Lot would have died in Sodom had God not taken matters into His own hands. The Lord literally grabbed Lot and his family and pulled them out of the city: "While he lingered, the men [angels] laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city" (Genesis 19:16).
What a glorious picture of grace! As Lot lingered on the brink of destruction, with no strength or will to deliver himself, God hand-led this confused, deluded, sin-bound man to safety. He was telling Lot, in essence, "I love you, and I'm not going to let you die in this holocaust. You're a righteous man, Lot, and I warned you. Now, come!"
"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6). The literal meaning for without strength here is "without an ability or will." God says He is willing to act for us because we have nothing to give.
The Lord had one more directive for Lot: "Escape for thy life; look not behind thee . . . escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed" (Genesis 19:17). The mountain here represents God's presence, a place alone with Him. We see this image repeated throughout Scripture: It was on a mountain that Moses was touched by God's glory . . . that Christ was transfigured before His disciples . . . that Jesus sought His Father in prayer. All these things happened on a mountain.
"Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness" (Psalm 48:1). "Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths" (Isaiah 2:3). The message here is: "When God delivers you by faith in His promises, run straight to the mountain of His holiness!"
Lot still was not willing to run to God's presence; instead, he asked God to let him take a detour to Zoar. He said, "I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die" (Genesis 19:19).
God allowed it and Lot eventually came to the mountain, but once he was there, something worse than Sodom happened. Lot got drunk and was seduced by his two daughters, who bore sons from the incestuous acts. What a tragic picture! And it all happened because Lot—though delivered—would not move on to fullness in God.