In Luke 17:32, Christ commands us to not forget someone very important… Lot’s wife. Her life and death is an example that our minds need not get too far from … the consequences of some foolish & selfish choices that brought destruction to an entire family. Lot lost his livelihood when the city was destroyed. Lot lost his wife who was turned into a pillar of salt (although her body left Sodom, her heart never could). Lot lost his daughters when they got him drunk to commit incest with him. We do well to remember Lot, Lot’s wife, and his family. Here are some lessons from the ‘days of Lot’ (Luke 17:28).
Lot came with Abraham from Ur and, when they split up, chose the ‘well-watered plains’ pitching his tent toward Sodom (Gen. 13:10-12). Twenty years later, two angels visit the city for an ‘evaluation’ of sorts (18:20-21). Abraham begs of the LORD, will you spare the city for fifty righteous? What about forty-five? Forty? Don’t be angry with me, but how about thirty? Twenty? I know I’m pushing my luck, but this is my last request… what about for ten? ‘Yes, even for ten righteous will I spare the city.’
A Time of Sensuality – (sensual: driven by the lust of the flesh)
The angels found Lot sitting the in the seat of leadership (at the gate). He was more discerning than he was hospitable as he welcomed the men into his home for the night (he knew the evils of the darkness of this city). When the sun set, just like a zombie flick, the depraved and wicked began their hunt for fresh blood: old and young from every neighborhood… news had traveled fast! Their lust was an unbridled desire (what the NT names: lasciviousness). They were controlled by their senses – what looks good, what tastes good, what smells good, what sounds good, and what feels good! Lot calls their actions ‘wicked’ (v7) – a comment that would not go unnoticed (v9) by the crowd (in this kind of culture – even the truth is framed as judgmental / intolerant by the majority). The problem wasn’t just their sin – but the openness of it (Isaiah 3:9). Sin had lost its shame and guilt. It was just a part of life in Sodom. Do you want to know what God thinks about this kind of sin… Jude 7 says that God’s judgment was in direct relationship / proportion to their sensually-reprobate hearts & actions.
Our culture is just the same – driven by sensuality and sexuality – even within the church. Not too long ago, during the week of the US’s largest pastor’s convention in the upper Midwest (Milwaukee?), hotels hosting thousands of pastors reported an all-time record of porn-rentals. In the last decade, church attendance is up 6% – but so is adultery and fornication within the church (1/3 of Christians have ‘no problem’ with it). Less than 1/3 of high schoolers are still pure by graduation – and 1-in-4 teen girls carry an STD. In America, homosexuality is up 700% in the last decade.
A Time of Selfishness – hedonism (worship of pleasure/pride of life) & materialism (lust of the eye)
The prophet Ezekiel is not afraid to tell what was at the root of Sodom’s real sin problem: pride (Ez. 16:49). The people of Sodom put themselves first. Whatever they wanted, they got for themselves. There were no boundaries, no limits. Their senses were ‘satisfied’ and they had too much time on their hands – nor did they think to offer any of their excess to anyone else. Self-consumed. Self-absorbed. They had become the ultimate pleasure-seekers, the ultimate consumers. Like Solomon (Eccl. 2:1-11), they sought for fulfillment in fun, in risks, in relationships, in accomplishments, in wealth, in stuff-stuff-and-more-stuff. But it did not satisfy (never does). We must realize that God created pleasure (in nature, in artistry/creativity, in love, in family, in worship, in laughter…) and Satan’s desire has always been to counterfeit it. He works us away from the First pleasures, God’s pleasures, the natural pleasures – into those least natural, least pleasurable, least like our Maker. Satan’s formula is simple: ‘an ever-increasing craving for an ever-diminishing pleasure.’
Paul prophesied in 2 Timothy 3:2,4 about the end-times: men shall be ‘lovers of their own selves’ and ‘lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.’ Our culture is a carbon copy of Sodom: what you want, when you want it, as much/more than you want. Price is not object. Patience is not a consideration. Thirty-year-olds sitting at home, wasting their life playing Warcraft, Halo, Call of Duty, Farmtown, Farkle, MafiaWars, and CafeLand. On average, we will spend 10+ years of our life watching the TV; 8+ years of our life surfing the web! It never satisfies. It’s never enough. So we spend more – lots more. Most homes average $7,000 in credit card debt (10 cards). Credit card companies made 5.9 billion on interest in 2008. I know ‘it’s getting better’ but the credit card market has grown by over 50% in last 5 years (1.1 billion cards in use today).
So what does all that do for you & your spirit? It grieves me. It should grieve us all. It grieved Mr. Lot, too. In 2 Peter 2:6-8, the Bible clearly states that Lot was saved and that the sensual, selfish culture around him grieved him every day. But that’s it. It didn’t do much else. You can’t find anywhere else where it motivated him to be different, to change his address, to move out, to take action. Nothing. It just upset him… that’s my problem, too. The culture sickens me, it upsets me, it grieves me – but that’s it. Ephesians 4:30 commands us not to continue in anything that brings grief to the Holy Spirit within you (if you’re saved!).
So what’s the answer? Do you remember God’s question to Abraham & Abraham’s back-and-forth? God was looking for righteousness… for 50, 45, 40, 30, 20, 10. Are there ten who are not caught up in pleasure-seeking, ten not blood-saturated from today’s violence, ten not drawn into the materialism, ten who haven’t given in to the sensual culture. What if God asked you… ‘Are there ten righteous (holy) people? Ten in your county? Ten in your church? Ten in your family?’
Leviticus 11:45 For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. Leviticus 20:7, 26 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God. And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.
God didn’t just save me from hell – He saved me from sin. The goal of my salvation is not heaven, it’s holiness. God didn’t save me just to get me out of the punishment / penalty of my sin – but out of the power of sin! Remember Luke 17:28-30 – “as it was in the days of Lot… even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”