The Mercy and Judgment of God Genesis 19
I invite you to make your way to Genesis 19. It’s a passage that has so much to say as we look at the moral morass of our day.
Though it’s now been over 6 years, most of you remember how the Colorado baker, Jack Philipps, was charged with a criminal offense when he refused to decorate a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
The LGBTQ activists were all over this, and it became their crusade. Well, this past June, the U.S. supreme court voted 7-2 in Philipp’s favor.
Yet, that’s not the end of the opposition. For the same day the Supreme Court ruled Philipps was innocent of discrimination, a transgender woman, Autumn Scardina, called his bakery and requested a cake celebrating the anniversary of her gender change.
When the bakery refused, the woman filed a complaint against the Civil Right Commission.
Listen, this vile assault is not going to stop there.
The LGBTQ community has an agenda they are pushing at every opportunity.
Do you realize, that in the past November elections, more than 400 LGBTQ candidates were on the political ballot?
Colorado became the first state in the U.S. to elect a self-declared homosexual man as governor, Jared Polis.
And Sharice Davis of Kansas became the first openly lesbian person to serve in Congress.
And that same LGBTQ agenda flows from the Hollywood swamp and pervades the film industry.
There’s so much moral confusion today that a man can simply say he is a woman or vice versa, and we are told that is how that person is now to be treated- as a totally different gender!
But all this doesn’t stay in the political halls of Washington or movie hub of Hollywood.
It has infected church denominations throughout our land. Jimmy Creech, United Methodist pastor for nearly 30 years was asked, “How do [you] view God’s position on “homosexuality?” Listen to his answer:
“I believe lesbian, gay and bisexual people to be a part of God’s wondrous creation, created to be just who they are, and completely loved and treasured by God.” And two years ago, the pastor of the church my uncle was attending in California announced to the congregation after preaching one Sunday morning that he embraced homosexuality as a legitimate moral choice. Christian, it’s high time for you to be clear on what God has to say about these things in the Bible. Because what He has revealed in Scripture declares not only how He views the moral landscape of society but how we should view it. We must refuse to listen to those who try to gag God or put words in His mouth regarding the LGBTQ issue. Instead, we turn to His Word and let God speak for Himself on this crucial subject. We declare with the apostle Paul in all matters from salvation to sexuality, “Let God be found true though every man be found a liar.” Rom. 3:4 “Father of lights, God of Glory, triune God, teach us we pray now from Your living Word. Cause us to fear Your name, hate every form of sin, love You supremely and obey you more fully. We ask this confident that this is for Your will and glory, and therefore we know we have what we have asked of You. We pray all this in the wonderful name of Your Son and our great Savior Jesus Christ, amen.” As the Lord has brought us now to Genesis 19, you need to realize something: it’s not primarily concerned with Abraham but Lot and those in Sodom.
This chapter stands out as a monumental lesson from God for all times. We should be startled and shaken up by what’s here. Yet, from the get go, I want you to appreciate that it’s not just about the depravity and doom of Sodom. This chapter is intended to do even more than show us the holocaust of judgment that God pours out on all who chose the path of perversion.
You see, the goal of our text is not only to produce in us a greater hatred for sin. It’s also to produce in us greater love for God and His great mercy! Here’s the big picture perspective the Spirit of God wants to impress on us as we work through Genesis 19: God magnifies His holy name by delivering the righteous and destroying the wicked. That’s important. For God not only judges evil but rescues those who have found refuge in Him! And the upshot should be that we obey and worship God all the more. We will witness the: Dispatchment to Sodom 1-11 Deliverance of Lot 12-22 Destruction of Sodom 23-29 (and the final 9 verses describe the debasement of Lot- which we will see next week). By the way, this will be a two-part message, today dealing mainly with the exegesis (understanding what happens) and then next Sunday we will look at the implications and lots of application. Beginning in the first verse we find out about the 1. Dispatchment to Sodom 1-11
V. 1: “Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground.” These messengers are those who looked like ordinary men that had earlier appeared to Abraham at his tent roughly 20 miles away in the Oaks of Mamre. Now there’s nothing in our text that indicates Lot had yet come to realize these two were actually angels. This helps us see that what’s ahead is a sequel to what had just taken place between the angels and Abraham. Now, we know when Lot caught eye of these two angels- it was while he was sitting in the gate area of Sodom. That marked a strategic civic center. That’s where you would go to get the latest news update, to buy and sell and get great bargains.
And that’s where Lot would have joined the city’s leading men to discuss community matters.
Now look at his kind offer of hospitality. 2nd verse: “And he said, “Now behold, my lords (the sense of “gentlemen”), please turn aside into your servant’s house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” They said however, “No, but we shall spend the night in the square.”
Lot like Abraham invites them to stay with him, but did you note how long he suggests? Only until early the next morning so they could continue on their way.
Does Lot have some reason in mind he hopes they will leave early in the morning? Absolutely.
The angels don’t want to presume on Lot’s kindness, so offer to sleep in the open square. Travelers during the warmer seasons would often rest during the night on the open ground by the city gates and have their long robes as a cover.
Watch now as the drama begins to build. Look at how Lot reacts. “Yet he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.”
Lot refuses to let them sleep outside in the courtyard. After convincing them to sleep in his house, he prepares them a special meal (far less impressive than what Abraham had put on for them).
The angels finish the meal and would have expected an evening of sharing together with Lot and his family. Yet then comes the shocker:
(v. 4) “Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter.”
O have they come to welcome the new visitors to their town? Hardly. This massive crowd is made up of men of all ages. There are old men that were grandfathers and young men, no doubt teenagers.
They announce their incredibly evil intentions for coming there in the 5th verse.
“and they called to Lot (“Lot”) and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight?
And then the vile words that flow from their lips:
“Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.”
Friends, that huge crowd of men, young and old, they were inflamed with perverted passion.
They had sabotaged their God-given desire for marriage and want to carry out their carnal fantasies on Lot’s two male guests.
It’s a satanically inspired scheme to do even worse than what took place before the Flood when the sons of God came into the daughters of men.
To put it in today’s terms, they want to homosexually gang rape those two visitors.
Friends, you can be sure, their perverted pursuit, their choosing to engage in homosexuality didn’t begin that night in Sodom. For they were a society that had been given over to sexual perversion many years. And they had no shame in their abandonment to sin.
How can we be so sure? Look with me at how Isaiah the prophet describes their wickedness. He’s speaking first of the sinful people of Judah and compares them to Sodom.
Isaiah 3:9 “The expression of their faces bears witness against them, and they display their sin like Sodom; they do not even conceal it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves.”
Remember, the day Lot moved his tent to Sodom, it was already a vile city. We are told (13:13)- “Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the LORD.”
What in God’s eyes made them “exceedingly wicked?” Their gross sexual sins, most notably in our text, homosexuality.
By the way, those men outside they are demanding. They act as if they are entitled, that it’s their right to do what they want with these men.
So verse 6 tells us that Lot, “went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly.
Here’s one of the few positive traits we see in Lot. He shows courage, goes out of his house, shuts the door fast, and tries to talk these wicked men out of their plan.
How he could call these Sodomites “brothers” is baffling- yet he’s doing everything that came to mind hoping to dissuade them. That includes Lot’s shocking suggestion in that he makes to this crowd of homosexuals:
There in the 8th verse: “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.”
When you hear those words, everything in you should be screaming, “Lot, Stop! What are you saying? What are you thinking? Have you lost your mind?”
In an effort to protect his guests from such an attack, Lot offers his daughters in their place. Listen, for all he knew, they would have abused his virgin daughters to their dying breath.
Friends, the pressure is on, they are screaming in Lot’s ear and vicious as ravenous wolves.
Lot should have learned from his Uncle Abraham and cried out to the Lord. But there’s no prayer from his lips to God.
Instead he tries to avoid sin by sin.
What kind of a father would ever compromise his daughter’s purity for the sake of expediency?
I have a suspicion those two daughters right inside that house heard their father’s suggestion. For that may well explain why they do what they later do to their father Lot.
What follows shows the depth of those men’s depraved desires.
V. 9 “But they said (to Lot), ‘Stand aside.’ Furthermore, they said, “This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them.” So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door.”
That mob of homosexuals is dead set on doing what they came to do. They are now mocking Lot and threatening to tear him up if he stands in their way. With their unrestrained violence, they nearly tear the door off its hinges trying to get those men.
My father worked as a fireman in downtown L.A. for many years. Numerous fires he and his crew fought directly resulted from sinful lifestyles.
I recall him relating how there were certain telltale indicators of homosexual perpetrators of fire. There were vicious and unbridled expressions of uncontrolled deviancy.
Well those two guests inside Lot’s house, now they go into action. Watch how they supernaturally intervene.
Verse 10: But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. (that no doubt required superhuman strength!)
Then we read, “They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway.”
They strike these men with blindness so they can’t see a thing- they are just in the dark.
And yet those guys just keep groping to get in the house.
You see, their minds are fully given over to their sin. Their craze to fulfill their perverted lusts doesn’t stop- it only seems to intensify with obstacles. For it comes from a heart in massive opposition to God
So it is, all sins including everything about the LGBTQ lifestyle, it all begins with a hostile rejection of God.
And it ends with a life being given over to sin and its consequences. Following the Dispatchment of the angels to Sodom we find the
2. Deliverance of Lot 12-23 Now Lot comes to realize that these visitors who look like men are angelic messengers.
Would you notice what they tell him after they blinded the men outside?
Continuing in the 12th verse: “Then the two men said to Lot, ‘Whom else have you here? A son-in-law, and your sons, and your daughters, and whomever you have in the city, bring them out of the place; 13 for we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the LORD that the LORD has sent us to destroy it.”
What an unnerving announcement of doom!
They have made it clear they have come to destroy Sodom. They had been commissioned on a mission of annihilation.
The word, destroy, (shacath) it’s the same word used in 6:13 to describe the destruction of the world at the Flood.
Lots knows there’s no time to waste. And we further read that: Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, and said, “Up, get out of this place, for the LORD will destroy the city.”
There’s no ambiguity in this call of alarm.
And these young men ready to marry into Lot’s family show an incredible response:
“But he appeared to his sons-in-law to be jesting.”
Picture them rolling on the ground laughing. How could they take Lot’s appalling words as a joke?
You see, they had assimilated into the moral cesspool of Sodom. Their hearts had become one with their sinful cultures and its values.
The warning fell on deaf ears because their sin had made them impervious to spiritual truth.
They had become self-deceived by sin and loved it so.
That still happens. Those who choose to live in the fantasy of sin and lust lose their bearings in a spiritual fog. They cannot see straight.
For the conscience becomes inoperative when it is drowned out by sinful living.
Now things get from bad to worse. We are told in verse 15 that when the next morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.” 16 But he hesitated.
This should make you want to scream once again in Lot’s ear! “Lot, Get OUT OF THERE. RUN FOR YOUR LIFE. You were just told if you stay there you will be destroyed with the mass destruction.”
O what a reminder how we dare not be passive when it’s time to take action- men, husbands, fathers- this is especially for you.
Don’t sit on your hands, don’t wimp out, don’t wait and wonder what to do when God has called you to lead.
Men take to heart God’s command to you in 1 Corinthians 16:13 “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”
While Lot sits there looking like a deer caught in the headlights, the angels step in:
V. 16: “So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of the LORD was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city.”
Now right in the middle of this rescue of Lot and his family, we find out why God did this.
It was not because Lot was a great guy. It wasn’t because he deserved it. Not at all.
God had those angels rescue him and his family because God’s compassion was on Lot! Isa. 63:9 (only other place “chemlah” is used).
That’s why God saved His people Israel- because of His great pity on them.
And Christian, that’s why God rescued you from the pit of an eternal hell. It was because of His great compassion on you!
Well the drama builds.
And watch how the angels sound the alarm, yet Lot stalls.
V. 17- “When they had brought them outside, one said, ‘Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away.’ ”
18 But Lot said to them, “Oh no, my lords! 19 “Now behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have magnified your lovingkindness, which you have shown me by saving my life (at least he’s got that right!); but I cannot escape to the mountains, for the disaster will overtake me and I will die;
20 now behold, this town is near enough to flee to, and it is small. Please, let me escape there (is it not small?) that my life may be saved.”
Are you kidding? Lot, when it’s time to run for your life, it’s not the time for a discussion!
Friends, Lot is a specimen of weak, passive, and compromised faith. He just doesn’t think clearly- and that is because he has become conformed to the culture of Sodom. I John 2:15-16
Well, those holy angels reflect God’s patience.
Instead of whacking Lot on the backside with a board, look at what the angel tells him:
21 He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this request also, not to overthrow the town of which you have spoken.
22 “Hurry, escape there, for I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the town was called Zoar.”
Well, Lot makes it out by the skin of his teeth. For we read, v. 23 “The sun had risen over the earth when Lot came to Zoar.”
Following hard on the heels of the deliverance of Lot is 3. The Destruction of Sodom 24-29 There in the 24th verse we read of the horrific devastation: “Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven, 25 and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.”
Here we witness one of the most awful scenes in Scripture. For what we have here is nothing less than total mass destruction of these sin-filled cities.
Although only Sodom and Gomorrah are mentioned, here we are told in Deut. 29:23 of other cities that were part of this immoral metropolis that were annihilated.
Deuteronomy 29:23 compares what would happen if God’s people would forsake Him: ‘All its land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grows in it, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in His anger and in His wrath.’
And to that must be added Zoar, making a total of 5 cities, a wicked Pentapolis.
Here’s what’s amazing. If you compare those to Genesis 14:2, you found out, those are the 5 evil cities in the East, the ones Abraham had defeated to rescue Lot!!!
How did the Lord destroy them? We are told he caused brimstone and fire to rain on them from heaven.
Some say it was caused by an earthquake, others suggest by a great volcano. But God’s Word here makes clear the brimstone (which is sulfur) showered down out of heaven in flames of horrific fire. The unmistakable point is that it came from above signifying supernaturally caused destruction.
Sulfur by the way burns with a blue flame and produces a suffocating gas and irritating odor.
So it would have been a terrifying day of catastrophic judgment by God.
In July of 2017, a mound of sulfur at a Texas Gulf Sulfur plant caught fire. And someone managed to catch it on video. What looks like a pool of wind-blown water is actually all fire with eerie bluish flames shooting into the air.
Yet it was infinitely worse at Sodom.
The angels had warned Lot and his family to escape for their lives and to not look back (v. 17).
Yet we read of the tragic disobedience in verse 26: “But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.”
Why did she look back? Out of curiosity, pity, or a longing to return? We can’t be certain.
But what is clear is that hers was a blatant sin of disobedience in God’s book.
And she paid the price by becoming a monument to disobedience.
The words, “pillar of salt” don’t require that her body became granules of salt.
Rather, God struck her dead instantly and her body became encased in salt.
Listen, one look at what God says “no” to can destroy your life.
That can be some hidden area of sin that will take you far from God.
Christ makes an amazing statement for us in Luke 17:32. I want you to see it with me. It’s a warning of God’s coming judgment on all who play fast and lose with Him.
Luke 17:28–32 “It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it
rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 “It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. 31 “On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. 32 “Remember Lot’s wife.”
So to remember Lot’s wife means to remember, you play with sin and you will always get burned.
And the painful consequences will always be worse than you imagine.
There will be eternal consequences, the judgement of God on all who like Lot’s wife turn back to sin.
Well, early the next morning, Abraham got up from his tent to see what had happened. Verse 27 tell us he was standing in the very place where he had interceded for the people of Sodom knowing 1 thing: “the Judge of the earth will deal justly (18:25).
Look at the just judgment of God that Abraham now sees with his own eyes:
28th verse: “and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the valley, and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land ascended like the smoke of a furnace.”
The righteous judgment of God demanded the destruction of every person in that city. And there in a column of smoke he knew it had been done.
It’s that gut wrenching feeling you have when you look at the pictures of the Twin Towers in smoke knowing that nearly 3,000 thousand men and women in those buildings had just died.
The people of Sodom had turned their backs on God, and they received the consequences of that.
That friends marks the judgment of God on all who reject His grace.
But even at Sodom, God’s mercy triumphed over judgment. For it serves as a warning to you and me and all humanity that the wages of sin is death. And that death can be avoided by running to God for mercy.
Look at the good news of verse 29: “Thus it came about, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, that God remembered Abraham,
and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot lived.”
You see, God answered Abraham’s prayer that day. He was just in judging sin. And He was merciful in saving Lot.
And that brings you and me to a crossroads. Are you sure that you have turned from a life of sin, destruction and eternal death?
Does your life show that you do not live enamored with the world?
Listen, hell will be like the final day of Sodom yet forever. There’s only one escape.
Isaiah 55:6–7 “Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”
Gracious God, heavenly Father…
The Mercy and Judgment of God Genesis 19
Intro. Rom. 3:4 1. Dispatchment to Sodom 1-11 Isa. 3:9
2. Deliverance of Lot 12-23
I Cor. 16:13
I John 2:15-16 Isa. 63:9
3. The Destruction of Sodom 24-29
Lord, how would you have me walk in obedience to You as a doer of Your Word?
The Mercy and Judgment of God Genesis 19