To escape or not to escape, how far should we flee from evil? These are questions that we need not struggle with, often in Scripture we are told to free from evil. It’s like when the sergeant says jump, you don’t need to ask how high. Lot continues fateful decisions that will destroy him.
But it’s really Ok
Lot did not take the angels seriously. They came to him at night, and yet he remained in Sodom come morning. The angels “urged Lot” to leave, yet “he lingered.” This reminds me of friends and others I know of who place themselves in situations of temptation. Those who previously had substance abuse issues having received Christ felt they could handle their temptation while trying to reach others. Certainly it is possible, yet so many of them if they return to a bar scene find themselves mixed up in the same troubles as before. Having been saved from something, we should not return to it. Having been warned, Lot should have left. There was no one that Lot could rescue in Sodom, it was time to go. If one is rescued from a substance issue, such as alcohol, the best way to serve is through support programs, not the bar.
But that’s too far
When Lot finally did consent to leave, he complained about his rescue. He was told to get out of the valley. He complained about the distance. Sometimes medicine is difficult to take, yet we take it so we will heal. (Granted, this analogy can breakdown when it comes to end of life care.) Lot, knowing what was to come, nearly refused his own salvation. The count so far is up to two. First, when he remained so long in Sodom. Second, when he argued about where to flee. He says, “this is just a little place.” As if to say, “How evil can they be?” Perhaps it is true, there were righteous people there to spare it. And the punishment for the rest of the valley commences when Lot arrives at Zoar (little).
Not Far Enough
Lot arrives in Zoar when the “sun had risen on the earth.” We know it was already morning when Lot left Sodom, sunrise had already occurred. The timing means that the sun was above the horizon. They had traveled some hours to Zoar. Yet the danger to them within the punishment has not passed, because as we know from the story so many times before, Lot’s wife looks back and turns to salt. We’ll get into this a little more next week, for now, Zoar is not as safe as Lot initially thought. God’s punishment on the valley visits Lot’s wife because she “looked back.” It sounds innocent enough, a curious look behind. Yet it was a disregard for the earlier instruction to “Escape, do not look back, do not stop in the valley.” Lot had bargained about leaving the valley, still the other stipulations applied.
The look may not have been one of curiosity either. What was the condition of her heart in looking back? Longing? For home, was she from Sodom? For settled-life, did she not like the nomadic life? This the text only leaves to our imagination. However, it was not innocent. Lot’s compromise of just a little, kept him close enough to the valley so that his wife could look back. He did not look back. His daughters did not look back. Lot’s failure to get out with his family, left his wife vulnerable. She, of course, was responsible for herself, yet Lot could have prevented this from happening.
When God says…
When God says flee, it would be good to listen. Lot was given plenty of time to get out of Sodom and even the valley. The destruction was stayed until they reached Zoar, it would have been held to the hills had he been willing to go that far. How willing are you to live into God’s grace? Lot seemed to only take it so far in his life and it cost him. How different would life look if you lived fully into God’s grace instead of partly?
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