“But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26).
If I am a strong Christian, shouldn’t I be able to handle any situation in which I find myself and not be influenced by the surroundings in which I am? Do I really need to be concerned about where I go, what I listen to, what I watch on TV, and with whom I associate; or, is this just being legalistic?
The story of Abraham’s nephew, Lot, shows us the power that ungodly influences can have upon our lives and the lives of our family. Abraham and Lot had left their homeland of Haran and came to the land of Canaan, a land which God promised Abraham that his descendants would inherit (Genesis 11:31-12:5). God had blessed both Abraham and Lot to such a large degree that they needed to separate from one another so each could find land to support their flocks (Genesis 13:1-6).
Abraham deferred to Lot as to which part of the land he wanted to dwell (Genesis 13:8-9). How did Lot make his choice? In making this important decision, Lot thought about the natural resources the land provided for his livestock (Genesis 13:10-11), but did not consider the influence this area would have upon him and his family. As Lot pitched his tent near Sodom (Genesis 13:12), we read: “But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord” (Genesis 13:13).
As the years passed by, Lot is described as having been a righteous man (2 Peter 2:7). He appears to have become a judge in Sodom (Genesis 19:9). He practiced hospitality to others (cf. Genesis 19:1-3). However, the city of Sodom had become more and more wicked. In fact, its sin had become so great that the outcry over its iniquity had reached God’s ears (Genesis 18:20-21). Furthermore, Lot himself had become “oppressed” by the filthy conduct of the wicked living there (2 Peter 2:7-8). God determined to destroy the city because He could not even find a total of 10 righteous souls living there (Genesis 18:17-18:33; 19:13). Lot is told to get out of the city (Genesis 19:12).
The power the ungodly influence Sodom had upon Lot and his family is first seen in their reactions to the news to leave Sodom. His sons-in-law refused to take the warning seriously and thought it was a joke (Genesis 19:14). Lot himself lingered at the thought of leaving and the 2 angels who came had to, literally, take his, his wife’s, and his daughter’s hands and bring them outside the city (Genesis 19:15-16). Furthermore, Lot hesitated in going to the mountains to which the angels encouraged him to flee; and, instead, wanted and did turn aside to another city, the city of Zoar (Genesis 19:17-23).
Secondly, the power the ungodly influence Sodom had upon Lot’s family is seen in their actions after leaving the city. After initially leaving the city, as the opening verses above indicate, Lot’s wife turned back to look at the city once again and turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26). In addition, Lot’s daughters, now widows following the deaths of their husbands who perished in Sodom, go into the mountains with their father, get him drunk, and commit incest with him (Genesis 19:30-38). Where did they get the idea to do such a horrible thing? There can be little doubt that Sodom’s ungodly influence had persuaded them to do such a thing which would forever shame them and their father.
Jesus taught us to pray for God not to lead us into temptation (Matthew 6:13). Both Paul and Peter said God will deliver us from temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Peter 2:9). However, I need to make sure I am not leading myself into temptation by placing myself in situations where I am unduly influenced by ungodliness. Today, I will guard myself against the power of ungodly influences!
“Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Corinthians 15:33).