19 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2 “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”
3 But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. 4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”
9 “Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.
10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.
12 The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”
14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”
16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
18 But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please! 19 Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. 20 Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.”
21 He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. 22 But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar.)
23 By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
27 Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.
29 So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.
30 Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave.31 One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth. 32 Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.”
33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.
34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.
36 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. 37 The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. 38 The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today.
(Genesis 19:1-38 NIV)
Recapping the story from Chapter 18, we see three visitors arrive at Abraham’s tent and announce the birth of a son via Sarah within a year. As the visitors leave, we see the Lord taking Abraham into His confidence and sharing what He is about to do in Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham pleads with God to spare any righteous persons if they can be found. God agrees to do so, and they part ways.
As we begin Chapter 19, we see two visitors (identified as angels) arriving at the city gates of Sodom. Lot recognizes the men as visitors, and he immediately invites them to his home as his guests. Lot knows the evil of the city, and its dangers after dark, so he insists that the strangers stay with him so he can protect them and provide for them. Lot shows the men hospitality, as is the custom of his family and ancestors.
But by evening, word had spread around town about the strangers staying with Lot, and the men of the city gathered at Lot’s house like a crazed mob wanting to have violent sex (more like gang rape) with the two visitors.
Here we see the lack of Lot’s character, as he offers his virgin daughters instead of the two guests. Lot is to be praised for protecting his guests, but not for offering his daughters as alternatives for the mens’ sensual pleasure.
The guests then reveal that they are from the Lord, and that they will destroy the city because of its sin. The Lord had heard the cries of its victims (presumably those who had been used and abused by these Sodomite men before), and was about to administer justice for their sins and lack of repentance.
The angels pleaded with Lot and his family to leave, and had to physically drag them out of town by the hand to get them to go on their way. Lot and his family had gained much wealth; now they were being told to flee for their lives and live as paupers. Lot’s priorities were clearly focused on material possessions, not family or his relationship with the Lord.
Lot’s lack of relationship with the Lord was also evident in his request to flee to a small town rather than to the mountains like the angels commanded. He was depending on his own strength (or lack thereof) rather than the strength of the Lord to carry him through. Lot’s wife disobeyed the Lord and looked back (and maybe even turned back) to Sodom and paid the price with her life.
God destroyed the entire plain – the people, animals, even the vegetation, but spared Lot, not because of his obedience or righteousness, but because of Abraham’s plea. Abraham witnessed the Lord’s wrath on Sodom and Gomorrah from afar, where he had pleaded with the Lord to act justly and not destroy any righteous people in the land.
The next thing Moses records is Lot and his two daughters moving to the mountains and living in a cave out of fear that the Lord would strike again. Lot had not passed on any element of faith to his daughters, as they refer to their desire to have a family as a human custom rather than a God-ordained plan. The daughters know their father’s moral values and also his weakness for wine, so they devise a plan to start a family via incest. They get their father drunk, sleep with him, and have babies that will grow up and form two godless people groups that will plague the Israelites for years to come.
And this is the end of Lot’s life as recorded in the Scriptures – we never hear from him again, except for a few anecdotal references to his choices in life.
May we stay focused on the Lord and not our own customs, material possessions, community stature, or anything else.
May we walk in faith like Abraham, rather than in our own strength like Lot.