Genesis 19:17
As soon as the men had brought them out, one of them said, "Run for your lives! Do not look back, and do not stop anywhere on the plain! Flee to the mountains, or you will be swept away!"
Sermons
Delay in ReligionThe Evangelical PreacherGenesis 19:17
Delays are DangerousBenson Bailey.Genesis 19:17
EscapeE. Stock.Genesis 19:17
Escape for Thy LifeJ. Day, D. D.Genesis 19:17
Escape for Thy LifeGenesis 19:17
Escape for Thy Life!J. B. C. Murphy, B. A.Genesis 19:17
Escape from DestructionTract JournalGenesis 19:17
Illustration of the Sinner's State, Duty, and ProspectsG. Brooks.Genesis 19:17
Look not BehindGenesis 19:17
Look not Behind TheeH. V. Hilprecht, D. D.Genesis 19:17
No Time for DelayBp. Meade.Genesis 19:17
Run for Your LifeDr. Talmage.Genesis 19:17
Saved as by FireA. Maclaren, D. D.Genesis 19:17
The Angels' Admonition to LotE. Cooper, M. A.Genesis 19:17
The Awakened SinnerW. M. Whittemore.Genesis 19:17
The Last Night of SodomD. Marsh, D. D.Genesis 19:17
The Ship on Fire -- a Voice of WarningCharles Haddon Spurgeon Genesis 19:17
For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord. The promise to Abraham included -

(1) understanding of God's acts;

(2) that he should become a mighty nation;

(3) that he should be ancestor of the promised Seed;

(4) that he himself should be a blessing to others.

Of these points two at least are not confined to him personally, but belong to all who will. To know what God doeth a man must be taught of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14; cf. Isaiah 7:12). There is a wide difference between seeing an event, or even foreseeing it, and understanding God's lessons therein. To be able in everything to mark the love, and care, and wisdom of God; to walk with him as a child, accepting what he sends not merely as inevitable, but as loving; to learn lessons from all that happens, and through the works of his hands to see our Father's face - this is peace, and this is what the wisdom of this world cannot teach (Matthew 11:25; 1 Corinthians 1:20, 21). Again, Abraham was to be not merely the ancestor of a nation, but the father of a spiritual family by influence and example (Matthew 3:9; Galatians 3:7). In this his calling is that of every Christian (Daniel 12:3; Matthew 5:13, 14). Text connects the godly rule of a family with both these blessings. Christianity is not to be a selfish, but a diffusive thing (Matthew 5:15; Matthew 13:83); and the influence must needs begin at home (cf. Numbers 10:29; Acts 1:8), among those whom God has placed with us.

I. THINGS NEEDFUL FOR THIS WORK.

1. Care for his own soul. If that is not cared for a man cannot desire the spiritual good of others. He may desire and try to train his children and household in honesty and prudence; to make them good members of society, successful, respected; and may cultivate all kindly feelings; but not till he realizes eternity will he really aim at training others for eternity. Might say that only one who has found peace can fully perform this work. A man aroused with desire that his family should be saved. But he cannot press the full truth as it is in Jesus.

2. Love for the souls of others. Christians are sometimes so wrapped up in care for their own souls as to have few thoughts for the state of others. Perhaps from a lengthened conflict the mind has been too much turned upon its own state. But this is not the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:24). It is not a close following of him. It tells of a halting in the "work of faith" (2 Corinthians 5:13, 14; cf. Romans 10:1).

3. Desire to advance the kingdom of Christ. When a man has this he sees in every one a soul for which Christ died (cf. John 4:35), and those with whom he is closely connected must chiefly call forth this feeling.

II. THE MANNER OF THE WORK. Family worship; acknowledgment of God as ruling in the household; his will a regulating principle and bond of union. Let this be a reality, not a form. Let the sacrificial work of Christ be ever put forward in instruction and in prayer. Personal example - constantly aiming at a holy life. To pray in the family and yet to be evidently making no effort to live in the spirit of the prayer is to do positive evil; encouraging the belief that God may be worshipped with words, without deeds; and tending to separate religion from daily life. Prayer in private for each member - children, servants, &c.; and watchfulness to deal with each as God shall give opportunity (Proverbs 15:23). Let prayer always accompany such efforts. - M.







Escape for thy life; look not behind thee.
I. AN ALARM. "Escape for thy life."

1. Lot's life was in imminent danger. So is the life of every unconverted man.

2. But Lot had timely warning to escape from the impending storm, and so has every sinner.

3. Lot's escape was to be effected in haste; and if he had not left the place at that time, he would have been destroyed with the wicked.

II. A CAUTION.

1. "Look not behind thee."

(1)To consult the world.

(2)To confer with flesh and blood.

(3)To reason with the devil.

2. "Neither stay in all the plain."

(1)Of carnal security.

(2)Of desire.

(3)Of procrastination.

(4)Of good resolution.

(5)Of despondency and unbelief.

III. AN EXHORTATION. "Escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed."

1. Those who flee to Christ find a place of safety.

2. Those who escape to Jesus Christ shall find rest.

3. Those who escape to Christ are blessed with peace.

(Benson Bailey.)

The Evangelical Preacher.
I. THE GREAT CRISIS IN THE HISTORY OF THE SOUL.

1. We illustrate this by the case of Lot, as here described.

2. We apply this to the ease of undecided persons.

II. THE CAUSE OF THIS LINGERING IN RESPECT TO RELIGION.

1. The cause of Lot's lingering is evident.

(1)Worldly attractions.

(2)Domestic ties.

2. The reason why some linger on the subject of religion.

(1)Taken up with the pleasures and vanities of the world, its gratifications, enjoyments, amusements.

(2)Influenced by the consideration of worldly gain.

(3)Influenced by relations and associations.

III. THE SIN AND DANGER OF LINGERING, AS IT RESPECTS RELIGION.

1. The sin committed against God.

2. The dangerous consequences of this halting in religion.

(The Evangelical Preacher.)

I. I wish to speak of the MEANS by which a sinner is awakened from his spiritual slumber — from that deathly lethargy in which every human being lies by nature. The means, I hesitate not to consider, is the Word of God. Other things may assist in giving entrance to the Word, but it is by the Word, as a rule, that God's Holy Spirit works in convincing the sinner of his sin. It matters not how the sinner gets the Word, so that he do get it.

II. Having spoken of the means employed to awaken the sinner's conscience, we proceed to consider the ANXIETY which is the result. A sense of sin is produced; and sin is felt to be as a heavy burden pressing upon the soul.

III. How important that such an anxious soul should receive proper INSTRUCTION! HOW precious, then, the opportunity of meeting with a Christian friend! I have said that it is by means of the Word of God that the sinner is awakened, that the Holy Spirit proceeds in commencing that process whereby we are brought "out of darkness into marvellous light"; let me add, that there is a connection between the Bible and human agency. God's plan of converting the sinner is by the preaching of the Word; and it is in this way generally that conversions are effected.

IV. We suppose the awakened sinner, thus instructed, to make his ESCAPE. Be has many temptations to remain. But one thought, one anxiety, overpowers all; life, eternal life, is his motive and his object.

(W. M. Whittemore.)

1. My text, in the first place, suggests urgency on the part of all those who would induce people out of their sins. Why was not the angel more polite? Why did he not coolly and formally invite Lot and his wife to leave that city? The angel was in earnest.

2. My subject also suggests that the mere starting gives no security. Lot had started out of the city, but he might have perished half-way before he got to the mountains. Men start for heaven, but do not always get there. If my house be burning, and I take a bucket of water and put out the flames in this, and that, and yonder room, while I leave the flames in another room, I might as well have wasted no strength and brought no buckets of water at all. And if a man is only half saved, he is not saved at all.

3. The text suggests further, that a man, after being persuaded out of sin, sometimes looks back.

4. My text suggests that some men, having started, loiter by the way. They tarry in the plain. They are too lazy to get on. You know that men, in order to get on in this world, must deny themselves, and work hard; must go through drudgery, that after awhile they may have luxuries. If we get to heaven it will be by gathering up all the energies of our souls and hurling them ahead in one persistent direction. In mid-ocean, on the China going out at midnight, the "screw" stopped. "What's the matter?" everybody cried. People rushed out to see why the "screw" had stopped in mid-ocean. Something wrong, or it would not stop in the middle of the Atlantic. So it is a bad sign when men voyaging towards heaven stop half-way. It is a sign of infinite peril.

(Dr. Talmage.)

I. "Escape for thy life." This was the general admonition. It was not a small matter which was at stake. It was his life.

II. "Escape for thy life." Are you aware of the guilt and danger of a sinful, worldly life? Remember the treasure which you have at stake; even your life; not the life merely of your body, but the life of your soul; the everlasting happiness of your immortal spirit. Be in earnest in this great work of saving your precious, your immortal soul. Be active, be diligent. Let nothing turn you from your purpose. Lay hold on eternal life. Attend especially to the three directions attached to the general admonition.

1. "Look not behind thee." Renounce for ever all thoughts of returning to that state of sin and death from which you are beginning to escape. Suffer not your mind, even for a moment, to reflect with complacency on those pursuits, pleasures, or companions, from which you must for ever separate. Having once set your face toward heaven, O! look not back on Sodom. "Remember Lot's wife."

2. "Neither stay thou in all the plain." Think it not enough to have escaped from Sodom, but remove to the greatest possible distance from everything connected with that devoted place. Think it not enough to have renounced old habits of sin, to have broken off from the commission of gross offences, from openly profane and irreligious practices: but have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. Allow not yourself to remain within the forbidden regions of self-indulgence and worldly gratification.

3. "Escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed." If there were no place of safety to which you could flee, and be at peace, then indeed would your efforts to escape be in vain, and my endeavours to assist you fruitless. But, blessed be God I there is a place of safety, a refuge provided for you, where you may be secure from the impending ruin, and may delight yourself in the abundance of peace. Lot was directed to a mountain whither he might escape and be in safety. You are directed not to a mountain, but to Jesus Christ: He is a hiding-place from the storm, a covert from the tempest. Would Lot be safe if he should flee to the mountain? Whosoever flees to Jesus Christ shall be delivered from the wrath to come. He shall be delivered from all the consequences of sin, from the punishment which it has incurred, from the power which it has obtained in the heart. Do you ask how you are to flee to Christ? You are to flee to Him in your mind, with your heart, with all the desires and affections of your soul. You are to flee to Him in faith, believing His word and promises, and casting yourselves upon His mercy and power.

(E. Cooper, M. A.)

"Tarry all night": "Escape for thy life." The words of man and the words of angels. The man, a master of courtesy and hospitality; the angels, ministers of mercy and of vengeance. The man speaks of house and home and feasting and rest; the angels speak of impending wrath and swift destruction. The man persuades to the enjoyment of a quiet evening in a luxurious clime, and promises the return of a beautiful day; the angels would hasten an escape from a scene of enchantment and delight, at the sacrifice of all earthly possessions. The man speaks from mere feeling and a vivid impression of things as they are passing before his eyes; the angels speak of things as they are — and behind the calm and peaceful aspect of the closing day, they see the fiery tempest of the coming morn. Such is the contrast between feeling and fact, shadow and substance, appearance and reality. So unlike and allied to each other are the sensual and the spiritual; the earthly and the heavenly; the aspect of peace and safety, and the near approach of danger and destruction. Such is the difference between the judgment of man, who is all involved in the cares and toils and pleasures of the passing day, and the judgment of beings who stand outside the range of our mistakes and temptations, and who see the affairs of time in the light of eternity This awful lesson in sacred history may be all summed up in two words. The one is from man and the world; the other is from heaven and God. One says to the careless and the worldly, "Tarry, he at ease, enjoy yourself while you can"; the other says, "Escape for thy life." One says, "Wait, be not alarmed; make yourself comfortable where you are"; the other says, "Haste, look not behind thee; flee to the mountain, lest thou be consumed." One says, "Soul, take thine ease; eat, drink, and be merry"; the other says, "Thou fool! this night thy soul may be required of thee." The question which every one must answer for himself is always this, Which of these two voices shall I obey? To many it seems like mockery to talk of danger to the young and the gay, the healthful and the happy. But who was the mocker on the peaceful night when the cities of the plain rioted in pleasure for the last time? All the seductions and falsehoods of temptation, and all the dangers and sorrows of perdition, are bound up in that one word — wait. The voice of love speaks to the careless in terms of terror and alarm. God's patience will not always last. The day of grace must have an end. And with many it is much shorter than they expect.

(D. Marsh, D. D.)

I. THE DANGER TO WHICH THE SINNER IS EXPOSED.

1. It is real. Not imaginary.

2. It is imminent. Not distant. Nearer and nearer every day.

3. It is tremendous. Not slight.

II. THE POSSIBILITY OF ESCAPE FROM THE DANGER TO WHICH THE SINNER IS EXPOSED.

1. It is proved by the invitations addressed to him in the Bible. Numerous, earnest, pathetic.

2. It is proved by the revelation of the work of Christ, on which these invitations are founded. That work is a mountain, if that be the proper emblem of strength, stability, immutability.

3. It is proved by the experience of all believers. Fire-escape. Life-boat.

III. THE NECESSITY OF PROMPT AND DECISIVE ACTION ON THE PART OF THE SINNER, IF HE WOULD ESCAPE FROM THE DANGER TO WHICH HE IS EXPOSED.

1. His flight must be instantaneous. Without procrastination.

2. His flight must be rapid. No delay.

3. His flight must be persevering. The city of refuge.

IV. THE URGENCY OF THE MOTIVES BY WHICH THE SINNER SHOULD BE INDUCED TO ESCAPE FROM THE DANGER TO WHICH HE IS EXPOSED.

1. The magnitude of the interests at stake. "Life! life! eternal life!"

2. The exclusiveness of the gospel method of salvation. No other name.

3. The happiness of escape. Beneficial results to ourselves and others. Address

(1)Those who are at ease in Sodom;

(2)Those who are lingering and deferring their flight;

(3)Those who are daily running in the way prescribed.

(G. Brooks.)

I. You must escape for your life — THE LIFE NOT OF THE BODY BUT OF THE SOUL.

1. The everlasting welfare of your soul is in danger.

2. To effect your deliverance you must escape yourselves.

3. You must be in earnest.

4. You must sacrifice everything that stands in your way.

II. Look NOT BEHIND.

1. He who has once left this sinful world ought to give up all thoughts of return.

2. Look not behind you for the sake of your former companions.

3. Look not back to relieve yourself of the sense of guilt which weighs upon you.

4. Look not behind lest you should never advance beyond your present position.

III. STAY NOT IN ALL THE PLAIN. Delay not —

1. In hope of a better opportunity.

2. In reliance upon your good intentions.

3. Because you have begun to attend to religion.

4. Though you have been brought to reel deeply about religion.

5. For a more thorough conviction of sin.

6. Through discouragement and despondency.

7. Because you hope you are a Christian.

(J. Day, D. D.)

There is such a fate as being saved, yet so as by fire, going into the brightness with the smell of fire on your garments.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

When danger is behind us we should strain all our powers to escape from it as Indians or settlers do to escape from the prairie fires in America. A tribe of Indians, who were swift of foot, once gave a white man they intended to kill a chance to escape by running whilst they all pursued him. He ran with such mad haste that he managed, though with great difficulty, to escape. Look not behind thee,... lest thou be consumed (Genesis 19:17).

The ancients told a fable about Orpheus who, they said, could move men and beasts, birds and fishes, and even trees and rocks by his wonderful music; that when his wife Eurydice was bitten by a serpent and had died, then Orpheus followed her into the infernal regions and there played his music with such exquisite skill that even Pluto (who was said to be the stern and inexorable king of hell) and his grave wife Proserpina were moved to such pity that they gave Orpheus leave to take his wife back to the world again on condition that he did not look around whilst they ascended. As, however, they were rising, the fable says he looked round, either from love, or doubt, or forgetfulness. The result was he saw his much-loved wife for a moment, but then she vanished from his sight for ever. If we look and turn back to the world or sin, we shall lose God's favour and blessings, and we may lose our souls for ever.

A man was once shut up in prison, loaded with chains, and condemned to be hung. He had been taken a prisoner in war by a cruel tyrant, and knew that there was no hope for him if he could not in some way make his escape. In the dead hour of night, when all his guards were sound asleep, and not a footstep was to be heard around his prison, the door of his dungeon was opened, his general entered and took off his chains, and said to him, "Haste thee, escape from this place. I have, at immense expense and terrible exposure of my life, entered this prison to save you. Follow me, and I will guide you safely. But you have not a moment to lose. An hour's delay may prove for ever too late." What will you think when I tell you that the prisoner said, "Let me think about it — wait a little while"; and then actually refused to go with him? Who was to blame for that man's death, but himself? This is precisely the way that sinners, condemned and bound by Satan to be shut up in the dark prison of despair, act when Jesus, the great Captain of our salvation, comes to set them free. A great warrior was once persuaded by his enemies to put on a beautiful robe which they presented him. Not suspecting their design, he wrapped himself tightly in it, but in a few moments found that it was coated on the inside with a deadly poison. It stuck to his flesh as if it had been glued. The poison entered into his flesh so that in trying to throw off the cloak he was left torn and bleeding. But did he for that reason hesitate about taking it off? Did he stop to think whether it was painful or not? Did he say, "Let me wait and think about it awhile"? No, he had more sense than that. He tore it off at once, and threw it from him, and hastened away from it to the physician. Sinner, this is the way you must treat your sins if you would be saved. And do it now. "Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation." A sprightly boy, who was the pride of his master, who was loved by all his fellow-servants, once came to me to talk about his soul's salvation. He had heard that to live in sin was to live in rebellion against God and in great danger. He felt that he was a sinner. He knew that he ought to forsake his sins. He talked freely with me about himself. Before we parted he promised to begin the service of God the next day. He went off to his business. I saw no more of him for about three months. As I was riding along one day his master met me and asked me to go in and see William, for that was his name, who was very sick. I found him very ill, and about to die. Surely, said I to myself, he is prepared and willing to go, for I remember his promises and good resolutions to begin the next day. I said to him, "William, I hope Christ is precious to you now?" "Oh! sir," said he, "I have no hope in Christ! I fear I am lost. I resolved when I saw you last to repent and be a Christian the next day. But the next day brought something that prevented me, and caused me to put it off till the next day still, and so I thought at the end of every day that I would begin the next day. But every day passed on and closed in the same way, And here I am yet, a hardened sinner, and in the arms of death." I tried to tell him about Jesus as his Saviour. I prayed for him. And while I was repeating some precious promises from the Word of God, he turned to me and said, "Oh! sir, it is too late; I am lost. I cannot be saved now. Tell my fellow-servants not to put off another day making their peace with God." Scarcely had he given this testimony of the danger of delay, when he was overcome by stupor and delirium, and thus died in darkness and impenitence.

(Bp. Meade.)

"For thy life!" Ah, brethren, were it only the life of your body that you knew to be in jeopardy, you would not hesitate, you would not tarry. You would escape from a burning house, you would leap from a sinking ship, and leave all you have in the world behind you. "Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life." One instance of the truth of these words. A young officer doing duty with an Indian cavalry regiment when tiger shooting one day, "missed his mark," and soon found himself in the tiger's clutches. It was an anxious moment — few of his friends being at hand. As a sportsman of experience the young man knew well that his best course was to lie quietly and sham death. The tiger surveyed his prey, looked around, and thinking all was safe, set to work to make its meal. Taking the young officer's hand in his mouth he deliberately devoured it, and the arm was eaten to the elbow before help arrived. Had the victim moved, or uttered even a groan, the tiger would have put an end to his existence before going on with his repast. Of course the shattered arm had to be removed from the shoulder, but that brave officer lives, and holds at this present moment a post of honour under the Government. Now imagine the suffering endured by him whilst lying, quite conscious, in the power of a voracious "man-eater"! Why do I tell you this? To ask you what it was that strengthened him to such an act of heroism. It was love of life — it was "for his life"!

(J. B. C. Murphy, B. A.)

It is a rather popular word with young people. At the head of a newspaper paragraph or of a chapter in a story it instantly commands attention. We at once think of a convict's escape from prison, or a backwoodsman's escape from Indians, or a mail-steamer's escape from icebergs. But observe — what are all these escapes from? The convict escapes from weary confinement; the backwoodsman from hated foes; the mail-steamer from dreaded peril. No necessity to urge escape from these.

(E. Stock.)

This demand seems somewhat strange to us; for we would rather expect that the angels would summon them to look at the cities while God was executing judgment on their wicked inhabitants, in order to show them His power. But the words of the angels to Lot rest on a certain idea found among many ancient nations. To witness with human and profane eyes God's holy acts was regarded as fatal to the beholder. We find this fact as it existed among the old Hebrews expressed in many passages of the Old Testament. Moses, as soon as he hears the voice, "I am the God of thy father," out of the burning bush, hides his face, being afraid to look upon Eloheem. When the Lord revealed Himself in fire and smoke on Mount Sinai, the children of Israel were forbidden to break through the bounds to gaze on the Lord, lest they perish. Gideon (Judges 6:22) and Manoah (Judges 13:22) feared that they might die because they had seen the angel of the Lord. Even Isaiah, when about to be consecrated by Jehovah for his prophetical office, exclaims, in the aspect of the throne and of the all-covering magnificent garment of God: "Woe is me! for I am undone, for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." Indeed, the Divine holiness is a devouring fire to men regarded as sinners (Isaiah 33:14). Even the seraphim, according to the immense contrast between the Creator and His creatures, cannot stand the holy God and cover their face (Isaiah 6:2). Similar to the Jewish is this conception among heathen nations. The Greeks and Romans were not accustomed to look back while performing certain sacred rites; and the classical legends are full of examples in which this ceremony is observed. Tiresias, the famous diviner of Thebes, consulted by Alcmena, daughter of Electryon, king of Mycenae (now partly re-excavated), ordered her to burn the two dreadful dragons which her son, a boy of only ten months, had killed, and to send the ashes over the river. There the servant should spread them in the clefts of the rocks, and after that come back without turning his back. Thus Theocritus tells us in the twenty-fourth book of his idylls. Another case is recorded by Ovid. When Deucalion and Pyrrha, the only two persons who were saved out of the deluge according to the Greek tradition, consulted the ancient oracle of Themis regarding the restoration of mankind, they received the answer: "Depart from the fane, veil your heads, loosen your girded vestments, and east behind you the great bones of your parent" (that is, the stones of the earth). And in one of the most beautiful of the old myths the turning back of the person in question was not less fatal than in the case of Lot's wife. Orpheus, who struck the lyre so wonderfully as to move the very rocks and trees, mollified even the rulers of the lower regions, and obtained permission to take back to the world of light his beloved wife, the nymph Eurydice, who had died from the bite of a serpent, on the condition that he was not to look back before reaching the tontines of the Hades. But curious, like the wife of Lot, Orpheus broke this condition shortly before his wish was fulfilled, and Eurydice vanished from his sight to return to the kingdom of darkness.

(H. V. Hilprecht, D. D.)

Tract Journal.
It is related that once the city of Pleurs stood in a quiet valley of the Alps, beneath the shadow of the snow-covered mountains, a pleasant and prosperous town. Above it hung the avalanche threatening destruction. One night a wakeful man heard the ominous sound breaking on the still air, which heralds the descending mass of ice. Starting from his repose, he awoke his daughter, and with her hastened towards the city gate. There she recollected that her casket of jewelry had been left in the house, and turned back to secure the treasure. In another moment the overwhelming deluge of the avalanche fell with the voice of thunder between father and daughter, burying the city beneath it, When the morning dawned, the spires of the churches alone rose above the cold, white grave of the just before busy town. The maiden perished with her idol, while he who sought to save her escaped.

(Tract Journal.)

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