Monday, March 18, 2019

Sodom and Gomorrah

"[Abraham] looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace" (Genesis 19:28; compare Genesis 15:17 and Exodus 19:18).

Genesis 18–19 contains one story with two halves. Abraham looked up one day and saw three “men” walking toward him. We are told that one was the LORD Himself, and we see later that the other two were angels. The LORD told Abraham that in a year he would have a son by his wife Sarah. Sarah laughed, saying to herself that she was too old to have a child. God heard it and told her to name her son Isaac, which means in Hebrew “he laughs.”

On this same occasion, God also told Abraham that He was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Here we see once again the two-edged nature of God’s dealings with humanity. He saves some, granting them joy, but He pours out His wrath on the impenitent. Abraham knew that Lot was living in Sodom and humbly asked God to spare the city for the sake of the righteous within it. God promised not to destroy the city if there were even ten faithful inhabitants.

The two angels that had accompanied God in His visit with Abraham walked off to Sodom. As they entered the city, they were approached by Lot, who was sitting in the gate (i.e., acting as a judge, because the gate was where the elders sat). Lot knew that the city was full of homosexual rapists and invited the “men” to stay the night in the security of his home. Sure enough, a gang of sodomites tried to attack the men that very evening, but the angels blinded them and they went away.

The angels ordered Lot and his family to escape the impending judgment. Even though he believed them, Lot was so indecisive that the angels had to grab him by the hand and pull him and his family from the city. Lot’s wife disobeyed the command not to look back and became a pillar of salt. The angels encouraged Lot to go to Abraham’s mountain, but he refused. Instead, he lived out his life in a cave (compare Genesis 3:19), drinking away his sorrows and was seduced by his own daughters. His descendants were the Ammonites and Moabites, enemies of God who perpetuated the ways and culture of Sodom.

Lot made a series of compromises. He moved near to Sodom and finally moved into the city and became a dignitary there. What good did it do him? Today in your prayers ask God to show you any places where you may be moving toward Sodom. If you are moving in such a direction ask God for an angelic hand to pull you out.