“A Lesson in Lot’s Rescue” (Series: Five on Five: Genesis)
Scripture: Genesis 19:1-29
Sermon Summary (prepared by Eddie Pyun)
God’s wrath is not a very popular or comfortable subject to talk about. If you’ve ever tried to evangelize you may have been somewhat hesitant to talk about God’s wrath. Instead you focused on his love. Some people even have the notion that the God of wrath in the Old Testament and the God of love in the New Testament are so different that either God must have radically changed his mind about things, or even that they’re not the same God.
But both of those concepts are quite foreign to the Bible’s own presentation of God. The God of the Bible is both a God of love and a God of wrath without contradiction. If you love something, you will hate whatever is antithetical to that thing that you love. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah shows us that because God loves righteousness, he hates sin, and he must deal with it. And so he pours out his wrath. But it also shows us that because God loves mercy, he has also provided a way of escape. Sinners under the wrath of God must respond by either fleeing to safety or remaining under his judgment.
In Genesis 19 God sends his angels down to Sodom to investigate the city’s sin, and he finds the city to be guilty. The men try to break into Lot’s house so they may “know” his guests. Although Lot is not guilty of their sin, he still displays great cowardice when he offers the mob his daughters instead. Against such sin, the angels declare to Lot that God’s wrath is coming to destroy the city, and they urge Lot to take up his family and escape to safety. They offer him a way of escape.
The story then shows three different responses to God’s wrath and his offer of rescue. First is the response of Lot’s sons-in-law. The angels warn Lot that wrath is coming. Taking this seriously, Lot goes to his sons-in-law-to-be and tells them that they need to leave before God destroys the city. But they think he is only joking. This is the first way people can respond to God’s wrath and his offer of rescue. They consider it foolishness, laugh, and stay right where they are. For them, the offer of salvation still stands, but it must be accepted, as it will not remain open forever. As God’s wrath fell on Sodom and Gomorrah, there is a final judgment that is coming upon those who have refused God and his offer of salvation.
The second response we see is in Lot’s wife. While God is raining down sulfur and fire in judgment, Lot’s wife looked back and became a pillar of salt. Jesus interprets this for us in Luke 17:33 when he says, “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.” He then uses Lot’s wife as an example of someone who sought to preserve their old life and lost it. Lot’s wife looked back at the city with longing in her heart for what she had left behind. From this we are reminded that we cannot follow Jesus half-heartedly. It’s not enough to just say with your lips that Jesus is Lord while you fail to recognize him as Lord in your heart, in your relationships, in every area of life. You must be all-in.
The third and last response we see is Lot’s. Although his response is sputtering and confused, eventually he believes in the coming wrath and leaves the city (and his whole life) behind, and he is saved from the total destruction which follows. At first, we may be confused as to why Lot was saved because he himself was certainly not without sin. Yet 2 Peter 2 refers to him as “righteous Lot”. This was because, like his uncle Abraham, Lot was counted righteous by God, not on account of his own righteousness or good works, but because of his faith (Gen. 15:6). Even though his faith was weak, he had put his faith in the one who was able to save, and in faith he fled the coming destruction.
Today, we too are counted righteous by faith because God has dealt with our sin. He has poured out his wrath just like he dealt with Sodom and Gomorrah’s sin. Except it was on another. On the cross, Jesus took the cup of God’s wrath, and he drank it down to the last drop so there would be no more wrath left over for you. Not only that, but he did so willingly – out of his love for you! He did all this so you would be safe when the final judgment comes and God rids the world of every evil, once and for all. The God who hates sin and evil is zealous to remove the sin and evil that cause us sorrow and injustice too, and those who have taken refuge in his Son can take comfort in knowing that this holy God will one day make every wrong right.
Suggested Group Discussion Questions
- What does the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah teach us about God’s attitude toward sin? Is that scary to you, or could that be a comfort?
- Which of the three responses to God’s wrath and the offer of salvation do you resonate with most – that of the sons-in-law, Lot’s wife, or Lot? Share and discuss.
- What might make it difficult for someone to simply “believe and go”, as Lot did? What encouragement does the gospel offer to those who struggle to have faith like Lot’s?
- Doxology: Express how this sermon helps you understand, appreciate, and worship Jesus more. In what ways has the gospel become more alive to you having read this passage and heard this sermon?
- Response: Formulate a one-sentence prayer that’s informed by the passage and the sermon. This prayer should articulate what you desire to walk away and how you want God to apply it in your life. Have a few people share what they came up with.