April 22, 2014

Commentary on the Book of Genesis

By: Tom Lowe

                      

Lesson II.D.3: The Two Angels Entertained by Lot. Gen. 19:1-11.   

                                                                                      

Genesis 19:1-11 (KJV)

 

1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;

2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.

3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.

4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:

5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.

6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,

7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.

8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

9 And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.

10 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.

11 And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.

 

 

Introduction

This chapter records God’s judgment on a morally bankrupt Canaanite civilization, but it also provides a severe warning against others becoming like them: it was difficult to get Lot out of Sodom, and Sodom out of Lot’s family.

 

Lot was a good citizen, hospitable and generous (vs. 2-3), and a leader of the community. Actually he was a judge, for he “sat in the gate of Sodom (v. 1).” Judges usually sat by the city gates, public places where legal and business transactions were finalized . . .

  • So Ephron's field in Machpelah near Mamre—both the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field—was deeded to Abraham as his property in the presence of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of the city. (Gen. 23:17-18)
  • "When I went to the gate of the city and took my seat in the public square, (Job 29:7)

As a judge Lot sought to screen out the wickedness of his townsfolk and to give advice on good living. He knew truth and justice, righteousness and evil. He was a righteous man . . .

  • and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) (2 Pe. 2:7-8)

Yet despite his denunciation of their lifestyle, he liked the good life of Sodom’s society. He preferred making money off its citizens to staying in the hills where there would be no filthy living but also no “good life.”

  • Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: (Ge. 13:10-11)

The hour of truth came with the visitation from on high. Lot seemed godly and pure, but he was hypocritical. His words were not taken seriously.

  • So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, "Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!" But his sons-in-law thought he was joking. (Ge. 19:14)

The “saint” at first pitched his tent near Sodom, but later Sodom controlled his life. He was moral, for he opposed sodomy and homosexuality; he knew great evil when he saw it. But ironically, he was willing to sacrifice his daughter’s virginity to fend off the vice of sodomite men (v. 8). He escaped judgment by the grace of God, but his heart was in Sodom.

 

Commentary

1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;

 

These two angels (who had taken human form) visit Lot in Sodom to announce the looming judgment of God on that wicked city. I doubt that they wasted any time looking for those ten righteous men{1], since they probably already knew that Lot was the only one. Only the two angels visited Lot, for the Lord could not find fellowship with Lot and his family as He did with Abraham and Sarah. Even though Lot was a believer, his life was such that the Lord did not feel “at home” with him. It is the separated believer who enjoys the close walk (2 Cor. 6:14-18){2] and communion (John 14:21-24){3] with the Lord. In Genesis 18:33, we are told, “And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham;” He would not accompany his angels to Sodom.

 

Notice that Lot was setting in the gate of Sodom which indicates that he had achieved some prominence among his fellow citizens in the wicked city. What's more, Lot and his family were connected to the citizens by marriage. I cannot let that go by without calling attention to the fact that the ones who sat in the gate of a city were the judges. This man Lot not only moved to Sodom, but he also got involved in politics down there. Here he is a petty judge setting in the gate and meting out justice to the people. But to the heavenly visitors, weak, worldly, selfish Lot must have been a pathetic figure.


Had Lot gone to Sodom because the Lord had directed him to go there, it would have been a different matter, because his being there would have fulfilled divine purposes. After all, God put Joseph in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon, and Esther in Persia; and their presence turned out to be a blessing. Worldliness is not a matter of physical geography but of heart attitude . . .

  • Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 4:15-17)

Lot’s heart was in Sodom long before his body arrived there. No doubt he got his first love for the world when he went to Egypt with Abraham, and he never overcame it.

  • So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him.
  • Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)

2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.

 

Lot was an honorable man. When these strangers came, he invited them to his home, and they came in. At first, however, they were reluctant—“And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. In other words they said, “We’ll just stay outside. We don’t dare inconvenience you.” And they said this for a purpose, of course. Where there were no inns and no acquaintances, it was not uncommon for travelers to sleep in the street wrapped in their cloaks.

 

Lot’s invitation to the two angels (vs. 1-3) to partake of his hospitality was most likely not just courtesy, but an effort to protect them from the known perversity of the Sodomites (See v. 8, “this is the reason”). The men’s initial refusal to accept the hospitality which Lot offered them may have been intended merely as an act of oriental politeness, or it may be that what the Holy Spirit had in mind here is that they had come to investigate conditions in the city.

 

These two men must have had dirty feet. Of course, if you had walked from the plains of Mamre down into Sodom wearing nothing but sandals, your feet would need washing, also. Again, I call your attention to this custom of that day which was practiced by those who extended hospitality to strangers. Having their feet washed was both necessary and refreshing.

 

3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.

 

Now these men have another feast. They had a feast with Abraham; they now have a feast with Lot. I imagine angels can eat a lot.

 

They had brought out something when they said, “We’ll just stay outside and sleep in the street or in the park,” and Lot says to them, “You don’t do that in Sodom. It’s dangerous! Your life wouldn’t be worth a ‘plug nickel’ if you did that.” May I say that after reading about the crime and murders going on in America’s cities, and particularly in Detroit, I think that maybe Detroit should change its name to Sodom. It would not be safe for you to sleep on the streets of Detroit; in fact, it is not safe at all to be on the streets of Detroit at night. Many women who live alone will not come out to church at night. One dear saint of God said, “I just lock my door when it gets dark, and I do not open that door until the next morning at daylight. It’s not safe in my neighborhood to even walk on the streets.” The days of Sodom and Gomorrah are here again, and practically for the same reason. Lot says, “No, men, do not sleep on the street. It wouldn’t be safe for you.” The sin of Sodom was unnatural sex. Lot therefore knew only too well what remaining in the street all night would have meant, and “he pressed upon them greatly (continued to appeal to them)” to come to his house; finally, they came in.

 

4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:

5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.

 

The crowd surrounded Lot’s house in order to seal off all avenues for escape. It was a huge mob with young and old men from every part of the city, which suggests that everyone living there were practicing homosexuals. Why were they there? They wanted to have homosexual relations (literally, “to know,” i.e., sexually) with these two who they thought were men. As angels they were apparently handsome.

 

This is a sickening scene which reveals the degradation of this city—the city of Sodom. The name that has been put on this sin from that day to this is sodomy. Apparently there was no attempt made in the city of Sodom to have a church for this crowd and to tell them that they were alright in spite of the fact that they practiced this thing. May I say to you that the Word of God is specific on this, and you cannot tone it down. Sodomy is an awful sin. God’s attitude toward this vile behavior became clear when He destroyed the city (vs. 23-29). All homosexual behavior is prohibited and condemned by God . . .

  • Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. (Lev. 18:22)
  • For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. (Lev. 18:29)
  • If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (Lev. 20:13) Later, the law would group homosexuality with incest and bestiality.
  • For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: (Rom. 1:26)
  • Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (1 Cor. 6:9)
  • For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; (1 Tim. 1:10)

 

When this man Lot had gone down into the city of Sodom, he did not realize what kind of city it was—I am sure of that. He got down there and found out that perversion was the order of the day, and he brought up his children, his sons and his daughters in that atmosphere. When he had earlier pitched his tent toward Sodom, he had looked down there and seen the lovely streets and boulevards and parks and public buildings. And he had seen the people as they were on the outside, but he had not seen what they really were. The sin of this city was so great that God is now going to judge it. Outside of Lot’s family there was not one righteous man in any quarter of the city; it was worse that Abraham had dared to suggest (Ge. 18:32{1]). God is going to destroy the city.

 

Let’s draw a sharp line here. There is a new attitude toward sin today. There is a gray area where sin is not really as black as we once thought it was. The church has compromised on sin until it is pitiful. In Southern California there is a church made up of those who are homosexuals, and low and behold, they all admit that the pastor of the church is one also! May I say to you, the lesson of Sodom and Gomorrah is a lesson for this generation. God is not accepting this kind of church.

 

The idea today seems to be that you can become a child of God and continue on in sin. God says that is impossible—you cannot do that, and this city of Sodom is an example of that fact. Paul asks the question: “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Rom. 6:1-2). The idea that you can be a Christian and go on in sin is a tremendous mistake, especially to make light of it, as I judge is being done in this case.

 

This is what they were doing in Sodom and Gomorrah—practicing the vilest, most unspeakable brand of sin, openly and brazenly—and God destroyed those cities. The angels who had come under divine orders to discover the extent of human depravity there, needed no further discovery. Don’t say that we have a primitive view of God in Genesis but that we have a better view today. Don’t use that argument, because, after all, Jesus received sinners. He sure did, but when He got through with them, He had changed them. The harlot who came to Him was no longer in that business. When she came to God, she changed. That is the same thing that happened to other sinners. A tax collector came to him, and he left the seat of customs. He gave up that which was crooked when he came to the Lord. If you have come to Christ you will be changed, maybe not at once, but it will happen. I have been told that I am living in the past and I need to wake up because it is a new day. Well friend, we are living in a new day, but it just happens to be Sodom and Gomorrah all over again.

 

6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,

7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.

 

The men of Sodom were outside the door, asking that these guests in the home of Lot be turned over to them. Lot said, “I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.” That is the way Lot looked at it, and he had been down there in Sodom a long time. It wasn’t new morality to him; it was just old sin.

 

Lot’s pleas for righteousness were wasted on the Sodomites, for now they saw a different side of their judge (v. 9)

 

8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

 

When a man entertained a guest in that day, he was responsible for him. Lot was willing to sacrifice his two unmarried daughters to the lust of the crowd (See Judges 19) to protect his guests, but the angels intervened. What had happened to Lot’s personal values that he would offer his daughters to satisfy the sensual appetites of a mob? Lot’s response may reveal tension in his ethics; his offer to gratify their sexual lust contradicted his plea not to act “so wickedly (v. 7).” Such contradiction made clear also the vexation of spirit under which he lived in wicked Sodom: “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked” (2 Pe. 2:6-7). Though it is impossible to see into Lot’s heart, we must assume that the constraints of Eastern hospitality and the very purpose for which Lot had invited the visitors in (vs. 2-3) compelled Lot to offer his daughters for a less deviant kind of wickedness, in order to protect his guests. This foolish effort shows that while Lot was right with God (See 2 Pe. 2:7-8), he had contented himself with some sins and weak faith rather than leaving Sodom. But God was gracious with him because he was righteous, by faith, before God. Lot’s offer of his daughters does him no credit and made their later disrespect for his person less surprising.

 

I must pause at this point because this whole incident reminds me of perhaps the most horrible reality of our day done in the name of religion. Muslims have what they call sharia law: Islamic law based on the Koran. News reports in recent years have told of fathers killing their daughters for such things as converting to Christianity, wearing western style clothes, having a boyfriend who is not a Muslim, and saying anything against Islam. It has even happened in America. I cannot find anything good in a religion which would condone this practice.

 

9 And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.

 

They angrily refused Lot’s offer of his two daughters, and their accusation—“This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge”—suggests that Lot had made moral pronouncements before, but they could no longer tolerate his evaluation. Homosexual deviation carries an uncontrollable lust that defies restraint. The statement “that they wearied themselves to find the door” indicates that even when blinded they tried to fulfil their lust (v. 11).

 

10 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.

 

At this point the visitors who had been listening to the conversation—Lot was outside and the door was shut—intervened “and pulled Lot into the house,” “and shut the door.”

 

11 And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.

 

If Lot’s guests had not done this, both they and Lot would have been destroyed, because that was the intention of the men of Sodom. Lot was a righteous man, but the salvation of the most righteous men must be attributed to God’s mercy, not to their own merit. We are saved by grace. When men are converted and delivered from their sinful state it can only happen through the ministry of the Spirit and the power of God. If God had not called us and the Spirit had not influenced our heart and mind we would never have come to Him. 

 

“Blindness,” in this case may not mean the lack of sight, but a sudden striking of the tormentors with a severe disorientation that frustrated their purpose.

 

The name of Sodom has become synonymous with the sin of homosexuality or sodomy. But sexual perversion was not the only cause of the city’s fall. In Ezekiel 16:49-50{4], the Lord describes the sin of Sodom as pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness. Another dimension to the story that can be easily overlooked is the apparent ruthless determination of the Sodomites to harm and molest apparent defenseless people (strangers to whom every hospitality was due), in spite of appeals made by Lot.

 

Lot was now being protected by those whom he had earlier sought to protect.

 

Note the progression of Lot’s tragic fall:

  • First, Lot looked longingly at Sodom (13:10).
  • Then he chose the area of ground near Sodom (13:11).
  • Next he pitched his tent toward Sodom (13:12).
  • Then he moved right into the city (14:12).
  • Finally, he gave his energy (19:1-11) and even offered his own daughters (19:8, 12-14; 30-38) to the Sodomites.

 

HOMOSEXUALITY

Like all other sinners, a homosexual or lesbian can be saved if he or she repents of sin and receives the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior.

 

There is a difference between being a practicing homosexual, and having homosexual tendency. It is the practice that the Bible condemns, not the orientation. There are many who have an attraction to their own sex but refuse to give in to it. By the power of the Spirit they have disciplined themselves to resist the temptation and to live in purity.

 

 

Some blame God and say that they were born with this tendency, but the fault does not lie with God but with human sinfulness. Some have a weakness in one area, some in another. The sin is not in being tempted, but in yielding to the temptation.

 

 

Christians should accept gays and lesbians as persons without approving of their lifestyle. Because they are people for whom Christ died, believers should attempt in every possible way to win them to a life of “holiness, without which no one will see the Lord”—“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).

 

 

 

scripture reference and special notes

 

{1] Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?" He answered, "For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it."

 

{2] (2 Cor. 6:14-18) Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."

 

{3] (John 14:21-24) Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

 

{4] (Ezekiel 16:49-50) Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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