One of the most subtle, yet amazing demonstrations of God's power comes in His compassion. Though human beings have the ability to demonstrate compassion as well, there are none who have compassion to the degree of the Living God. The dictionary defines compassion as, "sympathy towards the distress of others with a desire to alleviate the distress." The truth of the matter is that people are often sympathetic, but seldom seek to resolve the distress of others. Another fortunate truth is that there are many who have sympathy for others, desire to alleviate the distress, but they are unable because of the extent of distress. The Bible reveals that God does not have these problems and limitations. Not only is God sympathetic to our distress, but He also desires to alleviate the distress and has infinite power to do so when He chooses.
In Genesis 19:12-30 the Bible explains that as the Lord's angels were getting ready to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, they sought to remove Lot and his family from the area. The angels asked Lot if there were any family members with him that he would like to have removed from the blast zone. The scriptures state that Lot first approached his son in laws. The interesting thing about this detail is that the Bible shows that Lot's daughters were engaged to be married even though Lot offered up his daughters to be the victims of gang rape in place of the angels, just a few verses before. Seemingly unaware or unconcerned with the threats at hand, the future sons of Lot rejected the opportunity to leave. Though Lot had warned the two young men that the angles were about to destroy the land, the sons thought Lot was joking and so they stayed behind. They didn't take the Word of God seriously. They didn't take the warning of Lot seriously. They didn't take the presence of angels seriously. They did feel God would do such a thing. Thus, when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, these two men, who could have been saved, were killed.
Genesis 19:12-30 then shows that Lot gathered his daughters and his wife and they began to move out of the city, though with reluctance. The scriptures show that Lot was hesitant to leave and was procrastinating. Though Sodom and Gomorrah was a city of extreme depravity and wickedness, Lot had grown accustomed to living there. Lot likely was looking at all the stuff he was leaving behind in order to save his life and the life of his family, and so it caused him to hesitate. It is interesting how one can be so affected by the products of sin. The Bible explains that Lot was righteous in the midst of the people of Sodom. Though he lived there, he grieved over the sin that took place there. Yet he had grown comfortable living in the midst of all of the sin. Lot had dug roots deep into the grounds of Sodom so that when the Lord tried to rescue him by uprooting him, it was painful. It is no wonder that the Lord Jesus forfeited worldly comforts of this life in order to achieve His purpose on the cross. The greater attachment one has for the affections of this world, the harder it is for one to be rescued because of hesitation and procrastination.
Nevertheless, the angels urge Lot to hurry up and get out of the city. They first instructed Lot to flee far away to a city that they pointed out at a great distance. Lot objected. Though the angels were sent to destroy the city where Lot lived, yet spared him, Lot desired to negotiate his circumstances. Rather than demonstrate appreciation for his opportunity to live, he sought to dictate his own terms of salvation and flee to a closer, more convenient city named Zoar. The angels agreed simply for the sake of getting their job done, and explained to Lot that he needed to hurry, and that he should not look back. The angels explained to Lot that he needed to look forward and get to the place of his safety and salvation. Looking behind and longing for his past life in Sodom would have tragic consequences. In fact, the Bible explains that as Lot and his family fled to Zoar, Lot's wife turned to look back at Sodom and she died, and turned into a pile of salt. Though she had the opportunity to be saved, her uncontrollable affection for life on this earth caused her to die. The larger tragedy about this is that Lot was the man who taught his wife to live such a way since Lot was the man who was determined to live in Sodom and assimilate into their ways of living. If Lot had followed the leadership of his uncle, Abraham, none of these things would have happened to his family.
Genesis 19:12-30 explains that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. The angels that He sent were effective and successful in executing the will of God. The scriptures explain that when Abraham woke up the next morning and saw smoke arising from the cities, he thought of Lot. The Bible testifies that the whole Jordan Valley was up in flames and Abraham was grieved. Yet the Bible makes an interesting statement to reveal the temperament and habits of God. The Bible says that God destroyed the cities, but remembered Abraham, and so brought Lot out of the land. It was the love that Abraham had for Lot that caused God to have compassion on Lot. God's compassion was actually for Abraham. God saw the distress that Abraham had for his nephew, had sympathy for Abraham, had a desire to alleviate that distress, and so God removed Lot from Sodom. In fact, the Bible shows that when the angels were trying to get Lot out of Sodom, they said that Lot needed to hurry because they could not destroy the land until Lot was removed. The Bible specifically states that God had compassion for Lot. Yet as the scriptures progress, the Bible explains that God's compassion for Lot was on account of God's relationship with Abraham.
It is incredible to see God's compassion in action. Since Abraham was a child of God, He was willing to show compassion to alleviate Abraham's distress over his nephew Lot. Though God was angry with Sodom and Gomorrah, the Bible explains that God's anger is not uncontrolled and unchecked. God's anger is not only justified, but is controlled and directed only towards those who deserve the wrath of God. In the context of God's judgement, the Bible shows God showing compassion towards those who He has a relationship with. The Bible shows that, in the context of judgment, God will help, serve, and rescue those who are considered righteous, just like in Noah's testimony. God is compassionate. Since God is also almighty, He is able to save from judgment to alleviate our distress from sin. This does not mean that God will remove all of His children from painful or difficult circumstances. This does not mean that God will save every loved one from wrath on account of our faith. However, this does show that God can do those things when He is willing. The challenge for God's children then becomes a matter of faith. Do we as God's children believe that God can do these things and that He is really compassionate? Then, do we trust that the things God does demonstrate His compassion even though they don't match a human brand of compassion?
The scriptures are clear to show who God is and what He can do. The scriptures are also clear to show the natural habits and temperaments of people and the consequences associated with such habits. One would be wise to understand the scriptures, trust in them as true, and then seek to live according to that truth, depending on one's relationship with the Living God to have God's wisdom regarding life circumstances for His glory.