Click here for an audio version of this blog post.
At dawn the next morning the angels became insistent. “Hurry,” they said to Lot. “Take your wife and your two daughters who are here. Get out right now, or you will be swept away in the destruction of the city!”
When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the LORD was merciful. When they were safely out of the city, one of the angels ordered, “Run for your lives! And don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley! Escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away!”
“Oh no, my lord!” Lot begged. “You have been so gracious to me and saved my life, and you have shown such great kindness. But I cannot go to the mountains. Disaster would catch up to me there, and I would soon die. See, there is a small village nearby. Please let me go there instead; don’t you see how small it is? Then my life will be saved.”
“All right,” the angel said, “I will grant your request. I will not destroy the little village. But hurry! Escape to it, for I can do nothing until you arrive there.” (This explains why that village was known as Zoar, which means “little place.”)
Lot reached the village just as the sun was rising over the horizon. Then the LORD rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah. He utterly destroyed them, along with the other cities and villages of the plain, wiping out all the people and every bit of vegetation. But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt. – Genesis 19:16-26 [NLT]
The crash came at about 5 AM. The whole house shook. But I couldn’t identify its source. We were sleeping in the middle bedroom with plywood covering the window of that room. Hurricane Ike was doing its thing in the greater Houston area. And We were hunkered down.
The wind had swirled all night. The rain was incessant. This was no little storm. Sometime around 6 AM I walked from our middle bedroom toward the closet in our master bedroom. Then I heard the drip, drip, drip coming from the ceiling of our bedroom. Something had happened. Upon inspection outside I discovered that the something was a pine tree (one of 12 in our back yard) had been broken off about 20 feet in the air, its top crashing into our roof. One of the 1 inch branches had pierced our roof. Truly a minor bit of damage all things considered.
Previously we had experienced Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. People had fled New Orleans and made a run for safety. People from northwest Harris county had also fled. We had remained in place, and were actually able to offer shelter to a family with a small baby fleeing from his studies at Tulane University. This time, many people ignored the warnings. There comes a time when the warnings simply go unheeded. That had been one of those times.
The angels warn Lot and his family to flee. There would come cataclysmic destruction as a judgment of God. Had they not taken Lot and his family by their hands they would surely have been destroyed. As it was, it took more than a warning, but in the mercy of God, they were spared.
Is there a warning you’re ignoring? Are you too ready to conclude that people are crying wolf when they sound the alarm? I have no strong opinion about the current crises call about climate change. I’m pretty certain that the COVID-19 crisis is real. But I’m totally convinced that God’s call to repent and believe the gospel is absolutely vital. It is a message that must be heard. And believed. And heeded.
Maybe it’s a relationship that gets patched up. Perhaps it is a sin to be abandoned. It could be an overall laxness toward God’s word and will. It might be a failure to pray. But wherever God is calling you to repent and believe, take heed! And rejoice! God’s call is to life, salvation, blessing, and true joy.