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The very same day that God told Abraham the happy news that Sarah would have a baby, God also had some sad news.
God said, “Abraham, because I have chosen you and we’re good friends, I want you to know what’s going on. There is a great and loud crying-out against evil in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. So I’m on My way there now to see for Myself if what I’ve been hearing is really true.”
When Abraham heard this, he thought about his nephew Lot. Remember how Lot had put his tent in a little place close to Sodom? Well, now Lot was living in the middle of Sodom.
Sodom was a very worldly and wicked place. Yet Lot had purposefully set up his tent so he could just peek out his tent door and see what was happening over there in the wicked Sodom. But when you let your eyes peek, peek, peek at bad things (things God doesn’t want your eyes to see), you’ll eventually end up living in the middle of those bad things because Sodom-watching leads to Sodom-living. And the Bible says Lot was absolutely miserable because of these choices. So please don’t make choices to peek at bad or world-loving things, ok?
Abraham didn’t want Lot and his family to be destroyed with all the people who disobeyed God. And Abraham wondered about others in the city who may be righteous, so Abraham asked God, “God, what if You find 50 people that do what is right in those cities? Will You destroy them along with all the people who disobey You?”
God answered him, “No, Abraham. Because you’ve asked, I won’t destroy these cities at all if I can find 50 people there who do what’s right.”
As Abraham thought about it, he wasn’t sure if God would be able to find 50 people who did what was right. So, Abraham decided he’d better ask again.
“God, what if You only find 45 people who do what’s right?”
“Okay, Abraham. I won’t destroy the cities if I find 45 people there who do what is right,” God answered.
Abraham still wasn’t sure God would find 45 people. So he asked again, “God, what about 40? or 30? 20? What about just 10?”
By the time God and Abraham were done talking, God had agreed that if He found only 10 people who did what was right in the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah, then He would not destroy the towns at all. (Ten is not very many. Do you think God will find 10 people who are righteous?)
Later that evening, the two angels who had been with God arrived at the town of Sodom.
Just then, a man who was sitting by the gate spoke to them. It was Lot!
“Please, sirs, if you need a place to stay the night and a warm dinner, honor me by coming to my house,” said Lot.
At first the angels said, “No, it’s okay.” But Lot insisted, so the two angels followed him back to his house.
After Lot fed the two angels, one of the angels said, “Lot, we need to tell you something. God sent us here to destroy this city. You and your family need to leave. And if you have anyone else you want to get out of here, you’d better hurry.”
Lot took off and tried to convince two men who were engaged to his daughters to come with them, but they thought he was just joking and they wouldn’t come. There was nothing more Lot could do for them, so Lot hurried home… alone.
As morning time approached, God had not found 10 righteous people there, so the angels were getting ready to destroy the towns. But Lot was taking too long to get out of there! The angels said, “Hurry up! And get your wife and daughters out of here or you will be destroyed with the towns!”
But Lot hesitated for some reason. (I don’t know why. Not sure if he wasn’t wanting to leave his stuff or his house or what. But when God tells you to get movin’, you need to get movin’!) When the angels saw Lot hesitating, they grabbed Lot and his family by their hands and quickly led them all the way outside the city gate. (Whew… That was a close one. God was very merciful to not just leave them there when Lot hesitated.)
Now outside the gate one of the angels pointed to the mountains and said, “Run for your lives! Don’t look back and don’t stop until you reach those mountains. Do you see the mountains? RUN! RUN! RUN! NOW! and DON’T LOOK BACK!”
Would you believe that Lot talked back to the angel and said, “Oh… please don’t make me go to the mountains. Can I just go back to this little small place over there instead?”
Unbelievable. Lot is just asking for more trouble. But the angels had had enough of this. They needed to go, and fast. So they said, “Okay, Lot, have it your way. But get out of here — and fast! Run!”
Lot and his family ran. They ran as quickly as they could.
But as they were running to their little small place, Lot’s wife began to think about how hard this felt. “Why do we have to leave? What about all the pretty things in my house — my plates and cups, my nice table and chairs, and the pretty dress that Lot just bought for me. Would there be anything left? Will I get to go back for it later? And what about all the fun in Sodom? Will I ever get to have that fun again?”
Just then Lot, his wife, and their two daughters finally arrived at the small place, the little town of Zoar. BOOM! BAM! BANG! They could hear God’s judgment raining down on the wicked cities behind them.
Continuing in her thoughts, Lot’s wife thought, “What is happening back there?! I’ll just take a quick, tiny, little peek to see for myself what’s happening…”
And as she looked over her shoulder, whatever she saw was the last thing she ever saw because Lot’s wife turned into a statue of salt.
The Bible doesn’t tell us exactly why Lot’s wife turned around. It could have been her stuff or her friends or she could have just been curious to see for herself what was happening back there. But no matter what her reason for looking back, we know for sure that the angels from God told Lot and his family to leave their house and DON’T LOOK BACK! And when God says “leave it and don’t look back” — then you leave it, and don’t look back! Okay?
God judged the wicked cities. He sent down burning stone from the sky to completely burn up Sodom and Gomorrah.
The next morning Abraham looked out across the plain toward the city where Lot lived. All he could see was a black, smoky sky and the towns that were still burning, and he knew then that God hadn’t found in those big cities even 10 people who loved Him and did what was right. That’s so sad for God, huh?
But God in His kindness and remembering His friend Abraham, had saved Lot’s life.
Even though God was so merciful to Lot, Lot and his daughters never made choices to change and make their lives really pleasing to God. They just lived in a cave in their little small place. I wonder what their lives could have looked like if they would have run, run, run all the way to the mountains like God wanted? Or better yet, if they had never faced their tent to peek out at Sodom in the first place?