Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Lot Loses Everything Except His Life

Lot returned sorrowfully to his home and told the story of his failure. Then the angels bade him take his wife and two daughters who were yet in the house and leave. But Lot delayed. He had no true conception of the debasing iniquity practiced in that vile city. He did not realize the terrible necessity for God’s judgments to put a check on sin. Some of his children clung to Sodom, and the thought of leaving those whom he held dearest on earth seemed more than he could bear. It was hard to forsake his luxurious home and all the wealth of his whole life, to go forth a destitute wanderer. Stupefied with sorrow, he lingered. But for the angels, they would all have perished. The heavenly messengers took him and his wife and daughters by the hand and led them out of the city.

In all the cities of the plain, even ten righteous persons had not been found. But in answer to the patriarch’s prayer, the one man who feared God was snatched from destruction. The command was given with startling vehemence: “Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.” To cast one lingering look upon the city, to tarry for one moment from regret to leave so beautiful a home, would cost their life. The storm of divine judgment was only waiting that these poor fugitives might escape.

But Lot, confused and terrified, pleaded that he could not do as he was required. Living in that wicked city, his faith had grown dim. The Prince of heaven was by his side, yet he pleaded for his own life as though God, who had manifested such love for him, would not still preserve him. He should have trusted himself wholly to the divine Messenger. “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.” Zoar was but a few miles from Sodom, and, like it, was corrupt and doomed to destruction. But Lot asked that it might be spared, urging that this was but a small request. His desire was granted. The Lord assured him, “I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken.”

Again the command was given to hasten, for the fiery storm would be delayed but little longer. But one of the fugitives cast a look backward to the doomed city, and she became a monument of God’s judgment. If Lot himself had earnestly fled toward the mountains without one word of remonstrance, his wife also would have made her escape. His example would have saved her from the sin that sealed her doom. But his hesitancy caused her to lightly regard the divine warning. While her body was on the plain, her heart clung to Sodom, and she perished with it. She rebelled against God because His judgments involved her possessions and children in the ruin. She felt severely dealt with because the wealth that had taken years to accumulate must be left to destruction. Instead of thankfully accepting deliverance, she presumptuously looked back to desire the life of those who rejected the divine warning.

There are Christians who say, “I do not care to be saved unless my companion and children are saved.” They feel heaven would not be heaven without the presence of those who are so dear. But have those who cherish this feeling forgotten that they are bound by the strongest ties of love and loyalty to their Creator and Redeemer? Because our friends reject the Saviour’s love, shall we also turn away? Christ has paid an infinite price for our salvation, and no one who appreciates its value will despise God’s mercy because others choose to do so. The fact that others ignore His claims should arouse us to greater diligence, that we may honor God and lead all whom we can to accept His love.

From Eternity Past, pp.101-103.

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