Both Peter and Jude hold up the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah as a type of God’s judgment against evil behavior. But to whom is the warning given? It should be seen the warning is not given to unbelievers, for they are either ignorant of God’s word or hold it in contempt. It is rather to believers that the warning is given. Peter says the judgment came as a witness for all those who would afterward live ungodly (2Peter 2:6). Jude’s message specifically mentions he is putting the believers in remembrance who “once knew” (Jude 1:5), but seem now to be ignorant of God’s judgment against sexual immorality and engaging in the fulfillment of unnatural desire (Jude 1:7). Understanding this, that is, that both Peter and Jude are mainly concerned about the believer, we are able to view the story of Lot in its correct context.
In Genesis 19:1 we find Lot sitting in the gate of the city. In other words, he had become entrenched in Sodom’s culture—whether we are talking about its commerce that was responsible for its affluence, or its politics that was responsible for its direction, Lot was a Sodomite! The leaders of the city met at its gates to decide the course of the people and even punish its criminals. Except for the fact that he worshiped the God of Abraham there was little discernable difference between Lot and anyone else who lived in Sodom.
Lot was no longer the spectator in a tent in the plane where he originally settled after leaving Abraham (Genesis 13:12); now he lived in a house (cp. Genesis 19:2). Lot’s idea of God’s blessing was different from that of Abraham. For example, Lot may have wanted to stay in Egypt and grow wealthy there, considering it a blessing from God, but due to Abraham’s deception of Pharaoh, they were told to leave Egypt. It was after this that Lot’s servants began quarrelling with Abraham’s (cp. Genesis 13:8-11). Following their separation, Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom (Genesis 13:12), probably having his eye on its commerce, since it was one of the cities through which the Way of the Kings went connecting the Mesopotamian empire with Egypt. So, if indeed, Lot was unhappy about leaving Egypt where he gained great wealth, it seems that now he viewed and embraced a new opportunity to grow wealthy (a blessing from God) by seeking to influence the course of Sodom (cp. Genesis 19:9).
Notice that two angels, viewed as men (cp. Genesis 19:5), came into the city, and Lot opened his home to them to spend the evening (Genesis 19:1-3). Afterward, the men of Sodom came to Lot’s home and demanded that he put the men out of his home so they could abuse them. Much has been said of their behavior; some saying the men were simply being inhospitable, but a simple reading of the text shows that the men of the city wanted to sexually abuse the visitors (cp. Genesis 19:8). Whatever we may conclude regarding Lot’s remarks about his daughters (Genesis 19:8-9), he doesn’t seem to have much influence with his neighbors, nor later do we see he had much influence with his extended family who lived outside his home (cp. Genesis 19:14).
Although the issue of homosexuality is an abomination to the Lord, (cp. Leviticus 20:13; 1Corinthians 6:9-10) this may not have been understood by mankind before the Law was given to Moses. Nevertheless, rape is a form of violence, and that is understood to be wrong by all men. Although we should not understand the world at this time understood morals to the degree the Law of Moses presents them, we must not conclude they were completely ignorant of morality and righteousness of any degree. For men who walked with God (cp. Genesis 5:22; 6:9; 18:16-19), acted justly toward others, and influenced those of their own household to keep the way of the Lord. Yet, not only didn’t the Sodomites respect Lot, but even those of his own household didn’t understand the urgency of his pleas to escape the judgment of God (cp. Genesis 19:12-14).
For all of Lot’s efforts to identify with the world, sharing in its wealth and political pursuits (cp. Genesis 19:7), he was considered an outsider (Genesis 19:9). Even his credibility among those of his own family was lacking. Lot literally had to be dragged from the city to save his life, because his heart was in Sodom (Genesis 19:12-16). Such is the result of friendship with the world, and but for the prayer of faithful Abraham, certainly righteous Lot would have perished with his friends, the Sodomites.