This blog post will cover the devotionals #93-99 for Genesis Chapter 19.
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 Genesis 19:1-8,13
What did God mean by, ‘the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah’ (three times) in Genesis 18, 19? The NKJV words it, ‘the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah.’ Now, Strong’s Concordance doesn’t give us a very good idea from these verses what exactly was meant by the word, ‘cry’. However, some context gives me a pretty good feeling that it was talking about the reputation of the iniquities of the cities. We saw, in devotional #92, that God was headed to Sodom from His meeting with Abraham to see if Sodom was fulfilling that reputation—Genesis 18:20, 21 appeared to essentially say that they were going to verify if they were fulfilling their horrible reputation, and if so, they were going to be destroyed. What were their sins? Ezekiel 16:49, 50 says, “Look, this was the iniquity of your sister, Sodom—pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, nor did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were arrogant, and committed abomination before Me: therefore, I took them away as I saw good.” We see evidence here for sure of three things—their pride, their inhospitality, and their openness with (publicizing, or at least, not hiding) homosexuality and related sins—which are an abomination to God. However, there was something rather abominable that really put the nail in the coffin for the cities of the plain, and we see an example attempted against the very ones that were sent to confirm the validity of the reputation of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19:4-7. Sodom was known for their homosexuality (as we just mentioned)—especially for homosexual rape. It wasn’t a practice of only a few men of the city—the passage shows that “all of the young and old men of every quarter of Sodom” came and surrounded the house, demanding that Lot send the two men (angels) out so they could ‘know’ (in other words, ‘have intercourse with’) them. Lot tells them to not do something so wicked, and even offers his own daughters in their place (why heterosexual rape would be better than homosexual rape, I’m not quite sure, but I believe the point is that Lot was trying to show hospitality and protection for his guests—two principles of which the Sodomites not only lacked understanding for, but even detested). It may not come as any surprise that Sodom is the origin of the term, ‘sodomy’ (literally, ‘sin of Sodom’), which is defined as ‘sexual intercourse involving anal/or oral copulation’. It has been noted that Sodom (and likely Gomorrah, and probably even the surrounding cities) lived in open sin when it came to sodomy and other things—meaning that they didn’t hide their sin (and maybe even declared it). Notice Isaiah 3:9. “Their face witnesses against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom—they do not hide it. Woe to their soul because they have rewarded evil to themselves.” It’s safe to say their reputation was confirmed on the visit of the angels that night.
 Genesis 19:9-15
So how did the men of the city respond to Lot’s petitions? Genesis 19:9, 10 shows us something interesting. Not only did they turn to rape Lot (and probably worse) because of his refusal of their demands, but they made a claim against Lot that revealed the overall tenor of his distinguishability from the Sodomites. They said, “Lot came in here for a temporary stay and he thinks he can judge us.” It’s incredibly clear that this must not have been the first time that Lot disapproved (or did opposite) of their ways. He was there as a voice of warning and instruction. He also possessed the same courteous, hospitable spirit he’d seen in Abraham—which is likely what saved him when the angels came to Sodom. However, his offer to give his virgin daughters to protect his guests was immoral, and we can see how the influence his family received during their time in Sodom had corrupted them drastically. Lot could’ve prevented the corruption that entered his family if he’d chosen to live outside the city—and he could’ve still accomplished whatever good he did there by merely visiting. This is what other men—like Enoch and John the Baptist—did. The influence was so strong that Lot himself had to be not only convinced, but basically pushed, to leave—and he had to do the same with his wife and daughters. He could convince no one else—even with the warning of the coming destruction. His sons-in-law took his warning as mere superstition (as there were no signs of impending danger) and wouldn’t leave. Thus, his family wouldn’t heed his warning any more than they did his instruction. This is much like what happened with Noah and the Antediluvians. They were given an opportunity to escape the coming destruction, and they refused to take it seriously (especially since they’d never seen rain)—and thus, they chose death. In devotional #92, we saw that Abraham had pleaded for the sparing of the cities if even ten righteous were found, but as we can see here, there weren’t even five. Thus, the cities would be allowed to perish. Lot went to Sodom in pursuit of furthering his worldly wealth, but it cost him his morals and family, and in the end, all his possessions were lost anyway. Verse 15 has a subtle, yet important aspect that we should take note of. The angels hurried Lot in the morning, saying, “Rise up, take your wife and your two daughters, which are here; otherwise, you will be consumed in the iniquity of the city.” Notice that it doesn’t say that he’d be consumed in the fire, but in the iniquity. This sounds like Revelation 18:4, which says, “Come out of her, My people, so that you will not be partakers of her sins, and that you do not receive of her plagues.” God calls His people out of the cities of sin so that they won’t be influenced into participating in the same sins. This is exactly what we were just talking about when we saw that Lot’s family was corrupted because they decided to live in the city where so much sin prevailed. Where sin is, natural results (consequences) follow. Thus, the were angels bidding Lot to not be consumed in Sodom’s iniquity (not just its results). Just as we saw that the prayers and/or presence of the righteous help maintain the lives of the wicked, the opposite is also true. Too much sin leads to destruction, even of the little good that’s present there. In Luke 21:20-24, Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem. He warned them of what was going to happen and assured that there’d be a sign of when they should flee. We see many times throughout Scriptures where God is merciful and warns His people to flee from coming destruction (and the sins that cause it). He doesn’t arbitrarily send destruction because we break His laws. He gives us laws to prevent the destruction that’ll come as a result of doing something that would cause it naturally.
 Genesis 19:15-17,26
Just as the angels had to reach out their hands and grab Lot to pull him in away from danger (and probably death) when the Sodomites were about to attack him, they also had to reach out their hands and grab Lot and pull him (and his family) out away from danger (and certain death) when Sodom was about to burn. They had to warn him to flee from the plain and not look back. Both times, God was being merciful to him—despite his hesitation and/or incorrect thinking. Lot had accumulated great wealth living in the city and hated the idea of giving it up. He knew that leaving would return him to his life of wealth-less wandering. Some of his own children refused to leave, and he knew they’d be lost—which also made it harder for him to act on God’s command to leave. He knew the sins of Sodom were terrible, but being so heavily influenced and desensitized by them, he couldn’t comprehend just how horrible they were—and why God had to give them up to ruin. Thus, he was doubting God’s justice. He was paralyzed in his intense emotions, fears, and lack of faith. He would’ve stayed if the angels hadn’t pulled him out—and his entire family would’ve been lost. If Lot hadn’t begged and attempted to stay, his actions wouldn’t have influenced his wife so strongly to do the same. His lack of faith in God caused her to take God’s warning with a grain of salt—and as a result, her hesitation and longing to stay caused to her become a pillar of salt. She rejected God’s warning and His protection which made her unworthy of either. We can see that, as Abraham’s doubt and misguided words and actions influenced his wife to follow suit and deepen their family’s sin, Lot, too, did the same with his own wife (and even his daughters). God has called upon husbands to be the leaders of their households. Ephesians 5:23; 6:1, 2 tell us that the husband is the head of the wife, and that children should obey and honor their parents in the Lord. If a husband and father is in the Lord, the rest of the members of his body will follow him (as the head) to righteousness. However, if he isn’t in the Lord, he’ll inevitably lead / influence them to wrong.
 Genesis 19:17-22,30
Zoar was going to be included in the destruction of the cities of the plain—which means that it was also partaking in the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. The angels told Lot to get out of the plain to the mountains so that his life would be spared. However, he begged them to let him flee to the little city (named ‘Zoar’ because it was so little), or else something bad might happen to him on the mountain and he’d die. This is evidence of his lack of faith in God to protect him where He was calling him to go—which is starkly in contrast to Abraham’s trust in God to get him safely to his unknown destination. Lot said, “Your servant has found grace in Your sight, and You have magnified Your mercy—which You showed me in saving my life. Thus, I cannot escape to the mountain, in case some evil takes me, and I die.” He was basically telling God that he wouldn’t waste God’s prior mercy and protection by going to a risky place. Did he believe that God wouldn’t continue to protect him where He sent him? Lot wanted to stay in the cities, which is why he begged God to spare the little one so he could go live there. Ironically, we see after the destruction of the cities that Lot still went ahead and left Zoar—because he feared to dwell there. Where did he go? He went to the mountain—which is where he was instructed to go to begin with. He found a cave for him and his daughters to stay in. God, in His amazing, unfathomable mercy, decided to meet Lot where he was, and protected Zoar from destruction for Lot’s sake. And to protect Lot, He didn’t allow the other cities to be destroyed until he’d escaped from the plain. However, there were some extremely unfortunate consequences for his detour through Zoar, which we’ll see in devotional #97, when we look at his time in the cave with his daughters.
 Genesis 19:30-38
Incest appalls us—especially between a parent and child. In the story of Lot and his two daughters, they essentially raped their father without his even knowing it. How was this possible? First off, they had him drink wine and get drunk. If Lot wasn’t open to drinking alcohol, he wouldn’t have done it. There’s no way his daughters could’ve forced a grown man to do that. Furthermore, they wouldn’t have even thought it was something they could get him to do if they didn’t already know he’d be open to it. Lot wanted to go to Zoar (instead of heading straight to where God wanted him to flee when leaving Sodom). In devotional #96, we mentioned there were consequences for their detour there. I’ve heard the idea that by doing this, he was able to obtain things such as alcohol. It seems quite plausible because it’s unlikely he or his daughters grabbed anything, let alone alcohol, from Sodom as they were fleeing in the grasp of the angels. Secondly, how is it that the thought even arose in the mind of Lot’s oldest daughter that it’d be acceptable to get pregnant by their own father in order to preserve his seed, let alone to just experience intercourse with someone? They must have been strongly influenced by the perverse sexuality they witnessed while living in Sodom. Not only did they see it a common thing for men to commit homosexual acts (and right in the streets), but even homosexual rape. To make matters worse, when the Sodomites were demanding Lot to send out the angels so they could have sex with them—rather than simply denying their demands, Lot compromised by offering his virgin daughters to the wicked men. I imagine he did this to provide protection and hospitality to his visitors, but that didn’t make it right. He was protecting the guests that came under the shadow of his roof, but not the family that lived there. His compromise showed that committing (or allowing) a particular sexual abomination was acceptable if there was ‘good’ motive behind it. I can’t help but believe this opened the door for his daughters to justify their abominable deed in the name of extending the lineage of their father (considering their mother didn’t do that). How often do we break God’s commandments with ‘good motives’, without realizing it’ll cause a ripple effect down to those who see and follow our example? Exodus 34:7 says, “Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and fourth generation.” Not only were Lot’s daughters affected / influenced by his iniquity, but also his children’s children (which, in this case, were also his children)! Remember how Lot’s eldest daughter made a claim that led them to sin? “There is not a man in the earth to come in unto us. Let us lie with our father so that we may preserve his seed.” Do you suppose God was pleased with this, or do you think there may have been another way to work things out for Lot’s name to be preserved and for them to experience sex? You can read an example of how they could've handled that in Numbers 27:3-8; 36:6-8. Now, the sons that came as a result from the two pregnancies were the fathers of the Moabites and the children of Ammon (both names’ meanings have to deal with ‘inbred’ or ‘incest’). There are many places in Scriptures where we can see that the children of Ammon were enemies that distressed and warred against Israel (the downline of Abraham—Lot’s uncle). Moab was where the king, Balak, tried to get Balaam to curse Israel—so you can see how those relations ended up as well. Interestingly, Deuteronomy 2 shows us that God preserved the land of Ammon as a possession for Lot. So, even despite all that happened, God still took care of Lot and his family.
 Genesis 19:23-29 (Part 1)
We can see, in Genesis 19:27-29, that, despite there being less than ten righteous men in the cities, God didn't forget Abraham’s prayer and concern for his nephew—so He made sure that Lot got out safely (he made it to Zoar at sunrise) before He removed His restraint upon the cities. Many people believe, based on the wording of the Bible, that God sent fire to destroy the cities of the plain. There’s so much information that could be covered, but I’ll just share a concise look at the context of these cities so you can gain perspective on what really happened here. Here, we’ll look at environmental factors. In devotional # 99, we’ll see (if He wasn’t the one that caused it) how / why it happened at the time God said it would. The cities of the plain were located near the Dead Sea (called the Salt Sea in Scriptures), which is far too acidic to support life and is 8.6 times saltier than ocean water. It causes crystallization at a rapid rate. The Dead Sea, along with the surrounding area, is loaded with sulfur (called ‘brimstone’ in Scriptures). A high concentration of sulfur (in all its states) is dangerous not only to the human body and senses (in many ways), but also in the environment. It’s flammable, explosive, and easily set off by static electricity in the air. Sulfur flames are hard to extinguish because the abundance of oxygen only increases their growth. There are large quantities of sulfur ‘balls’ there lodged in the walls, etc., which still easily ignite if lit on fire if you visit today. This area's the only place in the world that has these sulfur balls—and at such a high purity. The Dead Sea has springs, which create pools, sinkholes, and quicksand. The Dead Sea also discharges asphalt. The area was full of tar / asphalt / pitch / bitumen pits (referred to as ‘slime pits’ in the Bible), and many fossils were created as a result of their nature. Tar is very thick and sticky and dries very hard. Tar fumes are flammable and explosive and can even create polymers (as seen in resins). Asphalt was transported from the Dead Sea to Egypt (along with large amounts of salt) for use in their mummification process. The Dead Sea is also concentrated with gypsum (used today in drywall)—the most common sulfate mineral. It’s known for its rapid-hardening properties (thus, it’s often used in casting, medicine, construction, and sculpture), as well as its ability to protect whatever it coats from burning (up to a certain temperature). The sulfur balls we mentioned are coated in this gypsum, which is likely why they weren’t all consumed in the fiery destruction of the cities. The area is also heavy in fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, etc.). Of all the natural gas reservoirs on earth, five of the seven that contain the most gas are located less than fifteen hundred miles from there. The plain is also located on a fault-line—which is known to have produced several historically large earthquakes. The collapsed walls and suddenly-buried skeletons, along with drastic changes in elevation and direction of the ravine there, suggest that there was an earthquake back in the time of Sodom and Gomorrah. Geologists theorize that an earthquake caused pressure on subterranean petroleum deposits, which were forced out of the ground and ignited before falling back down upon the cities of the plain. The demise of Sodom and Gomorrah occurred 2,108 years after Creation (around the year 1876 BC).
 Genesis 19:23-29 (Part 2)
As seen in devotional #98, there were / are multiple factors in the area that would’ve easily created the perfect environment for a catastrophic fire disaster (from below the ground, at the surface, and in the air). There were several factors that could’ve naturally led to the ‘mummification’ of Lot’s wife (who ‘became’ a pillar of salt), etc. There were also several factors that could’ve become a natural trap, preventing people of the cities from escaping the destruction. This may have been a unique combination of elements that created the specific type of disaster that occurred, but it certainly wasn’t the only place to exist that would’ve had a deadly combination for other risks. So, what has kept the other places from being destroyed? God has to literally hold the world together or else it’d self-destruct. Sin has created such damage and instability that Earth’s internal structures and external forces can’t stay in check without God’s intervention. If you think the natural disasters we experience in our lifetimes are intense, imagine what they could be, what they’ve been, and more importantly, what they’ll be very soon! Recall the story of Job, and how God didn’t send down a consuming fire upon his estate, but He simply removed His protective barrier from that environment. Satan was given free, destructive reign. In the same way, we see that God reluctantly removed His protective barrier from the environment surrounding the cities of the plain (just as He did with the flood, and countless other natural disasters). Hosea 11:8, 9 says, “How will I give you up, Ephraim? How will I deliver you, Israel? How will I make you as Admah? How will I set you as Zeboim? My heart is turned within Me, My repentings are kindled together. I will not execute the fierceness of My anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: because I am God, and not man; the Holy One among you: and I will not enter into the city.” Admah and Zeboim were cities that were included in the destruction with Sodom and Gomorrah. This passage shows us that God gave them up (like we saw when we looked at Romans 1 in devotional #65. His wrath isn’t shown by executing punishment, but rather by removing His protection and allowing the natural consequences of our choices to take effect. This is what happened with the flood and it’s the same thing that happened with the cities of the plain. Once those forces were no longer being held in check, they began to run rampant. Earthquakes overturned geographical and man-made features, their friction / movement caused buried fossil fuels to burst out of the ground, ignite, and fall back down upon the cities—which in turn created explosive reactions with the abundant sulfur. As people ran from such unexpected destruction, they were crushed by falling stone and buildings, consumed by burning elements, and saw fire raining down on them from above—seemingly coming from nowhere but Heaven itself.