Andrew McFarland Campbell  

Lot Leaving Sodom

These exhortations were given by me between 1999 and 2005. That was a long time ago, and I have grown a lot since then. They may not reflect my current beliefs.

This morning I want to look at a story of salvation. I want to consider an imperfect man, Lot, and how his faith saved him, and contrast that with a faithless woman, his wife, whose faith failed her.

Luke 17, verses 26 to 35:

And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Remember Lot’s wife. I’m sure we all do remember Lots wife. She looked back to Sodom, and was turned to a pillar of salt, snatching damnation from the jaws of salvation.

Genesis 19 verses 24 to 26:

Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

What was Lot’s wife’s sin? Was it simply that she looked at the cities of the plain as they were being destroyed? Of course not. Abraham looked at the destruction in verses 27 and 28:

And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD: And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.

There is no hint there that Abraham was doing anything wrong.

Could it be that Lot’s wife disobeyed the angel’s instructions? After all, Abraham wasn’t told to look away from Sodom, but Lot and his family were. Verse 17:

And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

“Look not behind thee”. Could these words explain why Lot’s wife died? It’s a very tempting idea. It seems to fit, but there is one detail that doesn’t fit at all. The instruction wasn’t “Look not behind thee”. It was “look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain”. Lot, as we know, survived the destruction of Sodom, yet he disobeyed “neither stay thou in all the plain” as surely as his wife disobeyed “look not behind thee”.

Lot’s disobedience was different. Verses 18 to 20:

And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my LORD: Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.

Lot knew that he would find it very difficult to live in the mountains. When he was told to flee the plain, he was honest and open. He expressed his reasons for wanting to stay in the plain. That part of the instruction was revised. Lot didn’t really disobey it, because it was changed before it became an issue.

The issue here is, I think, the motivation of Lot’s wife. Lot himself had good, honest, reasons for wanting to stay on the plain. Lot’s wife must have had some inappropriate reason for looking back, and it was looking back for an inappropriate reason that cost her her life.

Luke 17 helps us to understand this. Luke 17 draws parallels between the destruction caused by the flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the world situation at the return of Christ.

Luke 17 verses 31 and 32:

In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s wife.

He that was on the housetop wasn’t to go back for his material possessions. He that was in the field was also to leave without his things. The third example Christ uses? Remember Lot’s wife.

Lot’s wife wasn’t just casually glancing over her shoulder. She was looking back with desire. She missed the “stuff in her house”. She missed her comfortable lifestyle in Sodom. She looked back and wanted to be back. It wasn’t because she had left family behind. It was because she had left the “stuff in her house” behind. She wished she had never left Sodom, and, in a way, God granted that wish. If she had stayed she would be dead, so she died.

I think everyone has, at some point, worried that we would be like Lot’s wife, and that is a concern. The story of Lot should give us encouragement though.

Genesis 19,verses 12-19. The angels have just repelled the lynch mob.

And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it. And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law. And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And … he lingered,

He lingered. Lot was told to leave Sodom and he lingered. Lot was vexed by the wickedness of the people of Sodom (2Peter 2:7). He knew what they were like, and yet he lingered.

Why did he linger? It was his sons in law. His sons in law were part of his family, and he cared about them. They wouldn’t follow him, and so his compassion made him linger. Lot’s wife wanted her “stuff”. Lot himself could not bear to loose his sons in law.

And while he lingered, what did the angels do? Did they decide that Lot too was irredeemable? And while he lingered, the men left and Lot was destroyed with Sodom.


And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.

They took Lot, his wife, and his daughters by the hand, and they were lead to safety. The angels were sent to save anything in Sodom that could be saved. They did everything they could to bring Lot and his family to safety. Everything.

They weren’t there to wait for Lot to make one fatal mistake and then leg it while the entire city was destroyed. They were there to save the handful that, imperfect though they were, still cared about God.

We don’t know when Christ will return. It could be in the next ten seconds. It could be after we have all fallen asleep. The message that he has returned is not something we should have any fear about. There are so many reasons to think that we will be given that message in the same way that Lot was told to flee Sodom.

And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him:

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