I want to speak to you after this reading on 'Lot's Chosen Lot' - and so in this chapter we read about this man, and we're going to survey some other chapters in the book of Genesis to see the path that Lot chose, and the result of it.
Verse 1 of Genesis 19: "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; 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. 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. 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: 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. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. 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. 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. But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. 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. And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it. And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.
"And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my LORD: Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast showed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken. Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do anything till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt".
Let us pray: Father, immediately from the elation of hearing our brother's story, we are brought very soberly down to earth to consider those who as yet have not fled from the wrath to come - those who, perhaps, have seen the light and have professed faith in Christ at one time, but now find themselves living in darkness. Lord, speak, we pray, with a voice that wakes the dead, and do a work in the hearts of men and women here tonight, and boys and girls even. Hear, we pray, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ we ask it, Amen.
This man Lot, you might never have heard about him, you might not have known it was a name at all - Lot, we could say, was in the family of God. The New Testament tells us he was a just man, he was a righteous soul. Now you might be surprised by that after you hear everything I'm going to tell you about him tonight, but the fact of the matter was: he had been testified to by his uncle, Abram - and because Uncle Abram had believed and had faith in God, others in his family had come to trust in the true and living God also. So the Bible clearly teaches us that this man Lot was right with God, that's what it means to be righteous - not doing good things all the time to earn your salvation, but being righteous in God's eyes is to be made right with God. I'll explain that later on.
Now that happened for Uncle Abram in Genesis chapter 12, if you have a Bible you can turn to it. In verse 1 we read: 'The LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee'. Now the background on this man Abram was: he was an idolater - that simply means he bowed down to idols of stone and wood, and worshipped false gods. He lived in Ur of the Chaldees, but God called him, and God revealed His glory to him, and God spoke His word into his heart - and the Bible tells us that Abram turned from his vain idols to walk before the living God, and it was all by grace. He didn't know anything about God, he didn't know how to get to God, but God revealed Himself to him.
Now that's what we call 'the conversion experience': hearing God's word and putting your faith in it, believing what God has said and taking Him at His word. 'Faith cometh by hearing', the Bible says, 'and hearing by the word of God' - and so he had faith in God, he believed. Then we read in verse 4 of Genesis 12 that he obeyed, because faith leads to obedience. He did what God told him, and he went with all his family to that land. He didn't know where it was or what it was called, but he listened to God - faith led to obedience. Obedience leads to blessing, and God had promised him that through Abram's seed the whole world eventually would be blessed - and we know that the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, according to the flesh, was born in Abram's lineage. What greater blessing could there be to any man?
Now from that moment on, from that conversion, Abram's life was marked by the presence of two things. First: he always lived in a tent; and second: he always built an altar unto God. The tent spoke of the pilgrim character of his life on this earth, that means he wasn't living for down here, and he was prepared whenever God told him to move on. The altar spoke of the fact that he wasn't counting himself a citizen of this world, but a citizen of heaven - and his eyes were always looking heavenward to God for his guidance and his satisfaction.
Now of course Abram had his hiccups, just like all the rest of us. We call ourselves Christians, but it's not always mountaintop for us - blessing always leads to testing. That happened to Abram, his faith was tested by God because the land that God led him to was a land that was stricken with famine. God was testing him, and Abram failed that test - because the Bible says he went down into Egypt. In the Bible whenever you read that statement 'going down into Egypt', it's always speaking of a retrograde step, it talks about backsliding - because Egypt, in the Bible, is a picture of this world.
Now listen very carefully to what I'm telling you now: Abram lost a lot of things when he went down to Egypt, and you will lose a lot of things when you go down into the world. The first thing he lost was his communion with God - we don't read of any altar that Abram had in Egypt. His relationship with God suffered. Then we read that he lost his testimony before men, he ended up lying to the Pharaoh about his own wife, he said: 'She's my sister'. Thirdly he lost his influence over his family, and I believe that many of the sins that characterise Lot's life originate in the fact that Abram lost his influence with his nephew when he went down into Egypt. But praise God, Abram had an experience like Sam, and in Genesis chapter 13 Abram got back to Bethel, that place where he had first built an altar unto the Lord. Now 'Bethel' means 'the house of God'. He got back to the house of God, to the place where God was and God was blessing, to the place he never should have left in the first place.
Did you once meet with God's people? They are the house of God. Did you once know God's blessing among God's own, but you've left it? You've lost your communion, and you've lost your testimony, and you've lost your influence. You can get back to Bethel - hallelujah! Here's how he got back: he separated himself from Egypt, chapter 13 verse 1 tells us that. He left the world, and then he moved back to Bethel. He went to the place he never should have left in the first place. Then thirdly he restored his communion with God, and started back to that old altar where he once worshipped the Lord. In other words, he went through with God, he got back on track, and eventually his name was changed from Abram to Abraham - the great man of faith, the friend of God.
Now when he was down in the world in Egypt, he became very rich - but when he went back to Bethel there were still two things that were his most cherished possessions: his tent and his altar. Now let me say something to you - whether you're a Christian or not - most of us, and especially those who professed faith in Jesus Christ at a very young age, we come to a time, some of you young people are at it now, when you have to make a choice: am I going to go down to Egypt, or am I going to go on with God?
Now in chapter 13 of Genesis, Lot was faced with that choice. Abraham's nephew had to choose whether he would follow in the faith of his uncle, or go his own way - and I believe some of you tonight are facing that choice. In Egypt Lot himself, like his uncle, acquired a lot of wealth, and also a taste for this world. Now incidentally, that would never have happened if Abraham hadn't gone into Egypt. Because they both were now rich, we read in this chapter that their belongings and possessions were so great that trouble began to erupt between the herdsmen of their flocks. So they were going to have to part from one another. Let me say this: often strife among brothers and sisters in Christ is the reason why many a man or woman has backslidden. How many backsliders started their backsliding because of a quarrel with a brother or sister in Christ? That's what happened here.
Lot faced a choice in chapter 13 verse 9: 'Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me', Abraham said, 'if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left'. Here's the choice that Lot made, 'Lot lifted up his eyes', verse 10, 'and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other'. It looked like Egypt, and Lot loved Egypt rather than loved God, more than he loved Abraham - and he made his choice because he walked by sight, not by faith.
It says that he made this wrong choice because he saw this well-watered garden with the promise of fertility, great production of crops - but it only brought him futility. It was the lust of the flesh - is that where you are tonight? Once you valued the things of God, and now the lust of the flesh has drawn you further and further into the world. You know what I'm talking about: it could be a relationship, it could be a pornographic addiction, it could be some kind of secret sin - but it's the lust of the flesh. He saw that this well-watered plain was like the very garden of God, that's the Garden of Eden, there was no more beautiful or attractive place than that - that's the lust of the eye. He looked on the outward appearance, and maybe you're running around this world, and it's the bright lights and the attractive nature of sin and success and society that's destroying you. It's going to hurt you.
Not only was there the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eye, but there was the pride of life. Lot thought of what he could be in that country, and what he could do for himself there. The grass was greener over there, the lights brighter, the pleasures greater - and it won his heart. Now can I tell you something tonight, and you young believers need to realise this: Satan is a liar and he, the Lord Jesus says, was a liar from the beginning. He was a thief, and he wants to kill, he wants to destroy, he wants to steal any life that's in us. Now he comes as an angel of light, he's very attractive you know - but there is the bite of the serpent. It's like the moth flying to the flame. If you ever go long journeys on late summer evenings, and you get home and park the car in the drive, if you're like me you'll look at the bonnet and see the dead flies all over it! They're all attracted to the light, but it kills them.
Abraham looked for a heavenly city, Lot looked for an earthly one. His greatest mistake is found in verse 12: he pitched his tent toward Sodom. Now here's the lesson: you can move your tent, your life, nearer and nearer to sin - but you can't move your altar there, you can't bring God with you, no matter what you think. This is what Lot did: he left God behind and he destroyed his own home. You see, the Bible teaches from cover to cover that what we sow, we shall also reap. Lot, as we read on in this story, do you know what happened to him? He got caught up in a battle. Five kings attacked the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, and Lot - don't ask me how - he got caught up in the middle of it and got kidnapped! Maybe there's someone here tonight, and you're getting caught up in a lot of trouble that's not of your making, and you could never have anticipated. People say: 'I was in the wrong place at the wrong time'. Now listen to this: if you don't want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, don't be in wrong places! Some of you young ones are going to wrong places, I know all about it, and you're going to get caught up in something, and it's going to hurt you.
Abraham had to rescue Lot. Now notice please, believers, it was a separated man who rescued him. I wonder is there someone here, and there's believers constantly running after you, trying to pull you out of your predicaments, the wrong you're doing - brothers in Christ who are trying to help you. Like Lot, what do you do? You keep going back to Sodom - that's what he did! Rescued, then went back again!
Well, the years passed, and Lot could surely sing:
'Wasted years, wasted years, oh how foolish!
As I wandered onward in the darkness and shame'
The sin got so bad in the city in which he lived, Sodom and the neighbouring city Gomorrah, that in chapter 18 of Genesis we read that God came down to see what was going on. God was going to judge them. Now Abraham, remember, had already intervened in Lot's case, he had rescued him in this battle - but now he had to intercede, he had to pray on Lot's behalf. Well, that's something that should speak to some here tonight - for you have been in the position where others have had to come to rescue you, and maybe you've gone so far down in your sin that all they can do is leave you now and pray for you. That's what Lot did, and Abraham began to pray for him. He said: 'Lord, if there be 50 righteous in that city, don't destroy it!'. The Lord said: 'I'll not'. 'If there be 40 righteous...', and then he prayed '30', and then '20', and then '10', and then the Lord said 'I will not destroy it for ten's sake'.
Now I'm almost guaranteed that I'm right in saying this just now: there's somebody praying for you. They are praying that the Lord will save you, or that the Lord will restore you this very night. How many testimonies I have heard about young men and young women coming home after a night on the town, and they're going up the stairs, and they hear a father or mother downstairs or upstairs on their knees, crying to God to save their soul! There's somebody like that in your life, isn't there? Maybe those parents know what it is to be in the world, and that's why they're praying so hard, because they know the dangers that are there.
Lot made the wrong choice, but he was also opposing his own family's prayers. There is going to come a day, my friend, it doesn't bring me pleasure to say it to you, when prayers that are rising up at this very moment on your behalf will rise up on the day of judgement to condemn you! There's some, and they offer prayer like an eternal flame for you. I can just picture this, some of them maybe in their seventies or in their eighties, withered form, weakened body, but they get down night after night and morning after morning - and they're praying, they're pleading, they're crying to God for your soul! Yet, like Lot, you're opposing their prayers.
Well in chapter 19 and verse 1 we read that Lot also had a visit. Now in chapter 18 Abraham had a visit from three angels, and we believe one of them was the Lord Jesus Christ - before He was born in flesh of course, the second Person of the Trinity - because Abraham calls Him 'Lord'. But when Lot is visited in chapter 19, there's only two angels come to see him - and I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was not there, do you know why? Because He didn't feel at home with Lot the way He did with Abraham. If the Lord Jesus knocked on your door tonight, if He knocked on mine, would He feel at home?
Here is a lesson for us: when these angels came down to see what was going on, they didn't go to the nightclubs, they didn't go to the places of entertainment or the local press, they went to a professed believer's home to see how he was living - and they couldn't go in even to stay the night. Abraham was visited by these angels when it was daytime, in the light, Lot was visited when it was night, because Lot's family were in darkness. His wife and his family were far from God, Abraham's family obeyed God and His word, but Lot's family we read only laughed at Lot's testimony and the word that he brought to them. They thought he was one that mocked! Abraham hurried up when he heard God's word, Lot lingered and had to be literally dragged out of the city.
He first tried to plead with the men that were at his door wanting to commit immorality with these angels. Then he began to bargain with them - that tells me that you can't argue the world into submission, you can't buy it into submission, what God did was: He judged them. Because they wouldn't live in the light, He left them to darkness, and He blinded them because their deeds were evil. Now I want to say to someone here tonight: like Lot, you're living perilously close to sin, if you're not even in it. Like Lot, you think you can handle it, you believe you are - but Sodom threatened to take all that Lot had of God from him, these angels. I'll tell you: if you linger in the world, it will swallow you up.
Lot himself was nearly defiled. His family was almost sacrificed, his two daughters, for this. By the mercy of God he was delivered for Abraham's sake - but do you know what it took? It took a sharp shift to get him out. In verse 16 of chapter 19, the angel had to take hold upon his hand and the hands of his family, and literally the word is 'snatch' them away. Is that what it's going to take for you to be saved, to be restored from your sinful waywardness? Lot had no tent, he had no altar, he was living his life as if he was the firstborn son of Satan, and was going to live here on earth for ever. He wasn't lifting his eyes heavenward in the morning, at noon, and at evening; committing his way unto the Lord. He was living for the here and now, living for sin, living for self, living for sensual satisfaction - and do you know what happened to him? He lost his wife. The story says that she turned to look back as they were fleeing from Sodom, and God had told them not to, and she turned into a pillar of salt. The Lord Jesus spoke and said in His day: 'Remember Lot's wife'. Her heart was still there!
Lot moved then to a place called Zoar, that means 'insignificant'. He remained an insignificant child of God. Perhaps worst of all, not only did he lose his wife, and he lost his home, but he lost his two daughters - not to death, but he ended up in a cave as a drunk man committing unmentionable, terrible sins with them. How low the believer can go, do you know that? Are there some believers here tonight going low? I believe there are. Paul the apostle could say to Corinth: 'There are sins going on in your midst, fornication that is not named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife'. That was in the church!
If Peter didn't tell us Lot was a just and a righteous soul, I imagine we would all have him in hell - but James tells us: 'Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God'. Now listen: you have a choice tonight, every one of you - whether you're not saved at all, whether you're a backslider - whatever your circumstance, you have a choice to make. That choice, if you make it wrongly, will not only cost you, but listen to this: it cost the only begotten Son of God! That's what matters! You don't matter as much as that. You matter, but not as much as that - because then, when He was on the cross, He paid the price for your sin, for mine, for that three-second-thrill He died!
Isaiah said: 'All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to our own way; but the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all'. Can you get to Calvary just now and see it? Upon His head a crown of thorns, but upon His heart my shame, your shame. That's what it cost, and yet you choose the broad way that leads to destruction - when Christ died to save you from the world! He gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world according to the will of God and our Father. He died to save us from the world, and some of you are living in the world!
It was well said: 'Salvation is not a new start in life, it's a new life to start with'. You can have that new life tonight by coming to that cross where the Lord Jesus suffered and bled for your sins, and paid the penalty for all that you have done. If you come there, and if you confess your sins and believe on Him and Him alone, He will blot every one of them out forever. But you know, another man said: 'The victorious Christian life is a series of new beginnings'. I want to ask every believer, so called, in this place tonight: when was the last time you had a new beginning? Some here tonight, I hope to God, will have that new life to start with - you believe tonight and it will be yours! Some of you believers need a new beginning, you've gone into Egypt, you've lost your communion, you've lost your testimony, you've lost your influence - and you need to get back to Bethel. You need to get to the altar of Calvary, where there's a fountain open for sin and all uncleanness, and you need to bathe yourself in the blood of Jesus Christ again.
What will you do? Unsaved soul, what will you do tonight? You're facing a choice like never before, what will you choose? Backslider, what will you choose: to go on in your sin, or to turn around and leave the world, go back to Bethel, and fall before the cross and surrender all again?
Let's all bow our heads. We have heard about Lot's chosen lot, what will the chosen lot of your life be? It's down to you, especially so because I believe God has given me this message, and I believe it is for folk here - otherwise I wouldn't be wasting my time up here. I believe it's for you. It's not contrived, and if God has spoken to some area of your life, you can be assured that it has nothing to do with me: God is speaking to you. Now I want you, where you're sitting, before God, if that's you: it's time that you made your choice for Christ. Do you want to know why? Because the judgement was coming to Sodom and Gomorrah, and it came - and you better believe judgement is coming to Ulster, and coming to this world, because it's as like Sodom and Gomorrah as this world ever was. We believe the Bible is teaching us that the Lord Jesus is coming very soon, it could even be this very night. The choice that you make now will determine the choice that He will make concerning you at that moment. What will you do with Jesus that is called Christ?
Now I'm not going to put words in your mouth, but if you genuinely want to trust the Lord now and you're not saved, you just cry out to Him: 'Lord, I'm a sinner, save me because Jesus died for me'. If you believe that and pray that, the Lord will save you - it's as easy as that. If you're a backslider tonight you need to repent before God of your waywardness, and you need to say: 'Lord, forgive me for the wrong that I have done, the sin that I have committed against Your goodness and love. Receive me again, and restore to me the joy of Your salvation'. Just where you are now, you don't need me, you don't need anything, only cry out to God and the Lord will receive you.
Father, we thank You for Your word that has awakened so many. Yet Lord, our great desire tonight is for those whose eyes as yet have never been opened. Oh God, that tonight souls would be saved and backsliders would be restored, and people's lives would be changed and transformed and made new, through the grace of God that not only saves from hell and judgement, but saves our lives presently from sin's destructiveness. Lord, we know You're speaking tonight, we know You're moving in our midst, but we pray that You'll have the victory Lord - that the blood of Christ will cause the overcoming, and souls will be saved and people restored. To the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.
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This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Evangelical Church in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the recording, titled "Lot's Chosen Lot" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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