Early the next morning, Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the LORD.
Ezekiel 20:49; James 1:24). In his wife, one convinced, but not converted; seeking safety, but with a divided aim (James 1:8). In the angel's help, God's watchful care, even where the need is unknown. Text teaches the responsibility of those who hear the gospel. Dangers surrounding us, but a way of safety (Psalm 101:1; 2 Corinthians 2:16). But not enough to be roused (Matthew 10:22; Hebrews 12:1). Many are awakened to flee, yet look back (Luke 9:62). Lot's wife not deaf to the call; did not think it fancy; really believed; felt the danger, and fled (2 Corinthians 6:17; Revelation 18:4). But the sun rose; the valley beautiful; home attractive; no signs of danger. Must she leave all; and at once? She paused. That pause was death.
I. May be roused by ALARM OF CONSCIENCE and yet look back (cf. Matthew 12:48-45). Some, intent on the world, think not of the future. Preaching seems only a venerable form; prayer a proper homage to God. But as to anything more, no hurry. But a time of anxiety comes. Perhaps a wave of revival, or some special occurrence - illnessIsaiah 28:17). Then in earnest to seek the true refuge (Hebrews 6:18). The Bible read; prayer a real pleading. But the sun arises. The immediate cause passes away. Fears fade away. Then a looking back. Surely some of you can remember times of earnestness. Perhaps in hours of anxious watching, or in preparation for communion, or God has spoken directly to the soul and made you feel his presence (Genesis 28:16, 17). Then the blessedness of accepted salvation was felt. The message was not a parable theft. The Bible and prayer were precious then. But time went on. The immediate influence, gone. All as before. Old ways asserted their power; hard to give them up. In mercy the call once more. Awake; the storm is at hand, though thou, seest it not. Pray that the Holy Spirit may transform thy heart.
II. May be moved by EXAMPLE OF OTHERS, yet turn back. She felt her husband's earnestness, and went with him, but so far only. We know the power of example. When we see those we love affected, we are moved to be as they. So at the preaching of John the Baptist. So at times of missions. Have any felt this influence; been stirred to read and pray? It is well. But has it lasted? For a real saving change there must be a personal transaction with the Lord as a living Savior; a laying hold of him, a real desire and effort that the will and whole nature be submitted to him.
III. A MIGHTIER POWER STILL MAY ACT UPON THE SOUL. While Lot lingered angels laid hold of hands. There are times when God pleads urgently. One refuge after another swept away. Call upon call, sign upon sign, till the will seems conquered. But all is not done (Philippians 3:13). Such pleadings neglected, cease. Observe, God led Lot out of Sodom, not to Zoar. There is work still to be done (2 Peter 1:10). The question is not as to the past, but as to the present. It will not save a man that he was once anxious. Look not back. Look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). Let earnestness in every part of Christian life testify that you are not looking back (Hebrews 10:39). - M.
1. Praying souls are early up to observe God's answer to their desires (Psalm 5:3).
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.)
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. —
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.)
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