Before they had gone to bed, all the men of the city of Sodom, both young and old, surrounded the house.
(1) understanding of God's acts;
(2) that he should become a mighty nation;
(3) that he should be ancestor of the promised Seed;
(4) that he himself should be a blessing to others.
Of these points two at least are not confined to him personally, but belong to all who will. To know what God doeth a man must be taught of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14; cf. Isaiah 7:12). There is a wide difference between seeing an event, or even foreseeing it, and understanding God's lessons therein. To be able in everything to mark the love, and care, and wisdom of God; to walk with him as a child, accepting what he sends not merely as inevitable, but as loving; to learn lessons from all that happens, and through the works of his hands to see our Father's face - this is peace, and this is what the wisdom of this world cannot teach (Matthew 11:25; 1 Corinthians 1:20, 21). Again, Abraham was to be not merely the ancestor of a nation, but the father of a spiritual family by influence and example (Matthew 3:9; Galatians 3:7). In this his calling is that of every Christian (Daniel 12:3; Matthew 5:13, 14). Text connects the godly rule of a family with both these blessings. Christianity is not to be a selfish, but a diffusive thing (Matthew 5:15; Matthew 13:83); and the influence must needs begin at home (cf. Numbers 10:29; Acts 1:8), among those whom God has placed with us.
I. THINGS NEEDFUL FOR THIS WORK.
1. Care for his own soul. If that is not cared for a man cannot desire the spiritual good of others. He may desire and try to train his children and household in honesty and prudence; to make them good members of society, successful, respected; and may cultivate all kindly feelings; but not till he realizes eternity will he really aim at training others for eternity. Might say that only one who has found peace can fully perform this work. A man aroused with desire that his family should be saved. But he cannot press the full truth as it is in Jesus.
2. Love for the souls of others. Christians are sometimes so wrapped up in care for their own souls as to have few thoughts for the state of others. Perhaps from a lengthened conflict the mind has been too much turned upon its own state. But this is not the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:24). It is not a close following of him. It tells of a halting in the "work of faith" (2 Corinthians 5:13, 14; cf. Romans 10:1).
3. Desire to advance the kingdom of Christ. When a man has this he sees in every one a soul for which Christ died (cf. John 4:35), and those with whom he is closely connected must chiefly call forth this feeling.
II. THE MANNER OF THE WORK. Family worship; acknowledgment of God as ruling in the household; his will a regulating principle and bond of union. Let this be a reality, not a form. Let the sacrificial work of Christ be ever put forward in instruction and in prayer. Personal example - constantly aiming at a holy life. To pray in the family and yet to be evidently making no effort to live in the spirit of the prayer is to do positive evil; encouraging the belief that God may be worshipped with words, without deeds; and tending to separate religion from daily life. Prayer in private for each member - children, servants, &c.; and watchfulness to deal with each as God shall give opportunity (Proverbs 15:23). Let prayer always accompany such efforts. - M.
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.
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.)
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.
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