Dakotas Christian Believers Arena
Come on in and browse 
   Home      Bible Characters





The last prophet of the Jewish dispensation, and almost the last prophet

that the world ever had — though Christ, of course, came after him — was

John the Baptist. But I now want to call attention to the first prophet

who is mentioned in Scripture. You will find an account of him in the fifth

of Genesis; “And Jared lived a hundred sixty and two years, and he begat

Enoch; and Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat

sons and daughters. And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and

two years: and he died. And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat

Methuselah. And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three

hundred years, and begat sons and daughters. And all the days of Enoch

were three hundred sixty and five years. And Enoch walked with God: and

he was not; for God took him.”

We find it stated in the book of Jude that Enoch prophesied of the coming

of the Lord “with ten thousands of his saints”; so that we know he was a

prophet of the Lord. We find also, in Genesis, another man bearing this

name. He was a descendant of Cain, one who built a city, and was, no

doubt, very popular and highly thought of by men; whereas, the Enoch we

refer to was very unpopular. He who built a city and was so famous, has

gone with the city which he built, no one knows where; but the influence

of this man, who was gifted with the spirit of prophecy, and who walked

with God, is still fresh upon the world.

Enoch lived in a world moulded and fashioned by the sons of Cain. They

were the “men of light and leading” — the men of culture and progress.

Jabal took the lead in agriculture; Tubal-Cain was the manufacturer; and

Jubal provided the music and amusement. No doubt they thought Enoch

an odd man, not valuing the improvements they were making in the

sin-blighted earth. They doubtless hated him, because they saw that he

despised the paint and varnish with which they were hiding the rottenness

of a world dead to God. But they could afford to treat with contempt a

minority of one; for they did not perceive the invisible God with whom

Enoch walked. But God regarded him; and that satisfied Enoch’s soul. He

was the one man upon the earth who was well-pleasing in His sight.

Enoch’s name — dedicated, disciplined, well — regulated — was

significant of his character. He was a dedicated man, whose life was

disciplined and his habits regulated by the guiding hand of God. He saw

the promises afar off, and was persuaded of them, and embraced them; and

by faith lived as one alive from the dead, yielding his members as

instruments of righteousness unto God. He strove not about words to no

profit, but to the subverting of the hearers; he shunned and purged himself

from profane and vain babblings; he was a vessel unto honor, sanctified

and meet for the Master’s use, and prepared for every good work.

Enoch was one of the small number of men against whom nothing is

recorded in the Bible. It has been truly said that people think Enoch “had

not half the trials, half the difficulties, that saints of God have in these

days.” But that is a very superficial view. Enoch was surrounded by, and

going through the midst of, a system of things that Satan has improved

upon at the present moment. He lived in the midst of the world as Cain

and his descendants had made it. No one supposes that the ordered

system of things round about us is the production of God’s hand. Satan is

the God and prince and head of that... There was a religion and a city.

Those were the two great constituent arts of that system of things in

which Enoch lived.

“Cain was the founder of a religion that disowned the claims of

God in righteousness, seeing that man had fallen from God. Cain

toiled on the earth, and, though cursed, it yielded its fruit to him;

and he brought the fruit of the earth that was cursed, as if there had

been no curse at all, and offered it to God. That which

characterized and marked the religion of which Cain was the

inventor and founder, was bringing to God an offering in such a

way as to deny the great principle, that ‘without shedding of blood

there is no remission.’ Then the city is exactly what we have all

round us now. There was manufacture; there was the art of man

cultivated to its greatest possible extent; ingenuity taxed beyond all

conception — to produce something which would make the world,

out of which God had been rejected, bearable to man. This was

Cain’s world. Herein lay its religious, political, and moral aspects.”

In the midst of such a state of things, Enoch “walked with God”; and in

the very same world we are also called to walk with God. The record of

his life is that he “had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Notice that

this man, the brightest star of all that period of history before the flood, a

period which lasted rather more than fifteen hundred years, accomplished

nothing that men would call great. He was neither a warrior, a statesman,

nor a scientist; nor did he, so far as we know, accomplish anything

remarkable, like Daniel, or Joseph, or any of the other mighty men of

Israel: but what made him great was that he walked with God. That, in all

ages, is what has made men really great. He found the way of holiness in

that dark and evil day; and he will be in the front rank of those who shall

walk with the Lord, the Lamb, in white, for they are worthy.

The faith of Enoch drew God down from heaven to walk with him. He

maintained unbroken fellowship with God. A man in communion with

God is one of heaven’s greatest warriors. He can battle with and overcome

the world, the flesh, and the devil. In this way Enoch was a mighty

conqueror. It was not that Enoch was anything; but his God made him


Abraham is called the father of all them that believe. Enoch may be called

the father of all those who in all generations have walked with God. What

made Abraham great? We do not read of any famous speeches that he

made, nor that he was a very learned man in the wisdom of the world; but

he had faith in Enoch’s God, and God walked with him. All down the ages

Abraham has been known as “the friend of God.” Eastern travelers to this

day are reminded by the Mohammedans, when approaching Abraham’s

grave, that he was “the friend of God.” What made Abraham so great and

mighty was that he subdued kingdoms and overcame the world by faith.

He was a man of like passions with ourselves; but faith in God made him


Joseph was another of those great men who walked in fellowship with

God. His brethren tried to get rid of him; Satan attempted to put him

down; but they could not although he lay so long in the Egyptian prison.

The skeptical and unbelieving of that day might have said, “Look at that

man; he serves the God of his fathers, the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and

Jacob; he will not turn aside a hair’s-breadth from the worship of the

unknown God: yet see how his God serves him! He is in prison!” But

wait God’s time. It is better to be in prison with God than in a palace

without Him. It is said that he was in prison; but — and I like that

expression — “God was with him.” If a man is in communion with God,

He will not leave him. God never deserts His children in their hour of need;

and, in due time, Joseph came off victorious; exchanged the prison for a

throne; and was made ruler over all Egypt. What a power he was in Egypt

when God had taken him from prison and put him in his proper place!

Look at Moses. He, too, was in communion with God. When Moses and

Aaron stood before Pharaoh, the stubborn king did not see the third

Person who was with them. If he had, he might have acted altogether


The idea of those two unarmed men going before the mighty

monarch of Egypt, and demanding, without trembling for their lives, that

he should give three millions of slaves their liberty! The idea of these two

men, without position or influence at Court, making such an extraordinary

demand as that! But they were in communion with the God of heaven, and

such men always succeed. “You must let Israel go,” said Moses. Pharaoh

mocked. “You say your God! What do I care for your God! Who is He

that I should obey Him?” The king found out who He was. Moses was the

mightiest man who lived in his day. Why? Because God walked with him,

and he was in communion with God; he was linked to the God of heaven.

Moses alone was nothing. He was a man like you and me; but he was the

meekest of men, and “the meek shall inherit the earth.” He was famous

because he walked with his God.

When Elijah stood on Mount Carmel, Ahab did not see who was with him.

Little did he know the prophet’s God; little did he think that, when Elijah

walked up Mount Carmel, God walked with him. Talk of an Alexander

making the world tremble at the tread of his armies! — of the marches and

victories of a Caesar, or a Napoleon! the man who is walking with God is

greater than all the Caesars, and Napoleons, and Alexanders, who ever

lived. Little did Ahab and the false prophets of Baal know that Elijah was

walking with the same God with whom Enoch walked before the Flood.

Elijah was nothing when out of communion with God; but when walking

in the power of God, he stood on Mount Carmel like a king.

The sword of Gideon was nothing; but away went the Midianites when

the Lord linked His power with that of Gideon. When God unites His

power with the weakness of His children, they become mighty. It was so

when Samson slew a thousand Philistines with the jaw-bone of an ass. We

want that same power. Who can stand before a man that, like Enoch, is in

communion with God? No one on earth. He is a mighty giant. “Strong in

the strength which God supplies,” he is more than conqueror.

Daniel and his friends had the same God to walk with them in Babylon.

The Chaldeans were a mighty people; the king and his warriors had great

strength, and had conquered many nations, but Nebuchadnezzar, and

Belshazzar, and Darius, and Cyrus, had not the power of Daniel. Why?

Because Daniel walked with the God who made heaven and earth. He was

in communion with Him. And when his friends were cast into the fiery

furnace, they had nothing to fear. Do you think that God would desert

them in that trying hour? I can imagine Shadrach saying to his two

companions “Be of good cheer.”

 They were probably well acquainted with

this prophecy of Isaiah: “When thou passest through the waters, I will be

with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee. When thou

walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame

kindle upon thee.” “Man is immortal till his work is done.” These men had

not done their work yet; and the fire could not scorch a hair of their heads,

or do them any hurt. The three Hebrew youths were cast into the fire; but

the form of a Fourth was with them: God walked with them. Satan had

incited the king to make the furnace seven times hotter than usual; but, to

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, it was like walking in green pastures,

and beside still waters. No hurt can come to those who are walking with


Look how it was with Joshua. God told him that no man should be able to

stand before him all the days of his life. When the news came to him that a

confederacy had been formed against him by five kings, who were bringing

against him regiments of giants, and among them the sons of Anak, Joshua

was walking with the God of Enoch; he had the same God, and therefore

had nothing to fear. When he was told of the danger of encountering them,

he was not alarmed; and trusting in the arm of the Lord, he routed all the

hosts which were brought against him.

Mark the contrast when there is no communion. Israel rejected God a few

hundred years after. They, like other nations, wanted a king who could be

seen, and who would go with them to war — instead of the Theoeracy

with which they were growing discontented. They wanted to walk by

sight, not by faith; and when Samuel grieved and wept over them, and

remonstrated with them, they said, “We will have a king.” God directed

Samuel to tell them of the consequences, and that they would regret their

choice. They had a king who was a head and shoulders above any other

man; and they raised the cry, “God save the king!” When the day of trial

came, and when all the armed hosts of Israel were in battle array, out came

one solitary giant; and when he shook his finger at them, they all trembled

from head to foot. There was not a man in all the army who dare go out

and meet him. One giant frightened the whole army. But one at last comes

forth who is armed and equipped — for God is with him, which is best of

all; and he takes a few small stones and a sling, and goes forth to meet this

giant. Was not God with David when he picked up the stones? — when he

placed one in the sling, and when he took such a sure aim at the giant of

Gath? Yes, he walked with God. We are strong when the Lord is on our

side, but weak when we are out of communion.

A great deal is being said about Holiness. Every true child of God desires

to be holy, as His Father in heaven is holy. And holiness is walking with

God. Enoch had only one object. How simple life becomes when we have

only one object to seek, one purpose to fulfill — to walk with God — to

please God! It has been said that the utmost many Christians get to is that

they are pardoned criminals. How short they fall of the joy and

blessedness of walking with God!

I will venture to say that Enoch, in his day, was considered a most singular

and visionary man — an “eccentric” man — the most peculiar man who

lived in that day. He was a man out of fashion — out of the fashion of this

world, which passeth away. He was one of those who set their affections

on things above. He lived days of heaven upon earth; for the essence of

heaven is to walk with God. He did not go with the current and the crowd.

If the question of drink had been raised, he would have been a teetotaler.

He would not have gone with the multitude to do evil. He would have

taken that ground, though the whole world were against him. And what we

want is the moral courage to be against the whole world when we are in the

right. Enoch dared to do right. He took his position, and dared to stand

against an ungodly generation. There he stood; and he was not ashamed to

stand alone. He testified against the sins of a generation which was filling

the earth with violence, and crying out for the judgment of God upon it.

While his fellow-men were hurrying toward death and judgment, he calmly

walked with God. He took upon him the yoke of the meek and lowly One,

and found rest unto his soul.

Enoch was translated fifty-seven years after the death of Adam. He might

have been often found in Adam’s tent; and the young prophet may have

talked with him of the second Adam, who would not fall, but would

overcome the tempter, and would come with myriads of His holy ones.

Perhaps he stood with the ancients round the grave of the father of our

race. What a scene must that burial have been! Enoch may have seen the

first man who died a natural death, though not the first corpse, nor the

first grave, for Abel had been murdered centuries before.

But suddenly those antediluvians were startled by a wonderful event.

Enoch was translated, that he should not see death. Moses, the great

earthly chronicler, tells us nothing of the manner of his translation, beyond

this — “he was not, for God took him.” If the recording angel had been

entering it in the chronicles of the Heavenly Kingdom, he would have

written that “He was, for God brought him up hither.” Those simple, yet

mysterious words, “he was not, for God took him,” seem written in

anticipation of that coming mystery, when the world shall wonder because

from the bed, or the mill, or the open field, one shall be taken, and the

other shall be left.

We read that while Elijah still went on, and talked with Elisha, “there

appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder;

and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” God sent His carriage and

pair for the prophet of Mount Carmel, who had done such mighty deeds;

but Enoch, of whom nothing is recorded but that he “walked with God,”

was honored on that heavenly journey with the company of God Himself.

They were companions here on earth, and they went up together to the

world of light and rest; and they walk together forevermore. Oh, dear

friends, though we may be children of God, how much we shall lose if we

sacrifice, for any earthly thing, that close intimacy with God in this world

and through the ages of eternity!

Elijah thought that he was the only faithful man left in Israel; yet there

was a whole school of the sons of the prophets who spent three days in

seeking the body of their lost leader. And we may well suppose there were

loving friends who sought for Enoch; but he was not found, for God had

translated him. No man can suddenly disappear without being missed by

someone. Let us so live that when we are removed from earth, we may be

missed by many to whom in life we have been a blessing.

The brief record of Enoch’s life presents him to us as a foreshadow of the

Son of God on earth — alone, yet not alone, for the father was with him.

Enoch was alone, yet not alone. for he walked with God. And when he

was translated, he changed his place, but not his company.

Enoch belonged to a long-lived family. Jared, Enoch’s father, was the

oldest man but one, being nine hundred and sixty-two years old at his

death; and Methuselah, Enoch’s son, lived to be nine hundred and

sixty-nine years of age; but Enoch was taken away, or translated, in the

very prime of life. We have this testimony concerning him in the Epistle to

the Hebrews: “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death;

and was not found, because God had translated him; for before his

translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”

Now there is one thing we can settle in our minds distinctly: if he pleased

God, he did not please men. It is impossible to do the two things. This

world is at war with God; it has been for six thousand years, and will be as

long as man is on the earth. We cannot please God and man. That which is

highly esteemed by men is an abomination to God; and that which God

esteems, men cast out as vile. Look at God’s estimate of His Son; and of

the Atonement that has been made. Man tramples it under his feet as if it

were not worth having! Man rejects God’s offer of mercy! There are men

all around us who see no beauty in Christ; to whom He is as “a root out of

a dry ground, without form or comliness.” He is the richest jewel that

heaven ever had, and dearer to God than anything in heaven or earth. When

men are well pleased with and accept His Son, then it is that men and God


What a testimony was that to Enoch! — “he pleased God.” Though men

rejected his testimony, and did not like him because he went against the

current of that day, it was everything to Enoch to know that “he pleased

God.” I have heard some boys say, when they have been taunted by

others, “I don’t care, I am pleasing my father; he is quite satisfied.” If we

can please God — that ought to be our aim in life. If we are living as we

should be, we can please Him; and, if not, we certainly cannot please Him.

Every one of us may follow Enoch. It is God’s good pleasure that we

should walk with Him, and have this testimony — that we are pleasing


Enoch was the first who was translated into the Kingdom of God without

death. Each dispensation — the Patriarchal, the Legal, and the Gospel —

had its representative in this respect in Enoch, Elijah, and Emmanuel. With

regard to Enoch, we are simply told that he was not; at what time of the

day or night we know not; for God took him. Elisha saw the chariot which

conveyed Elijah to glory.

And the little band of disciples who

accompanied Him to Bethany were the spectators of Christ’s ascension

into heaven, as your Representative and mine. He raised His wounded

hands, and in the act of blessing He ascended. His voice grew fainter and

fainter as He rose higher and higher, till a cloud received Him out of their

sight. Who could we have to represent us to better advantage, in the Court

of Heaven, than the Son with whom the Father is “well pleased?” If you

have an advocate to attend to your case, you want him in the Court, do

you not? That is the place for him. When Christ was here He was our

Prophet; now He is our Priest; and when He comes again He will appear

as our King. Enoch and Elijah are representing their dispensations; and we

have this consolation, that we have our Representative.

How the thought that Enoch was thus the representative of that earliest

dispensation ought to have brought the antediluvians into the dust before

God! I believe, if they had taken Enoch’s translation as a warning, and had

turned from their sins to God, the Flood would never have destroyed the

old world. I believe that we have not the faintest conception of the sin and

iniquity which abounded in the days of Noah. Men had time to mature in

every conceivable sin. Their guilt was so great that the Flood came and

swept them all away. But Noah had no opportunity of seeing the wicked

inhabitants swept from the face of the earth, as the window was so

constructed that it looked towards the heavens. No one can imagine the

blackness and wickedness of that day, the corruption and violence of the

world, out of which Enoch was caught up.

What a translation it must have been! I think I see him going from

mountain peak to mountain peak, rising higher and higher in his experience

of God, until he became so heavenly-minded that God took him into His

own presence. Away in the morning of history he found the highway of

holiness, and walked in it. And if Enoch, in that dim light, in the early ages

of the world, could walk with God, and have fellowship and communion

with Him, how much more can we, who are living under the full blaze of

Calvary, under the very shadow of the Cross of Jesus Christ!

Now, it is very evident that he lived for something outside of himself and

outside of this world. He must have had a more powerful telescope than

any now in use, notwithstanding the extraordinary improvements recently

made in that instrument, for he could see into the very heavens; and he had

his eye fixed upon “the City which hath the foundations, whose Builder

and Maker is God.” By faith he could see, in that world of light, Him who

is invisible. He was dead to the world. He had the world under his feet. He

could see that everything was trifling here, and would soon pass away; —

that even the earth itself would pass away, but that God’s Kingdom was

an everlasting Kingdom, and that He would reign forever; and he walked

with God.

One day the cord that bound him to earth and time snapped asunder. God

said unto him, “Come up hither,” and up he went to walk with Him in

glory. God liked his company so well that He called His servant home. Dr.

Andrew Bonar has said that Enoch took a long walk one day, and has not

got back yet. With one bound he leaped the river of death, and walked the

crystal pavement of heaven — in the wilderness yesterday, in the

promised land today.

Think of the society he was with on earth in the morning, and of that

which he enjoyed in the evening! Think of what he was translated out of,

and of what he entered into! Think of his being taken up out of this evil

world, full of sin and iniquity, into the presence of the pure and holy God!

Abel and Adam were there before him; and Jesus had not yet left the

throne to come into the world and die, the Just for the unjust, that He

might bring us to God. He saw Christ. Think of the ages He had been

there, and the greatness of the reward Enoch had after walking with God

only three hundred and sixty-five years! It was not long, after all, that he

had to bear the scorn of men, compared with what he has enjoyed since.

Think, too, of the reward that is set before us in yonder world if we are

only true and faithful, and walk with God whilst we are on earth! Let us

put the question to ourselves: “Are we walking with God, like Enoch, or

contrary to God?” Every man was walking, in his day, towards the grave;

but Enoch was entirely different. He had his heart and affections in

another sphere. He was dead to the world. What charm had society for

him? How many people now-a-days want a place in society — want to

hold high positions even at the sacrifice of principle! They turn aside from

the God of the Bible, and when they have attained to the goal of their

ambition, that is the last we hear of them. But Enoch walked with God.

When men get outside of themselves, their lives have an influence over

other lives, and they live forever!

One object I have in presenting this character is to draw a contrast

between a man who lived wholly for God, and was out-and-out a man of

God and one who tried to live for both worlds: — or what we should

consider a worldly professor of Christianity. We have such a contrast in

the life of Daniel as contrasted with Lot.

Lot was one of those characters who are easily influenced. You may look

upon his life as a failure, although in the sight of the world he would have

been called in his day a success.

I think we have many more Lots nowadays than we have Daniels. Where

you can find one man like Daniel, Jeremiah, or John the Baptist, or Paul,

you will find ten thousand men like Lot.

The first glimpse that we catch of this man was at Haran. He was a

nephew of Abram, who was called the friend of God. God had called

Abram out of his native land, away from the idolaters that surrounded

him, into the promised land, and we are told that Lot, his nephew, went

with him. And I think, perhaps, that is just the key to his character.

He went with Abram. So long as he stayed with Abram he got on very

well. His mistake was in leaving him. Some men all through life have to be

bolstered up by others. When they are at home, home has an influence

over them; or while they are among their relatives or friends they stand

well, but when they are away, and trial and temptation come, and the

world comes in like a flood upon them, they are carried away.

The Scriptural account we have of Lot is in Genesis 11. In verse 31 we are

told that “Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his son’s

son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went

forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan,

and they came unto Haran and dwelt there.”

Abram and Lot were at Haran for five years. Haran was halfway between

the land that Abram was called from and the land that he was called to. He

only came halfway out. I think a good many men have got to Haran, and

there they remain. They are not more than half converted. They want to

live on the borders all the while. They neither enjoy the world nor Christ.

They have enough religion to make them wretched, but not enough to

make them joyful. They need some calamity to bring them completely out

of the world. So it was with Abram and Lot.

They stayed there until Abram’s father died. It has been quaintly said —

We never get beyond the half-way house until our old man is dead. After

this Abram moved into the promised land, where his faith was tested.

When he arrived he found the country inhabited; and he had not been there

very long when a famine struck the land. Then Abram took his nephew,

Lot, and went down into Egypt, where they were successful from a

worldly point of view. They grew rich; but when riches come troubles

generally come with them. When they came out of Egypt into the

promised land there was a strife among the herdsmen of Abram and of Lot.

They got into a quarrel. But no one could have a lawsuit with Abram. He

said to his young nephew, “Now we cannot afford to quarrel here before

these heathen — before the nations around us; we must set them a good

example. And now you take the right or you take the left, and let there be

no strife among our men.” He let Lot choose — and Lot’s choice was a

terrible mistake.

Wealth becomes a trouble if it is procured in Haran, or Egypt, or Sodom. It

brings no blessing if God’s people get it out of Canaan. It was in Egypt

that Abram denied his wife. God did not call Abram there, but to the

promised land where his faith had to be tried; and where he stayed but a

little while, before he went down to Egypt to escape the famine. There he

got riches, and sorrow with them; as we read: “And Lot also, which went

with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to

bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so

that they could not dwell together.

 And there was a strife between the

herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the

Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. And Abram said unto

Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between

my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land

before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the

left hand, then I will go to the right; of if thou depart to the right hand,

then I will go to the left.

“And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was

well watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and

Gomorrah, even as the Garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou

comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot

journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.

Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the

plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were

wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.” Lot allowed the world to

get the advantage; and that is where thousands of Christians are failing in

the present day. They do not let the Lord choose for them in regard to

temporal things, and they make great mistakes.

Lot never ought to have left Abram. If he had lost some of his property, if

he had not got on quite so well, if he had not accumulated wealth quite so

fast, it would have been better for him and his family — if he had never

left that holy man whom the Lord delighted to talk with, that man who

was in communion with God, and to whom the angels often came, and

brought messages from heaven.

But Lot was probably like a great many men around us. He was careless;

he was covetous; he looked to the right and he looked to the left, and he

looked toward Sodom, and observed the well-watered plains, I imagine him

saying, “Now, if I take these well-watered plains, I can accumulate wealth

very fast. I know Sodom is a very wicked place, but I will not go to

Sodom.” He at first did not intend to go into Sodom; but he had pitched

his tent toward Sodom; and when a man begins to pitch his tent toward

Sodom, and to look at it, it will not be long before he will be inside. His

heart will be there, and by and by his heart will take him down to Sodom.

Lot does it to sell cattle. He goes down to Sodom to transact business, and

some of the business men tell him that he would succeed much better in

Sodom than he could living out there on the plain, and he had better come

down into the city.

He knew it was an exceedingly wicked place. He knew that there were

very great sinners there. He knew it was corrupt. He knew there was

danger of his being ruined; and if he had only looked into the future, and

could have seen that it would be ruin to his family, he would not have put

his children right into the way of temptation. But he took them down into

that city. He left the society of Abram, and went into Sodom. There was

his mistake. He did not let God choose for him.

I most firmly believe that more men make a mistake just there than in any

other situation in life. Many a man starts out, and he does not ask God to

direct him in his business or his plans. If Lot had asked the God of Abram

to have selected for him and guided him, He would never have led him to

Sodom. God knew what was going to take place there. He knew that

judgment was coming down on those cities of the plain.

But Lot was like a great many men nowadays. He thought that he could

manage his own affairs. He did not want God to interfere with his business

transactions. He could pray about spiritual things, but he did not think it

necessary to pray about his business. The idea that he should ask God

when he had such a chance as that! He could have all these well-watered

plains, and he chose them.

Now, after Lot had been in Sodom for a little while, and had become

known to the men of Sodom, you would probably have found them saying

he was very successful, and that he would be a much richer man than his

uncle Abram in a little while. He was a long-sighted man. As a friend said

the other day, Lot was considered a very long-sighted man in the eyes of

the world, and Abram just the reverse; but which had the longest sight in

the end? Abram had got a glimpse of “the city which hath the foundations,

whose Builder and Maker is God,” He lived for another world; he did not

live for this. He was the long-sighted man, and Lot was the short-sighted

one. And these men whom we now call farseeing, whom we call so shrewd

and so wise, oh, how many of them are blind!

Lot was one of those men who are determined to die rich. There was a man

taken into one of our insane asylums a few years ago, from one of the

Western cities; he was resolved to be rich. I was acquainted with him.

How he just turned every stone to accumulate wealth! All his energy and

every faculty was pushed toward that one end. “Wealth, wealth, wealth!

money, money, money!” was his cry, and at last it drove him mad, and

they took him to the madhouse, where he threw himself into a

rocking-chair, and cried, “Millions of money, and in a madhouse!” That

was all there was of his life. Pretty short, wasn’t it? Sixty years gone,

millions of money, and in a madhouse; and he died there. That was the

summing up of his life.

There is many a man determined to be rich, though he has to take his

children into temptation. I cannot conceive of a greater calamity that can

happen any man’s child than to have all the money he wants to spend, and

nothing to do. And this was the drift of Lot’s family.

But yet he was not without warning.

War came on, and the Kings of Sodom and Gomorrah were defeated, and

the enemy took Lot, and all his property, with spoil from both the cities,

and fled. A messenger came and told Abram; when he heard of it he took

his trained servants and started in pursuit of the enemy; he overtook them,

defeated them in battle, rescued the prisoners, and brought back their


Melchizedek, the King of Salem and priest of the Most High God, came

forth with bread and wine, and blessed Abram. Then the King of Sodom

came out and said to him, “Now, you may still have the money; you may

take the goods; but give me the souls.” But a man that has been blessed by

Melchizedek, who is first by interpretation King of Righteousness, and

after that also King of Salem, which is King of Peace, is not to be tempted

by the goods of Sodom. Abram says, “I have lifted up my hand to the

God of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thing from the King of

Sodom.” It should not be said that the King of Sodom had made Abram

rich. He did not want any Sodom money, for if he took Sodom money he

would have to take Sodom judgment when that judgment came.

Now, instead of Lot staying out of Sodom, as he ought to have done, he

went back into it. I can imagine him saying: “I must go back and make up

what I have lost.” There was another of Lot’s mistakes — returning to the

city after such a warning as he had had. But he went back; and from that

day until destruction came upon Sodom — final destruction — and the

city was destroyed, Lot was perhaps the most popular man in it.

He was popular because he was the nephew of the man who had been

such a benefactor to the men of Sodom; and if you had gone into the city a

few years after, you would have found him one of the most successful and

one of the shrewdest and keenest men in all the cities of the plain, in the

sight of the men of Sodom.

They would have told you how he came off the plains only a few years

before, worth only a few thousand dollars, and now he had accumulated

great wealth. You would have found his name among the very highest in

the social list. His family moved in the “upper ten,” in the highest circles

as far as the world was concerned. He got into office. We find him sitting

in the gate, which was a sign that he held the office of judge or other high


He was a very honorable man in the eyes of the men of Sodom. He had got

into the society of kings and princes, and in the eyes of the world was a

very prosperous man. He may have had a title to his name — The Hon.

John C. Lot, of Sodom, would sound very well. And he was perhaps a

very prominent candidate for political honors, and they all desired to show

him respect because he was wealthy. Perhaps he owned the very best

corner lots in Sodom; and if they had the custom of putting their names on

buildings as they do now, you would have found Lot on a great many of

the finest buildings in Sodom. Yes, getting on amazingly well. And if he

was a judge, Judge Lot would have sounded well, would it not? If they had

had railroads then, he would have been one of the most prominent men in

all those movements; he would have had large shares in the railroads, and

been to the front in all stock operations.

He was one of those men who had not religion enough, as the world says,

to make him unpopular. He was a man of immense influence. That is what

they would have told you down in Sodom. There was not a man in the

whole city who had more influence than Lot.

The world thought that Abram had made a great mistake, He stayed out

there on the plains with his tent and altar, and if he came to Sodom when

Lot did, he too might have had a high position. You would have found

Mrs. Lot driving, perhaps, four-in-hand, the best turn-out in Sodom, and

her daughters at the theaters, and in most places of amusement, and there

is the family, just moving in the very highest circles in that city. That is

what the world calls prosperity. That is what they call “getting on.” And

you would have found, probably, that Lot was reported to be the richest

man in all Sodom, and if they had to pay income tax, then his would have

stood the highest; a shrewd man, a wise man, a successful man. That is the

man of the world.

He is the successful man. But, look! Though everything was moving on

well, when he had been there twenty years, this wise man, this influential

man, had not won a convert. These worldly Christians don’t get many

converts — note that. These men who are so very influential seldom get

many converts to Christ. The world goes stumbling over them. Lot was

what we might call a paying, but not a praying member. Some men seem to

boast of that, and they will tell you with a good deal of pride. “Well I am

one of the paying members;” and when they come into church they have

the very best pew, and they come swinging down the broad aisle, and the

whole church turns round to look at them: they say, “He is one of the best

men we have — one of the most liberal men in the congregation; it is true

he seldom comes out to the prayer meetings, for he is not a praying man.”

You will not find him identifying himself with the despised, and taking a

stand among the poor and helping them; that was not the character of Lot.

At last two messengers appear at the gate of the city. The sun is setting on

Sodom for the last time. The men of the City would see it in the morning

when it would rise; but it was never going to set on those five cities of the

plain again. And when the messengers — for there was not any written

word then as now; God often sent His messages by angels in that

dispensation, who held communion with men — when these messengers

arrived at the gate, it seems they meet Lot there, and Lot knew them. But

it had been probably a long time since he had seen any messengers of that


When he lived back there on the plain with Abram, it was quite a

common thing for Abram to entertain angels; they brought many a sweet

communication from heaven to him. But now they come down to see what

Lot is doing, and what a miserable, shocking state of things they see! Here

was the nephew of that sainted man of God immersed in Sodom, and his

family, you might say, wrecked and ruined. And Lot got up and bowed

and asked them to his house; but they refused to go into his house. They

said, “No, we will walk about the streets tonight; we have come to take

account of this city.”

But he constrained them, and they went in; and

when it was noised through Sodom that he was entertaining two men, it

was not long before his house was surrounded by a great crowd. An awful

scene ensued. When the men of Sodom came and demanded of Lot to send

those men out, he came outside of his house and closed the door, and

besought them, begged them, not to harm them. Now see how much

influence he has got. “This fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be

a judge.” And they pressed sore upon him, and almost burst in the door;

and if the messengers had not come out and smitten the crowd with

blindness, they would have slain Lot right there. They had not the least

respect for him.

The world is just now cheering on some of these worldly professors, and

talking about their being men of great position and great influence. But the

world cares not for you. If you make one false step, how they will sneer;

if misfortune comes upon you and you lose your property, then you will

see how much they respect you. How much did they care for Lot? He had

such great influence and such high position, but it is all gone now.

The angels said to him, “Hast thou anywhere besides, any of your family

here?” And what did they find? Why, his children; his daughters had

married men of Sodom. Oh, what a fall!

You take your children to Sodom, and you will find it will not be long

before they will want to stay there. It is easier to lead your children into

temptation than it is to lead them out. What a mistake Lot had made! He

had taken them away from the society of Sarah and Abram, that holy

family, living out on the plain in communion with heaven daily. He had

taken them down to Sodom, and they were steeped in the sins of Sodom.

The angels said to him, “If you have any here beside, go in haste and bring

them out.”

And you can see that old man with his gray hairs and his head

bowed down, moving heart-broken through the streets of Sodom, at the

midnight hour. All that he had accumulated was going to be swept away

now. God was going to destroy the city. “Lot, make haste; get your family

out of this place.” Look at him. He goes to a house, and you can hear him

knocking at the dead hour of night. At last someone gets up and opens the

window, and puts his head out. “Who is there?” “It is your father-in-law,


“Well, what are you here at this time of night for?”

“I have a couple of messengers at my house; they have come down

from heaven to tell me that God is going to destroy this place, and

He wants to have me get you out; come to my house at once, that

we may leave the city early in the morning.”

But they mock him. Ah! poor Lot has lost his testimony; we never hear

that he had put up an altar in Sodom; his own children do not believe him;

they mock him. I tell you, when men live so like the world that their own

children have no confidence in their piety, they have sunk very low. When

a man cannot influence his own children, even though he has made

millions, what a wreck he has made of life! You talk about a man being

successful. You must trace him from the cradle to the grave to see how

successful he is. You want to see what influence he leaves behind him; you

want to see how he leaves his family: and then you can judge whether a

man is successful or not. For a man to accumulate wealth, and ruin his

family and leave a blight upon them, that is not true success.

Thus the old man at the midnight hour is pleading with his children to

come with him. But they mock him. Why, Sodom was never more

prosperous than now. There is no sign of a coming judgment; no sign that

Sodom is going to be burnt up.

The Savior tells us they were eating and drinking, buying and selling,

planting and building; all went on as usual. They did not believe there was

any sign of the coming judgment. The sun shone as brightly the day before

their destruction as it had shone for years. The stars then, perhaps were

glittering in the heavens as brightly as ever; and the moon threw her light

down upon the city; and Lot’s son-in-law mocked him. He couldn’t get

them out.

I see him going through the streets with his head bowed down

and great tears trickling down his cheeks. Ask him now about his life, and

he will tell you it has been a total failure. He goes back to his home; and

early in the morning the angels had to take him almost by force and hasten

him out of the city. He could not bear the thought of leaving his loved ones

there to perish while God dealt in judgment with that city.

My friends, is not that a fair picture of hundreds and thousands at the

present time? Have you not been trying to accumulate wealth even to the

neglect of your children, so that today they are lifting up their voices

against your God, and against your Bible, and against you? They do not

care for your feelings; are they not trampling them under their feet?

Perhaps many of the parents have gone to their graves, and the children are

now squandering what their parents gathered together. What an example

we have here in the case of Lot, and how it ought to open the eyes of

many a business man, and cause him to see that his life is going to be a

total wreck if he takes his children into Sodom’s judgment when the

judgment comes.

Away yonder on the plain of Mamre, I see Abraham standing before the

Lord, and pleading, pleading, pleading, that the righteous may not perish

with the wicked. But God is more pitiful than even Abraham’s prayer.

Not only will He save the righteous, but He will spare the city if He can

find fifty righteous there. But Abraham doubts if there be so many.

“Peradventure there are forty, wilt Thou destroy the city for lack of ten?”

No; if there are forty; or thirty, yes, or twenty, or even ten, “I will spare

Sodom for their sake.” Now, thinks Abraham, surely Lot and his

household and family are safe. Surely even down in Sodom there is a

church in his house, at least ten souls. Alas! no, Abraham! Not a solitary

one except Lot himself. They had all become infected with the moral

disease of Sodom — pride, fullness of bread and abundance of idleness;

this was her iniquity; neither did she strengthen the poor and needy; and

they were haughty and committed abomination before God; therefore He

destroyed them as He saw good. But it shall be more tolerable in the day

of judgment for Sodom and Gomorrah than for those who in these

enlightened days have walked in the same evil ways.

Now, just take an inventory of what that man lost. He lost twenty years

of time. We do not find that he did any good down there at all; he did not

get one inhabitant out of the doomed city. These worldly Christians that

talk about having an influence over the world — where is it? I would like

to see it. Will you tell me where there is a worldly Christian who has

tarried in the race in order to save men; where are the men he has reached?

Not one man won to God in all those twenty years by Lot. He lost all his

property; everything he gained in Sodom — he lost it all; he lost his family

all but his two daughters, and they were so stained by the sins of Sodom

that they soon fell into an awful sin; and the last thing we see of Lot is on

the mountain side, where he has fallen into that sin and become the father

of the Moabites and the Ammonites that ever afterwards were the enemies

of God and His people. What a dark picture it is, the end of a poor

backslider; the end of a man that went to Sodom and lived for Sodom, and

had to toke Sodom’s judgment.

Ah, my friends, what a contrast between the end of Lot and the end of

Daniel, or of Elijah, or John the Baptist, or any of those men who stood

true to God. How their names shine now upon the pages of history and

how their light comes down through the centuries! But look at Lot. What a


And yet that is the man whom the world calls successful while he is living.

Ah, there is many a man today who is just following the footsteps of Lot,

seeking to get wealth, seeking to get position in this world, setting aside

the God of Abraham, setting aside the God of the Bible, and trampling the

prayers of their mothers and fathers under their feet. They say “Give me

wealth and I will give you everything else.” Shall we not learn the lesson?

Shall we not profit by the life of Lot? I believe that is what these lives are

recorded for.

Father, let me ask this question. Where are your sons? Where are your

children? Let the question come home to you — where are they? And if

they have gone astray, who is to blame? Who is to blame?

I heard not long ago of a young man who came home a number of times

drunk, and the servants told the father of it. He said: “Well, I will sit up

tonight and will see.” He sat up until past midnight, and then he heard

someone trying to get the latch-key into the door. He listened and listened.

It was a long time before the young man entered. The father went and

stood in the hall, and when his boy came in he saw that he was drunk.

Immediately he ordered him out of the house. He said, “Never show

yourself here again; I will not have you coming to my house and disgracing

me.” But after the son had been gone a little while the father could not

sleep; he remembered that he was the first one that put temptation in the

way of the boy, for he had had liquor upon his own table. “Well now, I am

to blame,” he said. And he got out of bed and dressed himself, and went

out upon the streets and asked a policeman if he had seen the young man.

After hunting for hours, at last he found his drunken son, and brought him

home; and when he became sober he said, “My son, I am more to blame

than you are.” He wept over him, and asked his boy to forgive him, and he

said, “Now let us try to lead different lives.” And the father set his son a

better example, and saved him from destruction.

There is many a man who has ruined his own sons; who has taken them

into the way of temptation and they have gone astray. May God show us,

as fathers, the importance of living rightly before our children; and if we

are doing anything in any business that is dishonorable, in order to make

money for our children, better a thousand times for us to leave them a

clean record, a clean character, than to leave them millions of money that

we have not got honestly. I tell you we need to have children a good deal

shrewder and wiser than we have at the present time, to keep the money

that has been gathered dishonestly. It is a good deal better to live with God

and leave them less, and leave them a good, clean character, such as Daniel

left in Babylon, than it is to take them down to Sodom and live as Lot did,

and have judgment come upon them, after we were dead and gone


One of the greatest mistakes made by people who attempt to study the

Word of God is that they have no system about it. They take up the

Bible, and read a chapter here and a chapter there, and then take a glimpse

of a man’s life, perhaps the beginning of it, or the middle, or the close, and

they are all the time getting into darkness and trouble, and say they do not

understand the Word of God.

Now, one way to read and study the Bible is

to take up the life of one of these characters, because if it were not

important that we should read the whole life the Holy Ghost would not

have had it recorded. It has been recorded for our profit; and if we take up

the Bible and read a part of a man’s life, and do not follow it out, we shall

not understand it. The way to read the Epistles is to read a whole Epistle

at once. If you have only time to read a chapter or two, go to the Psalms

or Proverbs. But you cannot understand much about the Book of Ruth, or

the Book of Esther, for instance, by reading one chapter. You must read

the whole book in order to understand it.

One chapter that Paul wrote to the Corinthians cannot be understood

unless you read the whole Epistle. If I write a letter, and the person

receiving it takes out the middle of it, and does not read the beginning nor

the end, and then complains that he did not understand it, there would be

no one to blame but himself. And that is being done constantly with the

Word of God.