Genesis 19:8 “Don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof” (NIV).

Observation: By these words, Lot was trying to protect two male houseguests from marauding homosexuals who had the place surrounded, demanding to have their way with the men. In the bigger picture, Lot’s family, his home, and his wealth were based in the city of Sodom, a place so evil that God had sent Lot’s guests, two angels, to rescue Lot in advance of its destruction. Lot had met the angels at Sodom’s gate and, recognizing them as strangers (but apparently not as angels), he urged them to overnight in his home. When the men/angels expressed the intent to sleep in the town square, Lot “insisted strongly,” no doubt fearing the harm that could come to them in such an unprotected place.

Application: I have considered Lot a fool for settling in Sodom, for putting roots down in such an evil place, for so risking the safety of his loved ones. Why would a righteous man ever find himself in Sodom, let alone live there? Surely he could have assessed their sinful surroundings accurately and gotten out of Dodge.

I tend to see Sodom as akin to Dante’s x-rated gate topped by flashing neon, “Abandon all hope, you who enter.” But my “place” is never the real source of my danger, is it? Sodom has become a by-word for evil, a trigger point for unleashing God’s judgment, but as such, it is simply a microcosm of the whole earth. God saved the righteous Lot and his small family even as He provides a way for me today to be rescued from judgment by entering into Christ’s righteousness. Shall I be judged for living in a sin-filled city, or nation, or world? If so, how could I ever escape?

Lot’s address wasn’t his primary source of danger, any more than I can be faulted for being born into Adam’s race. But his destruction, and mine, is assured until God’s offer of rescue is accepted. No change of address, no fresh start in a new place, will ever be sufficient to protect me. Lot’s wife, even in the midst of her deliverance, was turned to a pillar of salt because of her disobedience along the way, which issued from her heart, not from her address. She had already escaped Sodom, yet it had not escaped her, so she fell under its penalty.

Prayer: Father, it always comes down to my heart response, doesn’t it? You offer complete freedom and security amidst sin’s binding chains, but You require that I choose. You will never judge me for being in the world, for where else could I be? But I thank You, Lord, that the world no longer needs to be in me.