisely to do all that you can to preserve your life. Whatever you do, do it by faith. Whether you choose to stay or leave, be sure that your decision is based on faith in God’s Word which does not ignore warnings, and not on presumption or a pseudo faith that is based on emotions, feelings and irrational clinging to some notion that you are in control of your life and not God.
It was probably not convenient for Lot and his family to leave Sodom, it was certainly a struggle to part with all of their possessions and abandon any close relations they had there but they did. It wasn’t easy for Noah and his family to build an Ark to escape the flood, but they did. And it wasn’t easy for Joseph and Mary to take Jesus and flee into Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod in Bethlehem, but they did. When the warning came they all heeded it and lived.
There is a warning now to all men, to flee the wrath of God to come and find shelter and new life in Jesus Christ by receiving Him and confessing Him as their Savior and Lord. And we are among the voices shouting the warning to the world. “Prepare ye, the way of the Lord.”
Many will hear us and believe, if we will be faithful to declare it.