And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where…
Alypius, a friend of St. , had a great horror of the bloody combats of gladiators, one of the favourite amusements of that age. Being urged by his companions to be a spectator of these brutal sports, he obstinately refused, and they drew him to the amphitheatre against his will. All took their seats, and the games began. Alypius resolutely shut his eyes that he might not witness the horrible spectacle. "Would to God," said Augustine, "he had also stopped his ears!" Hearing a piercing cry, curiosity got the better of him, and he incautiously opened his eyes to see what had happened. One of the gladiators had received a dreadful wound; but no sooner had Alypius discovered the bloody stream issuing from the wretch's side, than his finer sensibilities were blunted, and he joined in the shouts and exclamations of the noisy mob about him. From that moment he was a changed man — changed for the worse; not only attending such sports himself, but urging others to do likewise. Very trifling circumstances show the bent and bias of our minds. A feather, floating on the breeze, may indicate the direction of the wind which is to determine the fate of a squadron, and involve the downfall of an empire. Something closely allied to this may be observed in the moral world. Traits of character, and prevailing tendencies of mind and heart, are distinctly marked by actions which, in themselves, are the merest trifles. When the sacred penman tells us that after Lot's unwise separation from Abraham he "pitched his tent toward Sodom," we discover much more in the simple statement than appears on the surface. It would be simply absurd to pass a sweeping censure upon the world, and its pursuits and pleasures; for these, within lawful limits, are well and right. No one in his senses, however, will deny that there is such a sin as worldliness, and it is one which all consistent Christians will strive to keep clear of. Worldliness, be it remembered, is determined by the spirit of our lives, rather than by the objects which occupy us. There may be much apparent conformity to the world, without any real violation of the Divine law or neglect of duty. The Lord Mayor of London, who, while presiding over the festivities of Guildhall, withdrew long enough from the scene of gaiety and splendour that he might attend family worship in his own house, was an example of a good man living in the world without yielding to evil influences or forgetting his higher obligations to God. Our daily papers often contain advertisements like this: "Wanted, a boy to attend bar!" It might as well read, "Wanted, a boy to be ruined, body and soul." Let the bright, earnest lad, standing on the threshold of life, shun such tempting offers as this! Even the innocent pleasures of the world, if found amongst evil associations are not as the waters of the Nile, leaving, when they are gone, the germs of fertility and beauty to bud and blossom, and causing the heart to rejoice; but like those unwholesome streams, polluted by the washings of poisonous minerals, depositing the seeds of disease and death for all who taste them. It may be a question of life, or death, with us — the life, or death, of the soul — whether, in any of these ways, we have pitched our tent toward Sodom.
(J. N. Norton, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
WEB: Lot lifted up his eyes, and saw all the plain of the Jordan, that it was well-watered everywhere, before Yahweh destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, like the garden of Yahweh, like the land of Egypt, as you go to Zoar.