Warning: Age appropriate material ahead.
Will God force us to love and obey Him? If God warns us and we ignore the warning, is it God's fault that we are punished? How can God save people if they won't even listen to the warning? Will God sometimes use extreme measures to save us? How about grabbing our hand and pulling us to safety when we are too slow or lazy to move?
Have students write on the board or read:
“Be ready with a meal or a bed when it's needed. Why, some have even given food and shelter to angels without ever knowing it!” Hebrews 13:2
Two men (angels) arrived at Sodom in the evening. Lot was sitting at the city gate. He saw them and got up to welcome them, bowing before them and said, “Please, my friends, come to my house and stay the night. Wash up. You can rise early and be on your way refreshed.”
They said, “No, we'll sleep in the city square.”
But Lot wouldn't take no for an answer; so they finally gave in and went home with him. Lot fixed a hot meal for them and they ate.
Before they went to sleep for the night, men from all over the city of Sodom, young and old, descended on Lot’s house from all sides and boxed them in. They yelled to Lot, “Where are the men who are staying with you for the night? Bring them out so we can have sex with them!”
Lot went out on the front porch closing the door behind him, and said, “Brothers, please don't be depraved! Look, I have two daughters; let me bring them out; you can have them, but don't touch these men—they're my guests.”
COMMENT: Depraved? Lot, you just offered your daughters to be raped! How much has Sodom influenced you?
The mob said, “Get lost! Drop dead! You come here from nowhere and now you're going to tell us how to run our lives. We'll treat you worse than them!” And they charged past Lot to break down the door.
COMMENT: And the people in this mob are the same ones that Abraham, the servant of God, saved from slavery!
But the two men reached out and pulled Lot inside the house, locking the door. Then they blinded the men who were trying to break down the door, leaving them groping in the dark. It was then that Lot realized these were more than just men.
The two angels said to Lot, “Do you have any other family here? Sons, daughters—anybody in the city? Get them out of here, and now! We're going to destroy this place. The cries to God from the victims here are deafening; we've been sent to blast this city and suburbs into oblivion.”
Lot went out and warned the fiancés of his daughters, “Evacuate this place; God is about to destroy this city!” But the would-be husbands of his daughters thought it as a joke.
Just before break of day, the angels implored Lot to get going, “Hurry, leave now! Get your wife and two daughters out of here before it's too late and you're caught in the punishment of the city!”
Lot was dragging his heels so the angels grabbed Lot's arm, the arms of his wife and daughters—God was so merciful to them!—and hauled them to safety outside the city. When they had them outside the city wall, Lot was told, “Now, run for your life! Don't look back! Don't stop anywhere on the plain—run up to the mountains or you'll be annihilated.”
But Lot protested, “No, masters, you can't mean it! I know that you've taken a liking to me and have done me an immense favor in saving my life, but I can't run to the mountains—who knows what terrible thing might happen to me in the mountains and leave me for dead. Look over there—that town is close enough to get to. It's a small town, hardly anything to it. Let me escape there and save my life—it's just a wide place in the road.”
“All right, Lot. If you insist. We'll let you have your way. And we won't incinerate the town you've seen. But hurry up. Run for it! We can't do anything until you get there.” That's why the town was called Zoar, which means “Small town”.
The morning sun was up in the sky when Lot and family arrived at Zoar. Then God rained brimstone and fire down— a river of lava from God out of the sky!—and destroyed the four cities Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, the entire plain, everyone who lived in the cities, and everything that grew from the ground. But when Lot's wife had arrived in Zoar, she looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.
Abraham got up early that morning and went to the place he had stood with God the day before. He looked out over Sodom and Gomorrah, surveying the whole plain. All he could see was smoke belching from the Earth, like smoke from a furnace. And Abraham cried for the people of those cities and for his relative Lot because he did not know that Lot had escaped.
And that's the story: When God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered the agreement He made with Abraham, and got Lot out of there before He incinerated those cities off the face of the Earth.
Question: When Abraham cried for the terrible sinners of Sodom, does that show us that we should never rejoice when the wicked die? Does God have the same sadness and feeling when the wicked are destroyed?
Answer: “How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you and cast you off, O Israel? How can I make you as Admah or how can I treat you as Zeboiim [both destroyed with Sodom]! My heart recoils within Me; My compassions are kindled together.” Hosea 11:8 (Amplified)
Question: How do we know that God did everything possible to try and save the people of Sodom?
Answer: 1. He sent them a warning when they were captured by the four kings, and Abraham saved them along with all their possessions and even much more. But Abraham was an example of God’s goodness because he did not take anything for himself except the tithe & thank offering, which was given to Melchezedak—the king and priest of the Most High God! 2. God gave the men of Sodom the opportunity to show that they had changed their behavior. He even told Abraham He had come down to see if it was really as bad as reported. When the men of Sodom tried to attack the angels and wanted to have sex with them, then their fate was sealed! Only after that incident did the angels say they were going to destroy the city. The people would never repent!
Question: Can we trust God to treat us with the same care and consideration as the people of Sodom? Answer: YES!
Question: Is God a terrible evil punisher because Lot’s wife was turned to salt? Why was she punished so harshly? All she did was look!
Answer: No. The angels delayed and delayed and delayed destroying the city, waiting for Lot to pack up a few things and leave! The angels even took them by the hand, pulled them to safety, and told them, “Do NOT look back.” After all that, Lot’s wife still disobeyed, she desired to be back in the city and God gave her the desire of her heart. That is why she died. She made that decision, not God! “You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips.” Psalm 21:2 [this is a promise for the righteous and the wicked]
[NOTE: Include and discuss as appropriate to those in your group!]
If you read the rest of Genesis 19; Lot’s two daughters get him drunk. First the eldest and then the younger daughter on different nights, seduce and sleep with him in order to have children. The eldest daughter’s son was named Moab—the father of the Moabites, and the younger daughter’s son was named Benammi—the father of the children of Ammon.
Question: Does sin and disobedience to God have consequences? Does God punish us or do we punish ourselves when we disobey and sin?
Answer: If Lot’s wife had obeyed God, she would have escaped to the mountains with Lot. Lots’s wife would never have allowed her daughters to get their father drunk and sleep with him. “His trouble shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down on his own crown.” Psalm 7:16
To think about: What are the differences between Abraham’s life and Lot’s life? What choices did they make? Did the people they were around influence them for good or evil? What does this tell you about your choices for friends?
[END of the story of Sodom & Gomorrah]