Two angels visited Sodom and found that Lot was the only one there who had any decency. They found that the city was full of adulterers, pride, gluttony, greed, fornicators, extreme wickedness, people going after "strange flesh" and homosexuals who even tried to rape the angels while they were staying with Lot. Here is an account of this particular visit in Genesis 19:4-11, "But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down. But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door. And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.”
Knowing God was about to destroy the city, the angels told Lot to get out of the city quickly with his family. Lot's sons-in-law didn't believe the city was going to be destroyed, so they chose to stay. Lot had sons as well but we aren't told that Lot so much as warned them, so many believe, and are of the opinion, that it's very possible the sons were so deeply involved in the immorality of the city that Lot saw it was pointless to warn them. As far as Lot's sons-in-law, Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, said they were betrothed to the daughters and not yet married to them, which may explain why the girls were still virgins. This leads to the “assumption” by some scholars that Lot only had two daughters, but because it wasn't clearly understood, and maybe not of great importance to the whole of the story itself, it is then POSSIBLE that he had married daughters as well. God didn't breathe these words into His love letter to us so we can only go by what we KNOW from His words.
In any event, the angels only led Lot out of the city along with his wife and two daughters from among the parents and sons and daughters. One of the angels told the family to escape to the mountain, not to stay in any of the nearby cities of the plain, and not to even look behind them. Genesis 19:17, “So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.” But Lot, who was very hesitant and resistant to go to the mountain, said he'd rather stay at the small village of Zoar where he THOUGHT he and his family would be safe. He eventually feared for his life in Zoar and went to the mountain anyway, showing us how much better it is to follow the Lord's guidance directly!
|Found Near the Dead Sea!|
In Gen 19:24-25, it says, "Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. v25) So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground." God will once again destroy the sexually immoral, the sexual deviants, and that day will come when either that person dies or Christ returns. As Jude wrote in Jude 1:7, "as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." To clarify, "Going after strange flesh" means going after flesh that is "different" than what is rightfully ours to claim (our spouse's body -1 Corinthians 7:4, "The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.").
Notice that Jude mentions both "fornication" and "going after strange flesh." Obviously, Sodom's sins were more than fornication, and certainly more than a "lack of hospitality" as some people tend to believe. But the lack of hospitality is referenced in Ezekiel 16:49-50, "Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50 And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit." The "strange" flesh simply refers to that which is forbidden by God for us to have, it is flesh outside the bounds of God's laws; hence, the term "sexual deviance" which means to deviate from what is acceptable to God. This does not just mean with humans. Anything that is outside the bounds of God's laws is a sexual deviance because it DEVIATES FROM THE NORM! Bestiality, raping, homosexuality, fornication, adultery. The list is endless but it must be understood to understand the extent of the extreme wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah.
In 2 Peter 2:6-8 it says, "v6) and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; v7) and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked v8) (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)...." The "filthy conversation" of the wicked, literally means, the "filthy manner of life" of the wicked. The Greek noun for "conversation" is "anastrophe," which literally means, "behavior." Hence, Sodom and Gomorrah were saturated with sexual deviance, filthy behavior, and every form of godlessness known to mankind. I might be so bold to add at this point in this post that there are cities in this present day and age that very much resemble that of Sodom and Gomorrah! And those numbers are growing the closer we come to the return of our Lord! Las Vegas, Nevada is one of those cities and has been aptly nick-named, "Sin City." Well, that isn't something to boast about, but the world over does! Genesis 13:13, "But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly."
God said that the men of Sodom were sinners EXCEEDINGLY! Exceedingly means, "to an extreme degree; extremely; severely; excessively." Surely we don't need a degree in theology to know that the word EXCEEDINGLY meant that these men of Sodom were rotten to the very core! These weren't some petty criminals we're talking about here. Remember, Genesis 19:4-9 tells us about two angels who were sent by God to deliver Lot, and his family, out of Sodom. The angels came in the appearance of regular men. The homosexuals in the city of Sodom wanted to rape the two visitors.
In it's entirety, it says, "v4) Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. v5) And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.” v6) So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, v7) and said, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! v8) See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.” v9) And they said, “Stand back!” Then they said, “This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them.” So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door." If you read verse 4 closely, it CLEARLY says ALL the men of Sodom were outside their door. Sodom was predominantly homosexual, and these homosexuals were violent.
Ok, now with that refresher course in place, let's talk about the desires of the human nature's desire to "look back" longingly for those things that were part of our distinct past. Our past is what Satan and his little minions want us to constantly remember because our past is full of sin. Desires that were mistakes, rebellion, desperate. But they were momentary "pleasures" as well and THOSE are the things he helps us remember. It's those times when he taps ever so slightly on our shoulders and says, "Psst, hey, remember THIS? Wasn't THIS fun? Wasn't THIS exciting? Didn't THIS make you feel good? Remember how THIS made you feel?" Oh he's conniving, isn't he? No wonder he took on the form of a snake, because that's exactly what he is....a slippery, slimy, sneaky, sorry, sly SNAKE! I've said over and over, that he cannot do anything new, ONLY GOD can! He only has the authority to drudge up our past, harass us with those temptations and plant thoughts in our minds. Nothing else though. He's good at what he does as it is.....but he's been defeated! He's condemned already and THAT, my dear readers, is exactly what he wants YOU to feel like....CONDEMNED! I wrote about the difference between Conviction and Condemnation and if you haven't read that yet, it's probably a good time to do so now! Satan CONDEMNS! A child of God, a Christ believer, born again, is convicted and the conviction comes from the Holy Spirit!
|God's Authority to Us!|
Worth mentioning at this point is that the whole armor of God can be found in Ephesians 6:10-20, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. v11) Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. v12) For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. v13) Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. v14) Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, v15) and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; v16) above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. v17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; v18) praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— v19) and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, v20) for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak."
Satan knows our weaknesses especially if we say them aloud! Remember, ONLY God can hear our thoughts not Satan. Satan can only drop a few of them in our minds to tempt us back to the days of old, but in no way, is he able to HEAR what's in our minds, thoughts or hearts! He does NOT have that authority. Once Christians understand that fully, it makes things a little easier. If you aren't a child of God, and you haven't accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, then the torment is much greater because Satan knows he already "has" you in his darkened grip and that you are already doing his work for him without resistance. However, it's NEVER too late!!!! Satan also knows that the MOMENT that you begin to come towards the "Light" of the Lord Jesus Christ, he's lost another soul to Jesus! Praise the Lord! Satan doesn't want you to choose Jesus' side! He wants you to stay in the darkness....for all eternity! That's why he makes everything sinful on this fallen earth APPEAR pleasing, fun, innocent, beautiful, good and pure. That's part of his lure, his lies and his deception. He wants to MOCK God, after all, that's why he rebelled was because he wanted to be like God. Well, in an ironic chain of events, he IS a "god." Not THE Creator God, but he is the god of this world! Roaming this earth seeking whom he may devour. Some go with him willingly, some put up a fight. But those that are children of God....they are the ones he wants to torment the most. They're the ones he wants to make doubt the Lord Jesus Christ! 1 John 4:4, " Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."
Anything that is a stronghold of yours, or was in the past, are the things he will use to tempt you and tap your shoulder ever so aggressively! Oh, at first he whispers. At first he taps you lightly. At first he is gently calling your sins out. But the more you listen, the more you pay attention to the lies, and the more you try to turn from them, the more rapidly and loudly and aggressively he proceeds. He thinks it's a green light! The moment you say "What?" when he says, "Psst, Hey___" is when he THINKS you've given in to him. He thinks that since you've answered him, well, he has free reign now. So remember this, if nothing else......when he comes calling your name....tapping your shoulder.....helping you remember your past.....don't ANSWER! When he taps your shoulder, don't look back because that's where he wants you to STAY! Jesus wants us to be present, to look forward to His return, to remember our sins are all covered by His shed blood on the cross, paying our sin debt in full for a debt He didn't owe! There is freedom in Jesus! There is bondage in Satan. There is PEACE in Jesus! There is Torment in Satan. There is Confidence in Jesus! There is Doubt in Satan. There is Love in Jesus! There is Hate in Satan. There is Victory in Jesus! There is failure in Satan. There is Comfort and Consolation in Jesus! There is Misery in Satan. THERE IS TRUTH IN JESUS! THERE IS LIES WITH SATAN. Every single time you look back, you miss out on one of the blessings of Jesus because Satan told you a lie that you believed. For a moment! For a time. For a season. Anytime we slip, stumble and/or fall, we're getting what the devil gives us, NOT the wonderful things the Lord God Almighty has for our obedience!
When we become a child of God, entering into a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ, our transformation begins. But it doesn't ALL happen overnight. We also become a bigger target for our enemy too! Some people continue to struggle with the same strongholds, or bondage, for many years before they're finally delivered. There are lessons to be learned in those struggles too. For some, it's learning to surrender. For others it could be Faith, Trust, Pride, or even control. God allows us to suffer through some of our struggles because we need to LEARN and in that learning, we need to LEAN on Him and use His strength and not our own. Some people deal with strongholds until the day they die, but they didn't have to! They just needed to understand how Satan operates in opposition to the Lord! Let's give an example here.....let's say you're dealing with an addiction to drugs. You're trying to fight this addiction in the FLESH and not relying solely on the Lord for your deliverance. I'll stop here before going on to say that the majority of the strongholds that can't be "dealt" with is due to our unwillingness to let go of them and when we "try" to overcome them, we're doing it in the flesh, thereby pushing the Lord right out of the equation. Ok, so you're trying to fight your addiction in the flesh and you think you're doing pretty good because you haven't done any drugs for a few months. Then, when you're feeling down or depressed, knowing those are your "trigger" emotions, Satan taps on your shoulder and says, "Hey, you know if you took (insert drug name) then you wouldn't feel so sad or depressed." Well, you don't look over your shoulder or don't look back. So, he taps your shoulder harder, but this time, places a person, place or thought in front of you to make you stumble, and loudly says, "Here. Look what I did for you! I brought you into the path of so and so, they'll get you hooked up just like before." This goes on and on until finally, if you aren't strong enough in the Lord and are trying to use YOUR strength, you give in. And the cycle begins all over again......
I'm going to spend just a moment on trying to overcome something in the flesh as opposed to using the strength of the Lord that has been given to us at the Cross! Many people don't want to admit that they are trying to overcome some kind of sin or temptation or stronghold in their flesh and using our own weakened strength. In many cases, that's exactly what's being done. We get so used to trying to do things OUR way, that it becomes a natural reaction to do everything in our wills. For those who struggle with giving up control, it's more prevalent in their lives. Some will convince themselves that they're relying on the Lord's strength to fight the battle when in reality, they just can't admit it's their own flesh. Giving up control is hard for anyone. But moreso for those who are fully engulfed in controlling all aspects of their lives. There are so many who can't let go of the control long enough to surrender to the Lord's WILL, that they continue fighting strongholds over and over and over! Now let me say at this fork in the road that just because a deliverance is made from a stronghold, doesn't mean we won't be TEMPTED. Just the opposite. Sometimes, the temptation is greater for AWHILE. Then it weakens. It lessens. It goes to sleep quietly, but only awakens rarely.
We all need to remember that Sodom and Gomorrah had more than just one sin. They were filled with pride, gluttony, greed, homosexuality, extreme wickedness, adulteries, and fornication as well. The sins of these evil cities are among us today. Their inhabitants fill the land. Let us never forget that these sins will not only destroy a nation, but also each of us individually. That's why it's so important to understand that our sins were paid in full at the cross but it doesn't mean we can WILLINGLY relish in them without guilt, conviction or repentance. As David wrote in Psalm 9:17, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”
Never looking back is part of our Salvation process. We become a new creation in Christ Jesus. In Luke 17:30-32 says, "v30) Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. v31) “In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. v32) Remember Lot’s wife." Many people miss this one verse in the midst of the rest....one small three word verse, Remember Lot's Wife. It is packed full of warning though! It's warning us not to be apprehensive about leaving a place marked, or bound, for destruction, otherwise our wicked, sinful ways, and that whoever and/or whatever that's left behind that you find precious or dear to you shouldn't be longed for. We're not to look back in case we should be tempted to go back to our ways, or to the places marked and bound for destruction. Turning back to our old ways could definitely be construed as going back in heart to those eyes upon us who are watching our walk. Therefore, when we leave our past behind us, we should leave our old heart's longing behind as well. Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt so that she might remain a lasting monument of God’s. Was Lot's wife looking back so wrong? Apparently what was really wrong with Lot’s wife wasn't that she was just looking back; it was IN her heart that she wanted to GO back. She looked back LONGINGLY with desire in her heart. In short, her attachment to the past most definitely outweighed her confidence in the future. The confidence that we can only find in Jesus! That, apparently, was at least part of her sin. It would appear that even before they were past the city limits, according to Scripture, she was already missing what Sodom and Gomorrah had offered her. She didn't have FAITH. She doubted the Lord’s ability to give her something better than she already had. She apparently thought, fatally, as it turned out, that nothing God laid ahead of her could possibly be as good, or better, than those moments she was begrudgingly leaving behind. So it's what's in our HEARTS that make the difference and our FAITH that pulls us through!
You need not dwell on the days now gone away, or the pains and sorrows they hold. Nor you need not vainly yearn for any of your yesterdays, no matter how good those yesterdays may have been. They're gone. The past is to be learned from but NOT lived in. We can look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not gather up the ashes from the fires that burned out. Then when we've learned what we needed to learn, no matter how long it takes us, then we look ahead! We remember that Faith is always pointed toward the future. Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives. To yearn to go back to a world that can't be lived in now; to be perennially dissatisfied with present circumstances and have only dismal views of the future; to miss the here-and-now-and-tomorrow because we are so trapped and bound up in the there-and-then-and-yesterday, well, these are just some of the sins of Lot's wife. Longing in the heart for things of old. Things we don't want to practice in our own lives! The Apostle Paul, after reviewing the very privileged and rewarding life of his early years, his birthright, education, his standing in the Jewish community, Paul says that all of that was nothing compared to his conversion to Christianity. Basically he says he stopped rhapsodizing for the old days and eagerly awaits the future when he may "apprehend that for which Christ apprehended me.” And then this wonderful reminder comes along. Philippians 3:13–14 tells us, "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, v14) I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
No Lot’s wife here for Paul. No looking back at Sodom and Gomorrah. Paul knows it's out there in the future, straight up ahead, wherever heaven is taking us, where we'll win “the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14.
There is something in us, at least in too many of us, that particularly fails to forgive and forget earlier mistakes in life, either mistakes we ourselves have made or the mistakes of others. To be bound, tied or held in contempt to earlier mistakes, our own or others, is one of the worst kind of "wallowing in the past" that we are called to cease and desist. Such dwelling on one's past life, including past mistakes, strongholds and bondage, is just not right! For ourselves and in others. It isn't the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no greater requirement for us than to do as the Lord Himself said He does in Isaiah 43:25, "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins."
So, When Satan Taps Your Shoulder, DON'T LOOK BACK!
There's only deliverance in the Lord Jesus Christ! If you are not a born again believer in Jesus Christ Alone, then I invite you to kneel down before the Almighty God and cry out for forgiveness, repent of your sins, believe on Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, as the only Begotten Son of God, who died on the Cross for ALL of your sins, paying our sin debt in full, who rose again three days later and who will return again! He's waiting for you with arms wide open!