After reading in Genesis of Lot’s expulsion from Sodom, one word intrigued me to refresh my memory on its original meaning-linger.The most commonly used definition of linger is “to move or act slowly”. As I continued my search for the meaning connected to Genesis 19, I began to understand what the Holy Spirit was revealing to me. I must confess that the definition gave me much to ponder. Linger also means to remain alive although gradually dying; to remain existent although often waning in strength, importance, or influence.Stop reading for a moment and let these words sink into your spirit. They remind me of the letters from Revelation 3 that describes the spiritual state of the church at Sardis, which seemed to be alive, but was indeed almost dead.
According to the events recorded in the Bible, the two angels were sent by God to destroy the wicked cities and to rescue Abraham’s nephew, Lot from the judgment fires of Sodom. As the angels instruct Lot to gather his family quickly and move to higher ground to avoid God’s judgment, he lingers warning his future sons-in-law. The two men don’t take Lot seriously and think him to be jesting about the entire affair, thus delaying the family’s departure. Sadly, the two men do not escape in time and they, along with all the other inhabitants of Sodom, are destroyed by fire.
When the angels literally drag Lot and his family from the impending danger, his wife looks back at what she is leaving and turns into salt. Yikes- what a consequence of lingering in the place of judgment! Lot asks God not to send them to the mountains, God’s choice, as he perceives them to be a dangerous place. God grants Lot’s request and allows him to go to a group of cities (Bela) instead. Now Lot had just been rescued from a city, why on earth would he want to go to a city (possibly like Sodom) that he knew nothing about? He had seen a powerful display of the judgment of God on man’s sinful ways and he chooses to linger in an unknown city! What is he thinking?!
The plains of Sodom referenced in v.16 like the world had much to offer. The well-watered plains looked good to Lot at first, but all that was gained there was lost in the destruction. Often times like Lot, we too linger too long in places we should not have been in the first place, or linger too long even where we are sent by God’s to do His work. There is a time and a place for everything, and only God, Himself, knows His timetable; therefore, we must move by His schedule. Proverbs 16:25 comes to mind- There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. It would have been better for Lot to obey God than to do what he thought was best- in a word, simply trust God.
Three major events are found in the escape of Lot’s family: 1) These plains were a dangerous place-the angels said get up and flee from it for God’s wrath is coming to Sodom and Gomorrah – in other words get up and make a definite choice for God or against God, but let your choice be clear- don’t delay (linger); time is of the essence. 2) Lot’s wife looked back and did not escape- When things get tough, don’t look back favorably to your past-only sin and satan live there. Remember who God is and what He has brought you out of. Would you really want to go back there?! (Correct answer: NO!) 3) The angels said follow us and escape the coming destruction- flee to the mountains- mountains or rocks are often metaphors for Jesus, the Rock of our salvation! Follow God, who has the strength and stability to shelter us from the situations where we find ourselves in life. He is our Refuge, our Strong Tower! What did not look best to Lot was God’s best, and for a second time, He made the lesser choice than what God had planned for him and his family, yet in His great mercy, God saved him.
If you are vaguely familiar with the New Testament, you know that God’s judgment in the form of fire is coming on the earth again for those who turn away from God. Genesis 19 is an obvious parallel to the judgments found in Revelation at the end of days.
God rescues His people from danger as evidenced by this account of Lot. Are you prepared for the next catching away of God’s people? Have you made the choice to follow God? I am so glad that I have made my decision to run to the Rock that is higher than I! Are you ready to get out of those plains and move to higher ground or will you linger and cling to your past believing it to be better than what God has for your future? Why don’t you ask God to show you what He has planned for you. I know His mercy, love, and goodness are more than you could ever hope for, so get moving today! God’s best is just around the next corner!