Accompanying Bob Deffinbaugh sermon: From City Councilman to Caveman: What a Difference a Day Makes
Accompanying Ray Pritchard sermon: From Sodom to Oak Park
Accompanying Ray Stedman sermon: The Wasted Years
Pritchard shared these lessons on this passage (some of them are more about yesterday's passage, but the theme does tie over):
1. The Seductive Power of Small Decisions. Lot didn’t come to be an alderman in Sodom overnight. It happened because he made the wrong choice in the beginning. Even so, small decisions made today may lead to disaster tomorrow. Remember this: Every decision either leads you toward the light or deeper into the darkness. You never made a meaningless choice and you never will. From tiny acorns grow mighty oaks. Even so, from momentary choices come vast consequences.
2. The Deadening Effect of Moral Compromise. Little by little Lot became adjusted to the evils of Sodom. Like the frog in the boiling pot, things around him changed so slowly that he become comfortable with situations that once made him very uneasy. Even so we who live in the 20th century face that same temptation. Is it true that we no longer blush at sin? Is it possible that sin doesn’t seem so sinful anymore? Can it be that we have allowed so much moral filth to flow into our homes and cars that it seems almost natural to us? Have we become so accustomed to evil that we are no longer repelled by it? The answer for many of us is yes.
3. The Certainty of God’s Judgment on Sin. This is the primary lesson drawn by the New Testament from this story. If you doubt that God will judge sin, take another look at those smoldering ruins. Don’t ever mistake God’s patience for his approval. We know that it is the patience of God that gives sinful men an opportunity to be saved. That’s why he hasn’t destroyed America yet. As Billy Graham has often pointed out, if God doesn’t judge America, he’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.
4. The Terrible Cost of Living in Two Worlds. You can have the world or you can have God, but not both. No man can serve two masters. If you are trying to live that way, you will lose it all, just as Lot did. Many people fight their way to the top of the heap by adopting the ways of the world only to say with the songwriter, “Is that all there is?” If you decide to live in the world, you will eventually look back on a burned-out life, with nothing to show for your efforts but wasted years and missed opportunities.
How desperately we need to teach things to our young people. Many Christian teenagers feel the pull of the world, wanting to be popular and to have what everyone else has. They want to be liked by their friends at school and also by their friends at church. They want the Lord and the approval of the worldly crowd as well. That’s why so many of them do exactly what Lot did—compromise little by little, trying to have it all. They put popularity above Jesus and self above Christ. Some dabble in the sins of the world—drinking, drugs, and sexual experimentation. They do it because they think this is way to be accepted by the crowd. Or they do it because they are tired of being so tied down at home. That’s why they go to the youth retreat one weekend and the Homecoming Dance the next.
5. The Tragic Cost of Compromise. Not only did Lot hurt himself, his compromise ultimately destroyed those he loved the ones he loved the most. What was the greatest pang in his heart that day as he watched his beloved city go up in smoke? Was it not what his compromise had cost his family?
In much the same way our children watch us close to see what we value the most. They know that you go to church and give your money, but they also know how much you want to be liked and respected by the world. They know that you will move your family just to get a higher salary or a nicer home even though you already have everything you need. Your children know what you do in your spare time, they watch the shows you watch, and they listen to the words you say. They know that you would rather buy a new car than give money to world missions. They know that you would rather stay at home than go to a prayer meeting or make excuses than volunteer to serve in Awana. They see it all.
What happens then?
Bit by bit they lose interest in the bible, Sunday School and church. They resolve to get ahead in the world and win the respect of Sodom, no matter what moral restraint they have to throw overboard to do it. This is why we see the tragedy of Christian homes in which children are turning from God. And the sorrow you will carry to your grave, the deepest sorrow of your heart will be that, though you still have your own faith, yet because of your compromise, you have lost your children. This tragic story of Lot is taking place right here and now in the modern Sodom and Gomorrah in which we live. (Ray Stedman, “The Wasted Years,” p. 7)
And from Deffinbaugh
Lot’s failure in that cave was far more of his own making than most of us would like to admit. It was not just that his daughters had learned so much sin in Sodom—they were still virgins you will recall (19:8). The real problem was not with Sodom, but with Lot. His daughters simply carried out that which they had learned from their own father. These same two girls stood inside the door as they overheard those words from their father,
Now, behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof (Genesis 19:8).
From Lot, his two daughters learned that morality must sometimes be sacrificed to practicality. Lot was willing to turn over his own daughters (who were as yet sexually pure, not corrupted by the sins of Sodom) to the Sodomites instead of two strangers. They learned from Lot that morality must sometimes be set aside in emergencies. Once they saw their father’s plight (and their own) as an emergency, incest was no longer a moral problem, for morality must yield to practicality in emergencies.
Many of us, as fathers, are greatly concerned about the world in which our children live. The temptations are infinitely greater. But in our concern for what is happening in the cities, let us not think we can save our children by restricting them to a cave. For in the cave, they are still being influenced by us. Let us be mindful from the tragedy which occurred in Lot’s family that many of the sins of our children are not learned from the world, but from the fathers.
You see, the Christian doctrine of separation must evidence a delicate balance between two equally dangerous extremes. One extreme is to overly stress identification with the world—but without a clear proclamation of the gospel. The other is to seek security in seclusion from the world. This is not the Christian’s solution to sin either...
Lot attempted to live his life in a city and then in a cave. We cannot become one with the world, but neither are we to flee from it. The proper balance between the city of Sodom and the cave is the tent of Abraham. We are to live in the world, but without becoming attached to it or conformed to it. We are to be strangers and pilgrims....
May God help us to live in the world without becoming a part of it, or it a part of us.
Lastly, remember the passage from a few days ago - where Lot chose the better land? Who won in the end, Abraham or Lot?
Ray Stedman says this: Lot had nothing but heartbreak and grief to show for the years in Sodom. The Lord said, "For whoever would save his life will lose it," (Matthew 16:25a RSV). So Lot, trying to get the best out of both worlds, lost all and has become for all time the picture of the Christian who is saved, "but only as through fire," (1 Corinthians 3:15b RSV). He has nothing but wasted years to look back on and eternity ahead.
I don't know about you, but I don't want to make it to heaven by the skin of my teeth, with nothing but a wasted life to lay at the feet of Jesus.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Genesis 20