Before the angels of God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of wickedness, Lot and his family were urged, ‘Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!’ (Genesis 19:17). But Lot negotiated and said, ‘But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it – it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared’ (v19-20). Fleeing to the mountains requires speed. But the mountains are not an easy climb, and so many like Lot think that they cannot make it. So, his request was granted, ‘Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it’ (v22). The town, called Zoar, was also on the list of destruction, but since Lot asked to flee there, it was spared. However, it did not make much difference for he was fleeing from one wicked city to another. The only safe place to flee was to the mountains – no debate about it. So, after some time, ‘Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave’ (v30). Lot probably realised that even though the City was small, it did not in any way minimize its wickedness. In fact, ‘one sinner destroys much good’ (Ecclesiastes 9:18). And Lot was about to find that out the hard way.
Fleeing to the mountains has to be done in a timely manner. Even though Lot eventually fled to the mountains, he did not do it at the first warning, but negotiated to stay in Zoar. So, when he eventually reached the mountains, he took Zoar with him. He took wickedness with him. ‘One day the older daughter said to the younger, ‘Our father is old, and there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth. Let’s get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father’ (Genesis 19:31-32). Lot’s daughters did exactly what the people in the cities they had lived before had done. They even said that it was the custom all over the earth, for when wickedness grows, it is normalised. And just like the men of Sodom and Gomorrah wanted to rape the angels, so Lot’s daughters actually raped him, their father. Their affiliation to wicked cities made them learn their wicked ways, and even become experts at it. Indeed, ‘As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honour’ (Ecclesiastes 10:1). The stench of Sodom, Gomorrah, and Zoar followed Lot and his family, because they did not flee to the mountains in good time, but lingered longer than they should have in the wicked cities. Indeed, ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’ (1 Corinthians 15:33).
When the Israelites did not completely eliminate the nations that settled in Canaan, they learnt their ways. Even though God reminded them time and time again, ‘You must not live to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them’ (Leviticus 20:23). Yet, like Lot’s daughters, the Israelites conformed to wicked ways. God notes of them, ‘You burn with lust among the oaks and under every spreading tree’ (Isaiah 57:5). For ‘Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight’ (2 Peter 2:13). Matter of fact, ‘Did you not add lewdness to all your other detestable practices?’ (Ezekiel 16:43). So, those who do not flee to the mountains in good time end up becoming worse off than the people they conformed to. For Israel, God notes, ‘Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt’ (23:v19). Israel surpassed the predecessors of wickedness so much that Jesus even concludes, ‘If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgement than for you’ (Matthew 11:23-24). We who are living in present-day Sodom also known as Babylon, ought to have already fled to the mountains. Those who ‘conform any longer to the pattern of this (wicked) world’ (Romans 12:2) are candidates for sudden disaster. Jesus even warns us, ‘Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth’ (Luke 21:34-35). So, the resounding call is, ‘Come out of her (Babylon), my people! Run for your lives! Run from the fierce anger of the Lord’ (Jeremiah 51:45).
Running for our lives by fleeing to the mountains is not only about good timing, but requires a clear focus as well. Those who constantly look back cannot make it to the mountains, like Lot’s wife who ‘looked back, and she became a pillar of salt’ (Genesis 19:26). So, those who flee to the mountains must not concern themselves with looking back and around. The mountains should be their focus. ‘Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly’ (1 Corinthians 9:26). Thus, when ‘escaping the corruption in the world caused by evil desires’ (2 Peter 1:4), one ought to run forward. We are not to concern ourselves with what is happening on the side-lines, or stop for a moment to sample wicked pleasures. In fact, Jesus plainly states, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the service in the kingdom of God’ (Luke 9:62). For, ‘No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs – he wants to please his commanding officer’ (2 Timothy 2:4). But those who do not give their all while fleeing to the mountains, get distracted by Belial’s bystanders and never reach the destination of safety. They become caught in traps, entangled in nets, hypnotized with empty notions, and bewitched with deadly pleasures. So, ‘let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God’ (Hebrews 12:1-2). And while fleeing, ‘Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart’ (v3).
‘So, when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation’, spoken of through the prophet Daniel – let the reader understand – then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. . . For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now – and never equalled again’ (Matthew 24:15-16, 21). In case you are wondering when the time to flee to the mountains is, the answer is now! The abomination that causes desolation is already in place waiting to be revealed. ‘For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendour of his coming’ (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). Since fleeing to the mountains has to be done in good time, we should have reached the peak before the abomination’s grand reveal. If not, we will be caught up in the destruction on the plains, in the world. And in case you are wondering where the mountains are, the mountains are actually one huge Mountain, Jesus Christ. He is the ‘rock that struck the statue (kingdoms of the world) (and) became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth’ (Daniel 2:35). So, ‘Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn’ (Isaiah 51:1). Look to Jesus. For on the day of destruction of the earth, those who will not have fled on the mountains will be caught in the mayhem. In fact, those who are not ‘hidden in Christ in God’ (Colossians 3:3), in the Mountain, will call ‘to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’ (Revelation 6:16-17). No one! So, Run for your lives! Do not look back! Flee to the mountains!
‘Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed’ ~ Luke 20:18
‘But on Mount Zion will be deliverance’ ~ Obadiah 1:17
‘And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: . . . you will worship God on this mountain’ ~ Exodus 3:12