Bible study: Though influential, Lot failed to influence anyone for God

Genesis 19:12–26


Genesis describes the progressive involvement of Lot with the city of Sodom. First, Lot pitched his tents near Sodom. Lot surely knew of the reputation of the inhabitants of Sodom “sinning immensely against the Lord” (13:13). Notice the progression in the description of Lot. He moved near Sodom and then moved into Sodom.

Genesis 19:1 describes Lot sitting in the gateway of Sodom. Public decisions were made by the city elders in the city gate. Business was negotiated and transacted at the city gate.

The fact that Lot is sitting in the city gate indicates that he had become an influential person within the wicked city. Lot, however, failed to influence anyone in terms of a relationship with God.

Urgency (12–17)

God sent angels to remove Lot and his family from the wicked city. Lot had gained respectability at the city gate at the cost of losing spiritual influence within his own family. Two angels commanded Lot to gather his family (wife, daughters and future sons-in-law) so that they could escape the coming judgment.

Lot’s sons-in-law laughed because they thought Lot was joking. Lot hesitated rather than immediately obeying the command of the angels. Lot lived in the city of Sodom, and Sodom lived in the heart of Lot. The angels forcefully brought Lot and his family outside the city. This passage illustrates the importance of urgent obedience to the commands of God. Many people focus on the promises of God within the Bible but neglect the commands of God.

Bargaining (18–22)

The angels commanded Lot to run and neither look back nor stop anywhere. Lot delayed obeying the angels and attempted to negotiate with the angels and bargained for a concession. Lot’s language was the language of prayer.

Lot acknowledged that the angels had shown grace to him (favor) and loyal love, yet note the contrast between Abraham and Lot. Abraham prayed for Sodom; Lot begged to go to a small town. Lot showed no concern for the townspeople. He prayed only for himself. Nor is there any mention of a concern of Lot for any family members.

As Adam and Eve sinned and were banished to the east of the garden of Eden (3:24), likewise Lot requested to flee east to a town named Zoar rather than running to the mountains. “Zoar” means “little” or “small.” Coincidentally, Lot chose to live in a small place, and his influence on his family was small.

Judgment (23–26)

Lot reached Zoar. Then God rained down fire and brimstone upon the city. God’s judgment was to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah as well as the inhabitants of the cities. God even judged the grass and agricultural products that grew on the ground. Lot’s wife looked back and was turned into a salt pillar.


This lesson was written by Mark Rathel, professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Fla., and originally published by The Baptist Paper. This study is based on the Explore the Bible curriculum from Lifeway Christian Resources.