There have been many sermons on Lot’s wife … how after her escape from Sodom she “looked back” and became a pillar of salt. I don’t believe I have ever heard a sermon on how Lot lingered!
Uncle Abraham was good to his nephew, Lot. Uncle Abe was the good ol’ rich uncle that everybody wants to have! When Uncle Abe left Ur of the Chaldeans he took Lot with him who also had many flocks, herds, and tents. There were so many of them that the land could not handle them all. The herdsmen didn’t get along very well!
Abram approached Lot and let him make the decision as to go or stay and whichever he choose Uncle would take the other route. Genesis 13 tells us that “Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere … like the garden of the Lord. Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan”. After all Uncle Abe had done for Lot in helping him to prosper, Lot choose selfishly. Bad choice!
Apparently, Lot was greatly influenced by those in Sodom. When the Lord told Abraham that He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah Abraham pleaded with God not to destroy them. He interceded starting from 50 down to 10. Perhaps he should have gone all the way to one!
Now the angels are in Sodom and Lot takes them to his home, feeds them, and welcomes them to stay the night with his family.
We all know the story of what happened next and that is not the issue I want to take up here. But what intrigues me is with all that happened during that night when the morning dawned the angels had to urge Lot to hurry! Was he not eager and anxious to get out of Dodge knowing destruction was coming? Chapter 19:16 tells us, “And while he lingered …” What in the world was so important that Lot lingered? Was he thinking, “I can’t leave all this?” Was he looking around to see if he had time to say goodby to his neighbors? To grab his car keys? To get his important papers together? To get the cash he had hidden under his mattress?
He lingered. What does it mean to linger? 1) to remain or stay on in a place longer than is expected as if from reluctance to leave; 2) to be tardy in action; delay; dawdle.
The angels were merciful to Lot and his family in that they took hold of his hand, the hand of his wife, and the hands of his two daughters and brought them out of the city.
Lot was going to obey but he had mixed emotions. He entered Sodom as a rich man … he was leaving with only the clothes on his back. God was wanting to save his life and future but Lot could only think of his present. Was he looking at all he was leaving behind instead of the fact that God wanted to preserve his life?
There is another instance of “lingering” in the Bible. Genesis 43:10 tells the story of Jacob’s sons who were petitioning Jacob once again to take Benjamin to Egypt with them. Jacob was reluctant to let Benjamin go and the brothers said, “For if we had not lingered, surely by now we would have returned this second time.” Jacob’s lingering to give his permission almost wiped out the family!
Lingering can be costly! How much better it is to obey quickly! We don’t know what the outcome would have been if Lot would have obeyed without looking back. For Lot’s wife, it was the end … she didn’t get the second chance!
Don’t dawdle! Don’t delay! Don’t look back! Don’t be reluctant to pick up and GO when God says “GO — NOW!” The future He has planned for you is far better than what you will be leaving behind!
Don’t hang on to what you can’t let go of.