Saturday, June 17, 2017

Genesis 19:1-29

1 After the two messengers left Abraham and the Lᴏʀᴅ talking together, they traveled to Sodom. As they entered the city gates in the evening, they were greeted by Abraham’s nephew Lot. He was sitting as a city official at the gate. Lot jumped up when he saw them and welcomed them with a very respectful bow -- the kind reserved for dignitaries. 2 He said, “Please come wash your feet and spend the night in your servant’s house. At daylight, you can be up and on your way.”

They replied, “No, we’ll just spend the night in the town square.” 3 But Lot, realizing that would not be such a good idea, very persistently pleaded with them to accompany him so they’d come under the protection of his roof. Eventually, they accepted Lot’s hospitality and went home with him.

Lot made a feast for the visitors that included unleavened bread -- and they ate.

4 Before Lot and the visitors retired for the night, all the men of Sodom -- from the youngest to the oldest -- showed up at Lot’s house and surrounded it. 5 They then called to Lot, “Send out the men who arrived tonight so we can rape them.”

6 Stunned, Lot stepped outside the front door and closed it behind him. 7 He addressed the lawless crowd, “My Brothers, that would be pure evil, the vilest way possible to treat our guests. 8 Look, I’ve got two virgin daughters. I’ll offer them to you -- and you can do whatever you want -- but just leave the outsiders alone. They are now under the protection of my roof.”

9 “Get out of the way!” the ringleaders yelled. “What gives this immigrant the right to tell us what to do? You think we’re going to abuse these guys, wait until you see what we’re going to do to you!”

At that, they shoved Lot aside and rushed the door -- even came close to breaking it down. 10 But during the commotion, the two men inside had somehow managed to reach outside and pull Lot back in. And in the process, they bolted the door shut. 11 The messengers then blinded the men closest to the entrance. From the youngest to the oldest they were all groping about in the dark trying to find the way in. Finally, they gave up and left.

12 The visitors said to Lot, “Who else do you have left here in Sodom? Grab everyone you want to save -- your daughters, their fiancés, your sons -- any other family members. You have to get them out of Sodom 13 because we are about to level this place. The Lᴏʀᴅ finds the cries of injustice against Sodom to be so serious that it needs to be destroyed. That’s why he sent us -- to destroy Sodom.”

14 Lot went to speak with his daughters’ fiancés, and said, “Look, you’ve got to get up and get out. The Lᴏʀᴅ is about to destroy the city.” But the men thought he was joking and ignored him.

15 At first light, the messengers urged Lot to hurry, “Get up and get going NOW! There’s no time left to dillydally. Take your wife and your two daughters and get them out of here! Otherwise, they will be swept away as the city is destroyed.”

16 Lot hesitated. But because the Lᴏʀᴅ graciously desired to save him, the men literally grabbed the hands of Lot, his wife, and two daughters and led them out of the city. Once outside Sodom, the messengers released their grips.

17 Then they gave them instructions, “Run for your lives! Don’t even look back! And you certainly don’t want stay in the valley. Escape to the hills or you will be swept away.”

18 But Lot tried to negotiate with them, “Please, sirs, 19 you’ve already done me a huge favor and have been so kind to save my life. But I can’t move that fast. I’m afraid that if I have to get to the hills the disaster would overtake me and I’d die before I got there.

20 What about that small town over there?” said Lot, as he pointed toward the settlement we now call Zoar. “It’s close enough that I could get us there without a problem. And it’s just a podunk town where nothing happens. Let me go there, and I’ll be safe.”

21 One of the men said to Lot, “Okay, if that’s what you want, I’ll do this for you as well; I’ll spare the town that you have identified. 22 But hurry! Get to safety as fast as you can! I can’t do anything until you get there.”

(Because Lot called it a small town it became known as Zoar -- which means small town.)

23 As the sun started to fill the morning sky Lot arrived in Zoar -- 24 and the judgment began. Suddenly, the skies opened above Sodom and Gomorrah and the Lᴏʀᴅ rained down burning sulfur on them. 25 The Lᴏʀᴅ wiped out these cities and the adjoining valley. All the people who had lived there died, and all the lush vegetation was destroyed.

26 Even so, Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt when she longingly looked back toward Sodom and her life there.

27 That same morning, Abraham returned to the very spot where he had just the day before met with the Lᴏʀᴅ. 28 He looked down the valley toward Sodom and Gomorrah and all he could see was thick black smoke rising from the ground. 29 The point is, when God nuked the cities in the valley where Lot lived, he remembered his friend Abraham and graciously provided a way for his nephew Lot to escape.