In the Summer of 1950 the city of Flagstaff, Maine was a city about to be utterly and irreversibly destroyed by floodwaters. The residents not only knew about it beforehand, but they knew upwards to a year out of the city’s termination. The awaited flooding wasn’t because of some predicted force of nature, but rather the decision of man. The local government was building a hydroelectric dam near Flagstaff and had plans to purposefully flood the area to create a standing lake to generate energy. So, the date was set, residents were given relocation funds, and people were told they could stay in-town up until a month out of the flooding. In the months before it was to be flooded, all improvements and repairs in the whole town were stopped. The mindset was, “What was the use of painting a house if it were to be covered with water in six months? Why repair anything when the whole village was to be wiped out?” So, week by week, the whole town became more and more bedraggled, more rusted and dustier, more all-around miserable. Everyone simply was focused on leaving. One resident responded when asked about the state of the city upon leaving, “Where there is no faith in the future, there is no power in the present.”
In Genesis 19 we find a similar situation with a city on the verge of destruction. God is set on destroying the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of the outcry against its people and the cities’ grave sins (Genesis 18:20-21). After discussing it over with Abraham, God vows to recuse the few righteous intermixed within the city’s boundaries. Therefore, God’s messengers go to Lot personally and warn him and his family of the impending judgment, “For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” – Genesis 19:13. This is a clear message to Lot. Destruction is coming to all found within these two towns and surrounding areas. One would think that like the residents of Flagstaff, Maine Lot would drop everything else and focus on leaving. Although, this seemingly obvious response isn’t found in the next step of Lot’s journey. Genesis 19:15-16, “As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered. (emphasis added) So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.” Why in the world would Lot linger on such a day? When he knew destruction was undoubtedly coming his way why would he take his time that morning leaving? Maybe, like his wife herself later reveals about herself in Genesis 19:26, Lot was having a hard time letting go of his life there in Sodom. He wasn’t ready to “move on” from this location and this lifestyle therefore, he lingered. He simply wasn’t ready to leave a place he felt comfortable even in the face of the coming judgment.
I wonder how often I linger as Lot does here in Genesis 19? I wonder how many times in my own life have I been told the facts, and still hesitated to move on or take action? Times when I knew what I needed to do or say to someone but hesitated because I didn’t want to leave the comfort of where I was. The residents of Flagstaff, Maine knew what they needed to do because of the facts given to them; they needed to relocate because there was no future where they were. Lot, on the other hand, got lost in the comfort of where he was and almost lost his life because of it. A verse that has recently popped up in my life multiple times has been James 4:17, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” May we all never lose sight of what we need to do or who we need to be for the Lord. The facts are before us, there is no future outside of Him. Let us never hesitate in taking action!