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Genesis 19

Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed (19:1–29)

Then the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with burning sulfur rained down from heaven. Ever since then, Sodom and Gomorrah have remained a symbol of worldliness and wickedness and an example of how God punishes the ungodly (Luke 17:28–29; Jude 7).

Lot and his family had already reached Zoar—had reached safety—but then Lot’s wife looked back (verse 26). She disobeyed the angels; she looked back at Sodom with longing; her heart was still in Sodom. Because of her disobedience, she was turned into a pillar of salt. Her fate, too, has become a proverbial example of the consequences of disobedience: Remember Lot’s wife! (Luke 17:32–33).

27–29 The account of Sodom and Gomorrah ends with Abraham looking down on the smoking ruins. In verse 29, we are told that God remembered Abraham; He remembered Abraham’s prayer that the righteous might not be destroyed with the wicked (Genesis 18:23–25). Here we see a picture of a righteous man, Lot, being rescued from the midst of the unrighteous through the intercessory prayer of Abraham, God’s friend. In the same way, God will remember our intercessory prayers. He may not grant our exact requests; He did not spare Sodom, as Abraham had asked. Instead, He rescued Lot out of Sodom, which—at least for Lot—was better.

So it was God’s mercy, activated by Abraham’s prayer, that resulted in Lot’s salvation. We too, as friends of God, have the great privilege of approaching Him with our requests on behalf of others. Not only is it our privilege; it is also our duty (1 Timothy 2:1). And God will remember our requests.

Lot and His Daughters (19:30–38)

30–35 In this section we are told of the wicked but successful scheme of Lot’s two daughters to preserve their family line by sleeping with their father.

Though Lot had been saved from Sodom, he had not been saved from himself. It proved easier to take Lot out of Sodom than to take Sodom out of Lot. Like Noah before him (Genesis 9:20–21), Lot was led into sin through drunkenness. Lot, who had invited the men of Sodom to have sex with his daughters, now ended up having sex with them himself.

36–38 The daughters, of course, bore the greatest guilt. Incest is a sin condemned by every culture in the world. Lot’s daughters had taken on the sinful character of the people of Sodom. And the sons born to them would be similarly affected. The elder daughter’s son, Moab, became the father of the Moabites (verse 37); the younger daughter’s son, Ben-Ammi, became the father of the Ammonites (verse 38). The Moabites and Ammonites later were to become bitter enemies of Abraham’s descendants, the Israelites. Though they were Israel’s relatives, they were excluded from Israel’s worship (Deuteronomy 23:3–4). Though their territories bordered on the “promised land,” they were never to enjoy its blessings.

So ends the story of Lot. He was not considered a wicked man like the Sodomites; but when he separated from Abraham and went to live near Sodom (Genesis 13:11–12), he forfeited the blessings God had wanted to give him. Such is the end of all those who shun godly company and associate themselves with the glitter of the world.

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