And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. (Genesis 19:16, NKJV)
What Lot was himself
Lot was a true believer – a converted person – a real child of God – a justified soul – a righteous man
… He rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard)… (2 Peter 2:7–8, ESV)
- He was wounded, grieved, pained, and hurt at the sight of sin.
- He did not at length become cool and lukewarm about sin, as many do. Many a man is shocked and startled at the first sight of wickedness, and yet becomes at last so accustomed to see it, that he views it with comparative unconcern.
- Was Lot perfect? No! Was he saved? Yes! We do not despise gold because it is mixed with much dross. We must not undervalue grace because it is accompanied by much corruption.
What do we learn from Lot’s behaviour?
- Lot lingered.
- Lot knew the fearful judgment coming down on all within its walls. The angels had said plainly, “The Lord has sent us to destroy it.” (Genesis 19:13.) And yet he lingered.
- Lot believed there was danger – for he went to his sons-in-law, and warned them to flee. (Genesis 19:14) And yet, he lingered.
- Lot saw the angels of God standing by, waiting for him and his family to flee Sodom (Genesis 19:15). Yet, he lingered.
- There are many real children of God who appear to know far more than they live up to, and see far more than they practise, and yet continue in this state for many years. Wonderful that they go as far as they do, and yet go no further! They acknowledge the Head, even Christ, and love the truth. They like sound preaching, and assent to every article of Gospel doctrine, when they hear it. But still there is an indescribable something which is not satisfactory about them. They are constantly doing things which disappoint the expectations of their ministers, and of more advanced Christian friends. Marvellous that they should think as they do, and yet stand still!
- They hate the devil; but they often appear to tempt him to come to them. They know the time is short; but they live as if it were long. They know they have a battle to fight; yet a man might think they were at peace. They know they have a race to run; yet they often look like people sitting still. They know the Judge is at the door, and there is wrath to come; and yet they appear half asleep. They linger!
- These are they who get the notion into their minds that it is impossible for all believers to be so very holy and very spiritual! They allow that eminent holiness is a beautiful thing. They like to read about it in books, and even to see it occasionally in others. But they do not think that all are meant to aim at so high a standard.
- They would fain please everybody, and suit everybody, and be agreeable to everybody. But they forget they ought first to be sure that they please God.
- These are they who dread sacrifices, and shrink from self-denial. They never appear able to apply our Lord’s command, to “take up the cross,” and “cut off the right hand and pluck out the right eye.” (Matthew 5:29-30)
- They spend their lives in trying to make the gate more wide, and the cross more light. But they never succeed.
- These are they who are always trying to keep in with the world. They are ingenious in discovering reasons for not separating decidedly, and in framing plausible excuses for attending questionable amusements, and keeping up questionable friendships. These are they who cannot find it in their hearts to quarrel with their besetting sin, whether it be sloth, indolence, ill-temper, pride, selfishness, impatience, or what it may. They allow it to remain a tolerably quiet and undisturbed tenant of their hearts. All is summed up in these words: “They lingered!”
The reasons that may account for Lot’s lingering
- He made a wrong choice in early life: He chose by sight, and not by faith. He asked no counsel of God, to preserve him from mistakes. He looked to the things of time, and not of eternity.
- Lot mixed with sinners when there was no occasion for his doing so: Make a wrong choice in life – an unscriptural choice – and settle yourself down unnecessarily in the midst of worldly people, and I know no surer way to damage your own spirituality, and to go backward about your eternal concerns.
- Beware of Lot’s choice! If you would not settle down into a dry, dull, sleepy, lazy, barren, heavy, carnal, stupid, torpid state of soul, beware of Lot’s choice!
- Remember this in choosing a calling, a place, or profession in life. It is not enough that the salary is high – the wages good – the work light – the advantages numerous – the prospects of getting on most favourable. It will profit you nothing to fill your purse, if you bring leanness and poverty on your soul. Think of your soul!
- Remember this in choosing a husband or wife, if you are unmarried.
- Grace is a tender plant. Unless you cherish it and nurse it well, it will soon become sickly in this evil world. It may droop, though it cannot die. The brightest gold will soon become dim when exposed to a damp atmosphere. The hottest iron will soon become cold. It requires pains and toil to bring it to a red heat: it requires nothing but letting alone, or a little cold water to become black and hard.
- there will come a cancer on your spiritual life, and eat out its vitality without your knowing it
- there will come a slow consumption on your spiritual strength, and waste it away insensibly
- at length you will wake up to find your hands hardly able to do the Lord’s work, and your feet hardly able to carry you along the Lord’s way, and your faith no bigger than a grain of mustard seed;
- and this, perhaps, at some turning point in your life, at a time when the enemy is coming in like a flood, and your need is the sorest.
What kind of fruit Lot’s lingering spirit bore at last
- Keep in mind: eminent holiness and eminent usefulness are most closely connected
- Lot did no good among the inhabitants of Sodom: He appears to have had no weight or influence with the people who lived around him. He possessed none of that respect and reverence which even the men of the world will frequently concede to a bright servant of God. His life carried no weight; his words were not listened to; his religion drew none to follow him.
- Lot helped none of his family, relatives or connections towards heaven: there was not one among them all that feared God. Lingering parents seldom have godly children. The eye of the child drinks in far more than the ear. A child will always observe what you do much more than what you say.
So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting. (Genesis 19:14, ESV)
Lot left no evidences behind him when he died: The Scripture appears to draw a veil around him on purpose. There is a painful silence about his latter end. He seems to go out like an expiring lamp, and to leave an ill-savour behind him. Lingering Christians have little peace, and reach heaven, to be sure; but they reach it in poor plight, weary and footsore, in weakness and tears, in darkness and storm. They are saved, but “saved so as by fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:15.)
To walk closely with God –
- to be really spiritually-minded
- to behave like strangers and pilgrims
- to be distinct from the world in employment of time, in conversation, in amusements, in dress
- to bear a faithful witness for Christ in all places
- to leave a savour of our Master in every society
- to be prayerful, humble, unselfish, good-tempered, quiet, easily pleased, charitable, patient, meek
- to be jealously afraid of all manner of sin, and tremblingly alive to our danger from the world
these are still rare things! They are not common among those who are called true Christians, and, worst of all, the absence of them is not felt and bewailed as it should be.
Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. (2 Peter 1:10, ESV)
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25, NIV)
- Would you be found ready for Christ at His second appearing – your loins girded – your lamp burning – yourself bold, and prepared to meet Him? Then do not linger!
- Would you be useful to the world in your day and generation? – Would you draw men from sin to Christ, adorn your doctrine, and make your Master’s cause beautiful and attractive in their eyes? Then do not linger!
- Would you help your children and relatives towards heaven, and make them say, “We will go with you”? – and not make them infidels and despisers of all religion? Then do not linger!
- If you are a lingerer, you must go to Christ at once and be cured. You must turn again to Christ and be healed. The way to do a thing is to do it. Do this at once!
Earnestly believe that He will yet revive His work within you! Only return from lingering, and confess your folly, and come – come at once to Christ.
Only acknowledge your guilt— you have rebelled against the Lord your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,’ ” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 3:13, NIV)
“Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding.” “Yes, we will come to you, for you are the Lord our God. (Jeremiah 3:22, NIV)