Likewise even as it came to pass in the days of Lot; they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but in the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all; after the same manner shall it be in the day that the Son of man is revealed. Luke 17:28–30
Jesus mentions the days oE Noah and the days of Lot together. Peter also makes mention of both in II Peter 2. There are so many similarities that the mention of the one period at once reminds one of the other. In Noah’s time the whole world was destroyed and in Lot’s time the cities of the plain. The destruction mentioned in both accounts was a direct judgment of God on the wickedness of the people. In both instances few were saved.
As in the days of Noah, so also in the days of Lot it was a heedless generation. They lived for the present. They did all the things mentioned in the previOUS verses and it is added that they bought and sold, planted and built. Here is a picture of materialism. No thought is given to man’s spiritual needs. The world of spiritual things is entirely unreal to them. All striving is to satisfy the never-to-he-satisfied craving for material things. That was also Lot’s reason for moving to Sodom. That place looked richer than any other when Abraham gave him his choice. All the things mentioned by Jesus are perfectly legitimate pursuits; but the emphasis rests on the fact that these were their only concern. This danger has been real as long as sin has been in this world. This sin came to unbounded expression in the days of Lot and will come to like expression in the days immediately preceding the return of Christ.
Surely, no one would contend that the days of such gross materialism still lie in the distant future. Rather, the disturbing question arises: Was Sodom as materialistic as present-day America? Where would one begin to describe the materialism of the present day? The philosophy of pragmatism guides the thinking of America. The typical American is far more concerned about his standard of living than about his soul. That standard of living is higher than ever before, but it must go higher. Even though spiritual and moral principles must he sacrificed, this craving for material things must be satisfied. Men sacrifice to Mammon daily.
Jesus gives but a summary description of Lot’s days. The account in Genesis stresses the moral decay of the cities of the plain. That is the natural result of materialism. Materialism becomes a religion. Paul teaches us in Romans 1 that the result of false religion or idolatry is immorality. Sodom had become infamous for its immorality. Even Lot’s family did not remain unscathed. So shall it be in the days of the Son of Man.
Those days are upon us. Immorality is a national problem and disgrace. It often comes in more refined forms today than it did in many eras of the past. Even the membership of the church has not remained unscathed. Moral decay is found in all strata of society today. Heedlessness, materialism, and immorality are the characteristics of our modern day. This combination points clearly to the late hour on the clock of history.
Sodom’s destruction was complete. Water was not the agent of destruction, but fire and brimstone. Sodom did not contain ten righteous persons. Four escaped the fire and brimstone; one more perished while escaping; and two of the remaining three were deeply infected by the moral poison of that city.
These historic instances are recorded to warn us “on whom the end of the ages has come.”
1. When do legitimate pursuits become sin? Can certain actions be sin for one person and not for another? What determines the sinfulness of a deed?
2. How are materialism and immorality related? What is the reason for this relationship?
3. We speak of atheistic and materialistic communism. Is there a danger that our present way of life will lead right into the arms of the enemy we fear?
4. How can we combat materialism and the immorality of today?