“And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;” (Genesis 19:1)
The last time we saw Lot, he was being rescued by his Uncle Abraham from captivity under the forces of Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14). Now, we meet him again in Genesis 19: and this time he is firmly settled in Sodom. We are told here that he was sitting at the gate, and as we learn later in the Bible, this was a position of prominence in the cities of the day; a place where the elders of the community presided over the affairs of the people (e.g., Deuteronomy 25:7). Lot apparently had no intentions of just passing through Sodom, he was putting down some roots. As Lot sees the two angels approaching the city gates late in the day, he goes out to meet them and offer them a place to stay in his own home. He was keenly aware of the fate that would await these strangers if they did not have the refuge of his home to sleep in that night; we are told that he pressed them greatly, insisting that they stay with him after they suggested that they would remain in the streets after nightfall.
“And if [the Lord] rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);” (2 Peter 2:7-8 ESV)
Lot’s story is a very sad one. It is a tale of compromise and mixed devotion. Peter tells us that Lot was a righteous man, something we may have never really guessed by seeing the sordid details of his life. Lot believed God, he believed in God: Lot was a saved man. But Lot was certainly not a man who lived above all reproach, avoiding the very appearance of evil. It seems that he was more like those whom Jude describes as being pulled out of the fire, their garments spotted by the flesh (Jude 23). Lot’s troubles did not just come upon him suddenly. Like all who wander from the holy path that God intends for them to tread upon, it was the culmination of one bad decision, one undealt with sin after another. It all started way back when “he lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan” (Genesis 13:10). The seeds of our errors come when we look away from the things of God and set our eyes upon the things of the world.
There is so much talk and debate and argument today over whether or not we can lose Salvation. Can the child of God live any way he pleases and remain a saved believer? I once saw a little toddler with a T-shirt that said “How much can I get away with and still go to Heaven?” Sadly, there are many in the Church with just this attitude. So many have such little concern about living for God in this life; they seem to be only concerned with ending up in Hell or not. What a terrible state of affairs! Lot lived among the wicked in Sodom, and he did so by his own choice. But what was the cost to him in so doing? In a word: he lost everything. Yes, he remained saved, that much is true. But he lost his career, his home, his possessions, his friends, his wife, his sons-in-law, his status, his reputation, his witness for God, his testimony, and the virtue of his two daughters. But, yes, I will concede that he retained his Salvation.
In addition to all of this, Lot suffered the daily torment of living among the wickedness and evil of the people of Sodom. Peter tells us that this “righteous man” was tormented in his “righteous soul.” After we have come to faith in Christ, we simply cannot live like the rest of the world without paying a tremendous price in our own hearts. Just ask the believer who struggles with addiction, or remains bound by a habitual sin. If they have come to a genuine faith in Christ, then they are in agony! There is absolutely no peace for the back-slidden Christian. Let us learn from the unfortunate life of Lot and put away all sinfulness. Let us live for God today. May we put down our own roots, not in Sodom, not in the world, but in the place that God has prepared for us. This world is not our home; let us not be guilty of “firmly settling” here.