“Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.”- Genesis 19:20
You called it a near and little city to the Lord but secretly in your heart you wanted to consume it on your lust. When Lot was about to part from Abraham he lifted up his eyes, and secretly in his heart saw the beauty and marked the boundaries of the plain of Jordan and the five cities with the city of Zoar at the hinder part and he lusted for what he saw (Gen 13:10). The lust for the cities in the plain including Zoar did not begin when the angels came to rescue Lot but it began secretly in his heart when he was about to leave Abraham. The cities of the plain of Jordan were Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela (Zoar).
O! Lustful heart, insincerity with your Saviour will lead to ruins. Zoar, a lustful and evil city (it was one of the five cities of the plain, and “her sins [were] exceedingly grievous” in the sight of God) ought also to be destroyed, however, it was preserved for the sake of Lot: Gen 19 v 21-“See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken. Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there. ” Unfortunately for Lot, the first thing that did happen to him after Zoar was preserved, while the other cities were destroyed, was to consume Lot’s help-meet – his wife. Eventually, Lot had to finally escape to that higher ground the angels originally told him to escape to, but by then, Lot was no longer a complete man – his family unit was incomplete; Lot’s wife has been lost.
O! How sorrowful to trivialize God’s hand that is safely leading us to our eternal home and to abuse the power of His grace in that we channel it to satisfy our own lust (Zoar), just as Lot made insignificant the merciful hands of the angels that directed him and his family in the way they should go to escape the destruction that’d soon befell the cities.
Zoar, the nearby city he chose to flee, is like the world that is ever near, having the sight that dazzles with tempting applause. Though near, it has no cleft to hide in. Though near, it makes room in Lot’s wife’s heart to look behind on her vain inheritance and backslide from grace. Though near, it has a wicked king and subjects inside (the prince of this world and wicked souls) whose ways were not different from Sodom, for these kings were allies (Gen 14). Though near, it could not provide Lot an opportunity to start afresh with the Lord in the cleft of that rock, but rather it kept his soul farther from the Lord. Also, the devil is always near us to present the scenes and pleasures of the world before us and keep us farther from God.
This city was initially known as Bela (Gen 14:2) meaning “a thing swallowed” (Easton Bible Dictionary) until it was changed to Zoar after the angels granted Lot’s request to stay in his little city (Gen 19:22). The new name, Zoar, was permitted by God to show how Christians view the world – a near, little, and harmless city where we can find refuge and our souls will live; a little compromise with sin and worldliness. But in the kingdom of darkness, they knew that Bela is a ground that swallows. There is no refuge in this world except in Jesus. Nothing in this world can save us from the ruins coming upon the earth except salvation in Jesus.
This Little City Causes Separation in The Home:
We realized that when they got to Zoar, Lot’s wife was already behind her husband which makes it easy for her to look back because her husband was not by her side to restore her when her heart was slowly drifting away. How many wives are lagging behind their husbands in grace, mercies, and spiritual insights because of the decision and choices made by their husbands?
The prayer request God will not respond to is often the one we asked to satisfy our own lusts or already made-up decision and merely wanted God to ratify it. The Lord will not be mocked, He can see the lustful heart. Lot asked, “Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live,” but the Angels did not answer if it was a little city or not but gave him up on his decision. May the Lord never give us up to our own evil decision.
Let us make a commitment to God with this hymn:
O Jesus, I have promised
To serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou forever near me,
My Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle
If Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway
If Thou wilt be my Guide.
“Oh, let me feel Thee near me;
The world is ever near;
I see the sights that dazzle,
The tempting sounds I hear;
My foes are ever near me,
Around me and within;
But, Jesus, draw Thou nearer,
And shield my soul from sin.”