Jump Start # 3192
Genesis 19:17”And it came about when they had brought them outside, that one said, ‘Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, lest you be swept away.”
The darkness and sin of Sodom was about to come crashing down by the judgment of God. The Lord had enough. Angels were sent to rescue Lot and his family. There was no saving Sodom. Ten righteous people could not be found in that place. It was time for the few righteous to flee. In this process, Lot’s wife died because she would not listen and obey what the divine message was. Before the chapter ends, Lot’s daughters get their father drunk and have sexual relations with him which in time became the nations of Moab and Ammon.
There are layers of powerful lessons here for us:
First, there comes a time when the righteous must leave Sodom. Today, we do not have angelic messengers pulling us by the hand to get us out. We must have open eyes and a heart that recognizes that it’s time to leave. One might argue, that Lot needed to be there to be the light into the world and be a positive influence to the citizens of Sodom. God thought it was time to leave. There comes a time when we must recognize that it’s time to leave.
· That may be true of where one works. There are many places hiring today, but finding a good paying job to support a family may be difficult. However, the constant belittling, mocking, and toxic environment of many work places can chip away at our faith. Do we stay because it’s a good job? Does staying weaken my faith? Do I become more like Sodom by staying? There comes a time when a person needs to recognize when that time is.
· There comes a time when a child may need to switch schools. That’s hard. But because of bullies, bad influences and a constant negative attack, parents my have to do that very thing. This is true of elementary school, as well as high school, as well as college. Switching schools may be costly. Many may not understand or even agree with your decision. But you must do what you have to in order to keep your child safe and Heaven bound.
· There comes a time when you may have to move out of the neighborhood. Selling a house and finding a another one is never easy. But when the atmosphere in the neighborhood becomes so ungodly, that it is impacting you and your family, it’s time to move.
· And, yes, there comes a time when a person may have to find another congregation to worship with. If you feel that you are not growing, and the culture at church is not what the Lord would want, then you may have to find another place. This is not about simply disagreeing with some judgmental choices. This is about fitting in. This is about never being accepted as part of the spiritual family. This is about trying to survive in a judgmental and negative atmosphere. This is about coming home from worship feeling worse than when you went.
I wonder if Lot would have ever left Sodom had the angels not been sent. Would he have remained on until all his family was lost? Often, one has to give up the green pastures and what seems to be the best place to live, because it’s not the best place spiritually. While Lot’s cattle seemed to flourish in the green pastures around Sodom, the soul of Lot was “vexed” everyday Peter tells us. He was tormented. He was in agony.
Translating that for us, what looks good for the 401 may not be good for my soul. What looks good in positon and climbing the corporate ladder, may not be good for my spiritual wellbeing. What looks good in the way of scholarships, full rides, perks, real estate may not be good for me spiritually. What good is it to have green pastures for the cattle, but lose your family spiritually?
Do we have the eyes to recognize these things? Do we understand when we need to pull the plug and leave? Do we see what is happening to our children? Do we recognize what it is doing to our spouse? Do we see a drop in spiritual interests? Do we see accepting questionable things? Do we find ourselves hanging with the people of Sodom more than the people of God? How many families live the heartache of having grown children who have nothing to do with the Lord? Could things have been different had they left?
It is hard. I understand that. More than once, our family moved multiple states away and the main reason was for the sake of our children. There were great sacrifices that we had to make. It wasn’t easy. But one must recognize when it’s time to leave. We sing, “This world is not our home,” yet, in many ways we act as if it were. I’ve talked to so many people through the years who were so discouraged about where they worshipped. They were barely hanging on. I suggested driving to another congregation. That idea was immediately shot down. I suggested moving. “No,” was the answer. And, so they stay, and their faith slowly dies. They are attached to a piece of property or a job or a family so strongly, that they’d rather stay in Sodom and hope for the best. There was no hope for Sodom. It was time to leave.
No place. No house. No school. No job. No climate. No friends. No church. And, not even any family, is worth losing your soul over. If you must leave, leave. If staying means becoming spiritually indifferent and weak, then leave. If staying means, your children grow up not following the Lord, leave.
There comes a time to leave Sodom…do you recognize it?