When God destroyed the world with the flood He destroyed thousands upon thousands of sinners. But He did not destroy sin. He did not even destroy all the sinners. There were eight sinners saved in the ark. And while they were safely harbored there in the midst of the storm, they were still sinners. The enemies, the sinners outside of the Church were destroyed by the flood; but sin went into the ark in the hearts of Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives. The evidence of that we see in what happens after they came out of the ark. And then we must not think only of Noah’s drunkenness and Ham’s filthy mind and shameful deed. We must realize that all the violence and crime of today, all the idolatry and corrupt speech of today, all the disregard for the things holy, all the atheism, evolutionism, modernism, all the worship of the devil and of the things of this earth, all the sin in every form and shape that we see today came out of that ark and in principle was in the hearts of those who went into that ark before the sinners of the world were destroyed.
Had He desired to do so, God could certainly have made an end of all sin on this earth and wiped these also off from it and into the pit of hell where they cannot practice their evil any more. But the question is not as to what God could have done but as to what it pleased Him to do. And it pleased Him to destroy the sinners who were at that time fierce enemies of His Church, and to save some who still had sinful flesh with all the vile motions of that sin within them.
A similar work of God we see when He overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and wiped out all the sinners who were outside of His Church and were residing in these cities and their environs. He saved Lot, but not because Lot had no sin in his soul. He saved Lot but not from all the power of sin. And that whole sad incident that we read of in Genesis 19:30-38 gives evidence of this fact. Lot’s daughters reveal no more spirituality than his wife. They did not look back to Sodom literally by a turning of their physical necks and focusing of their fleshly eyes, but spiritually they did look back, remembered the sins of Sodom and were not hesitant to tailor them to fit their own wicked purposes. And Lot himself revealed that there was in his flesh the power of sin and that he was very much under its dominion.
There is even the foolishness of unspiritual thinking on the part of Lot. When the angel hastens him and warns him to hurry and not look back, Lot pleads for entrance into little Zoar rather than to have to flee to the mountains, which were a goodly way farther away. We say foolish reasoning because we must not think that there is no sin in little cities. Our bigger cities have their dens of iniquity, their red-light districts and areas of high crime, their holdouts of gangsters and the like. In a large city crime is better organized; and quite naturally there is a greater assembly of sinners. There are more sinners, and they develop sin together to a greater degree of execution and godlessness. But just because a city is little does not mean that one is going to be free from sin in it, or that there is only minor sin in it. We are not told why Lot did leave Zoar, but he did somewhat later and made his abode in the mountains to which the angel had referred. Could it be that Lot himself realized that the world is always wicked even though the form of sin is not always the same? Or is it that Lot with the little spark of spiritual life that still burned in him was simply being obedient to the command of the angel? He asked to be allowed to flee to Zoar rather than to the mountains till he could rest, and the evil which would take his life would not occur. He does at least go to the mountains which the angel had pointed out to him.
We do well to beware of Zoars as well as Babylons. We are wise when we take the position of the Word of God that the world is corrupt wherever we find it. Both the little city and the big metropolis are full of sin. Both sin to their full capacity as well. There is not a restraining power of the Spirit in the hearts of the little city that without regenerating its citizens causes them to do good. All do not have the same circumstances. All do not dare to sin to the same degree. But the Word of God in very simple yet powerful words declares that there is none that doeth good, no not one! There may be and there are external restraints. There are fears that grip men’s souls so that they do not practice fully what is in their hearts, but the sin is there, and they practice it as much as they dare, are able, and in their sinful hearts and minds think it wise at the moment to do. And forget not that when these external (not spiritual) restraints are there, it is like the water restrained by the dam. It builds up, spreads out, and, when a little opening does appear, rushes forth as a torrent far more devastating than it would at first have been. That happened at the tower of Babel. This was no spiritual restraining work of God’s Spirit, even though it was in the souls of men, so that they thought differently and used different words to express their different thoughts. But sin simply spread out behind that dam and today displays itself in so many forms that it could not have assumed without that confusion of tongues.
Let us also note in the life of Lot that it was one series of little things that finally led him so far from God. It was the little thing of seeking water and food for his cattle. We would say, a necessary thing. But it led him to friction with Abraham. It was a little thing, relatively, to stay in the promised land and yet to move toward, not into Sodom. It was then a little step to move then into the city, to marry a Sodomite and to stay there because business demanded it. We have to live, we have to eat, we have to work, do we not? Now it is a little city and a little journey away from Sodom and not getting too far away. It was a little wine and a little relaxation (also of his morals) and then the awfulness of all those little steps is seen in double incest!
What shall we say about his daughters? With them, too, it is a matter of a “little” infraction, and that for a carnal reason. Let us remember this as we approach the days of the Antichrist when we will have to accept the mark of the beast or not buy or sell. The argument is raised so quickly today, and it was mouthed by the daughters of Lot, that this or that is a necessity for us. Men link up and agree to breaking the fifth commandment in their strikes of the labor unions they join, because it is their duty to provide for their families, is it not? We need to eat, do we not? And Lot’s daughters said, “We need to preserve seed for our father, do we not?” Lot never told them that. He may have expressed some sorrow and disappointment to them that they had to leave the men of Sodom to whom they were betrothed, and now he could see no grandchildren, and the blessing of God’s Word that we shall see our children’s children could not be for him. But who said that he had to have seed? And who said that he still could not find another wife? And they new husbands? Those kinds of deductions and excuses make us ripe for the mark of the beast. The man who today uses the excuse that as head of the house he has a calling to provide for his family, and therefore he has no choice but to join the ranks with the unbelievers in dishonoring those God placed over them in the field of labor, have their excuse already for the mark of the beast. And even more so, for in that day it will not be a question of getting a poorer paying job and living way down the scale, but of getting no job at all and having nothing to give to the family. Watch out for little things. Watch out for the tip of the iceberg that sticks up just a bit above the surface and has a tremendously big destructive power that does not yet meet the eye.
It happens over and over again. And you hear people say it even very emphatically: “No one will take my faith away from me.” They say that when they leave the sphere of where the truth is preached. They say that when they move into the world for business reasons and earthly gain. They may mean it. They may think that they will remain faithful. But look again a few years later. Or, if you will, look at their children and try to find a semblance of that faith that could not be taken away!
Jesus said, “Remember Lot’s wife.” That is good advice; but while we are at it, let us also observe closely Lot and his daughters. Let us note what a little wine did to Lot to cause him to commit the same sin of incest twice! But especially let us look at what God said about the whole filthy business. He does not always say what He thinks at once. And years went by. Generations came and went. But who were some of the fiercest enemies of the Church? Who withstood Moses and the Israelite in the wilderness as Lot’s descendants, the Moabites and Ammonites, did? And how true today! The children of those who forsake the truth for the flesh’s sake and join forces with the world become the fiercest and most bitter enemies of the Church of Christ on this earth. God is not mocked. These daughters said that they had to preserve seed for their father, Lot. But what kind of seed did they preserve for him? The friction, the warfare that was threatened between Abraham and Lot before they separated was as nothing compared with what now became true in the descendants of Abraham and Lot.
Lot’s daughters as unmarried women knew too much of Sodom’s ways for their own good. And what filthy minds they had in spite of their seemingly pious concern for their father’s name and seed. This was no ordinary adultery under the power of a tremendous sexual appeal. It was not that result of what the world likes to call the strength of “body chemistry.” This was a cold, calculated perpetration of incest in which they are not at all averse to sharing the same man! There is no love here. If they had had love for their father they would not have led him into sin. They were driven by their own godless upbringing in a filthy city where their father for material reasons insisted on keeping them. And what a warning that ought to be to all parents who try to bring up their children away from the Church and the truth because they can get a dollar or two more among these ungodly!
What did we say about little cities having big sins? Lot and his daughters are not even a city, nor do they live in the city. They are by themselves in the mountain. And these few, spared the destruction of Sodom, these few not destroyed when the sinners of Sodom were destroyed, did not have the sin in their hearts destroyed. Instead, Sodom’s sins come gushing forth out of that mountain to produce in the world nations of enemies of God’s Church. Let us beware of “little” departures from the truth, “little” enemies of the Church, and “little” changes from the God-ordained way prescribed in His Word. Whether these be in the Church and its offices and polity, or have to do with our walk of life before the world. Little things lead to big enemies. Little by little, bigger and bigger things come to pass. Fear the big things, but watch out for the little ones. Little by little Lot drew farther and farther away from Abraham and from God; and now in this incest he is indeed far removed from where a child of God ought to be. Let that be a warning for us today.