A Wake Up Call
And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. (Gen 19:15-17)
“THE MORNING AROSE … THE ANGELS HASTENED LOT”
We have presented to us two parties: the angelic being (representing God’s striving with the sinner in danger) and Lot (the sinner in danger). These are two very real people, and each has a role. Notice how Scripture treats their roles (God’s striving and Lot’s response).
With the angels, they worked at the first break of morning. They operated upon the first opportunity. Their priority was to strive with Lot regard-ing the matters of his salvation from consummation. And when we look to what these angels represent, we see God’s attitude toward one’s salvation: It matters to Him! Look at the plea of the Saviour to the seeking sinner Zacchaeus: “Make haste, come down, today I MUST abide.” He made these things a MUST. So it is when God strives with sinners. O souls, know that when you feel the tug of His Divine cords of love, He pulls you to Him – He strives – with earnestness! He strives with concern!
And O how you should make salvation your priority when the very Saviour of the world makes it His! Notice the angel’s attitude towards Lot’s escape from judgment: “They hastened Lot.” And as God pleads with your soul to look to the Saviour, He pleads that you make it your priority to do so. “The Spirit says ‘TODAY, if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.’” “Behold now is the day of salvation.” God is faithful in striving with your soul; won’t you be faithful on your part of responding to these matters while there is still time?
“ARISE, TAKE THY WIFE, AND THY TWO DAUGHTERS, WHICH ARE HERE”
The morning first of all arose because of cycle and consistency, as God had designed it. And here we have Lot who too must “Arise.” This word implies three things: a prospect to see, a position of standing, and a personal self-will.
Firstly, a prospect to see. Certainly there must be something upon which we must set our gaze, for what other reason would we have to arise? For Lot, it was necessary for him to “look not behind” but rather to the mountain of safety. And dear soul, even today there is a prospect you must set your eyes upon – the dying Lamb of Calvary. And truly we can resound Solomon’s words: “How long will you sleep O sluggard? When will you arise out of your sleep?” And today, the question is: when will you realize you slumber in the sleep of blindness as you’re lulled deeper and deeper into that sleep by the lullaby of your sin? One can also imagine the urgency in this cry to a man running from God: “What meanest thou, O sleeper? Arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.” Here it is then: arise and call upon thy God!
Secondly, we see a position of standing, for one must not only arise from his slumber, but unto a standing in which he can set his feet upon a firm foundation. And to you, O friend, you must take your standing upon the Foundation which is Christ. For “Thus says the Sovereign I AM: ‘Behold! (A prospect to see) I lay in Zion, for a foundation, a stone – a tried stone, a precious Cornerstone, a sure foundation. He that believeth (A personal self-will) shall not be confounded (A position of standing).’” Won’t you arise and place your standing upon the Lord Jesus Christ? He is the tried stone – the Bearer of Calvary’s burdens. He is the precious Cornerstone. He is the sure foundation. If you would simply arise from your slumber of sin and take a stand upon Christ in repentance and faith, God’s promise to you is that you will never be confounded. Will you lay all aside to stand with Him? You must.
And finally, in these promises, there is a need for personal self-will. You see, there is a Foundation upon which to build, but there is a responsibility on the part of man to believe, to trust. “He that believes…” If you are to “Arise,” it must be your choice; it must be your response to the hastening call of God. Will you be such a person who merely considers Christ without taking a stand? Are you one who will be willing to put salvation off? God forbid. Let there be response, even now, to the Person and work of Christ.
“Take thy wife and thy daughters…” This is a solemn call of exhortation to every man responsible for a family. In Lot’s case, he was responsible for their safety, for they too were in the danger zone of doom. And you too, as a father, as a husband – will you put these matters of eternity aside, risking everything not only for your own self, but for your family? Husbands, think of your wives! Fathers, Mothers, think of your children! How sad when a family continues without the fear of God and without a living hope. Look at the case of the Philippian Jailer: he believed and was saved. What next? Why, his family followed after.
And notice the position of Lot’s family: they were considered as those “which are here.” They were in the same danger as was Lot, and his proximity was close so that he could warn them too. Many a time it is the same with fathers today. If only they would act upon what has been considered! For while salvation from destruction is an individual choice, each father can certainly point his loved ones to the Source of salvation. May it be so.
“LEST THOU BE CONSUMED IN THE INIQUITY OF THIS CITY”
Notice the first word in our phrase: “Lest.” This implies a choice: two options. It implies that Lot’s decision mattered. And O friend, thank God that there is a choice between the heights of Heaven and the depths of Hell! Thank God that condemnation is not final and without escape! And today you choice matters – your choice between eternal life and eternal torment. Your choice has consequences. For Lot, he chose to flee, and he was saved. For others, they chose to stay, and they remained condemned. Let us always remember – man perishes by his choice. No man has inevitable gone to Hell without choice. And now, the choice comes to you. What will your decision be? Know assuredly that it will make an eternity of difference.
What’s the difference? The difference between consummation and life. Consumed in what? The iniquity of this city. “This city” represents the world and all its pleasures. Sodom was a land of prosperity and wealth, and Lot was even active in government. In and of itself money is not inherently evil. And working in society is not intrinsically bad. But look at what the city produced: iniquity. This makes all the difference in the world. You see, sin in the world is naturally attractive. It is our natural inclination. And if we allow ourselves to become so caught up in the world that we forget God, we have been consumed in iniquity – in sin. It is far to easy to become caught up in sin, and it is a great danger. Dear soul, don’t make the mistake of allowing yourself to be engulfed by the fleeting pleasures of this dying world, but rather arise and flee! The matter is urgent. The time is now. And your God is ready to deliver you from your sin. But if you continue in it, you harden your heart toward God and are only falling closer to wrath. Please don’t put these things off, for they concern an eternal soul.
Therefore, notice the subject of the angels’ concern: “Thou.” It was Lot specifically that this matter concerned, and it is an individual matter for you. It is your own life on the line. O what a tragedy to have control over your attitude toward God and yet perish in the end! O what a treacherous fate if you should misunderstand the value and priority of your own soul! It is one things to look around and see others in danger and risk. But it is another thing entirely for your yourself to be the subject of danger. Do you not care for your own eternal soul? Do you not realize that it is for your own soul for which Christ gave His hands and feet to suffering – even His own life? O what a destiny to choose for your own soul to perish – even willingly. Don’t be deceived. Will you not take the matter of your own soul seriously? Be not caught up with what you can gain from this dying world. Don’t be consumed in sin, but rather think of what will become of you afterwards. The decision is in your hands. And so the question remains for your own self. What will become of you afterwards? What will? Please deal with these matters in solemnity.
“WHILE HE LINGERED”
O what a detrimental mistake! He lingered, even in impending doom.
Consider firstly what Lot possessed. He had the work of God in his life. He had opportunity. And he had responsibility to respond. And maybe you, dear friend, have had the work of God in your own life. Maybe you have had tremendous opportunity in your spiritual journey – and yet you put off salvation.
Notice the word “linger.” Some translations of Scripture designate this word “hesitate.” Let us dwell on both aspects of the word.
Perhaps you linger for no particular reason. Salvation is offered, freedom is available, and yet you wander aimlessly through this vast world which seems to offer so much joy. Think of the substances which linger. Think of a lingering smell – no particular purpose – no particular aim. Sad sad state when a dear sinner offered salvation simply lingers when a life of purpose – a life with Christ! – is offered. Too many often just put salvation off for reasons of inconvenience and purposelessness. Was this not the case with Felix, who said unto Paul “I will call upon thee at a more convenient time”? Felix lingered – and where is he today? Perhaps the same place you will be if you continue in your attitude toward the cross.
But perhaps you not only linger, but purposefully hesitate. Salvation looks unappealing. You love your sin. You love your philosophy. Honestly, dear reader, you have that choice. God gives you that choice. But know that when you side with the world your heart will only grow much colder and farther from the gospel of the Blessed Son of God, and you willingly take part in the judgement of the world. When you hesitate, you may feel free, feel joy, or feel safe; but know that many a soul have enjoyed the pleasure of their sin and at the end of it all have been seen dying with fear and even today perish with regret – sad sad decision! But why hesitate when the gospel is presented now? when you could have peace now? when you could have sins forgiven now?
“THE MEN LAID HOLD UPON HIS HAND…HIS WIFE…HIS DAUGHTERS”
This is the result of lingering – so sad. The men of this city – men of sin – laid hold on the hand of Lot to hinder him, and not him alone, but the souls of his wife and his children.
Think, dear soul, of the effect of hesitance about the things of God. As you linger without purpose, without aim, oh how you subject yourself to the world and its grip on your soul! O how your indifference to the gospel of Christ will lead to sin! You continually are faced with decisions: “Will you receive Him? Will you receive Him? Will you receive Him?” Yet your opportunities become fewer as you continually say “No. No. No!”
If this be your attitude, know that you have your arrogance with consequence. By your lingering, you are gripped by the world as they desire to see you live their life, speak their words, practice their sin, and reject the message that can so readily give you help. Yet they drag you into sin. Such as been the position of many. Some have been raised with morals, yet as they lingered, the world grasped their hands as it were and dragged them into sin. Some were raised with religion, yet as they lingered, the world grasped their hands and dragged them into Godless chaos. And some have been raised without thought of God, and as the world dragged them in, lives were shattered, hearts torn, regrets made… This – all because they lingered!
Perhaps you say that you will not willingly go. But so has been the position of many; yet as hearts grow colder, the light of the glorious gospel grows dimmer, attitudes grow harder – that grip is no longer needed to keep the victim soul captive to the slavery of sin. The Lord Jesus said “He that commits sin is a slave of sin.” Know that your lingering will bring bondage! This is a bondage that only the outstretched arm of the Mighty God can desecrate. Yet you will have hardened your heart and will not turn to Him.
And know too, dear soul, that the world will not only drag you into sin, but they will drag you down – down to Hell! Horror of horrors! You can have your sin as you linger, but with that comes judgement. O if you would only not linger!
“THE LORD, BEING MERCIFUL UNTO THEM”
Amazing that such a statement exists in light of Lot’s complacency. Here we have the man first of all lingering – hesitating. And it’s a wonder that the Lord would be merciful at all to those who time and time again hear His voice and yet remain cold and indifferent. And it’s amazing to must upon the extent and power of this mercy, for it broke the grip of sinful man upon the hand of this helpless victim, Lot. Truly Lot needed mercy!
Is it not the same for you? You have heart the sweet call of the Saviour, yet your say you have no need of Him. The world has lured you by its delicacies of sin as it were, and you have fallen prey to its temptation. You fool yourself if you say your are needless of mercy! Thankfully, there is mercy abundant for each.
Consider mercy itself.
In fact, this mention of mercy is the very first in the whole of Scripture, telling us that the mercy of God by nature is such that delivers man from sin. Only through mercy can man be saved from consummation. Only through mercy can man be reconciled to God. Only by mercy can man escape from wrath. Had Lot not seen God’s mercy, he would have perished in that city. Truly you too will perish without mercy.
But in reality, “mercy” can be translated “compassion” or “pity.” One can only imagine the display of compassion as the Lord Jesus “was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd.” Perhaps a tear would tickle down His blessed face as He considered not only their physical weariness, but their spiritual state. And to you as “sheep” having turned your own way, the Lord is compassionate to you and desires to see you brought to Himself. He was even so merciful toward your sinful state to suffer, bleed, and die – bearing the full wrath of God for your sins. To show greater love would be an impossibility! Then the question is, dear friend, why are you still not partaking of this wondrous privilege? O to have the mercy of God and not His wrath! It can be so, for even today you may receive the Lord Jesus, the very Giver of mercy. In Him it’s available, it’s abundant, it’s free.
“THEY BROUGHT HIM FORTH AND SET HIM OUTSIDE THE CITY”
At this point, Lot was outside the city, but he was not totally free from the place which God would judge. Later, we see this statement proven by the fact that Lot was still to escape to a mountain of safety, free from God’s wrath.
This speaks to us of the truth that God forces no man to repent and turn to Christ for safety. Had God delivered Lot all the way to the mountain of safety, Lot would have had no choice in the matter. For you, God commands repentance, but the choice of obedience is yours. The Spirit of God can be merciful to the greatest extents, He can plead with your soul to look to Christ, He can cause you to tremble before the sound of the gospel, but will you then inevitably receive salvation? No. You must decide what you will do with the call of God. Lot could have gone back to the city at this point and rejected the call of God, even though the mercy of God brought him far closer to the mountain of safety, which we will see later. As it is with you, even as you read these papers, the Spirit of God is striving with your soul to respond to the truth found in His Word. Don’t neglect that.
Consider the ideal situation Lot was it. He was by mercy delivered from the city of sin, and he was free to escape to the mountain as he set his gaze upon it. Perhaps, too, God has given you a time of deliverance from the world’s influences as the cross of Christ is presented to you – is that nothing to you? Realize that it is the mercy of God which has brought you there, nothing less – don’t take it for granted.
Yet though the opportunity is there, your choice must still be made: will I flee from the wrath to come, or will I keep my sin? More than one have made the tragic mistake of walking away from the gospel, even though it was so plainly presented to them. Some speak of grace (that is, salvation) that is impossible to resist; yet Scripture shows men time and time again rejecting the gospel, even though God has given them “ideal conditions” as it were for salvation; today, most of them are in Hell.
And so, to you, perhaps you have attended a meeting which believers have put on for your to listen to the gospel. Perhaps he has given you the privilege of having the gospel come right to your door as it were. Dear soul, regardless of whether God has given you the gospel conveniently or at a time when you are tremendously immersed in the world’s teaching, you must respond to His gospel! His grace is striving with you to be saved. Will you reject that once more? Will you go back to the world of sin which God so graciously pointed you away from, and accept wrath when time comes to a close? Don’t reject grace, for it may never come to you again. Don’t test God’s patience. Rather, put all your pride aside, and receive His offer of salvation, even now.
“WHEN THEY HAD BROUGHT HIM FORTH ABROAD”
This phrase tells us of the nature of God’s mercy: it brought Lot away from sin. The focus here is that Lot was separated from that city of iniquity so he could heed the call of God. When Lot was in the city, His call was vague, and he allowed himself to be hindered by the men of the city as he lingered. Why was he hindered? Sin.
Today, perhaps the number one reason you reject the gospel is because of your sin. You cannot allow yourself to be “brought forth” as it were from your sin. You see, you can come to the gospel in your sin – that is what God desires for you to do, to come as you are. But when you truly repent, you no longer live for sin, and you subject your desires to the will of the Father. Yet you think that you could never live without your sin – you love it too much. How tragic. But this surely makes things clearer – does it not? It gives clarity as to why the gospel is unappealing – you’re tainted by the pleasures of sin. It gives clarity as to why the bleeding Saviour is simply just another person – sin corrupts your view of Him. It gives clarity as to why impending doom doesn’t strike fear into your soul as it should. It’s all because of your sin!
Forsake your sin, then: it can only keep you from salvation. Forget about the temporary pleasures of this dying world, and repent. Yes, it will mean a lifestyle of Godliness; and oh to be saved from doom! Is your sin really worth serving when a loving Saviour Who paid your debt in full is offering free salvation with His nail-pierced hands open wide? Please don’t hinder your own soul by continuously subjecting yourself to sinful blindness. Don’t harden your heart if you have heard His precious and tender call. Don’t settle for pig’s food as it were when the Father is willing to provide a fatted calf. He’s ready to receive you. Are you? Come, now.
“ HE SAID”
We move from a historical record of Lot to the words of the angels, which will conclude our studies. The words we will shortly look upon represent the short, simple, and sweet call of God to your soul. “Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”
“ESCAPE FOR THY LIFE”
No one escapes for something of trivial importance, and especially it is no different with you. Notice what Lot was escaping from: wrath. Surely there is a need for escape! Does the wrath of God mean nothing to you? Do you suppose God lies when He says “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”? Do you suppose that Hell is merely fiction, that Christ died for nothing?
Consider what Lot was escaping for: his life. Do you suppose that your life is worth nothing? It is your very life for which you escape. Therefore, you not only demean Christ by rejecting His cross, but you do yourself a great disservice by simply remaining idle while the world around you collapses. Lot’s world collapsed around him, and had he remained in his city, he would have perished with it. Don’t perish with your world when a way of escape is provided! We have said it before, and it must be said once more: do you not care for your own soul? Is your life of so little value in your eyes that you risk everlasting flames for it? Escape for your life!
“LOOK NOT BEHIND THEE”
This is one of the forgotten calls of the gospel: repentance. Some would say the gospel is simply that God offers prosperity. Some would say it is that God offers fulfilment. What is it really? Righteousness through Christ in the forgiveness of sin. Was this not where lot was called? He was called, not only to flee from wrath in the city of sin, but to flee from ever viewing it again. So it is with salvation. God calls you to a life of righteousness when your sins are forgiven. He calls you to a life of service. His grand desire is to manifest the person of Christ in you – what a privilege!
And so, the question comes to you: are you willing to put aside your sin and declare Christ Lord and Saviour of your life? Are you willing to forsake this world’s sinful pleasures for the sake of the Lord Jesus?
“But” perhaps you say “I have no sin; I have overcome it by my good deeds.” What a statement! The apostle John says “If we say we have no sin, we make God a liar.” Dear friend, prideful perfection in your own eyes is more apt to keep you from Heaven than a man’s sin would; for if you see no sin, you see no need of a Saviour, without Whom you cannot have eternal life. The greatest sin one must forsake is not fornication, lying, stealing, or even murder, though these are necessary to put aside – it is the sin of pride. And when it comes to being saved from the wrath of God, yes, you must forsake your pride. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
“Look not behind thee” is the call that comes to you. Are you willing to turn your back on sin and embrace Christ? Or will you embrace your sin all the more and reject the call of repentance, thus meriting the wrath of God being poured out on your soul in the end? The choice is yours. Look not behind thee, back into the world which is headed for destruction, but rather escape for your life to Christ alone!
“NEITHER STAY THOU IN ALL THE PLAIN”
The plain was between the city and the mountain to which Lot was to escape. Standing in the plain would show an attitude of indecisiveness: he wouldn’t really know standing to take, but rather he would stand undecided and be consumed in the end.
And too, for you, salvation is not about cheap religion in which you profess to know Christ, but are far from Him in actions. By no means! You stand either fully for Him, or fully against Him. The Lord Jesus Christ said “No man can serve two masters; he will either love the one and hate the other, or you will cleave to one and despise the other.” You cannot stand between Christ and the world. You must choose where and when you will stand – here and now.
Many have heard the gospel time and time again, and to them it sounds as if a nice message, yet it means nothing personally. Where do you stand in the gospel? Are you also indecisive? “Perhaps someday,” you say, “Maybe when it is more convenient.” Dear friend, know that the time will never be convenient enough for your sinful desires. Many a man have put salvation off saying “Perhaps when death draws near,” and yet when death draws nigh, their thoughts are not “Now I shall be saved,” if they be so fortunate to think before they die. Will you make the same tragic mistake?
God does not want servants who will sit on the fence. Rejecting Christ means eternal flames with temporary pleasure in sin on earth: receiving Christ means eternal life with temporary rejection by the world. There is no “in-between”! There is no possibility for such a position. So where will you take your stand? Will it be in Christ? Or will it be in the same standing of death you were born in? Stand not in the plain of indecision, but choose! Will you go back to the city of sin and be consumed in the flames, or will you escape for your life and look not behind. What will you decide, and when? The judgment is coming soon! “Choose you this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
“ESCAPE TO THE MOUNTAIN”
Before, Lot was not pointed to a shelter, but instead he was simply told to escape. Now, however, he is pointed to a mountain. And as you seek to escape from wrath, there is a mountain we would point you to: the Mount Calvary, where the Lord of Glory was crucified. Truly this point brings us to heights of glory as we consider the hope in this Mount Calvary.
Consider the nature of this mountain in that it was a shelter. With Lot, the angels could readily point Him to it, because it was a place of safety and assurance and strength. Not only that, but as mountains are, this mountain was higher than the plain – far from destruction and desolation from the cities below.
So it is with Calvary: seek safety no longer, for it is found on this mountain! Look no further than to the bleeding Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world, for only He can grant you safety from the terrors of sin and Hell. There is no other way of salvation: thank God that we are then not left to decide which way is best, for surely we would fail. Only Calvary and the work accomplished on it is enough to save. In faith will you not draw near and put your trust in that work? You say “Why should I?” O, but why should you not? O the assurance it offers! O the peace it brings! If you would only entrust yourself to the blessed person of Christ, He would save you and keep you in His love forever. Surely, you must escape to the mountain.
But at what cost is this shelter provided? Consider it, and see the Son of God in blood, in pain for you.
Consider his agony at the hands of men. It could be said of Him “I gave my back to the smiters and my cheeks to those that would pluck off the hair. I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” Is it nothing to you that the Son of God condescended in the form of a man to, in the end, suffer and the hands of his own creations? Is it nothing to you to view a tender Saviour, Who only did right, as He would willingly lay down His hands into which the wicked ones would drive nails? Is it nothing to you to view the loving Lord Jesus beaten and scourged as His back was ripped open as if it were a ploughed field? Is it nothing to hear the mocking, the ridicule, the shame? It should be everything to you!
But never could the deeds of man out-pour the full wrath upon the Lord Jesus that our sins demanded. It was in the darkness of Calvary, which no man could see, that the torment and wrath for our sin was fully thrust upon the sinless soul of the Saviour. Even being God Himself, He could cry “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me!” He bore the wrath you deserve for your sin – darkness, torment, terror. Who can fathom such sufferings at the hands of God? Only God Himself, for God views the work of the Lord Jesus as a completed work – He paid the debt of our sin in full.
All left for you to do is to “Escape to the mountain.” Dear friend, will you not consider the cross of Christ as enough to save your poor, lost soul? God sees it as enough. O that you would too! If only you would take refuge in the Lord Jesus Christ, you would be saved from wrath. Saved from wrath! Is that not a precious destiny? Simply flee from the city of sin, put it all aside, and escape to the mountain. Repent and “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Entrust your entire self to Him, and He will see to it that He will never leave your not forsake you. O, if only you would escape to the mountain!
“LEST THOU BE CONSUMED”
Yes, Calvary is the place you must find refuge in, but know your end if you should reject it a final time: you will be consumed, not just in your sin, but in the judgement of the living God. Honestly, God forces no man to be saved, and you have the choice to reject Christ once again. No peace. No assurance. No forgiveness of sins. Be prepared to bear the consequences of your choice. If you should receive Christ, you may look forward to endless glory, endless joy, everlasting life. But if you should dwell continually in your sin, keep everlasting terror in your view, the flames of Hell always in your eyes, and the darkness forever as your end; for there is no hope in such a state – no hope. The choice is yours; your fate is in your hands. What will your choice be, and when will you decide? May it be Heavenward and now.
Arise, lest thou be consumed!