And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom.I. THE RIGHTEOUS MAN IS FOUND IN THE WAY OF DUTY.
1. The duty of his calling.
2. The duty arising from the relations of human life.
II. THE RIGHTEOUS MAN IS SEPARATE FROM SINNERS. In the world, but living above it. This separateness, which is necessarily the mark of the righteous character, involves: —
1. Sorrow for the spiritual state of men alienated from God.
2. A principle which regulates choice of companionship. A good man will avoid the contagion of evil example, and be attracted to that which is most Godlike.
(T. H. Leale.)
I. THE REASONS WHICH JUSTIFIED THIS SUPREME ACT OF DESTRUCTING.
1. It was a merciful warning to the rest of mankind.
2. Moreover, in this terrible act, the Almighty simply hastened the result of their own actions.
3. Besides, this overthrow only happened after careful investigation.
4. There is this consideration also — that, during the delay, many a warning was sent.
5. It is worthy of notice that God saved all whom He could.
II. THE MOTIVES OF THE ANGELS' VISIT.
1. The proximate or nearest cause was their own love to man.
2. The efficient cause was Abraham's prayer.
3. The ultimate cause was God's mercy.
III. THE ANGELS WENT TO WHERE LOT WAS — to Sodom. As a ray of light may pass through the foetid atmosphere of some squalid court, and emerge without a stain on its pure texture, so may angels spend a night in Sodom, surrounded by crowds of sinners, and yet be untainted angels still. If you go to Sodom for your gains, as Lot did, you will soon show signs of moral pollution. But if you go to save men, as these angels did, you may go into a very hell of evil, where the air is laden with impurity and blasphemy, but you will not be befouled. No grain of mud shall stick.
IV. THEY WERE CONTENT TO WORK FOR VERY FEW. It has been said that the true method of soul-winning is to set the heart on some one soul; and to pursue it, until it has either definitely accepted, or finally rejected, the Gospel of the grace of God. We should not hear so many cries for larger spheres, if Christians only realized the possibilities of the humblest life. Christ found work enough in a village to keep Him there for thirty years. Philip was torn from the great revival in Samaria to go into the desert to win one seeker after God.
V. THEY HASTENED HIM. Let us hasten sinners. Let us say to each one: "Escape for thy life; better lose all than lose your soul. Look not behind to past attainments or failures. Linger nowhere outside the City of Refuge, which is Jesus Christ Himself. Haste ye; habits of indecision strengthen; opportunities are closing in; the arrow of destruction has already left the bow of justice; now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation."
(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)
I. THE WARNING.
1. How given. The messenger an angel! The deliverance of one man from a temporary calamity worthy of an angel's powers. The great privilege of those who are permitted to save souls from eternal death. We have had many warnings. Prophets, apostles, &c., &c. "If the word spoken by angels was steadfast," &c.
2. To whom given. Lot. Even he, an imperfect man, shall be saved. "Not one of these little ones shall perish." "None shall by any means pluck you out of My Father's hand."
3. Its nature. Unprecedented. Startling. Life and death. Several cities to be destroyed.
4. When given. On the eve of the event predicted. No time for saving property. Life the only thing to be carried away. Presently the time will come when we can carry nothing away with us. Are we now prepared? We may have but a short warning, or none at all.
II. THE ESCAPE.
1. Lot receives the warning. Informs his sons-in-law. They ridiculed it. Scoffers. Many make a mock at sin. Still worse to make a mock of religion. Many do even this. Their "day is coming." Was there any cause in Lot for their scoffs? Had they not sufficient reason, in his known character, to believe him? Imperfect piety has little influence. Probably his influence in Sodom was not very great.
2. He lingered.
(1) (2) (3) 3. Compulsion was needful. The angels had to lead him forth. Strange that men need to be coerced into accepting a great deliverance. Yet this brand was plucked from the burning. Men have to be compelled to come in, &c. 4. Even then Lot did not wish to go as far as he could from destruction, but to remain as near as possible. III. THE JUDGMENT. 1. The people were employed, as usual, in their pleasures, labours, or sins. Did not think their end was so near. So will it be at the judgment of the world. Death may overtake us unawares. 2. Lot being at a safe distance, the fearful tempest commenced. Fire destroyed the city, and water soon flowed over and submerged the smoking ruins. 3. Lot's wife, looking back, was changed into a pillar of salt. None who are on the way to heaven can look back longing on the world they leave without injury. Old attachments are thereby strengthened, and new occupations, &c., are made distasteful. Such declension displeasing to God. 1. The wonderful mercy of God for even imperfect Christians. 2. The duty of thankfully receiving the warning He sends. 3. The duty that lays upon us of warning men "to flee from the wrath to come." 4. God's great love in providing a deliverer for us. (J. C. Gray.)
(2) (3) 3. Compulsion was needful. The angels had to lead him forth. Strange that men need to be coerced into accepting a great deliverance. Yet this brand was plucked from the burning. Men have to be compelled to come in, &c. 4. Even then Lot did not wish to go as far as he could from destruction, but to remain as near as possible. III. THE JUDGMENT. 1. The people were employed, as usual, in their pleasures, labours, or sins. Did not think their end was so near. So will it be at the judgment of the world. Death may overtake us unawares. 2. Lot being at a safe distance, the fearful tempest commenced. Fire destroyed the city, and water soon flowed over and submerged the smoking ruins. 3. Lot's wife, looking back, was changed into a pillar of salt. None who are on the way to heaven can look back longing on the world they leave without injury. Old attachments are thereby strengthened, and new occupations, &c., are made distasteful. Such declension displeasing to God. 1. The wonderful mercy of God for even imperfect Christians. 2. The duty of thankfully receiving the warning He sends. 3. The duty that lays upon us of warning men "to flee from the wrath to come." 4. God's great love in providing a deliverer for us. (J. C. Gray.)
(3) 3. Compulsion was needful. The angels had to lead him forth. Strange that men need to be coerced into accepting a great deliverance. Yet this brand was plucked from the burning. Men have to be compelled to come in, &c. 4. Even then Lot did not wish to go as far as he could from destruction, but to remain as near as possible. III. THE JUDGMENT. 1. The people were employed, as usual, in their pleasures, labours, or sins. Did not think their end was so near. So will it be at the judgment of the world. Death may overtake us unawares. 2. Lot being at a safe distance, the fearful tempest commenced. Fire destroyed the city, and water soon flowed over and submerged the smoking ruins. 3. Lot's wife, looking back, was changed into a pillar of salt. None who are on the way to heaven can look back longing on the world they leave without injury. Old attachments are thereby strengthened, and new occupations, &c., are made distasteful. Such declension displeasing to God. 1. The wonderful mercy of God for even imperfect Christians. 2. The duty of thankfully receiving the warning He sends. 3. The duty that lays upon us of warning men "to flee from the wrath to come." 4. God's great love in providing a deliverer for us. (J. C. Gray.)
III. THE JUDGMENT.
1. The wonderful mercy of God for even imperfect Christians.
2. The duty of thankfully receiving the warning He sends.
3. The duty that lays upon us of warning men "to flee from the wrath to come."
4. God's great love in providing a deliverer for us.
(J. C. Gray.)
Homilist.1. Their humanity.
(1) (2) (3) 2. Their power. I. THAT THEY HAVE A NATURE SUPERIOR TO HUMAN INFIRMITIES. II. THAT THEY REGARD PARENTS AS ESPECIALLY BOUND TO SEEK THE WELFARE OF THEIR FAMILIES. III. THAT THEY REGARD SIN AS TOUCHING THE HEART OF THE GREAT GOD. 1. God being omniscient is cognisant of every sin. 2. God being holy must be pained by every sin. IV. THAT THEY REGARD THEMSELVES AS DIVINELY COMMISSIONED TO INFLICT CALAMITIES WHERE THERE IS SIN. Conclusion: 1. Life is solemn. 2. God is great. 3. Sin is ruinous. (Homilist.)
(2) (3) 2. Their power. I. THAT THEY HAVE A NATURE SUPERIOR TO HUMAN INFIRMITIES. II. THAT THEY REGARD PARENTS AS ESPECIALLY BOUND TO SEEK THE WELFARE OF THEIR FAMILIES. III. THAT THEY REGARD SIN AS TOUCHING THE HEART OF THE GREAT GOD. 1. God being omniscient is cognisant of every sin. 2. God being holy must be pained by every sin. IV. THAT THEY REGARD THEMSELVES AS DIVINELY COMMISSIONED TO INFLICT CALAMITIES WHERE THERE IS SIN. Conclusion: 1. Life is solemn. 2. God is great. 3. Sin is ruinous. (Homilist.)
(3) 2. Their power. I. THAT THEY HAVE A NATURE SUPERIOR TO HUMAN INFIRMITIES. II. THAT THEY REGARD PARENTS AS ESPECIALLY BOUND TO SEEK THE WELFARE OF THEIR FAMILIES. III. THAT THEY REGARD SIN AS TOUCHING THE HEART OF THE GREAT GOD. 1. God being omniscient is cognisant of every sin. 2. God being holy must be pained by every sin. IV. THAT THEY REGARD THEMSELVES AS DIVINELY COMMISSIONED TO INFLICT CALAMITIES WHERE THERE IS SIN. Conclusion: 1. Life is solemn. 2. God is great. 3. Sin is ruinous. (Homilist.)
2. Their power.
I. THAT THEY HAVE A NATURE SUPERIOR TO HUMAN INFIRMITIES.
II. THAT THEY REGARD PARENTS AS ESPECIALLY BOUND TO SEEK THE WELFARE OF THEIR FAMILIES.
III. THAT THEY REGARD SIN AS TOUCHING THE HEART OF THE GREAT GOD.
1. God being omniscient is cognisant of every sin.
2. God being holy must be pained by every sin.
1. Life is solemn.
2. God is great.
3. Sin is ruinous.
(M. Dods, D. D.)
(M. Dods, D. D.)
But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.I. THEIR WICKEDNESS IS UNABATED.
1. It extends to all classes of the community.
2. It includes the most shameful lusts.
3. It opposes the righteous to the last.
II. THEY EXPOSE THEMSELVES TO INFLICTIONS WHICH FORESHADOW FUTURE JUDGMENTS. Blindness-moral as well as physical.
III. THEIR CONDUCT OFTEN BECOMES A SOURCE OF DANGEROUS PERPLEXITY TO THE RIGHTEOUS (see vers. 5, 8). Lot was prepared to violate one duty in order to maintain another. Let a man do right, and put his trust in God.
(T. H. Leale.)
Consuctudo peccandi tollit sensum peccati. The custom of sin taketh away all sense and feeling of sin. At the beginning men shame to have it known what they do, though they fear not to do it, and they will use all cloaks and covers that possible they can to hide their wickedness. But at last they grow bold and, impudent, as these men did, even to say what care we. And why? Certainly because this is the course of sin in God's judgment, that it shall benumb and harden the heart wherein it is suffered, and so sear up the conscience, and conceit in time, that there shall be no shame left, but such a thick vizard pulled over the face, that it can blush at nothing, either to say it or do it. Behold these brazen-brewed wretches here, who, after long use of sin (no doubt at first more secret), are now come to require these men openly and to tell the cause, that they might know them without all shame or spark of shame, in, and at so horrible abomination. Marvel not then any more, that the adulterer blusheth not, the drunkard shameth not, nor the blaspheming swearer hideth not his face. You see the reason; custom to do evil in that kind hath utterly bereaved him of feeling and shame as it did these Sodomites. A heavy and fearful case for God's plague is even at the door of such people, as you see it was here for these Sodomites. It was well said of him that said it, if God take from a man his bodily eye that he cannot see, or his bodily ear that he cannot hear, every man seeth the judgment and perceiveth the loss; but when God in wrath taketh away the inward eye and ear of the mind and heart, that what sin soever he committeth, he neither seeth, nor heareth, nor feeleth, no man thinketh this a plague, or any rod of God. But O fearful plague! etc.
1. Physical. They lost the power of distinct vision.
2. Mental. They were the subjects of illusions. The imagination was diseased, so that they were deceived by false appearances. They acted as distracted persons.
3. Moral. They madly persisted in their designs, though an act of Providence had rendered it impossible of accomplishment.
1. That God abandons men or communities to out-breaking and presumptuous sins.
2. That warnings and chastisements fail to produce their effect, and especially when the person grows harder under them.
3. That God removes the good from any community — so, before the flood, so before the destruction of Jerusalem.
4. The deep, undisturbed security of those over whom it is suspended.
Hast thou here any besides?I. Such a question as this APPEALS TO OUR NATURAL AFFECTION. Surely, unless we have lost manhood, we love our kindred and desire their good. We have not yet become like the ostriches in the wilderness, which care not for their young. Our flesh has not congealed into marble, nor are our hearts become like millstones; we have a very tender concern for those united to us by ties of nature, and esteem them as parts of ourselves. What parent is not glad to see his children in good health? We will watch them all through the weary night when they are ill, and can we not pray for them when they are sick with sin? Parents, be parents indeed. Brothers, act a true fraternal part. Sisters, let your tender love find a fitting channel. Husbands and wives, let your conjugal union awaken you to tenderest emotions. Let every fond relationship stir us to care for others, while the inquiry is made: "Hast thou here any besides?"
II. The question is one which AROUSES HOLY SOLICITUDE. To provoke you to earnest solicitude this morning, let me remind you of times when we should be anxious about our friends and children.
1. When first we ourselves look to Christ, we should care for others. We would not eat our morsel alone, lest it grow stale through our selfishness. This wood drops with honey; we cannot eat it all, let us call others to taste its sweetness.
2. Then there are times of Christian enjoyment.
3. Me-thinks when we are downcast, when our soul is filled with bitter trouble, then also is an appropriate season to pray for others. God turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends, and he may turn our captivity when we do the same.
4. It may also help to stimulate this holy solicitude, to think of how we shall feel in regard to our children and friends when they come to lie sick. Can we gaze upon their pallid countenances without bitter reproaches for our past supineness?
5. Think, again, how you would care for your friends if you were yourself this morning very nigh unto death. You cannot come back from heaven; if you have neglected a duty, you cannot leave heaven to perform it.
III. Such a question as this is calculated to EXCITE US TO ANXIOUS EFFORT; for mere solicitude without effort is not genuine. A man must not pretend that he cares for the souls of others so long as he leaves one stone unturned which might be the means of blessing them.
1. It seems to me, then, that if we are in a right state of heart this morning, one of the first things we shall do will be to tell those dear to us of their danger. Let not thy friend perish through ignorance. Tell him that whosoever cometh unto Christ He will in no wise cast out; that there is life in a look at the crucified Saviour; that whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God. Preach no salvation by works; but preach faith, and works only as the fruit of faith; and let the doctrine that Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost be clearly set before thy friend's face.
2. Remember it is not enough coldly to warn them of danger and doctrinally to teach the remedy. There are many who will go so far; but I hold, my brethren and sisters, that we are bound to use a constraint with our friends. Do not misunderstand me — only a loving and a tender constraint, such as these angels used with Lot. Press them, plead with them, take them by the hand. I remember an old man who was a nursing-father to all the young men in the parish where he lived. This one thing he used to do; there was scarcely a lad whom he would not know and speak to, and there was a time with most of the lads when he specially sought to see them decided. Suppose one of them was going away to London, he would be sure to ask him to have a cup of tea with him. "You are going away, John," he would say; "I should not like you to go without spending an evening with me." If it was a fine sunshiny evening, he would say, "You know I have often talked to you about the things of God, and I am afraid that as yet there has been no impression produced. You are going to London, and will meet with many temptations, and I fear you may fall into them, but I should like to pray with you once before you go. Let us walk down the field together." There was a tree, an old oak tree, in a solitary place, where he would say, "To help you to recollect my words better, we will pray under this tree." The young and the old knelt together, and the old man poured out his soul before God; and when he had wrestled with God, and talked with his young friend, he would say, "Now, when I am dead and gone, you will perhaps come back to the place where you lived when a youth; let that tree be a witness between God and your soul, that here I wrestled with you; and if you forget God, and do not give your heart to Christ, let that tree stand to accuse your conscience till it yields to the entreaties of Divine love." Now here was a using of what I have styled constraint; but it is not a constraint, as physical force; of course that is never to be used; but the constraint of spiritual force, Divine love, and earnestness. May I ask whether we have all done our duty in this matter?
IV. Our text FOSTERS A VERY CHEERING HOPE. It says, "Hast thou here any besides?" as much as if it would say, "Hope for them all. Why should they not all be brought out of Sodom? Why should one be left behind?"
V. The text SUGGESTS A VERY SOLEMN FEAR, namely, that there may be some in our households who will not be saved. Ah! young men and women; ah! you who are fathers of Christian children, but not converted yourselves; you who are godless daughters and unregenerate sons of Christian people, you are lost now, you may be lost for ever l Lot's sons-in-law were consumed, and why not you? Saved shall the patriarch be, but not saved the patriarch's son, except he shall flee out of Sodom.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
1. While God blinds the wicked, He maketh way for His servants to escape.
2. Sweet is the providence, and solicitous is the care of God by His angel over His saints to save them.
3. Sons and daughters fare the better with God for being related to holy parents.
4. God calleth His, and all that are near and dear to Him, out of the place upon which vengeance is determined (Revelation 18:4).
5. Approaching vengeance discovered should make saints quit themselves from among the wicked (ver. 12).
6. When the cry of sins groweth great against God's face, it is time for saints to haste from thence.
7. Jehovah commissions destroyers to blot out the wicked in the earth. 8, Good angels are sometimes commissioned to destroy the wicked as well as to save the righteous.
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
He seemed as one that mocked unto his sons-in-law.I. LET US ATTEND TO THE EXHORTATION ADDRESSED BY LOT TO HIS SONS-IN-LAW. THERE IS A CLOSE PARALLEL BETWEEN THEIR SITUATION AND OUR OWN.
1. We are living, like them, amongst wicked men.
2. We are exposed, like them, to Divine judgment.
3. We are plied, like them, with overtures of mercy.
II. LET US ATTEND TO THE MANNER IN WHICH THE SONS-IN-LAW OF LOT RECEIVED HIS EXHORTATION. THERE IS A CLOSE PARALLEL BETWEEN THEIR CONDUCT AND THAT OF MANY OF OURSELVES.
1. Like them, we reject as mockery the demonstration of our danger.
2. Like them, we reject as mockery the offer of a method of escape.
3. Like them, we reject as mockery all earnestness in pressing on our attention the means of deliverance.
III. LET US ATTEND TO THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE MANNER IN WHICH THE SONS-IN-LAW OF LOT RECEIVED HIS EXHORTATION. THERE IS A CLOSE PARALLEL BETWEEN THEIR DOOM AND OURS IF WE DIE IN A STATE OF UNBELIEF. Here we may appeal —
1. To the declarations of the Almighty.
2. To the facts of history. The old world. The cities of the plain.
3. To the dictates of reason.
4. To the attributes of God. His truth and holiness.
Homilist.The context strikes several things forcibly on our attention.
1. The incongruity between the material and moral departments of existence in this world. In Sodom we find natural beauty and harmony in conjunction with moral deformity and discord.
2. The amazing power which prayer has with the Governor of the world (Genesis 18:23-33).
3. The existence of a moral government in connection with the conduct of man.
4. The deep interest of angelic intelligences in human history.
I. LOT'S MESSAGE TO HIS SONS-IN-LAW WAS ALARMING IN ITS NATURE. "The Lord will destroy the city."
1. Their peril was great.
2. Their peril was the result of sin.
3. Their peril was just at hand.
4. Their peril at this moment was unavoidable.
II. HIS MESSAGE TO HIS SONS-IN-LAW WAS FOUNDED ON THE DIVINE AUTHORITY.
1. The danger of which the gospel preacher warns the unconverted is not a dream of his own; it is a fact of Divine revelation.
2. The proclamation of this danger to the unconverted is not optional on the preacher's part; he is bound by heaven to do it
III. His MESSAGE TO HIS SONS-IN-LAW WAS SCEPTICALLY RECEIVED.
1. The appearance of things remaining unchanged. "Since the fathers fell asleep," &c.
2. The force of old associations.
3. A false trust in the mercy of God.
I. NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT AND SERIOUS, AS NOTHING IS MORE CERTAIN, THAN ARE THE TRUTHS WHICH RELIGION PRESENTS TO OUR CONSIDERATION.
II. And yet, secondly, THERE ARE MANY WHO TREAT RELIGION WITH DISDAIN AND DISREGARD. In worldly affairs persons are seen to act usually with attention and earnestness; they made a due use of their reason, and consider what they are about. Thus they act, not only in things of great consequence, relating to their life, their health, their liberty, their fortunes, their family, their honour and credit, but even in slighter matters, to obtain a small profit, or to escape a small inconvenience. Nothing is neglected, nothing is put off to an uncertain day; instruction is attentively received and put in execution. But as to religion, there is not this zeal and activity; it is not carefully weighed, scarcely can it obtain a fair hearing; favourable opportunities are neglected, opportunities which slip away, and are never to be recalled, and everything that should be done is left undone.
III. Let us consider, thirdly, WHENCE PROCEEDS THIS STRANGE INDIFFERENCE AND NEGLECT. It proceeds in a great measure from want of faith, which is an evil more common than is imagined. Some men there are who have received good natural abilities, which they employ to bad purposes. Of these talents God giveth them the use, and the devil teacheth them the application. They argue themselves out of their religion, and then apply themselves to debauch the minds of others, and to treat serious and sacred things with levity, licentiousness, and ridicule. Pernicious books and corrupt conversation spread the contagious disease.
(J. Jortin, D. D.)
I. Let us, in the first place, ATTEND TO THE EXHORTATION ADDRESSED BY LOT TO HIS SONS-IN-LAW. "Up; get you out of this place: for the Lord will destroy this city." Consider what was the situation of these men. They dwelt in a city subject to the dominion of sin. They dwelt in a city which, in consequence of its sinfulness, deserved immediate destruction; in a city which, when time and opportunity abundantly sufficient for trial and repentance had been afforded, was devoted to immediate destruction. The Divine mercy still extended to them one respite, one opportunity, one warning more. Such, then, is your situation. Such is the situation of every one who hears the sound of the gospel. Contagion surrounds you; destruction lies before you. You are defiled, miserable, and helpless. Yet still there is a call of mercy; still there is a way to escape. The God whom you have offended places deliverance within your reach. The Son of God becomes man, and gives His life to purchase your salvation.
II. Consider, in the next place, THE MANNER IN WHICH THE SONS-IN-LAW OF LOT RECEIVED HIS AWFUL ADMONITION. He seemed unto them as one that mocked. Their conduct discloses to us their character. They had evidently set their hearts on the worldly advantages which, in their apprehension, attended the place where they resided; and they made little account of its wickedness. In many respects the conduct of a large portion of the world bears at this day a close resemblance to that of the sons-in-laws of Lot, and arises from the same principles. When the great doctrines of the gospel are proposed as comprehending and disclosing the appointed method of salvation; what numbers disregard or despise them! When the holy commandments of God are explained and enforced as indispensably and in every particular binding upon every man, what numbers withhold their assent from the strictness of such interpretations of the Scriptures! When the terrors of the world to come are displayed, when the wrath and vengeance of God are revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, what numbers refuse to credit the tremendous truth! The minister of the gospel seemeth unto them as one that mocketh.
III. Consider, in the third place, THE CONSEQUENCES OF TREATING AS AN IDLE TALE, AS THE WORDS OF ONE THAT MOCKETH, THE DECLARATIONS OF ALMIGHTY GOD. They brought ruin upon themselves and their posterity.
(T. Gisborne, D. D.)
1. Good fathers make haste in midst of dangers to keep their children from destruction, being fore-warned of God's judgments.
2. Gracious parents are earnest with children to press on counsels for their good and safety.
3. Near relations in the flesh, though wicked, yet are dear unto gracious souls to save them.
4. Faith concerning God's judgments revealed will put gracious hearts upon hastening others out of them.
5. Places of habitation when they be places of vengeance, as well as of sin, must be abhorred and forsaken by God's saints.
6. Cities though ever so strong and stately cannot secure sinners from ruin. It and they shall perish.
7. Jehovah is the author of destruction upon places of wickedness, who cannot be resisted.
8. God sends messengers of salvation sometimes to the vilest of men, to Lot's sons, &c.
9. God, His messengers, and His messages of vengeance, are all but scorns and derisions to wicked men.
10. Secure scorning of destruction from God is the immediate forerunner of it, as here.
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
(J. B. C. Murphy, B. A.)
"Alarmists," and many a one who foresaw and foretold the Indian Mutiny of 1857 was called an "Alarmist." And so, at the risk of being called an "Alarmist" I would take up and echo this cry. Art thou living in a Sodom of wilful sin — a Sodom of uncleanness, or drunkenness, or not? — then "Escape for thy life!"
(J. B. C. Murphy, B. A.)
When the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot.I. THE RIGHTEOUS NEED TO BE HASTENED.
1. In what?
(1) (2) (3) (4) 2. Why? (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) 3. By what means? (1) (2) (3) (4) II. THE SINNERS NEED TO BE HASTENED. 1. Sinners are very slow, and apt to linger. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) 2. Our business is to hasten them. (1) (2) (3) 3. We have many arguments with which to hasten them. May the Holy Spirit make them see — (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) ( C. H. Spurgeon.)
(2) (3) (4) 2. Why? (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) 3. By what means? (1) (2) (3) (4) II. THE SINNERS NEED TO BE HASTENED. 1. Sinners are very slow, and apt to linger. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) 2. Our business is to hasten them. (1) (2) (3) 3. We have many arguments with which to hasten them. May the Holy Spirit make them see — (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) ( C. H. Spurgeon.)
(3) (4) 2. Why? (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) 3. By what means? (1) (2) (3) (4) II. THE SINNERS NEED TO BE HASTENED. 1. Sinners are very slow, and apt to linger. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) 2. Our business is to hasten them. (1) (2) (3) 3. We have many arguments with which to hasten them. May the Holy Spirit make them see — (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) ( C. H. Spurgeon.)
2. Why? 3. By what means? II. THE SINNERS NEED TO BE HASTENED. 1. Sinners are very slow, and apt to linger. 2. Our business is to hasten them. 3. We have many arguments with which to hasten them. May the Holy Spirit make them see — ( C. H. Spurgeon.)
3. By what means?
II. THE SINNERS NEED TO BE HASTENED.
1. Sinners are very slow, and apt to linger.
2. Our business is to hasten them.
3. We have many arguments with which to hasten them. May the Holy Spirit make them see —
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
I. WHY IS IT, THAT IN THE ESCAPE OF THE SOUL, MEN SO LINGER?
1. The first cause is the entanglement of their affections with worldly things.
2. Another cause of Lot's irresoluteness would be the refusal of his sons-in-law and of their wives, his daughters, to escape with him.
3. Other causes of lingering there may be peculiar to yourselves.(1) Perhaps you have not fortitude enough to brave the ridicule or the persecution that you will be exposed to.(2) Perhaps you are but half-persuaded of your peril. Acknowledging in general terms your sin, you do not realize the possible imminency of its punishment. You presume upon a longer probation. You put off Christ with a promise. "Be ye, therefore, ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh."
II. Need I point out to YOU THE PERIL OF LINGERING? It is strikingly illustrated by the narrowness of Lot's escape. How nigh he was to the fate that overtook his wife! How closely his reluctance, which the angels had to force, must have approached to her disobedience, which they had to punish! And how affecting this separation! She who left Sodom with him was not to enter Zoar with him.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
He lingered.I. I MUST BEGIN BY SPEAKING TO THE PERSON WHO IS LINGERING HIMSELF. I should like to ask you, my beloved friend, if this matter about which you are still hesitating is not of vital importance to you? Do you think you ought to put off all preparation for the future that awaits you? If I knew that some one was about to defraud you of your estate, and that unless you were diligent about it you would lose all your property, I think I should say to you, "Bestir yourself." If I knew that some deadly disease had begun to prey upon your constitution, and that if neglected it would soon gain an ascendancy with which 'twere hard to grapple, I think I should say, "Go to the physician. Do not delay; for bodily health is a boon to be prized." I can scarcely recall the details of a little incident in Russian history which might illustrate the emergency: but the fact, as far as my memory serves, was this. The Czar had died suddenly, and in the dead of the night one of the counsellors of the empire came to the Princess Elizabeth and said to her, "You must come at once and take possession of the crown." She hesitated, for there were difficulties in the way, and she did not desire the position; but he said, "Now, sit down, Princess, for a minute." Then he drew her two pictures. One was the picture of herself and the Count thrown into prison, racked with tortures, and presently both brought out to die beneath the axe. "That," he said, "you can have if you like." The other picture was of herself with the imperial crown of all the Russias on her brow, and all the princes bowing before her, and all the nation doing her homage. "That," said he, "is the other side of the question. But, to-night, your Majesty must choose which it shall be." With the two pictures vividly depicted before her mind's eye she did not hesitate long, but cast in her choice for the crown. If you decide for Christ, and trust in Him, you shall enter into the bliss of those who for ever and for ever, without admixture of grief, enjoy felicity before the throne of God. To my mind, there ought to be no halting as to the choice.
II. LET ME REMIND THE LINGERER THAT WHILE HE LINGERS HE ENDANGERS THE SOULS OF OTHER PEOPLE. When Lot lingered — he was defeating his own purpose, and doing the worst imaginable thing, if he wanted to convince his sons-in-law that he spake the truth; for while he lingered, they would say, "The old fool does not believe it himself, for if he did believe it, he would pack up and haste away; nay, he would take his daughters by the hand and lead them out of the city at once." But, hark ye, man, with what face dost thou reprove others whilst thou art not decided thyself? Where is thy consistency? Let me venture to make one other observation here. I should not wonder if the death of Lot's wife might not partly be attributed to Lot himself. If you think that this is a severe reflection, I would remind you that she must have seen her husband hesitate. Oh, undecided father! I should dread to have thee think, in years to come, "The loss of my children's souls was due to my procrastination." Alas, it may be so — it may be so!
III. THE MEANS BY WHICH GOD IS PLEASED AT TIMES TO ROUSE THE LINGERERS. Let us pray for them, that they may by some means be hastened.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
I. First, I have to speak TO GOD'S MESSENGERS. I hope they are very numerous in this church. Every believer should be an ambassador from heaven.
1. I speak solemnly to you who have wept over Jerusalem, and who are proving your true love to souls by your exertions for them, and I remind you, in the first place, that it is a glorious work to seek to save men, and that for its sake you should be willing to put up with the greatest possible inconveniences. The angels never hesitated when they were bidden to go to Sodom. They descended without demur and went about their work without delay.
2. Note again — I still speak to those who are messengers of God to men's souls — when you go to lost souls, you must, as these angels did, tell them plainly their condition and their danger. "Up," said they, "for God will destroy this place." If you really long to save men's souls, you must tell them a great deal of disagreeable truth.
3. When we have affectionately and plainly told the sinner that the wages of his sin will be death, and that woe will come upon him because of his unbelief, we must go farther, and must, in the name of our Lord Jesus, exhort the guilty one to escape from the deserved destruction. Observe, that these angels, though they understood that God had elected Lot to be saved, did not omit a single exhortation or leave the work to itself, as though it were to be done by predestination apart from instrumentality. How impressive is each admonition! What force and eagerness of love gleams in each entreaty!
4. Learn, still further, from the case before us, where words suffice not, as they frequently will not, you must adopt other modes of pressure. The angel took them by the hand. I have much faith under God in close dealings with men; personal entreaties, by the power of the Holy Spirit, do wonders.
5. I thought, as I read my text, that it gave us a striking example of doing all we can. Lot and his wife, and the two daughters — well, that was four — the angels had only four hands, so that they did all that they could — there was a hand for each. You notice the text expressly says, they took hold of the hand of Lot, and the hand of his wife, and the hand of his two daughters. There were no more persons, and no more helping hands, so that there was just enough instrumentality, but there was not a hand to spare. I wish there were in this church no idle hands, but that each believer had both hands occupied in leading souls to Jesus Christ.
6. Observe, also, that as those angels set us an example in using all their power, so they also encourage us to perseverance, for they ceased not to exhort till they had brought Lot out of danger. We must never pause in our efforts for any man till he is either saved or the funeral bell has tolled for him.
7. I will say no more to these messengers of God except this, that we ought to remember that we are the messengers of God's mercy to the sons of men. The text tells us, "The Lord being merciful unto him." The angels had not come to Lot themselves; they were the embodiment and outward embodiment and outward display of God's mercy. Christians in the world should view themselves as manifestations of God's mercy to sinners, instruments of grace, servants of the Holy Spirit. Now, mercy is a nimble attribute. Justice lingers; it is shod with lead, but the feet of mercy are winged. Mercy delights to perform its office. So should it be with us a delight to do good to men.
II. To You, O LINGERERS, I NOW SPEAK, hoping to be the means, by God's grace, of driving you out of this lingering.
1. I shall begin — O you that are baiting between two opinions — by asking you, Wherefore do you linger? Lot, I think, loitered because he had much property in and around the city. As to Lot's daughters, I know not why they lingered, but, peradventure, there were some very dear to them in the city. Do you reply that you do not believe in the danger? Then am I indeed sorry for you, for the danger is none the less sure. Do you linger because you doubt the way of escape? Or, perhaps, you think you do not need it. It is possible that the reason why you linger is, that you indulge some favourite sin. Yet, perhaps, I have not touched the right reason for your lingering. You, perhaps, are subject to an idleness of spirit, a natural inaction and lethargy. I think in most cases this is the root of the matter. You are not bestirred about soul affairs, you are too idle to come to decision. But you must come to it or die. I fear me, that in some cases, though I know not of many in this place, I fear me that this whole matter is despised. If religion be a lie, do not pretend to believe it; say so, and be honest, and take the consequences; but, if it be true, act upon it.
2. Well, I have put the question, Wherefore do you linger? but now I want to say two or three words to you, and they shall be to this effect — Wherewith shall we hasten you? These few considerations, hurriedly offered, I hope will not be forgotten.(1) Time is short. Young people do not believe this, but you, who have reached thirty or forty, know it.(2) Moreover, life is uncertain. Some of you know this by painful experience. You have recently lost friends. Hate, and in strong health, they have been smitten down. Others of you have been accustomed to attend the dying-bed, or you often see the hearse go by the windows; or you are sick, and you carry death in your bowels. Wherefore do you linger?(3) If this will not quicken you, let me tell you, that if you were now to believe in Christ you would be no loser. Present salvation would be present happiness.(4) Beside that, you are now, at this moment, in danger.(5) There is one terrible reflection which I cannot help mentioning, namely, that with some of you it ought to be an alarming fact, that the means of grace are losing all effect. You used to feel them much more than you do now.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
I. WHAT LOT WAS HIMSELF.
1. Lot was a true believer — a converted person — a real child of God — a justified soul — a righteous man. Is any one of my readers a traveller in the narrow way which leads unto life? So also was Lot.(1) One evidence is, that he lived in a wicked place, "seeing and hearing" evil all around him (2 Peter 2:8), and yet was not wicked himself. Now to be a Daniel in Babylon — an Obadiah in Ahab's house — an Abijah in Jeroboam's family — a saint in Nero's court, and a " righteous man" in Sodom, a man must have the grace of God. Without grace it would be impossible.(2) Another evidence is, that he "vexed his soul with the unlawful deeds" he beheld around him (2 Peter 2:8). He was wounded, grieved, pained, and hurt at the sight of sin.
2. Before we pass on, let us remember that a true Christian may have many a blemish, many a defect, many an infirmity, and yet be a true Christian nevertheless. We do not despise gold because it is mixed with much dross. We must not undervalue grace because it is accompanied by much corruption.
II. WHAT THE TEXT TELLS US ABOUT LOT'S BEHAVIOUR. "He lingered." Now, there are many Christian men and Christian women in this day very like Lot. There are many real children of God who appear to know far more than they live up to, and see far more than they practise, and yet continue in this state for many years. Wonderful that they go as far as they do, and yet go no further I They hold the Head, even Christ, and love the truth. They like sound preaching, and assent to every article of Gospel doctrine, when they hear it. But still there is an indescribable something which is not satisfactory about them. They believe in heaven, and yet seem faintly to long for it; and in hell, and yet seem little to fear it. They love the Lord Jesus; but the work they do for Him is small. They hate the devil; but they often appear to tempt him to come to them. They know the time is short; but they live as if it were long. They know they have a battle to fight; yet a man might think they were at peace. They know they have a race to run; yet they often look like people sitting still. They know the Judge is at the door, and there is wrath to come; and yet they appear half asleep. Astonishing they should be what they are, and yet be nothing more! And what shall we say of these people? They often puzzle godly friends and relations. They often cause great anxiety. They often give rise to great doubts and searchings of heart. But they may be classed under one sweeping description — they are all brethren and sisters of Lot. They linger.
III. THE REASONS THAT MAY ACCOUNT FOR LOT'S LINGERING.
1. He made a wrong choice in early life.
2. He mixed with sinners when there was no occasion for his doing so.
IV. WHAT KIND OF FRUIT LOT'S LINGERING SPIRIT BORE AT LAST.
1. He did no good among the inhabitants of Sodom.
2. He helped none of his family, relatives, or connections towards heaven.
3. He left no evidences behind him when he died.
1. Saints by infirmity may delay their own salvation, when hastened by the messengers of God. Flesh may hinder and delay.
2. Providence orders His angels to take hold of hands to deliver, when they cannot persuade hearts. Works shall do what words did not.
3. God's angels leave not the conduct of His saints until they set them without danger.
4. God's free grace and mercy to His servants is the only cause of all their deliverance by angels (ver. 16).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
American Sunday School Times.In the life of every individual there are moments of such transcendent interest that they may be called golden. Several years ago the writer heard an aged minister state that, while Dr. Dwight was president of Yale College, two young men who listened to those masterly discourses which have since been published, were deeply impressed with a sense of their sinfulness and peril. One proposed to the other that they should call on the Doctor, and talk with him. They started arm-in-arm. When they reached the doctor's house, one refused to enter. The other went in. He who remained out of doors returned to his room, but from that time ceased to manifest any interest. "He who entered," said the speaker, "became a Christian and a minister, and is now addressing you." He improved the golden moments, while his bosom-friend permitted them to roll by unheeded, little imagining they exerted upon his destiny an influence undying. In the great revival of 1831, a gentleman of my acquaintance, who had been a sea-captain, and could use more profane language in an hour than any other man I ever knew, became impressed with a sense of his sinfulness. He felt that the time had come when he must decide whether the prayers of his wife should be answered, or not. He was doing an extensive mercantile business, but he sent a note to his partner, stating that he should be detained at home, and should not be at the store, and did not wish to be disturbed. He shut himself in his room, determined not to leave it till he had settled the all-important question to his own satisfaction. Golden moments were passing through his hour-glass, while in one room his wife was pouring out her earnest supplications, and in another he thought on his ways and turned his feet to the testimonies of God, and made haste to keep His commandments. When he left that chamber the question was settled aright, and settled for ever. His face shone like that of Moses. He had been in communion with the Most High. In that same year a lawyer was convicted of his sinfulness, and was anxious to be a Christian. On a certain evening he attended a cottage prayer-meeting, and took a seat by the side of the writer. He had been in the meeting but a few moments, when he became exceedingly agitated, and very soon took his hat and left the house. Towards the close of the meeting he returned. He soon arose and said: "I wish to be a Christian. I am determined to be one. After I entered this room, a transaction which occurred several years ago came to my mind, in which I wronged a man. My conscience, stirred by the Spirit of God, would not let me rest till the matter was settled. I have been and arranged the matter to the entire satisfaction of both parties, and I am now at peace with God and man." How golden were the moments he spent in being reconciled to the man whom he had injured! During those few moments his destiny was sealed. Had he not improved them aright, he would not have known the pleasure of having a conscience void of offence, nor the comforting assurance of God's favour. In that same year a young man who had been halting between two opinions for a length of time attended a religious meeting in Albany, and heard one of the impassioned discourses of Dr. Kirk. He left the church in company with an earnest Christian friend. They walked along in silence till they reached a street corner, where they were to separate. On parting the friend asked, "What is your decision?" The answer was, "I will serve the Lord." That young man became a Christian, and at length a minister of the gospel, Never did he regret the decision he made on that street corner while the golden moments were rolling along. Were not the moments golden which were spent by Queen Esther while pondering the question whether to go in unto the king at the risk of her life? Who can estimate the influence and the importance of that decision! Had she not employed those moments aright, her life and the lives of her nation would have been sacrificed.
(American Sunday School Times.)
The Lord being merciful unto him. —
I. It is natural to speak, first, of THE NEED LOT HAD TO ESCAPE; OR, OF THE JUDGMENT BY WHICH THE CITY WAS OVERTAKEN. It is God's way to be long-suffering. Judgment is a work He does not love. His will is that none should perish. But the cup of Sodom was now overflowing; nor was there any longer hope of its repentance. It was fully time that God's abhorrence of iniquity should be made to appear. Mercy to surrounding tribes and succeeding generations in danger of falling into like depths demanded this. When nations, cities, families, or individuals become hopeless in their impiety and corruption, when remedial agencies no longer promise good, what, then, shall a just, righteous, and good ruler do? Is it not a startling warning of the just judgment sure to overtake all sin unpardoned, because unconfessed and unforsaken?
II. But we must pass to consider, next, WHY IT WAS THAT OF ALL THE INHABITANTS OF THAT WICKED CITY, LOT SHOULD BE PERMITTED TO ESCAPE. "'The Lord being merciful to him." "Thou hast magnified Thy mercy, which Thou hast showed unto me in saving my life." Poor as was the quality of Lot's religion, he had some measure of that which is real. He did not lose all faith in the true God.
III. Thus we are brought to speak of some things which appear with respect to THE MANNER OF LOT'S ESCAPE.
1. With very great difficulty. To the very last God's messengers must use urgency and compulsion! So He must, and does, with many an irresolute believer. Often He graciously applies the rod.
2. But Lot's escape was not only with great difficulty, it was also with much bitter sorrow and painful loss.
IV. The narrative thus briefly considered abounds in LESSONS of the greatest practical importance.
1. The long-suffering of God may be worn out. Judgment is then sure.
2. None whom mercy can rescue will be suffered to perish. Lot, the most imperfect of believers, was saved.
3. To subordinate religious fidelity to worldly advantage or pleasure is always a costly and often a fatal mistake.
4. In rescuing others, one may sometimes have to use a sort of loving violence; "pulling them out of the fire."
5. It is possible to be "almost saved, but lost."
(H. M. Grout, D. D.)
I. GOD MAKES KNOWN TO THEM THE WAY OF DELIVERANCE.
1. God's way of deliverance is often against our will.
(1) (2) 2. God's way of deliverance does not destroy the necessity for our own exertion. 3. God's way of deliverance is only effective through His mercy. II. GOD IS READY TO DELIVER OTHERS FOR THEIR SAKES. 1. Hence the righteous can offer salvation to the last. 2. Our efforts may be unavailing. III. IN THE MIDST OF ABOUNDING CORRUPTION ONLY THE FEW ESCAPE. 1. The tremendous power of evil. 2. God's great judgments upon mankind. IV. THE RIGHTEOUS CAN ONLY BE SAVED OUT OF THE SCENES OF INIQUITY, NOT IN THEM. (T. H. Leale.)
(2) 2. God's way of deliverance does not destroy the necessity for our own exertion. 3. God's way of deliverance is only effective through His mercy. II. GOD IS READY TO DELIVER OTHERS FOR THEIR SAKES. 1. Hence the righteous can offer salvation to the last. 2. Our efforts may be unavailing. III. IN THE MIDST OF ABOUNDING CORRUPTION ONLY THE FEW ESCAPE. 1. The tremendous power of evil. 2. God's great judgments upon mankind. IV. THE RIGHTEOUS CAN ONLY BE SAVED OUT OF THE SCENES OF INIQUITY, NOT IN THEM. (T. H. Leale.)
2. God's way of deliverance does not destroy the necessity for our own exertion.
3. God's way of deliverance is only effective through His mercy.
II. GOD IS READY TO DELIVER OTHERS FOR THEIR SAKES.
1. Hence the righteous can offer salvation to the last.
2. Our efforts may be unavailing.
III. IN THE MIDST OF ABOUNDING CORRUPTION ONLY THE FEW ESCAPE.
1. The tremendous power of evil.
2. God's great judgments upon mankind.
IV. THE RIGHTEOUS CAN ONLY BE SAVED OUT OF THE SCENES OF INIQUITY, NOT IN THEM.
(T. H. Leale.)
I. THE FORBEARANCE OF GOD. This is seen —
1. In the patience of God with the Sodomites, in sparing them so long.
2. In the willingness to save these wicked cities for even ten righteous persons.
3. In the question (ver. 12).
4. In the loving compulsion by which Lot and his family were urged to escape.
5. In the condescension manifested in granting Lot's request.
6. Such forbearance is very noticeable in view of the terrible doom with which it was connected.
II. THE PERVERSITY OF MAN. This is seen —
1. In the continued hardness of the Sodomites.
2. In the mocking unbelief of Lot's sons-in-law.
3. In the hesitancy of both Lot and his family to leave the doomed city.
4. In Lot's lack of faith in God's power to keep him in the mountain as well as in Zoar.
III. THE CONDITION OF SALVATION. The answers to the following questions will reveal it:
1. Why were not Lot's sons-in-law saved from the doom of Sodom?
2. Why was not Lot's wife caught in the destruction of Sodom?
3. How did Lot and his daughters ultimately escape the fate of the Sodomites?Lessons:
1. Lot, in the choice of Sodom for a residence, furnishes an example of the folly of worldly wisdom.
2. Lot's sons-in-law furnish an example of the inevitable doom that awaits all who scorn the warnings of God's messengers.
3. Lot's wife is an example of the inevitable fate of those who outwardly, but reluctantly, conform to the requirements of the gospel, but whose heart is in the world.
4. The destruction of Sodom is an illustration of the doom that awaits this world and every impenitent soul.
5. The urgency to flee to the Divine refuge is graphically portrayed in the impassioned words of the angels (ver. 17).
(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)
I. LOT GOING IN THE DIRECTION OF SODOM. People generally go in the direction of that which is wrong before they thoroughly go into it.
II. LOT DWELLING IN SODOM.
III. The omnipotent mercy of God Almighty, DELIVERING HIM OUT OF SODOM.
(M. Rainsford, B. A.)
I. WE ARE HERE TAUGHT THE REALITY AND MAGNITUDE OF THE DANGER TO WHICH THE SINNER IS EXPOSED. The reality of the sinner's danger is proved by the express statements of the Word of God, and by the struggles of conscience, as the Almighty's vicegerent, even in the unregenerated heart.
II. THE MEANS EMPLOYED BY GOD TO AWAKEN THE SINNER TO A TRUE SENSE OF THE REALITY AND MAGNITUDE OF HIS DANGER. Holy Spirit is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending, the first and the last in the work of arousing from their death-like lethargy the prison-bound thralls or slaves of Satan. At one time He comes upon the sinner as an armed man, and attacks directly the stronghold of infidelity in the heart, and throws down every barrier by which it was guarded. At another time — and this is the more usual mode of His operation — the Sanctifier executes His office of bringing transgressors out of darkness into His marvellous light through the instrumentality of the dispensations of God's providence, and of the faithful preaching of the Word by his called, tried, and appointed messengers.
III. THE STATE OF THE SINNER'S MIND WHEN HE HAS BEEN AWAKENED, IN THE MANNER ALREADY POINTED OUT, TO A RIGHT SENSE OF HIS LOST AND DESPERATE CONDITION (see 2 Corinthians 7:11).
IV. THE ENLIGHTENING AND QUICKENING SPIRIT HAYING BEGUN THE GOOD WORK, IS PLEDGED TO CARRY IT ON AND COMPLETE IT.
I. THE PRELIMINARIES OF THE DELIVERANCE.
II. THE MANNER OF THE DELIVERANCE.
III. THE SEQUEL TO THE DELIVERANCE.
(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)
Escape for thy life; look not behind thee.I. AN ALARM. "Escape for thy life."
1. Lot's life was in imminent danger. So is the life of every unconverted man.
2. But Lot had timely warning to escape from the impending storm, and so has every sinner.
3. Lot's escape was to be effected in haste; and if he had not left the place at that time, he would have been destroyed with the wicked.
II. A CAUTION.
1. "Look not behind thee."
(1) (2) (3) 2. "Neither stay in all the plain." (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) III. AN EXHORTATION. "Escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed." 1. Those who flee to Christ find a place of safety. 2. Those who escape to Jesus Christ shall find rest. 3. Those who escape to Christ are blessed with peace. (Benson Bailey.)
(2) (3) 2. "Neither stay in all the plain." (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) III. AN EXHORTATION. "Escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed." 1. Those who flee to Christ find a place of safety. 2. Those who escape to Jesus Christ shall find rest. 3. Those who escape to Christ are blessed with peace. (Benson Bailey.)
(3) 2. "Neither stay in all the plain." (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) III. AN EXHORTATION. "Escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed." 1. Those who flee to Christ find a place of safety. 2. Those who escape to Jesus Christ shall find rest. 3. Those who escape to Christ are blessed with peace. (Benson Bailey.)
2. "Neither stay in all the plain."
III. AN EXHORTATION. "Escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed." 1. Those who flee to Christ find a place of safety. 2. Those who escape to Jesus Christ shall find rest. 3. Those who escape to Christ are blessed with peace. (Benson Bailey.)
III. AN EXHORTATION. "Escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed."
1. Those who flee to Christ find a place of safety.
2. Those who escape to Jesus Christ shall find rest.
3. Those who escape to Christ are blessed with peace.
The Evangelical Preacher.I. THE GREAT CRISIS IN THE HISTORY OF THE SOUL.
1. We illustrate this by the case of Lot, as here described.
2. We apply this to the ease of undecided persons.
II. THE CAUSE OF THIS LINGERING IN RESPECT TO RELIGION.
1. The cause of Lot's lingering is evident.
(1) (2) 2. The reason why some linger on the subject of religion. (1) (2) (3) III. THE SIN AND DANGER OF LINGERING, AS IT RESPECTS RELIGION. 1. The sin committed against God. 2. The dangerous consequences of this halting in religion. (The Evangelical Preacher.)
(2) 2. The reason why some linger on the subject of religion. (1) (2) (3) III. THE SIN AND DANGER OF LINGERING, AS IT RESPECTS RELIGION. 1. The sin committed against God. 2. The dangerous consequences of this halting in religion. (The Evangelical Preacher.)
2. The reason why some linger on the subject of religion.
(1) (2) (3) III. THE SIN AND DANGER OF LINGERING, AS IT RESPECTS RELIGION. 1. The sin committed against God. 2. The dangerous consequences of this halting in religion. (The Evangelical Preacher.)
III. THE SIN AND DANGER OF LINGERING, AS IT RESPECTS RELIGION. 1. The sin committed against God. 2. The dangerous consequences of this halting in religion. (The Evangelical Preacher.)
III. THE SIN AND DANGER OF LINGERING, AS IT RESPECTS RELIGION.
1. The sin committed against God.
2. The dangerous consequences of this halting in religion.
(The Evangelical Preacher.)
I. I wish to speak of the MEANS by which a sinner is awakened from his spiritual slumber — from that deathly lethargy in which every human being lies by nature. The means, I hesitate not to consider, is the Word of God. Other things may assist in giving entrance to the Word, but it is by the Word, as a rule, that God's Holy Spirit works in convincing the sinner of his sin. It matters not how the sinner gets the Word, so that he do get it.
II. Having spoken of the means employed to awaken the sinner's conscience, we proceed to consider the ANXIETY which is the result. A sense of sin is produced; and sin is felt to be as a heavy burden pressing upon the soul.
III. How important that such an anxious soul should receive proper INSTRUCTION! HOW precious, then, the opportunity of meeting with a Christian friend! I have said that it is by means of the Word of God that the sinner is awakened, that the Holy Spirit proceeds in commencing that process whereby we are brought "out of darkness into marvellous light"; let me add, that there is a connection between the Bible and human agency. God's plan of converting the sinner is by the preaching of the Word; and it is in this way generally that conversions are effected.
IV. We suppose the awakened sinner, thus instructed, to make his ESCAPE. Be has many temptations to remain. But one thought, one anxiety, overpowers all; life, eternal life, is his motive and his object.
(W. M. Whittemore.)
1. My text, in the first place, suggests urgency on the part of all those who would induce people out of their sins. Why was not the angel more polite? Why did he not coolly and formally invite Lot and his wife to leave that city? The angel was in earnest.
2. My subject also suggests that the mere starting gives no security. Lot had started out of the city, but he might have perished half-way before he got to the mountains. Men start for heaven, but do not always get there. If my house be burning, and I take a bucket of water and put out the flames in this, and that, and yonder room, while I leave the flames in another room, I might as well have wasted no strength and brought no buckets of water at all. And if a man is only half saved, he is not saved at all.
3. The text suggests further, that a man, after being persuaded out of sin, sometimes looks back.
4. My text suggests that some men, having started, loiter by the way. They tarry in the plain. They are too lazy to get on. You know that men, in order to get on in this world, must deny themselves, and work hard; must go through drudgery, that after awhile they may have luxuries. If we get to heaven it will be by gathering up all the energies of our souls and hurling them ahead in one persistent direction. In mid-ocean, on the China going out at midnight, the "screw" stopped. "What's the matter?" everybody cried. People rushed out to see why the "screw" had stopped in mid-ocean. Something wrong, or it would not stop in the middle of the Atlantic. So it is a bad sign when men voyaging towards heaven stop half-way. It is a sign of infinite peril.
I. "Escape for thy life." This was the general admonition. It was not a small matter which was at stake. It was his life.
II. "Escape for thy life." Are you aware of the guilt and danger of a sinful, worldly life? Remember the treasure which you have at stake; even your life; not the life merely of your body, but the life of your soul; the everlasting happiness of your immortal spirit. Be in earnest in this great work of saving your precious, your immortal soul. Be active, be diligent. Let nothing turn you from your purpose. Lay hold on eternal life. Attend especially to the three directions attached to the general admonition.
1. "Look not behind thee." Renounce for ever all thoughts of returning to that state of sin and death from which you are beginning to escape. Suffer not your mind, even for a moment, to reflect with complacency on those pursuits, pleasures, or companions, from which you must for ever separate. Having once set your face toward heaven, O! look not back on Sodom. "Remember Lot's wife."
2. "Neither stay thou in all the plain." Think it not enough to have escaped from Sodom, but remove to the greatest possible distance from everything connected with that devoted place. Think it not enough to have renounced old habits of sin, to have broken off from the commission of gross offences, from openly profane and irreligious practices: but have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. Allow not yourself to remain within the forbidden regions of self-indulgence and worldly gratification.
3. "Escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed." If there were no place of safety to which you could flee, and be at peace, then indeed would your efforts to escape be in vain, and my endeavours to assist you fruitless. But, blessed be God I there is a place of safety, a refuge provided for you, where you may be secure from the impending ruin, and may delight yourself in the abundance of peace. Lot was directed to a mountain whither he might escape and be in safety. You are directed not to a mountain, but to Jesus Christ: He is a hiding-place from the storm, a covert from the tempest. Would Lot be safe if he should flee to the mountain? Whosoever flees to Jesus Christ shall be delivered from the wrath to come. He shall be delivered from all the consequences of sin, from the punishment which it has incurred, from the power which it has obtained in the heart. Do you ask how you are to flee to Christ? You are to flee to Him in your mind, with your heart, with all the desires and affections of your soul. You are to flee to Him in faith, believing His word and promises, and casting yourselves upon His mercy and power.
(E. Cooper, M. A.)
(D. Marsh, D. D.)
I. THE DANGER TO WHICH THE SINNER IS EXPOSED.
1. It is real. Not imaginary.
2. It is imminent. Not distant. Nearer and nearer every day.
3. It is tremendous. Not slight.
II. THE POSSIBILITY OF ESCAPE FROM THE DANGER TO WHICH THE SINNER IS EXPOSED.
1. It is proved by the invitations addressed to him in the Bible. Numerous, earnest, pathetic.
2. It is proved by the revelation of the work of Christ, on which these invitations are founded. That work is a mountain, if that be the proper emblem of strength, stability, immutability.
3. It is proved by the experience of all believers. Fire-escape. Life-boat.
III. THE NECESSITY OF PROMPT AND DECISIVE ACTION ON THE PART OF THE SINNER, IF HE WOULD ESCAPE FROM THE DANGER TO WHICH HE IS EXPOSED.
1. His flight must be instantaneous. Without procrastination.
2. His flight must be rapid. No delay.
3. His flight must be persevering. The city of refuge.
IV. THE URGENCY OF THE MOTIVES BY WHICH THE SINNER SHOULD BE INDUCED TO ESCAPE FROM THE DANGER TO WHICH HE IS EXPOSED.
1. The magnitude of the interests at stake. "Life! life! eternal life!"
2. The exclusiveness of the gospel method of salvation. No other name.
3. The happiness of escape. Beneficial results to ourselves and others. Address
(1) (2) (3) (G. Brooks.)
(2) (3) (G. Brooks.)
(3) (G. Brooks.)
I. You must escape for your life — THE LIFE NOT OF THE BODY BUT OF THE SOUL.
1. The everlasting welfare of your soul is in danger.
2. To effect your deliverance you must escape yourselves.
3. You must be in earnest.
4. You must sacrifice everything that stands in your way.
II. Look NOT BEHIND.
1. He who has once left this sinful world ought to give up all thoughts of return.
2. Look not behind you for the sake of your former companions.
3. Look not back to relieve yourself of the sense of guilt which weighs upon you.
4. Look not behind lest you should never advance beyond your present position.
III. STAY NOT IN ALL THE PLAIN. Delay not —
1. In hope of a better opportunity.
2. In reliance upon your good intentions.
3. Because you have begun to attend to religion.
4. Though you have been brought to reel deeply about religion.
5. For a more thorough conviction of sin.
6. Through discouragement and despondency.
7. Because you hope you are a Christian.
(J. Day, D. D.)
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
stop to think whether it was painful or not? Did he say, "Let me wait and think about it awhile"? No, he had more sense than that. He tore it off at once, and threw it from him, and hastened away from it to the physician. Sinner, this is the way you must treat your sins if you would be saved. And do it now. "Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation." A sprightly boy, who was the pride of his master, who was loved by all his fellow-servants, once came to me to talk about his soul's salvation. He had heard that to live in sin was to live in rebellion against God and in great danger. He felt that he was a sinner. He knew that he ought to forsake his sins. He talked freely with me about himself. Before we parted he promised to begin the service of God the next day. He went off to his business. I saw no more of him for about three months. As I was riding along one day his master met me and asked me to go in and see William, for that was his name, who was very sick. I found him very ill, and about to die. Surely, said I to myself, he is prepared and willing to go, for I remember his promises and good resolutions to begin the next day. I said to him, "William, I hope Christ is precious to you now?" "Oh! sir," said he, "I have no hope in Christ! I fear I am lost. I resolved when I saw you last to repent and be a Christian the next day. But the next day brought something that prevented me, and caused me to put it off till the next day still, and so I thought at the end of every day that I would begin the next day. But every day passed on and closed in the same way, And here I am yet, a hardened sinner, and in the arms of death." I tried to tell him about Jesus as his Saviour. I prayed for him. And while I was repeating some precious promises from the Word of God, he turned to me and said, "Oh! sir, it is too late; I am lost. I cannot be saved now. Tell my fellow-servants not to put off another day making their peace with God." Scarcely had he given this testimony of the danger of delay, when he was overcome by stupor and delirium, and thus died in darkness and impenitence.
(J. B. C. Murphy, B. A.)
Judges 6:22) and Manoah (Judges 13:22) feared that they might die because they had seen the angel of the Lord. Even Isaiah, when about to be consecrated by Jehovah for his prophetical office, exclaims, in the aspect of the throne and of the all-covering magnificent garment of God: "Woe is me! for I am undone, for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." Indeed, the Divine holiness is a devouring fire to men regarded as sinners (Isaiah 33:14). Even the seraphim, according to the immense contrast between the Creator and His creatures, cannot stand the holy God and cover their face (Isaiah 6:2). Similar to the Jewish is this conception among heathen nations. The Greeks and Romans were not accustomed to look back while performing certain sacred rites; and the classical legends are full of examples in which this ceremony is observed. Tiresias, the famous diviner of Thebes, consulted by Alcmena, daughter of Electryon, king of Mycenae (now partly re-excavated), ordered her to burn the two dreadful dragons which her son, a boy of only ten months, had killed, and to send the ashes over the river. There the servant should spread them in the clefts of the rocks, and after that come back without turning his back. Thus Theocritus tells us in the twenty-fourth book of his idylls. Another case is recorded by Ovid. When Deucalion and Pyrrha, the only two persons who were saved out of the deluge according to the Greek tradition, consulted the ancient oracle of Themis regarding the restoration of mankind, they received the answer: "Depart from the fane, veil your heads, loosen your girded vestments, and east behind you the great bones of your parent" (that is, the stones of the earth). And in one of the most beautiful of the old myths the turning back of the person in question was not less fatal than in the case of Lot's wife. Orpheus, who struck the lyre so wonderfully as to move the very rocks and trees, mollified even the rulers of the lower regions, and obtained permission to take back to the world of light his beloved wife, the nymph Eurydice, who had died from the bite of a serpent, on the condition that he was not to look back before reaching the tontines of the Hades. But curious, like the wife of Lot, Orpheus broke this condition shortly before his wish was fulfilled, and Eurydice vanished from his sight to return to the kingdom of darkness.
(H. V. Hilprecht, D. D.)
Tract Journal.It is related that once the city of Pleurs stood in a quiet valley of the Alps, beneath the shadow of the snow-covered mountains, a pleasant and prosperous town. Above it hung the avalanche threatening destruction. One night a wakeful man heard the ominous sound breaking on the still air, which heralds the descending mass of ice. Starting from his repose, he awoke his daughter, and with her hastened towards the city gate. There she recollected that her casket of jewelry had been left in the house, and turned back to secure the treasure. In another moment the overwhelming deluge of the avalanche fell with the voice of thunder between father and daughter, burying the city beneath it, When the morning dawned, the spires of the churches alone rose above the cold, white grave of the just before busy town. The maiden perished with her idol, while he who sought to save her escaped.
And Lot said unto them, Oh! not so, my Lord.I. THESE INFIRMITIES ARE SEEN DURING THE PROGRESS OF THEIR DELIVERANCE.
1. The infirmity of fear (ver. 19).
2. Wilfulness (ver. 20).
3. Forgetfulness of past mercies.
4. A lingering selfishness.
II. GOD IS GRACIOUS TOWARDS SUCH INFIRMITIES (ver. 21).
III. THERE ARE CERTAIN CONDITIONS WHICH FIT THEM FOR SUCH MERCIFUL INDULGENCE.
1. When they have already commenced the flight from danger.
2. When, though they have not reached it, they are still seeking a sure refuge.
3. When they are satisfied not to rest in anything short of God's command.
(T. H. Leale.)
1. Gracious souls in their weaknesses will acknowledge the freeness and greatness of God's mercy to them.
2. Infirmity yet turns such confession aside, to a wrong use, even to desire things against God's will.
3. Saving souls alive in the midst of destructions is a free and great mercy.
4. Weakness of faith and strength of sense may make God's Word seem impossible unto His servants.
5. Infirmity of faith creates many fears of evil even against God's promise.
6. Saints through infirmity apprehend death where God clearly promiseth and giveth life.
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
(M. Dods, D. D.)
Is it not a little one?
1. The first reason is because in God's sight there is no such thing as a little sin. He is of purer eyes than to behold with tolerance any evil. Then we ought to reflect that doing conspicuous good actions and abstaining from great sins cannot prove our love to God as much as doing small duties and abstaining from little sins. The test, therefore, of a fine character is attention to what are called the small matters of conduct.
2. Another reason why we should be afraid to harbour little sins is because they lead to great ones. The very absence of crime and great sin which, it present, might have shocked us into repentance, may lull us into a sleep of fatal security and self-righteousness. To prevent this, let us adopt a high standard of Christian excellence, and endeavour to reach it by attention to small things. Every one who is at all in the habit of self-examination must be conscious of such within him — indolence, vanity, ill-temper, weakness, yielding to the opinion and ridicule of the world, the temptation of bad passions, of which we are ashamed, but by which we are overcome. Let each of us consider what his peculiar infirmity is, and though the Zoar be a little one, and though it be hard to part with, resolutely determine to give it up to destruction. Let us remember, that if ever we are to have a character capable of enjoying the mountain of holiness, we must not now despise the day of small things. Character is built, like the walls of an edifice, by laying one stone upon another. A mountain is ascended by setting one footstep after another up its steep face; if there be an occasional backward slip, a lesson of caution is learned, and the lost path is regained with determination. Holiness is not a rapture; it is a steady living to God, one step at a time, and every one higher up.
(E. J. Hardy, M. A.)
I. THIS INATTENTION TO LITTLE THINGS WILL BE DISCOVERED IN THE FREQUENT EXCITEMENTS OF A NATURALLY IRRITABLE TEMPER. That ardour of temperament which gives the ability for great achievements, opens also the source of great sorrows. Our trials of temper are usually found in small incidents; chiefly in the little and private concerns of domestic life.
II. THIS DISREGARD OF LITTLE THINGS WILL BE EXHIBITED IN THE MANY SMALL AND UNNECESSARY INDULGENCES WHICH CHRISTIANS TOO OFTEN ALLOW THEMSELVES FOR APPETITE OR EASE. How often are such indulgences made the substance of a permanent and unchangeable habit?
III. THIS INATTENTION TO SMALLER THINGS WILL BE DETECTED IN THE LIGHT AND UNIMPROVING RECREATIONS AND AMUSEMENTS, WHICH ARE OFTEN ALLOWED,
IV. YOU MAY DISCOVER THIS INATTENTION TO SMALLER MATTERS IN RELIGION, IN AN INCREASING SPIRIT OF IDLENESS AND SLOTH. The Zoar of indolence will be no refuge. It may be made the prison of bondage. It can never be the abode of peace.
(S. H. Tyng, D. D.)
(H. J. Wilmot Buxton, M. A.)
1. With regard, then, to this temptation of Satan concerning the littleness of sin, I would make this first answer: the best of men have always been afraid of little sins. Yea may have read of that noble warrior for Christ, Martin Arethusa, the bishop. He had led the people to pull down the idol temple in the city over which he presided; and when the apostate emperor Julian came to power, he commanded the people to rebuild the temple. They were bound to obey on pain of death. But Arethusa all the while lifted up his voice against the evil they were doing, until the wrath of the king fell upon him of a sudden. He was, however, offered his life on condition that he would subscribe so much as a single halfpenny towards the building of the temple; nay, less than that, if he would cast one grain of incense into the censer of the false God he might escape. But he would not do it. He feared God, and he would not do the most tiny little sin to save his life. They therefore exposed his body, and gave him up to the children to prick him with knives; then they smeared him with honey, and he was exposed to wasps and stung to death. But all the while the grain of incense he would not give. He could give his body to wasps, and die in the most terrible pains, but he could not, he would not, he dared not sin against God. A noble example I Now, brethren, if men have been able to perceive so much of sin in little transgressions, that they would bear inconceivable tortures rather than commit them, must there not be something dreadful after all in the thing of which Satan says, "Is it not a little one?" Men, with their eyes well opened by Divine grace, have seen a whole hell slumbering in the most minute sin.
2. We all see in nature how easily we may prove this — that little things lead to greater things. If it be desired to bridge a gulf, it is often the custom to shoot an arrow, and cross it with a line almost as thin as film. That line passes over and a string is drawn after it, and after that some small rope, and after that a cable, and after that the swinging suspension bridge, that makes a way for thousands. So it is ofttimes with Satan.
3. Another argument may be used to respond to this little temptation of the devil. He says, "Is it not a little one?", "Yes," we reply, "but little sins multiply very fast." Like all other little things, there is a marvellous power of multiplication in little sins. Years ago there was not a single thistle in the whole of Australia. Some Scotchman who very much admired thistles — rather more than I do — thought it was a pity that a great island like Australia should be without that marvellous and glorious symbol of his great nation. He therefore collected a packet of thistle-seeds, and sent it over to one of his friends in Australia. Well, when it was landed, the officers might have said, "Oh, let it in; 'is it not a little one?' Here is but a handful of thistle-down, oh, let it come in; it will be but sown in a garden — the Scotch will grow it in their gardens; they think it a fine flower, no doubt — let them have it, it is but meant for their amusement." Ah, yes, it was but a little one; but now whole districts of country are covered with it, and it has become the farmer's pest and plague. It was a little one; but, all the worse for that, it multiplied and grew. If it had been a great evil, all men would have set to work to crush it. This little evil is not to be eradicated, and of that country it may be said till doomsday — "Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth." Happy would it have been if the ship that brought that seed had been wrecked. No boon is it to those of our countrymen there on the other side of the earth, but a vast curse. Take heed of the thistle-seed; little sins are like it.
4. Once again; little sins, after all, if you look at them in another aspect, are great. A little sin involves a great principle. Suppose that to-morrow the Austrians should send a body of men into Sardinia. If they only send a dozen it would be equal to a declaration of war. It may be said "Is it not a little one? — a very small band of soldiers that we have sent?" "Yes," it would be replied, "but it is the principle of the thing. You cannot be allowed with impunity to send your soldiers across the border. War must be proclaimed, because you have violated the frontier, and invaded the land." It is not necessary to send a hundred thousand troops into a country to break a treaty. It is true the breach of the treaty may appear to be small; but if the slightest breach be allowed, the principle is gone. The principle of obedience is compromised in thy smallest transgression, and, therefore, is it great. Now I am about to speak to the child of God only, and I say to him, "Brother, if Satan tempts thee to say, 'Is it not a little one?'" reply to him, "Ah, Satan, but little though it be, it may mar my fellowship with Christ." Is it a little one, Satan? But a little stone in the shoe will make a traveller limp. A little thorn may breed a fester. A little cloud may hide the sun. A cloud the size of a man's hand may bring a deluge of rain. Avaunt Satan! I can have nought to do with thee; for since I know that Jesus bled for little sins, I cannot wound His heart by indulging in them afresh. Ah, my friends, those men that say little sins can have no vice in them whatever, they do but give indications of their own character; they show which way the stream runs. A straw may let you know which way the wind blows, or even a floating feather; and so may some little sin be an indication of the prevailing tendency of the heart. An eternity of woe is prepared for what men call little sins. It is not alone the murderer, the drunkard, the whoremonger, that shall be sent to hell. The wicked, it is true, shall be sent there, but the little sinner, with all the nations that forget God, shall have his portion there also. Tremble, therefore, on account of little sins.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
I. LITTLE SINS LEAD ON TO GREAT ONES. Some years ago the Bradfield reservoir sprang a tiny leak. It was so small that it was disregarded. Neglected, it grew larger, until one night the bank was swept away, and a mighty torrent let loose that destroyed houses and mills, an immense amount of property and many lives, flooded the town of Sheffield, and has left a burden of debt on that town to this day. Not long ago a gentleman, hurrying along one of the streets of Manchester, slipped and fell, slightly grazing one of his fingers. He saw the wound, but thought it too slight for care. The blood was poisoned by contact with some rubbish on which he had fallen, and in a few weeks his whole system became charged with it, and he expired in terrible agony. Little sins indulged, spared, neglected, have shown equal power of growth. A little leaven has leavened the whole lump. Learn the story of the inmates of our jails, workhouses, lunatic asylums, and you will see how little sins end in great sins; in poverty, crime, insanity and utter ruin.
II. LITTLE SINS DESTROY OUR PEACE AND HINDER OUR GROWTH IN GRACE. A little splinter of wood, a tiny thorn buried in the flesh and neglected will produce intense agony. The story is told of a whole train being stopped on the railway between Perth and Aberdeen by the loss of one little pin. And equally sad results are produced in us by little sins.
III. LITTLE SINS DESTROY OUR INFLUENCE. We are Christ's "living epistles," known and read of all men. Many a man has lost all influence for good, undone his own efforts, through little slips and want of care about the minor moralities. It was not the Philistines but Delilah that robbed Samson of his power.
IV. LITTLE SINS NEED MORE EFFORT AND WATCHFULNESS TO OVERCOME THAN GREAT ONES.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
(H. W. Beecher.)
The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.
Homilist.I. THE ABSURDITY OF LETTING SECULAR MOTIVES GOVERN MEN'S CONDUCT. Lot went to Sodom because he thought it a secularly desirable place. (Genesis 13:10.) He went there, and there his own piety was injured, his own children contaminated, and the partner of his own bosom became a victim of Divine judgment. The beauty of his home was his curse. The spirit of Lot is still common.
II. THE INCONGRUITY BETWEEN THE PHYSICAL AND MORAL SCENERY OF THE WORLD.
1. The abnormal state of human society.
2. The necessity of a retributive period.
3. A man's external circumstances are no true signs of character.
III. THE TREMENDOUS FORCE OF OLD ASSOCIATIONS.
1. The local.
2. The social.
3. The secular.
IV. THE FUTILITY OF HUMAN REASONING CONCERNING THE WAYS OF GOD.
1. God may deviate from the laws of nature; lie cannot from His word.
2. God has deviated from the laws of nature; He has never from His word.
V. THE DETERMINED ANTAGONIST OF THE DIVINE GOVERNMENT TO SIN.
1. Sunshine and midnight are alike great opportunities of God. They are as the pillar of fire and pillar of cloud to the whole race of man. By their dumb mouths God speaks to us, and their silent movement, without a sound, warns us of His presence, His love, and His providence. It was when God's servant, weak, failing, and infirm, shattered and broken, in deep sorrow, led by an angel, had placed his trembling foot-steps on the rock; it was then, when he had come safely out of the blazing city, and the lurid fires glared in the sky; when at last, though oh! how long, how lingeringly, the aged patriarch had emerged from his deep trouble; then the sun arose upon the earth.
2. Few characters in the Bible are more full of comfort than Lot's. Weak in disposition, faulty in his general life, erring after repeated warnings, irresolute even when he stood on the verge of ruin, God was yet willing to save him.
3. In the beginning he showed tendency, distinct and clear. He loved ease, comfort, wealth, worldly possessions, and beauty. He followed disposition. That disposition was not sinful — it was weak. It erred on the side of what multitudes (and those the good) admire — kindness, easiness, gentleness, affability, lack of severity. It was exactly the reverse of the disposition of Abraham. All doubt as to the end of Lot, and his position in eternity, is removed by the verse which declares, on the warrant and in the words of St. Peter, that "God delivered just Lot," who was "a righteous man." His escape is called a deliverance, and the act of God is spoken of as a means used to remove Lot from the sinful examples of Sodom and Gomorrha.
(E. Monte, M. A.)
Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heavenI. DIVINE JUDGMENT IS DISCRIMINATIVE. — The Scripture will not have us fall into the belief that there is no radical difference between the good and the evil. It would have us know that they are as unlike as the wheat and the chaff. Divine judgments are a winnowing-fan to separate the two. If the sifting and winnowing process which goes on in this world is only partially accomplished, yet it is carried far enough to let us know that some time it will be completed.
II. DIVINE JUDGMENT, THOUGH LONG DELAYED, IS AT LAST PRECIPITATED BY PRESUMPTUOUS SINS. The men of Sodom, lusting after God's messengers, launched upon themselves the fire and brimstone. They hastened and fixed the city's doom. No doubt, God's judgments are exactly timed. The hour and minute of visitation are determined. But the timing has been done by One who foreknows the moral history of men. He has set a bound for human iniquity. It cannot be passed. He knows at what hour it will be reached. Until that hour judgment impends; then it falls. Let Joab escape punishment for the murder of Abner, and, so far from coming to repentance, he will be found reddening his hand with the blood of Amasa. Yet his second crime hastens on the time when the horns of the altar will not be for him a sanctuary of refuge. Let Napoleon
III. succeed in his transcendent crime of founding the Second Empire in France, and thereafter he will despise the will of the people, in destroying the freedom of the press, and will hasten the hour of doom by all the surprising splendours and follies of the Imperial court at Compiegne. The Bible reiterates the lesson for all rulers, all governments, all individuals: that a limit of transgression has been fixed, beyond which judgment waits. Presumptuous sins, therefore, hasten the hour of judgment.
III. AMONG PRESUMPTUOUS SINS WE MUST NUMBER DISOBEDIENCE TO THE LORD'S DIRECT COMMAND. This was the sin of Lot's wife. No doubt she loved Sodom.
IV. DIVINE JUDGMENT, WHICH IS PRECIPITATED BY ACTS OF PRESUMPTUOUS SIN, IS SOMETIMES AVERTED FOR THE SAKE OF THE RIGHTEOUS. What would have been realized in Sodom, had ten righteous men dwelt there, was done in Zoar when Lot and his two daughters made it a place of refuge. The little city of Zoar was saved for-their-sake. A leaven of goodness saved it.
V. THE DIVINE JUDGMENTS OF THIS WORLD ARE NOT FINAL. We might be inclined to say, in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, that their wickedness was sufficiently punished. The sweeping tempest of fire did its strange work throughly, but our Lord has left some sobering words (Matthew 10:15) to teach that this sudden, awful event was not the day of judgment for Sodom. In that day it shall be "more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for some who, despising the sin of the Sodomites, have yet sinned against greater light."
(W. G. Sperry.)
I. IT WAS SUDDEN.
1. AS regards the object of it.
2. Not as regards the Author of it.
II. IT WAS THE DIRECT ACT OF GOD.
1. The destruction was predicted.
2. The destruction was, in its nature, extraordinary.
III. IT WAS COMPLETE. Utter ruin, and absolutely without remedy. Learn:
1. That God's judgments, though deserved, tarry long.
2. That without timely repentance, His judgments are sure to fall.
(T. H. Leale.)
1. In the first place, it is a revelation of an element in the Divine character and of a feature in the Divine Government. To the men of that time, it might be a warning. To Abraham, and through him to his descendants, and through them to us, it preaches a truth very unwelcome to many in this day — that there is in God that which constrains Him to hate, fight against, and punish evil. The temper of this generation turns away from such thoughts, and, in the name of the truth that "God is love," would fain obliterate the truth that He does and will punish. But if the punitive element be suppressed, and that in God which makes it necessary ignored or weakened, the end will be a God who has not force enough to love, but only weakly to indulge. If He does not hate and punish, He does not pardon. For the sake of the love of God, we must hold firm by the belief in the judgments of God. The God who destroyed Sodom is not merely the God of an earlier antiquated creed. "Is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also." Again this event is a prophecy. So our Lord has employed it; and much of the imagery in which the last judgment is represented is directly drawn from this narrative. So far from this story showing to us only the superstitions of a form of belief which we have long outgrown, its deepest meaning lies far ahead, and closes the history of man on the earth. We know from the lips which cannot lie, that the appalling suddenness of that destruction foreshadows the swiftness of the coming of that last "day of the Lord." We know that in literality some of the physical features shall be reproduced; for the fire which shall burn up the world and all its works is no figure, nor is it proclaimed only by such non-authoritative voices as those of Jesus and His apostles, but also by the modern possessors of infallible certitude — the men of science. We know that that day shall be a day of retribution. We know, too, that the crime of Sodom, foul and unnatural as it was, is not the darkest, but that its inhabitants (who have to face that judgment too) will find their doom more tolerable, and their sins lighter than some who have had high places in the church, than the Pharisees and wise men who have not taken Christ for their Saviour.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
I. WHAT AN EVIL IS SENSUAL AND SEXUAL POLLUTION. It is remarkable that God has severely punished the cities most chargeable with these sins. Lucknow is said to be the Sodom of India, and it has of late been terribly punished, although through the instrumentality of hands many of them unclean themselves. Some of the cities in the West Indies and South America, which have been destroyed by earthquake, were peculiarly stained by such pollutions; and if accounts be true, Cuba, on this principle, may well stand in awe of the judgments of God. Of all the cities on the continent, the two which have suffered most in war have been its two most licentious cities, namely, Vienna and Paris.
II. How MUCH STILL DEPENDS UPON A FEW IN A LARGE CITY, AS WELL AS IN A COUNTRY. "Ye are the salt of the earth." Even Omnipotence pauses, in its path of just vengeance, till the righteous are out of its way (ver. 22). Let the thought that there are still so few righteous in the earth exert a humbling influence on our minds. We know not what is God's required proportion now, it was in Sodom's day tens to tens of thousands; perhaps it is so still, and how serious the question. Is it because the required proportion of righteous is found, or is it out of mere forbearance that God does not arise terribly to punish the world, and how long, if it be mere forbearance, may this forbearance last?
III. LET US FLEE TO THE ZOAR OF CHRIST.
Genesis 18:20, 21). You see, therefore, that we are only following the Lord's own example, in asking for information as to moral conditions. It is, then, deeply satisfactory to know that the judgment was preceded by inquiry. In the next place, the revelation made respecting the moral condition of Sodom is appalling and revolting, beyond the power of words to describe. Let us put the case before ourselves in this way: Given a city that is full of corruption, which may not be so much as named; every home a den of unclean beasts; every imagination debauched and drunk with iniquity; every tongue an empoisoned instrument; purity, love, honour, peace, forgotten or detested words; judgment deposed, righteousness banished, the sanctuary abandoned, the altar destroyed; every child taught the tricks and speech of imps; prizes offered for the discovery of some deeper depth of iniquity or new way of serving the devil; — given such a city, to know what is best to be done with it? Remonstrate with it? Absurd! Threaten it? Feeble! What then? Rain fire and brimstone upon it? Yes! Conscience says Yes; Justice says Yes; concern for other cities says Yes; nothing but fire will disinfect so foul an air, nothing but burning brimstone should succeed the cup of devils. Just as we grasp the moral condition with which God had to deal do we see that fire alone could meet wickedness so wicked or insanity so mad. This view is important not only historically as regards Sodom, but prospectively as regards a still greater judgment. This is no local tragedy. The fire and brimstone are still in the power of God; not a spark has been lost; it is true to-day and for ever that "our God is a consuming fire"!
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Genesis 19., that I think no geologist, on comparing the narrative with the structure of the district, can hesitate as to the nature of the phenomena which were presented to the observation of the narrator, Nor is there any reason to suppose that the history is compounded of two narratives giving different views as to the cause of the catastrophe. On the contrary, the story has all the internal evidence of being a record of the observations of intelligent eye-witnesses, who reported the appearances observed without concerning themselves as to their proximate causes or natural probability. We learn from the narrative that the destruction was sudden and unexpected, that it was caused by " brimstone and fire," that these were rained down from the sky, that a dense column of smoke ascended to a great height like the smoke of a furnace or lime-kiln, and that along with, or immediately after the fire, there was an emission of brine or saline mud, capable of encrusting bodies (as that of Lot's wife), so that they appeared as mounds (not pillars) of salt. The only point in the statements in regard to which there can be doubt, is the substance intended by the Hebrew word translated "brimstone." It may mean sulphur, of which there is abundance in some of the Dead Sea depths; but there is reason to suspect that, as used here, it may rather denote pitch, since it is derived from the same root with Gopher, the Hebrew name, apparently, of the cypress and other resinous woods. It is scarcely necessary to say that the circumstances above referred to are not those of a volcanic eruption, and there is no mention of any earthquake, which, if it occurred, must in the judgment of the narrator have been altogether a subordinate feature. Nor is an earthquake necessarily implied in the expression "overthrown," used in Deuteronomy 29. Still, as we shall see, more or less tremor of the ground very probably occurred, and might have impressed itself on traditions of the event, especially as the district is subject to earthquakes, though it is not mentioned in theological narrative. The description is that of a bitumen or petroleum eruption, similar to those which, on a small scale, have been so destructive in the regions of Canada and the United States of America. They arise from the existence of reservoirs of compressed inflammable gas, along with petroleum and water, existing at considerable depths below the surface. When these are penetrated, as by a well or borehole, the gas escapes with explosive force, carrying petroleum with it, and when both have been ignited the petroleum rains down in burning showers and floats in flames over the ejected water, while a dense smoke towers high into the air, and the in-rushing draft may produce a vortex, carrying it upward to a still greater height, and distributing still more widely the burning material, which is almost inextinguishable and most destructive to life and to buildings. We have thus only to suppose that, at the time in question, reservoirs of condensed gas and petroleum existed under the plain of Siddim, and that these were suddenly discharged, either by their own accumulated pressure, or by an earthquake shock fracturing the overlying beds, when the phenomena described by the writer in Genesis would occur, and after the eruption the site would be covered with saline and sulphurous deposit, while many of the sources of petroleum previously existing might be permanently dried up. In connection with this there might be subsidence of the ground over the now exhausted reservoirs, and this might give rise to the idea of the submergence of the cities. It is to be observed, however, that the parenthetic statement in Genesis 14, "which is the Salt Sea," does not certainly mean under the sea, and that it relates not to the cities themselves but to the plain where the battle recorded in the chapter was fought at a time previous to to the eruption. It is also to be noted that this particular locality is precisely the one which, as previously stated, may on other grounds be supposed to have subsided, and that this subsidence having occurred subsequently may have rendered less intelligible the march of the invading army to later readers, and this may have required to be mentioned. It seems difficult to imagine that anything except the real occurrence of such an event could have given origin to the narrative. No one unacquainted with the structure of the district and the probability of the bitumen eruptions in connection with this structure, would be likely to imagine the raining of burning pitch from the sky, with the attendant phenomena stated so simply and without any appearance of exaggeration, and with the evident intention to dwell on the spiritual and moral significance of the event, while giving just as much of the physical features as was essential to this purpose. It may be added here that in Isaiah 34:9, 10, there is a graphic description of a bitumen eruption, which may possibly be based on the history now under consideration, though used figuratively to illustrate the doom of Idumea. In thus directing attention to the physical phenomena attendant on the destruction of the cities of the plain, I do not desire to detract from the providential character of the catastrophe, or from the lessons which it teaches, and which have pervaded the religion and literature of the world ever since it occurred. I merely wish to show that there is nothing in the narrative comparable with the wild myths and fanciful conjectures sometimes associated with it, and that its author has described it in an intelligent manner, appearances which he must have seen or which were described to him by competent witnesses. I wish also to indicate that the statements made are m accordance with the structure and possibilities of the district as now understood after its scientific exploration. From a scientific point of view it is an almost vague description of a natural phenomena of much interest and very rare occurrence. Nor do I desire to he understood as asserting that Sodom and its companion cities were unique in the facilities of destruction afforded by their situation. They were no doubt so placed as to be specially subject to one particular kind of overthrow. But it may be safely said that there is no city in the world which is not equally, though perhaps by other agencies, within the reach of Divine power exercised through the energies of nature, should it be found to be destitute of "ten righteous men." So that the conclusion still holds — "except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish."
(Sir J. William Dawson.)
(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)
Genesis 13:10-12, tends to the conclusion that the plain was to the north of the Dead Sea. Mr. Grove, in the "Bible Dictionary," points out that the mention of the Jordan confirms this: "for the Jordan ceases where it enters the Dead Sea, and can have no existence south of that point"; and on a review of the whole argument he says: "It thus appears that on the situation of Sodom no satisfactory conclusion can at present be come to. On the one hand the narrative of Genesis seems to state positively that it lay at the northern end of the Dead Sea. On the other hand the long continued tradition and the names of existing spots seem to pronounce with almost equal positiveness that it was at its southern end." Canon Tristram, in his "Natural History of the Bible," speaks of "the great Jordan valley and Dead Sea basin" as "the most remarkable geological part of the Holy Land." He holds with M. Lartet that the Dead Sea "is the basin of an old inland sea, larger, indeed, than the present lake, but which has had no connection with the Red Sea since the continent assumed its present form." He mentions that "bitumen is sometimes found in large masses floating on the surface of the Dead Sea, especially after earthquakes"; and that "there are many hot springs and sulphur springs both on the shores of the Dead Sea and also in its basin, some of which deposit sulphur largely on the rocks around. Most of these hot springs are strongly mineral." With reference to the site of the cities, he thinks it evident on geological grounds that "the catastrophe which overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah can no more be ascribed to an ordinary volcanic eruption than can the fire and blackness of Mount Sinai. Those cities were not situated where the Dead Sea now is, nor were they swallowed up by it; but standing in the ciccar, i.e., the plain of Jordan, and probably somewhere between Jericho and the north end of the lake, they were destroyed by brimstone and fire rained down upon them by a special interposition of Divine power. The materials for the fire were at hand in the sulphur abounding near and the bitumen with which, dug from the pits of the plain, the houses were probably constructed, or cemented."
(W. S. Smith, B. D.)
But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar Of salt.I. THE CAUSE OF BACKSLIDING. Unbelief, leading to
(1) (2) II. THE DANGER OF BACKSLIDING. 1. There is the danger of forfeiting our salvation. 2. The danger of punishment. (T. H. Leale.)
(2) II. THE DANGER OF BACKSLIDING. 1. There is the danger of forfeiting our salvation. 2. The danger of punishment. (T. H. Leale.)
II. THE DANGER OF BACKSLIDING.
1. There is the danger of forfeiting our salvation.
2. The danger of punishment.
(T. H. Leale.)
I. SHE PERISHED AFTER SOLEMN WARNING.
II. SHE PERISHED BY A LOOK.
III. SHE PERISHED AFTER SHE HAD STOOD LONG, AND HAD ENJOYED GREAT ADVANTAGES.
IV. SHE ILLUSTRATES THE ENORMOUS INFLUENCE OF WORLDLY INTERESTS AND AFFECTIONS.
(T. H. Leale.)
Homilist.I. A CHARACTER HIGHLY BLESSED.
1. Association with good people.
2. Remarkable interpositions of Providence on her behalf.
3. Divine aid afforded to escape the danger.
II. A CHARACTER INEXCUSABLY WRONG.
1. Inasmuch as sin in its most detestable forms had been presented to her view.
2. Inasmuch as a special commandment was disregarded.
3. Inasmuch as there was no reasonable inducement to disobey,
III. A CHARACTER SADLY PUNISHED.
1. Separated from the objects of her hope.
2. Held forth as a warning to others throughout the ages.
3. Lost almost within reach of safety.
1. In the hour of conviction of sin. "Up! flee for your life!" is the voice of the Holy Spirit. Delay, hesitation, casting longing looks back on a life of sin, then, may be fatal.
2. In the hour of fiery temptation. The only safety is in precipitate flight.
3. When any question of duty is pressed upon you.
4. Amid the assaults of unbelief.
5. Note what Christ says in Luke 9:62: "No man, having put his hand to the plough," etc.
(1) (2) (3) (J. M. Sherwood, D. D.)
(2) (3) (J. M. Sherwood, D. D.)
(3) (J. M. Sherwood, D. D.)
(J. M. Sherwood, D. D.)
I. She was made A NOTARIZE AND CONSPICUOUS EXAMPLE OF JUDICIAL INFLICTION; SO as to "justify the ways of God to men." Why was she overtaken by so signal a doom? She was probably not different from others, her fellow-townswomen — the votaries of fashion and the slaves of custom. We possess some intimation of the habits which then existed, and the tastes which then prevailed. "The iniquity of Sodom " was " pride, fulness of bread; and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters" (Ezekiel 16:49). No encomium is pronounced on her; but how differently is her partner regarded! (2 Peter 2:4, 7, and 8.) Probably she was frivolous, light, and careless in her conduct; her character made up of negations, rather than of positive vices; and her faults probably originated in the unfavourable influence of the society in which she mingled. "She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth" (1 Timothy 5:6). We see a judicial infliction overtaking her conduct, which was marked by the following features.
1. Disobedience. It is the business of principle to obey the right and the rule. It does not matter what the law prescribes, for the majesty which invests the government of God descends on all the acts of His legislation; and it is not for us to question their greater or less magnitude, or their superior or subordinate authority. He shows us what He wills, and it is our part to obey. In the case before us there was to be no idolatry of home — no favourite objects to preserve and bring away. They were to come out quickly and unburdened. The general command was to disregard all; and even the particular precept could not be more distinct: "Escape for thy life! Look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain! Escape thou to the mountain, lest thou be consumed" (Genesis 19:17)! Then commenced a struggle in her mind. Here was her disobedience. Only obey the voice of God, and it shall be well; but if thou disobey, ruin will be the result.
2. Ingratitude. It was not ordinary kindness, but particular and pre-eminent that was shown to her husband, herself, and her household. "Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do anything till thou be come thither" (Genesis 19:22). As if His fury were stayed till the complete deliverance of these, His favourite charge.
3. Reluctance. Hers was an averted countenance. Are we surprised at this? Think of the awe — the panic — the agitation! Think of the natural instinct which attached her to home. Was it that her heart grudged to leave behind some favourite whose misery excited her pity and commiseration? None of these feelings are manifested. But there is a wistful and hankering look. Her eye seems enamoured of what she must abandon; the objects of vanity — her companionships — whatever she coveted — her pursuits — her friends — her abode — her flocks — all that she was leaving; and though she saved what was of greater value, her heart went after her covetousness (Ezekiel 33:31); and it was all concentrated in that look.
4. Distrust. Might it not be a false alarm? Might it not be well to pause and examine?
5. Indecision. This paralyzes all, and is unaccountable in such a case as hers. See how the waves threaten to surround her! Yet she wavers, instead of hastening her retreat.
II. Why are we to "Remember Lot's wife," but that there was SOMETHING IN HER CONDUCT TO REBUKE AND INSTRUCT US?
1. How small a thing may prevent our salvation! Lot's wife may have been gay and volatile — nothing more.
2. The increased misery of perishing within the reach of recovering mercy. Lot's wife was in the track of safety. All was promise and hope.
3. The evil of a careless state of mind. Lot's wife was not fully possessed of the fear proper to her situation. Led by the example of those among whom she dwelt, she had no just view of the evil of sin. Left by her companions, she thought to return; but the resolve was too late! Advance was as helpless as retreat!
4. The misery of apostasy. Many have a disposition to what is right; but there is nothing fixed — no true change. How many have been thus hindered in their course! They were almost persuaded to be Christians (Acts 26:28), but they "looked back"; and our Lord indicates that this disposition leads to condemnation (Luke 9:62).
5. The fearful state of mind when God leaves the sinner and abandons him to his own will. In the case of Lot's wife, God could do no more, and the angels went on. The last desire for deliverance left her. She "looked back" — stopped — and stood still for ever!
(R. W. Hamilton, D. D.)
I. THE TEXT SHOWS THAT ACTIONS MAY BECOME PUNISHABLE, WHICH TO US MAY SEEM MOST HARMLESS AND EXCUSABLE. No doubt there are some things which have happened in each of our lives which stand out more prominently than others, and we can remember these with ease, and with a constant recurring memory. They are the mountains and hills (so to speak) in our mind-scenery which come before us ever so plainly; but the little rivulet, or the humble stone, or the half-hidden bush is passed over and seldom thought of. And such is the case with human life, we overlook or forget the smaller things of every-day existence, while we lay a great emphasis upon what we consider more deserving of our attention. But it is the little transactions of the day which make up the character, which form it, and give to it its destiny. It is the oft-repeated habit which grows into strength, and stamps its image upon our hearts and minds, whether good or bad. It is the word of anger which, like a spark, kindles into flame our fiercest passions, while the word of kindness will soothe the feelings of ill temper and carry comfort into the most troubled bosom. A look, a simple pressure of the hand, and even sometimes a well-known footstep, will do much to change the history of a life. Yet, after all, God looks deeper into our doings than what meets the eye or falls upon the ear of sense. He is a Searcher of the heart, of its intents and motives; and according to its principles, which lie beneath the disturbed and restless surface of human actions, so does He acquit or condemn us, commend or disapprove. Thus with regard to Lot's wife, it was not the mere turning back of her body, or the look of her eye, which He condemned, but the motives which prompted these actions, and made them the instruments of her own evil wishes, and of the wrongful feelings which stirred within her soul. Hence, if the eye should become the instrument of sin, pluck it out; or, if the arm should lead us to offend, cut it off.
II. We observe here THAT THE SIN OF LOT'S WIFE FOUND HER OUT WHATEVER THAT SIN MIGHT HAVE BEEN. Did her heart long to remain with the people of the cities whom God had cursed? She became a fixture to the spot where such a wish was encouraged. Did she depreciate or condemn the judgment which wrapt the cities in flames? She is made to share their fate, only in another form. Would she rather return to the place from which she was commanded to flee, and so brave the curse which God had declared against it? Then let her steps be arrested in death, and her folly become a monument of warning to others who would follow her example. Did she, by looking back in direct opposition to the orders not to do so, care nothing about the interposition of angels, nought of the Divine goodness and mercy in providing for her and her household a refuge and a place of rest and security? Then let her insensibility and ingratitude become marked by turning her into a lifeless and insensible pillar of salt. And thus we often find that there is a correspondence between the act of disobedience and the judgment which follows it.
III. THE FATE OF LOT'S WIFE WAS SUDDEN, QUITE UNEXPECTED. It came upon her in an instant. In the very act of turning she was struck by the hand of death. There came to her no note of warning of the calamity, and the momentary change allowed no time for thought, for reflection, or for shrinking fear. But it is not the suddenness of death we have most to dread, it is the being unprepared for such a change. It is this we have most to fear. The manner and form of the death of Lot's wife may be regarded comparatively of little consequence, but the state of mind in which the destroyer found her is of the utmost importance.
IV. WE LEARN FROM OUR SUBJECT THE EVIL OF TURNING BACK IN THE PATH OF DUTY.
V. The body of Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt seems to point to the COMPARATIVE INSIGNIFICANCE OF THE HUMAN BODY, AND TO CAST A SORT OF CONTEMPT UPON IT. But suppose its rigid fixture to the ground may be considered a symbol of the fixity of the human character in death!
(W. D. Horwood.)
(W. Landels, D. D.)
I. First, RELIGIOUS PRIVILEGES DO NOT CONSTITUTE SALVATION. Never forget that. Some of us rest too much on our religious privileges. I read of Pharaoh being nine times brought under conviction, and yet he perished. I read of Judas being associated with the Christ of God for more than three years, listening to words that angels came down to listen to, and contemplating the model of human and Divine perfection, witnessing Him opening the eyes of the blind, unstopping the ears of the deaf, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead, and yet he perished. And here I read of Lot's wife, for thirty years associated with the people of God, almost pressed by angels to the very gates of Zoar, and yet she perished; and God made her a pillar of salt, to be an everlasting monument of the fact that religious privileges and associations cannot save.
II. Religious privileges, when they are not made a blessing to us, WHEN THEY DO NOT EFFECT THE END INTENDED BY THEM, INCREASE OUR CONDEMNATION AND AGGRAVATE OUR RUIN. That is a solemn passage in 2 Corinthians 2:15, 16. I would far rather stand before the judgment-seat of God by-and-by a poor African from the barren waste of Africa, where the gospel message was never known, and the story of the blood of Christ never told, and throw myself upon His mercy, than I would take the stand of one of you professing Christians! who, in that day, will have nothing to answer when the King shall say, "Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment?"
III. TO LOOK BACK FROM THIS POSITION OF KNOWLEDGE IS TO GO BACK, and so the Lord interprets it. To he outside Sodom is not enough, to he disentangled from the world is not enough, you must be in Christ, or you are Hot saved. Mechanical obedience, bodily exercise is not salvation; her body was near to Zoar, but her affections were in Sodom, and she perished — "Remember Lot's wife."
(M. Rainsford, B. A.)
1. The time of vengeance on the wicked may be that of severe judgment upon the righteous who haste not from it.
2. Nearest relations may be sometimes the greatest crosses to God's saints.
3. Rebellion against God's express commands and threatenings is a provoking evil.
4. It is very evil to have withdrawing hearts from God's salvation and inclining to the wicked's destruction.
5. God sometimes meets with rebellion and apostasy in the very act, and judgeth it.
6. Eminent sins are answered sometimes with eminent judgments.
7. God can turn flesh into salt and stones, and He alone.
8. God maketh some of His severe acts of punishment to be perpetual examples against sin in all ages.
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
I. LOT'S WIFE SAW HER DANGER, AND SET OUT TO ESCAPE FROM IT. So the Holy Spirit of God makes many a man see his danger as a sinner, and strives with him, and urges him to flee away from his sins. Many a man, under the warnings of the spirit, sets off in a way to the mount of God, and yet, like Lot's wife, perishes in the way. Pharaoh; Herod; Felix; Agrippa. I called to see a faithful servant once who was lying and trembling on the verge of death. He was greatly alarmed at the thought of dying unprepared to meet God. He said that the thought of his sins gave him the deepest distress, and that all he wanted was to be a Christian. Before I left him he solemnly promised that if ever he was raised up from that bed of sickness, he would be a Christian the rest of his days. Had he died then, his master and all of us who were there would have said that he died a Christian, and was saved in heaven. But he recovered; and, as he had always been a good and faithful servant, we expected to see the light of a good Christian shining in his life. And he did not altogether forget his promises. I went often to the house of his master, and would sometimes talk with him as he would light me to my room at night. As often as the books were brought out, and the bell rang for prayers, James would be there to join with us in family worship. This practice he kept up for several months. His master told me that during all that time he had been faithful to his promises. He seemed to be a Christian indeed, and all of us thought he would soon join the church. But at last he gradually gave up coming in to prayer. As I had not seen him for a good while, I asked one of the other servants what had become of James. He told me that, but a few days before, he was talking to him about his promises, and that James had said ha did not see the use of so much religion — so much praying — and so much reading the Bible — and so much going to church — and so much hearing sermons read. In fact, James had given up all pretensions to religion. He was just the same wicked man he was before he was sick. Now, this man was like Lot's wife. He set out in the way to heaven, but he "looked back." He turned back. He did not, indeed, become a pillar of salt; but he became (what is just as bad) hardened in sin. Two years passed away, and James was taken dangerously ill again. As soon as I heard of it I went to see him. I read the Bible to him; I prayed for him; I talked to him. I did not distress him by reminding him of his old promises. I told him of Jesus, the Saviour of sinners. I begged him to remember that He was able and willing to forgive all sins. I read and explained the parable of the prodigal son. I entreated him to give up his heart to that Saviour, and put all his trust in Him. But his heart seemed to be turned to stone. "No, no," said he, "I have most wickedly broken my promises to God; I have sinned away my day of grace; He will not now have mercy on me; I have no hope; I do not and cannot feel as I did before; my mind is so dark, and my heart is so hard!" I shall never forget that scene. His fellow-servants stood round the room in silent and solemn fear. They heard his short, heavy breathing, and watched his ghastly countenance until he gave up in the death struggle, saying, with his last breath, "There is no mercy for me." He had once been keenly sensible of his guilt as a sinner; he had mourned and wept as a sinner; he had promised before God to give up his sins. Like Lot's wife, he had set off in the way to heaven. He had put his hand to the plough, but looked back. He was hardened in sin, and perished in impenitence. Then let every sinner under conviction take warning, and not rest in his fears or sorrows.
II. Now LET ME WARN YOU AGAINST THIS FALLING AWAY — THIS BACK-SLIDING FROM CONVICTION. "Remember Lot's wife."
1. Do not linger in sin, as they did in Sodom. If you are anxious about religion, why should you remain any longer in sin? Why not rise up now, and with firm resolution escape from it? If you will not do this, you can never reach the mountain of salvation.
2. When once you have set out in religion, do not look back. Our Saviour Himself has said, "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
(M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)
(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)
(A. T. Pierson, D. D.)
(A. T. Pierson, D. D.)
(A Maclaren, D. D.)
(M. Rainsford, B. A.)
And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord: and he looked toward Sodom.I. HE REGARDS THEM WITH SOLEMN EMOTION.
II. HE IS SATISFIED WITH THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD AS SEEN IN THEM.
III. HE HAS SOME COMPENSATIONS IN REGARD TO THEM. Some were delivered.
(T. H. Leale.)
1. Praying souls are early up to observe God's answer to their desires (Psalm 5:3).
2. Where souls have once met with God, well may they hasten to hear return of prayer from Him there again (ver. 27).
3. Saints under God's indulgence may be solicitous about the state of the wicked to look after them.
4. The righteous see sometimes vengeance executed upon the ungodly, notwithstanding all mediation made with God for them.
5. Where the smoke of sin hath offended God's eyes, the smoke of vengeance shall arise there.
6. In the midst of pouring out fury on the wicked, God is mindful of the mediation of His saints.
7. One righteous soul may fare the better for the intercession of another. Lot for Abraham.
8. Righteous souls may put themselves in danger of destruction by sitting down among the wicked.
9. The righteous God in His execution spareth, and destroyeth not the righteous with the wicked.
10. Some spectacles of mercy God hath made in snatching them from the midst of His overthrow, as brands out of the burning, as well as He hath made others examples of His vengeance (ver. 29).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
I. WITH WHAT EMOTIONS OUGHT WE TO GAZE UPON THE TORMENTS OF UNGODLY AND IMPENITENT SOULS?
1. Certainly it should always be with an humble submission to the Divine will. The assurance that God is just, even in the midst of His hot displeasure, must ever be cherished. The Judge of all the earth cannot but do right.
2. Surely, too, another emotion, which a glance towards the dreary doom of the ungodly can never fail to prompt, is that of ingratitude. "And why am I not there? They gnaw their fire-tormented tongues in vain: and why am I not there? Did they sin? I have sinned. Did they curse God and die? I, too, have cursed God; and it was a marvel that I did not die."
3. Should there not also here be deep feelings of humility? Look to the hole of the pit whence thou was digged, and the rock whence God hath hewn thee I What those sinners were, such wert thou.
4. And there is a sensation which must thrill through every nerve, and the thought will sometimes blanch our cheeks with terror, lest we also should come thither. Metinks a glance of the eye towards the smoke of Gehenna would always prompt a holy jealousy over one's own heart, and a diligent watchfulness of one's own walk. What sayest thou to this, professor? Thou seest the smoke going up for ever: what if thou shouldst come there after all?
II. Look thou, Christian — if thou canst look — and see there THE EVIL OF SIN. Dost thou start? That is the true harvest of the sowing of iniquity. Come, sinner, I charge thee look at it. This is what sin brings forth; this is the full-grown child. Thou hast dandled it; thou hast kissed and fondled it; see what it comes to. Hell is but sin full-grown, that is all.
1. As the Christian, with downcast and blushing face looks to the place where their worm dieth not and their fire is not quenched, he is awe-struck with the justice of God. "Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little."
2. Another lesson now comes to us, and one which I hope will be more pleasing, and affect some minds that may not be moved by what we have hitherto said. Looking at the destruction of the wicked, this reflection crosses our minds. We, His people, have been redeemed from destruction! What a price must that have been which redeemed us from such woe and rescued us from such a place of torment!
3. That fearful vision which beclouds my eyes and makes them feel heavy, at the same time presses upon me with a tremendous weight, while I mention another truth. Behold here the solemnity of the gospel ministry, the responsibility of those who listen to it, and the need there is for earnestness in handling divine things. Have I to deal with immortal souls? Then let me not trifle. My brethren in the faith, and sisters, too, with what earnestness should this invest you! Whitfield could say, "When I think of these things, I wish I could stand upon the top of every hackney-coach in London, and preach to the passers by." We do not preach as if we meant it. I am afraid that we make infidels by our lethargy, and that you Christian people help to prevent the usefulness of the Word of God by the apparent indifference with which you treat eternal things.
III. I am weary with my picture; I am weary with looking into that thick darkness. Let me turn your eyes another way. WOULD YOU BE SAVED? See yonder little hill outside Jerusalem's streets. God has become Man. He is bearing sin upon His shoulders. Wherefore do I picture this? Why, here is your salvation. You must have an interest in the sufferings of that Man, or you must suffer for yourself for ever.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow. —
I. THE TERRORS OF GOD'S JUSTICE TOWARDS THE WORLD OF THE UNGODLY.
II. THE TRIUMPH OF GOD'S MERCY TOWARDS THE CHILDREN OF HIS LOVE.
1. He originates the plan of salvation.
2. He overcomes the hindrances and obstacles to salvation which arise in our minds.
3. He will surely bring us to the rest and the refuge which He has prepared for us.
(T. H. Leale.)
And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain.
I. THE ROOT OF ITS UNBELIEF. Lot could not trust God fully, and therefore the infinite charity of God stooped to his infirmity. We must trust in God, with our whole heart, and lean not to our own understanding. Our faith falls short in so far as we seek to modify the commands of duty by our own wilfulness. Imperfect obedience has its bitter root in unbelief. In the instance of Lot, we see the sad consequences of this timid and imperfect faith. Here we trace the source of the inconsistency and vacillation of his character. Our walk in the path of life and obedience is only steady and sure in proportion as our faith is clear and strong.
II. WE ARE MADE BITTERLY TO REPENT OF IT. "He feared to dwell in Zoar." He was afraid that the destruction would overtake him even there. That spirit of unbelief which renders our obedience imperfect brings dread. We take alarm, for conscience tells us we have left some ground for fear. To commence following God's command, and then to impair our obedience by our own foolish will, leads in the end to doubt and uncertainty-to that sense of insecurity in which we feel that nothing is sure and safe.
III. WE MAY BE COMPELLED TO ACCEPT GOD'S WAY AT LAST. Lot finds refuge, at length, in the mountain, where he had been ordered to go at first. A merciful Providence brought him up to the full measures of his duty. He finds, in the end, that it is best to fall in with God's plan. By a painful discipline we are often brought round to God's way, and made to feel that what He chooses is best.
(T. H. Leale.)
1. Man's choice of rest and safety crossing God's command will not content him long.
2. Man, upon the failing of expected comfort in his own way, may be then moved to try God's
3. Weakness in the best of man may be such as disobediently to do that which sometimes God justly commands; so Lot goeth when God bids not to the place formerly commanded.
4. Naturally man's own will maketh him move faster than the will of God.
5. Solitary and sad may be the peregrinations and habitations of the best families here below. Lot and his daughters in a cave, not a city.
6. Fear of sin and vengeance and evil to come will make a soul fly from its desired refuge in the world .
7. A cave or den in a mountain with God is a better habitation then a palace in a city of sin. Lot chooseth so.
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
And they made their father drink wine.I. THAT SAINTS WHO HAVE BEEN THE SUBJECTS OF EXTRAORDINARY MERCY MAY YET FALL INTO SIN.
II. THAT IT IS DIFFICULT, EVEN FOR THE BEST, TO ESCAPE THE EFFECT OF EVIL ASSOCIATIONS.
III. THE FOLLY OF A WORLDLY CHOICE.
IV. THE WISDOM OF AVOIDING THE OCCASIONS OF SIN.
V. THE AWFUL DEPTHS OF HUMAN DEPRAVITY.
VI. FLESHLY SINS COVER EVEN A FAIR NAME WITH DISHONOUR. VII. THE DANGER OF EXCITEMENT.
VIII. THE FAITHFULNESS OF THE SCRIPTURE RECORD.
(T. H. Leale.)