( [email protected] ) Jan 20, 2010 08:26 AM EST

Genesis 19:1, 16-22 NIV

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. Genesis 19:1 NIV

When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, "Flee for your lives! Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!"

But Lot said to them, "No, my lords, please! Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can't flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I'll die. Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it - it is very small, isn't it? Then my life will be spared."

He said to him, "Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it." (That is why the town was called Zoar.) Genesis 19:16-22 NIV

Lot had a problem. It's obvious that he had attained a position of some importance in Sodom. That is why the angels found him sitting by the gates to the city, the primary meeting place for city officials and other important people. That was where much of the city's business would be conducted. Anyone who was anyone would be seen there on any given day. Lot's being there when the angels arrived is a clear indication that he had become a person of some importance in government or business. As such, Lot was very reluctant to leave. He had a cushy position. He wielded a little power. He didn't want to give it up. Warned by the angels and knowing what was about to happen, he still hesitated, clinging to what he thought was important.

Looking back at Lot and knowing the rest of the story - how God blew Sodom and Gomorrah off the face of the earth with what was probably His version of an atomic explosion - it's easy to think, "What a big dummy! If a couple of angels came to my house and told me that my city was about to be blown away, I'd get out without even a glance backward!" Really? Think about it.

God has told us today virtually the same thing the angels told Lot - turn away from evil and toward Him. And yet so many of us, like Lot, are reluctant to turn away from what we know is wrong. Why? Because most sin is fun. or feels good. or makes us feel good (at least, temporarily). It is! If sin wasn't fun or enticing in some other way, nobody would do it, right? The temptations of this world are so very enticing, so delicious, so... so... well, tempting! It's a lot more fun to get even than to forgive. It's a lot more enjoyable to party now and worry about the consequences later. It's a lot easier to lie and cover up for an indiscretion than to risk getting fired. It's a lot more enjoyable to have a little more money when you shop till you drop than to give the Lord His portion. And even when sin isn't fun, it's a lot easier. It's much easier to worry yourself into an ulcer or a stroke than it is to trust God. It's much easier to scream at your kids when they're being brats than it is to handle the situation in a calm and quiet - and much wiser - manner. The list goes on and on.

Lot doesn't seem so foolish when we look at him realistically, does he? It's a little easier to understand why he hesitated to let go, isn't it? If you're caught in the same syndrome as Lot, remember - the enticements of the world are a false cover. a great make-up job. a fake front that covers a world of hurt and pain and evil.

But God is not false. He is truth and beauty and peace. His ways lead to peace and love and joy that are real and that will last for all eternity. Remember, the things of this world can disappear in a flash - they can be stolen, or burn, or rot. But the things of God cannot be taken away. God's love will never end. His mercy is everlasting. Isn't that a lot more tempting?

Used with Permission