15Early the next morning the two angels tried to make Lot hurry and leave. They said, “Take your wife and your two daughters and get away from here as fast as you can! If you don't, every one of you will be killed when the Lord destroys the city.” 16 At first, Lot just stood there. But the Lord wanted to save him. So the angels took Lot, his wife, and his two daughters by the hand and led them out of the city. 17When they were outside, one of the angels said, “Run for your lives! Don't even look back. And don't stop in the valley. Run to the hills, where you'll be safe.”
18-19Lot answered, “You have done us a great favor, sir. You have saved our lives, but please don't make us go to the hills. That's too far away. The city will be destroyed before we can get there, and we will be killed when it happens. 20There's a town near here. It's only a small place, but my family and I will be safe, if you let us go there.”
21“All right, go there,” he answered. “I won't destroy that town. 22Hurry! Run! I can't do anything until you are safely there.”
The town was later called Zoar because Lot had said it was small.
Sodom and Gomorrah
23The sun was coming up as Lot reached the town of Zoar, 24 and the Lord sent burning sulfur down like rain on Sodom and Gomorrah. 25He destroyed those cities and everyone who lived in them, as well as their land and the trees and grass that grew there.
26 On the way, Lot's wife looked back and was turned into a block of salt.
27That same morning Abraham got up and went to the place where he had stood and spoken with the Lord. 28He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and saw smoke rising from all over the land—it was like a flaming furnace.
29When God destroyed the cities of the valley where Lot lived, he remembered his promise to Abraham and saved Lot from the terrible destruction.
“Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends. . . ” Whatever other message conveyed by those popular Beatles lyrics, the writer understood that he desperately needed his friends to help him be what he felt he wanted and needed to be.
Angels rescued Lot and his family (excluding his non-compliant wife) from God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. But his rescue had nothing to do with Lot’s worthiness. Only the intervention of a true friend saved him. Not someone from his own unrighteous community, but his Uncle Abraham, the bold friend of God from whom he had parted years earlier.
Knowing that God planned to annihilate Lot’s wicked cities, Abraham had engaged him in a barter-like conversation. To and fro they went, until God agreed he would not destroy the cities if he could find there at least ten righteous people (18:32). Now, watching the smoke rising from the carnage further along the valley (see v 27), grief must have overwhelmed Abraham. Not even ten, God? Not even my family?
But “When God destroyed the cities of the valley where Lot lived, he remembered his promise to Abraham and saved Lot from the terrible destruction (v 29).”
God still listens to friends and family who boldly plead with him on behalf of those they love. We saw clear examples of this in the rehab centre where my husband recovered from West Nile Disease paralysis. In our five month stay, we came to know several non-believers who had miraculously survived debilitating accidents – by sheer luck, or so they imagined. We later discovered they had believing relatives who had long prayed for their salvation. God used their difficult circumstances to bring them there, eventually – with a little “help from their friends.”
Never underestimate the power of having a godly friend – or being one.
Friend of sinners, you pled my case with holy God, and arranged my rescue through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Like Lot, may I flee the sins of my past. Like Abraham, may I pray boldly for those in danger.