When the angel grabbed his hand, Lot knew that he had made too many bad decisions. His mind flashed back to probably his worse decision: to leave his uncle Abraham and break out on his own.
For years his business grew. The prominence of success brought more employees and the need to constantly expand. It got to the point that Abraham asked him to leave, but not in a bad.
Abraham gave him a choice, “You get to choose where you want to go, if you go to the left, then I’m going to go to the right.” That moment, standing with his uncle looking out over the vast land, he felt empowered. No longer did he have to follow along and do things like Abraham did.
He could be his own man–finally!
Lot looked and saw that the land near Sodom and Gomorrah was lush and green. The land looked big enough for his entire employee roster to set up their own tents and spread out after living so tightly connected to Abraham’s crew.
With confidence, he chose that lush, green valley. His business could only flourish in such a wonderful place and near the twin cities of wealth and splendor.
Abraham agreed trying to hide his apprehension.
Mistake #1, leaving God’s blessings for you own blessings.
Event though Lot was taught the ways of the God of Heaven by Abraham, there was still something more that he wanted. The promise of a great nation was given to Abraham, not him. He didn’t have a promise to cling to, he had to make his own promise.
The angels grabbed his daughters by their hands and together, they were rescued.
This wasn’t Lot’s first rescue. He had been powerless before and still felt the scars from the rope burns when the Five Kings fought against the Four Kings. He was on the losing side and that day, watching his daughters and wife being taken away hurt his heart.
The only solace he had was that they were all taken and he did not have to sit at home imagining all the horrors that could be happening.
He remembered praying, asking the God of Heaven, to rescue him from all his troubles.
Before they could far, Abraham came to his rescue. His mighty men, the men he treated better than employees, they were with him and attacked the tail end of the prisoner caravan. Lot knew that it was the God of Heaven that kept them all in the back, far enough for the powerful kings to notice.
Returning back with Abraham, his uncle looked at him with pride and joy. Lot knew that Abraham did not see him as a disappointment. His uncle was only overjoyed to have rescued his family and without losing anyone to the sword.
Mistake #2, giving into fear.
Lot was returned and all that was taken from him was returned. He was back in business, but the scars of being pillaged brought fear into his heart. He could return with Abraham, maybe scale back his business and let a few employees start their own thing. But that would be an admission of failure. The shame of powerlessness overcame him and he didn’t want to be powerless. If he returned with Abraham, he would be back to where he started. That would be worse than living a life of slavery under the Five Kings.
He decides, to move into Sodom.
At first, it seemed like a great move. They were welcoming people, they were shrewd business people and very smart. The city had a system of justice and ways of handling foreigners that seemed fair.
But, a few months living there, things didn’t look as nice. Lot’s wife assured him that it was just city life and they were so used to being shepherds, that things only looked weird but were normal–for a city.
At night, he convinced himself that even if Sodom wasn’t what he expected, at least they were safe behind strong walls. Outside, they would be totally vulnerable and he couldn’t sleep knowing that his family could be taken away like last time.
Mistake #3, compromising your faith.
A few more months and they had given him a position with power. He never saw himself as a politician, but with much persuading and the constant stroking of his ego, the city leaders convinced Lot that he should sit at the gate to oversee visitors that were like him. He wouldn’t be able to make decisions over the citizens of Sodom, but he could judge between people of his kind. More than likely, they were referring to shepherds and even more likely, they were referring to Abraham’s employees which were steadily growing in number and wealth.
Lot enjoyed the small power they gave him and when he started getting traffic to his side of the gate, he felt accomplished. It was a different kind of feeling than caring for sheep and goats. People acknowledged him and made him feel important. To his kind, they were grateful to have some one with whom they had things in common. The system was working out for him and his family and it wasn’t long before older father’s began to question him about his daughters.
The memories of captivity faded and life felt good again. Well, mostly good. There were a few things that Lot noticed that he didn’t like.
The people of Sodom weren’t very moral people. During the day, they seemed to be okay, but at night, Lot didn’t like what he was seeing. The drunken fights, the prostitutes and gambling. It got to the point that Lot would retire early to his house and lock the door behind him. Inside the walls of his home he could push out the thought of how vile the people were. For a moment, he was glad that he wasn’t their kind.
When his conscience got the best of him, he would go out late at night and find men, sprawled out on the floor, drunk out of their minds. He’d clean their vomit from off their beards and gently coach them to a level of consciousness that could get them home.
He would talk to them about how this life they were living was harmful to their bodies and souls. Some nights, he would become so frustrated with their sinful behavior that he would yell out, “Turn from your sinful behavior, turn before something worse happens to you.”
They laughed at him. He knew they would laugh but deep inside, he felt compelled to do something, to say something. At home, he would pray for them, asking the God of Heaven, the God of Abraham to have mercy and rescue them from His judgment.
The two angels ran like the wind and Lot couldn’t feel his feet touch the ground. He wasn’t sure if he was airborne or just in shock. He could hear his wife and daughter crying and screaming. His girls were only teenagers.
Lot was rescued from Sodom before God destroyed it. No one would be left alive because God’s judgment was finally coming.
1 Peter 2:6-8
…and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example of what is coming for the ungodly; and if He rescued righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the perverted conduct of unscrupulous people (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from a trial…
God knows how to rescue the godly from a trial. Lot didn’t appear to be godly. He made mistake after mistake. We wouldn’t have done much different, we would hope that we would, but we probably wouldn’t. Or haven’t.
Lot made mistakes and compromises that slowly wore away at his resolve to serve God. Even though his “righteous soul” was tormented by the sinful behavior of the people, he still felt a connection to the people. So much so that the angels had to forcibly remove him and his family from the fire bomb that was coming.
Peter’s letter points more to God’s ability than Lot’s inability to lead his family in safety. God rescued Lot despite the mistakes he made. Deep inside, Lot believed in God and God rescued him and his family because of His promise to Abraham: He would not destroy the righteous with the wicked.
What can we take away from this re-telling?
First, God has a plan for those who trust in Jesus for their salvation. His plan is to give us a hope and a future. To bless the work of our hands with prosperity. To bless our children with a heritage and a faith in Christ.
Second, it doesn’t always work out that way…at first. Because of our stubbornness, pride and sinfulness, we can make mistakes that jeopardize our future. Some things we may never get to experience because our mistakes have disqualified us, but we will never be disqualified from God’s love. He will never disown us as His children and He will rescue us in times of trouble.
Third, Peter isn’t talking about a sinful person, he’s talking about a righteous person. Lot was righteous. We may not have all the details, but the Holy Spirit moved upon Peter to write those words.
Lastly, 1 Peter 2 isn’t talking about rescuing sinners from their sins. He’s talking about saints who were being persecuted for Christ’s sake. They were being persecuted because of their unwavering belief and confession that Jesus is the Son of God. That Jesus paid the price for our sins at the cross and rose on the third day, alive and full of power. They were enduring trials because of the Gospel.
And…God is able to rescue the godly from trials, including some of us who make trials for ourselves by compromising our values, like Lot.