Escape For Thy Life | God’s Final Call

8 min


Look Not Behind Thee

1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Luke 17:28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 17:29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 17:30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 17:28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 17:29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 17:30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 17:31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 17:32 Remember Lot’s wife. 17:33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

 

Among the cities of the Jordan valley Sodom was “as the garden of the Lord” (Genesis 13:10) in its fertility and beauty. Rich harvests clothed the fields, and flocks and herds covered the encircling hills. Art and commerce enriched the proud city. The treasures of the East adorned her palaces, and caravans brought stores of precious things to her marts of trade. With little thought or labor, every want of life could be supplied. From Eternity Past 98.1

Idleness and riches make the heart hard that has never been oppressed by want or burdened by sorrow. The people gave themselves up to sensual indulgence. “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.” Ezekiel 16:49, 50. Satan is never more successful than when he comes to men in their idle hours. EP 98.2

In Sodom there was mirth, revelry, feasting, and drunkenness. The vilest passions were unrestrained. People openly defied God and His law and delighted in violence. Though they had before them the example of the antediluvian world and knew of their destruction, they followed the same course of wickedness. EP 98.3

At the time of Lot’s removal to Sodom, corruption had not become universal, and God in mercy permitted rays of light to shine amid the moral darkness. Abraham was not a stranger to the people of Sodom, and his victory over greatly superior forces excited wonder and admiration. None could avoid the conviction that a divine power had made him conqueror. His noble and unselfish spirit, so foreign to the self-seeking inhabitants of Sodom, was another evidence of the superiority of the religion he had honored. God was speaking to that people by His providence, but the last ray of light was rejected as all before had been. EP 98.4

Now the last night of Sodom was approaching. But men perceived it not. While angels drew near on their mission of destruction, men were dreaming of prosperity and pleasure.The last day was like every other that had come and gone. A landscape of unrivaled beauty was bathed in the rays of the declining sun. Pleasure-seeking throngs were passing to and fro, intent upon the enjoyment of the hour. EP 99.1

In the twilight, two strangers drew near to the city gate. None could discern in those wayfarers the mighty heralds of divine judgment. The careless multitude little dreamed that in their treatment of these heavenly messengers that very night they would reach the climax of guilt which doomed their city. EP 99.2

Lot Entertains Angels Unawares

But one man manifested kindly attention toward the strangers and invited them to his home. Lot did not know their true character, but politeness and hospitality were habitual with him—lessons he had learned from Abraham. Had he not cultivated a spirit of courtesy, he might have been left to perish with Sodom. Many a household, in closing its doors against a stranger, has shut out God’s messenger who would have brought blessing. The unpretending acts of daily self-denial, performed with a cheerful, willing heart, God smiles upon. EP 99.3

Seeing the abuse to which strangers were exposed in Sodom, Lot made it one of his duties to guard them by offering entertainment at his own house. He was sitting at the gate as the travelers approached and rose from his place to meet them, and bowing courteously, said, “Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night.” They seemed to decline, saying, “Nay; but we will abide in the street.” Their object in this answer was twofold—to test the sincerity of Lot and to appear ignorant of the character of the men of Sodom, as if they supposed it safe to remain in the street at night. Lot pressed his invitation until they yielded and accompanied him to his house. EP 99.4

Their hesitation and his persistent urging caused them to be observed, and before they retired for the night, a lawless crowd gathered about the house, an immense company, youth and aged men alike inflamed by the vilest passions. The strangers had been making inquiry in regard to the character of the city, when the hooting and jeers of the mob were heard, demanding that the men be brought out to them. EP 100.1

Lot went out to try persuasion on them. “I pray you, brethren,” he said, “do not so wickedly,” using the term “brethren” in the sense of neighbors and hoping to conciliate them. But their rage became like the roaring of a tempest. They mocked Lot and threatened to deal worse with him than they had purposed toward his guests. They would have torn him in pieces had he not been rescued by the angels of God. The heavenly messengers “put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.” “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.” Had they not been visited with double blindness, being given up to hardness of heart, the stroke of God upon them would have caused them to desist from their evil work. That last night was marked by no greater sins than many others before it; but mercy, so long slighted, had at last ceased its pleading. The fires of God’s vengeance were about to be kindled.EP 100.2

The angels revealed to Lot the object of their mission: “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.” The strangers whom Lot had endeavored to protect, now promised to protect him and all his family who would flee with him from the wicked city. The mob had wearied themselves out and departed, and Lot went out to warn his children. “Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city.” But they laughed at what they called his superstitious fears. His daughters were influenced by their husbands.They could see no evidence of danger.They had great possessions and could not believe it possible that beautiful Sodom would be destroyed. EP 100.3

Lot Loses Everything Except His Life

Lot returned sorrowfully to his home and told the story of his failure.Then the angels bade him take his wife and two daughters who were yet in the house and leave. But Lot delayed. He had no true conception of the debasing iniquity practiced in that vile city. He did not realize the terrible necessity for God’s judgments to put a check on sin. Some of his children clung to Sodom, and the thought of leaving those whom he held dearest on earth seemed more than he could bear. It was hard to forsake his luxurious home and all the wealth of his whole life, to go forth a destitute wanderer. Stupefied with sorrow, he lingered. But for the angels, they would all have perished.The heavenly messengers took him and his wife and daughters by the hand and led them out of the city EP 101.1

In all the cities of the plain, even ten righteous persons had not been found. But in answer to the patriarch’s prayer, the one man who feared God was snatched from destruction. The command was given with startling vehemence: “Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.” To cast one lingering look upon the city, to tarry for one moment from regret to leave so beautiful a home, would cost their life. The storm of divine judgment was only waiting that these poor fugitives might escape. EP 101.2

But Lot, confused and terrified, pleaded that he could not do as he was required. Living in that wicked city, his faith had grown dim. The Prince of heaven was by his side, yet he pleaded for his own life as though God, who had manifested such love for him, would not still preserve him.He should have trusted himself wholly to the divine Messenger.“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.” Zoar was but a few miles from Sodom, and, like it, was corrupt and doomed to destruction. But Lot asked that it might be spared, urging that this was but a small request. His desire was granted. The Lord assured him, “I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the which thou hast spoken.” EP 102.1

Again the command was given to hasten, for the fiery storm would be delayed but little longer. But one of the fugitives cast a look backward to the doomed city, and she became a monument of God’s judgment. If Lot himself had earnestly fled toward the mountains without one word of remonstrance, his wife also would have made her escape. His example would have saved her from the sin that sealed her doom. But his hesitancy caused her to lightly regard the divine warning. While her body was on the plain, her heart clung to Sodom, and she perished with it. She rebelled against God because His judgments involved her possessions and children in the ruin. She felt severely dealt with because the wealth that had taken years to accumulate must be left to destruction. Instead of thankfully accepting deliverance, she presumptuously looked back to desire the life of those who rejected the divine warning. EP 102.2

There are Christians who say, “I do not care to be saved unless my companion and children are saved.”They feel heaven would not be heaven without the presence of those who are so dear. But have those who cherish this feeling forgotten that they are bound by the strongest ties of love and loyalty to their Creator and Redeemer? Because our friends reject the Saviour’s love, shall we also turn away? Christ has paid an infinite price for our salvation, and no one who appreciates its value will despise God’s mercy because others choose to do so. The fact that others ignore His claims should arouse us to greater diligence, that we may honor God and lead all whom we can to accept His love. EP 102.3

Sodom Destroyed

“The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.” The bright rays of morning seemed to speak only prosperity and peace to the cities of the plain. The stir of active life began in the streets; men were going their various ways, intent on the business or pleasure of the day. The sons-in-law of Lot were making merry at the fears and warnings of the weak-minded old man. EP 103.1

Suddenly and unexpectedly as thunder from an unclouded sky, the tempest broke. The Lord rained brimstone and fire upon the cities and the plain. Palaces and temples, costly dwellings, gardens, vineyards, and the pleasure-seeking throngs that only the night before had insulted the messengers of heaven—all were consumed. The smoke went up like a great furnace. The fair vale of Siddim became a place never to be built up or inhabited—a witness to all generations of the certainty of God’s judgments upon transgression. EP 103.2

There are greater sins than that for which Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. Those who hear the gospel invitation calling to repentance, and heed not, are more guilty than the dwellers in the vale of Siddim. The fate of Sodom is a solemn admonition, not merely to those guilty of outbreaking sin, but to all who are trifling with Heaven-sent light and privileges. EP 103.3

The Saviour watches for a response to His offers of love and forgiveness with more tender compassion than that which moves the heart of an earthly parent to forgive a wayward son. “Return unto Me, and I will return unto you.” Malachi 3:7. But if one persistently refuses that tender love, he will at last be left in darkness. The heart that has long slighted God’s mercy becomes hardened in sin, no longer susceptible to the influence of the grace of God. It will be more tolerable in the day of judgment for the cities of the plain than for those who have known the love of Christ and yet have turned away to the pleasure of sin. In the books of heaven there is a record kept of the impieties of nations, of families, of individuals. Calls to repentance, offers of pardon may be given; yet a time will come when the account will be full. The soul’s decision has been made. By his own choice, man’s destiny has been fixed.Then the signal will be given for judgment to be executed. EP 103.4

 

 


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