"Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all, even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed." — Luke 17:28-30.
"How can this be?" some of my readers may ask. "We thought Christianity would spread, until all the world would be converted. Does not the Scripture say, 'The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea?' — (Isaiah 11.) How then, can this world become as wicked as Sodom; and that wickedness go on, until the very day that Christ is revealed from heaven?" The answer is very simple. The Scripture nowhere teaches, that the time of the earth's blessing will take place before Christ comes, but after. There can be no doubt, but that it will be exactly as Christ says. As it was in the days of Lot; yes, until the very day that Christ is revealed from heaven. Yes, my reader may live to see that day. If not a believer, but a rejecter of Christ, you may be taken with as great surprise, as when they had just taken their shutters down in Sodom, to commence another day's business, and another day's sins.
But let us see how it was in the days of Lot. There are some most solemn lessons, connected with this subject. There was Abraham, the man of God, outside Sodom, in unhindered communion with God. There was Lot in Sodom; and, consequently, out of communion with God; though saved so as by fire. And there was the doomed city of wickedness. There was but one Abraham on the face of the earth. And how few, at any one time, have really walked with God. Of the first two men born of a woman, one set aside God's sentence on the earth; and tried to bring the best he could grow, an offering to the Lord; and was rejected. The other, Abel, owned the sentence of death, and approached God, through the blood of a victim, Enoch also walked with God; but there was only one Enoch in his day. So of Noah; but there was only one Noah, out of the whole world. And in the new world, so soon filled with idolatry, there was only one Abraham. And again only one Isaac. And only one Jacob. And only one Joseph. And then, not one man of faith is named for some hundreds of years. And then a little child is found hid by faith, in an ark of bulrushes. But, on the face of all the earth, there was only one Moses. Aaron even worshipped a calf. And then a Joshua — a Samuel, a David. And what is the history of the Prophets but that of a very few men at any time, on the face of the whole earth, fully walking with God? How often they had to walk alone; even the nation of Israel, utterly departing in heart from God.
And when Jesus came to his own, did they walk in his light? Alas! they rejected and killed him. Aye, and after the resurrection, there was but one Paul. And since his day, how few have walked with God, in the power of the heavenly calling! Alas! how earthly, and worldly, the great house of Christendom has become. Sad contrast to the heavenly, exalted, Church of God.
And will it be so up to the very coming of Christ? There can be no mistake about it. He, who cannot lie, says it will be, as it was in the days of Lot. Oh, far, far worse than it is now!
The Lord then appeared to Abraham, as he sat, pilgrim like, in the tent door, on the plains of Mamre. (Gen. 18.) There was unhindered communion at once. Not so with Lot; the Lord would not even go into the city, where he was; but sent his messengers to pull him out. First the eye lusted after Sodom, then the tent pitched towards Sodom; then in Sodom itself, Where are you, my fellow christian? The eye on the world; the tent towards it; or are you in it? Sad place for a child of God! The Devil is the god of it. Destruction is its end. When a man has got his utmost wish of this world, what can it afford? Ask that grey-haired old man; What does the world afford you, prosperous, rich old man? I hear you have got a good bit of property in Sodom. Does it satisfy? He shakes his head. "What does it afford?" He says, "An empty, aching heart; that is all." What are, all the riches, and honours, of Sodom, to be compared with one hour's real communion with God. Oh, for more real separation to him; to feed on Christ with him; to talk with God.
Not so Lot. All confusion and vexation. He tries to reform Sodom! and loses all power, even over his own family. Child of God, is it not so? true picture of every worldly christian! How can we say, Lead us not into temptation; and then settle down in Sodom? But God is rich in mercy. "Hast thou here any besides? son-in-law, and thy sons, and daughters?" Oh, precious grace, it is just what God is doing at this very time. The terrible day of the Lord is very near; but God still waits in mercy, and is awakening whole families. It is as though the Lord said, I would not have those, so dear to you, to perish; go and wake them up; tell them of my mercy, and tell them of my coming judgment. Oh, my reader, if saved yourself, have you no sons, or sons-in-law, or daughters? Are there none you love, for whom you would pray; and to whom you would speak the warning word?
But Lot seemed, to his own children, as one that mocked. Oh, sad effect of Sodom. My reader, your children watch you; they may see you clinging, and grasping at Sodom's property. You may get your heart's desire in this world; and when you warn your children, you may seem as one that mocks. Ah, you may see them left to perish. Still poor Lot lingers. His property is there; and "the men laid hold upon his hand" the Lord being merciful to him. Thus was he, his wife, and two daughters, brought out. Not a word about sons, and sons-in-law. Even his poor wife looked back, and perished.
The sun was risen. The city was astir. Lot was out. Oh, what a cry of wailing and bitterness, as the first drops of liquid fire fell. It was too late.
And is this the doom that awaits this deceived world? Yes: it shall come as a thief in the night. Roll on, poor world; thou hast rejected Christ; thou hast preferred a murderer, for thy God. The Devil that deceiveth thee, shall be cast into the lake of fire with thee. Oh, my reader, is this thy doom — art thou still a rejecter of Christ? Do ponder the end. Today there is mercy; pardon through the precious blood of Christ. God only knows to-morrow. Oh, may God speak to thee now, being merciful to thee. Remember, it is Christ who says, "In such an hour as ye think not the son of man cometh."