Judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah

Open Your Bible

Genesis 18:22-33, Genesis 19:1-38, Ezekiel 16:49-50, Romans 1:18-25

As I read about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, I couldn’t help but think of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Toward the conclusion of the film adaptation, we see the Pelennor Fields lying in smoky ruins after battle. It’s a scene of utter and complete destruction. I remember watching this scene for the first time, wondering as the camera panned out if there’d be a familiar character still alive among the wreckage. I wanted to see a remnant of the good guys, to know that mercy had been shown to at least one person. Or hobbit. Or elf.

Many of us hear words like “grace” and “mercy” and immediately jump to Jesus and the New Testament. But since we know that Christ is “the exact expression” of God’s nature (Hebrews 1:3), it won’t do to consider God in the Old Testament any less gracious or merciful.

God’s mercy is not hard to find in the Old Testament. It’s woven throughout the book of Genesis like a flowering vine, connecting the stories in Christ’s lineage. Even when people continue to make bad decisions that bring about their own demise or widespread catastrophe, God’s desire is for people to be saved (2 Peter 3:9). We see the ultimate display of God’s mercy in His Son, Jesus Christ; through the power of His resurrection, there is healing for the world (Isaiah 53:5).

During his exchange with Abraham, God listens to Abraham’s plea and gives the people a chance. “The LORD said, ‘If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake’” (Genesis 18:26). They continue to talk, and that number of fifty is reduced to only ten (v.32). But sadly not even ten can be found. God still saves Lot—Abraham’s nephew and the familiar face Abraham knows and loves. God’s mercy is always there and greater than we expect, even when most people reject it.

Without Christ, it’s our own hearts that resemble that plain of smoking ruins. Even after receiving the Holy Spirit, we still wrestle with sin. We routinely choose to submit to our own will instead of the Spirit. Our sins may not seem as flagrant as those of Sodom and Gomorrah, but we are all sinners in need of grace.

Hallelujah! Christ has broken the curse of sin and death. Even now, Christ—the exact expression of the Old Testament God with whom Abraham bargained and pleaded for the lives of his community—invites us to accept the gift of eternal life. He is for us, and His mercy is greater than we think. Remembering this, may we echo Abraham’s plea for the redemption of our own hearts, our city, and our world.

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64 thoughts on "Judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah"

  1. Stori Ruhter says:

    I’m learning so much here. Thank you!

  2. Montana Wilson says:

    Very well spoken. God’s love knows no bounds. He love is unmatched.

  3. Katrina Dowdy says:

    I really enjoyed seeing and understanding how God was merciful in the Old Testament. We mostly talk about Jesus and how he shows grace, mercy and love; but obviously God shows these attributes as well. This story in the Old Testament, though it is quite gruesome and destructive, is still a magnificent display of God’s unmatched grace and mercy for those He loves!

  4. Jenny Love says:

    So thankful for God’s grace!!!!

  5. Ms Amy* says:

    What struck me in today’s reading is the way Abraham pleaded and bargained with God, and to have such an honest and earnest conversation not about himself but about others. Wow. Lord, please give me the grace to have heart for other people, to stand in the gap and intercede for people I know and don’t know. Help me to love others just as you love me.

  6. Laura Smail says:

    It’s hard to read the part about Lot offering up his own daughters to be raped, but if God still spared Lot’s life, it’s a powerful reminder that incarcerated murderers and rapists are still the beneficiaries of God’s unfathomable grace and mercy, and if God can extend mercy and forgiceness toward them, so can we, even though it’s very hard.

  7. Laura Smail says:

    I love that God spared Lot’s life not because Lot listened, but because Abraham implored Him to. God loved Abraham, and Abraham asked God to spare his brother. So out of His love for Abraham, God spared him in the midst of Lot’s own disobedience. This story reminds me how important it is to earnestly intercede for our lost loved ones, and has prompted me to pray all the more fervently every day for my brothers.

  8. Melissa Mcronney says:

    Lord help us

  9. Tamara Bl says:

    @Sarah: thank you for your input! I think it is a very plausibel explanation, and it is correct that not everything that’s in the bible is there because God agrees with the way it went!

  10. Tracie Nall says:

    It’s so difficult to read about such depravity and darkness, I find myself thinking “I’m thankful I wasn’t alive then” but the reality is the world we live in today is no less dark and depraved, sin abounds, but so does Gods grace as we are not yet destroyed! One day, soon I believe the Lord will bring the Light that will illuminate all this darkness and it will be utterly destroyed and we will, like Abraham, look at the smoke that fills the land that used to be our dwelling place! Thank you God for your continued grace and mercy!

  11. Chelsea Mitchell says:

    Father, I know not the words I shall speak in this prayer but I know within my heart of what I urn for…Father I struggle with many sins, I struggle with making decisions but I try my Lord. I ask that may you have mercy upon me and continue to walk with me as we make my path straight. Father use my mind and body in ways that will allow me to shine as a child of God, not a sinner. Use me oh God. Thou gracious, omnipotent, wonderful God Use me. In Jesus name, Amen.

    1. Tahryah Wheeler says:

      Amen!

  12. Sara Moore says:

    I just noticed for the first time today that lot hesitated and the Angels grabbed his hand because of Gods love for Abraham. What an enlightening thing to see. I’m eager to see how other translations write this same verse.

  13. Diana Fleenor says:

    CHurchmouse, how refreshing and encouraging your words toward me have been! I do feel welcomed in them. Thank you for affirming the pain of what has been missing in support and my desire to keep pursuing fellowship. It is truly by the grace of God that I continue to persevere. I’m grateful for prayers which are joined with mine for the Lord to open doors to a fellowship that is aimed at discipleship and care for the disabled like me! Blessings back to you, sister!

  14. Laurel says:

    Rachel Lockridge–
    Thank you for pointing out the important connection between lot, Ruth, David, etc. Often, the jarring details (daughters) sidetrack readers from seeing/understanding the important details.

  15. Sarah says:

    I have read a lot of comments that are upset that Lot offers his daughters to the men of the city. It seems as if some are getting the impression that because it’s in the Bible, God is condoning Lot’s behavior. I don’t think that’s the case here. Lot knows who these men are. And yes, Lot is Abraham’a nephew, but that does not mean his faith is as strong or deep as Abraham’s. In fact, we know Lot’s faith is weak because he would not be living in Sodom if he was following God. Lot takes the men into his home because I think (like us all at times, if we are honest), we think we can hide our sin. He KNOWS what would happen to these angels if they tried to sleep in the square…if he can “hide” the ugliness of the city while housing them “so they could leave early,” in his mind, perhaps he can get away with it. He knows he shouldn’t be there, and he tries to keep the angels from the sin of the city. I think him offering his daughters was a moment of self preservation, and I want to judge him so hard, but I think about times I’ve tried to preserve my name or image to others (not even to God!) at the expense of others. Of course, offering his daughters to being raped is so so terrible, but again, I think he was trying to hide his sin, like Adam and Eve back in the garden. I don’t think it was something he obviously wanted to do, but instead shows the thoughts/work of a self centered man. But most importantly, again, it being in the Bible is in NO WAY God condoning this. We know God vehemently opposes this as we see the angels step in and intervene with blinding the men.

  16. Churchmouse says:

    Diana, I read your reply to my late post yesterday and your post here today. Thank you for so eloquently expressing your heart. I’m so sorry to learn you are living with ME and CFS and that some church members have not been responsive to your needs. How wonderful that you reach out here. I pray you feel a sense of community. We are all on our own journey and have our own stories. I have found this a safe place and a supportive one. I applaud you for desiring a deeper fellowship given your physical limitations. God certainly sees and treasures your every effort. He will bless you for your faithfulness and your compassion towards those who may not understand all that you are going through. No one truly knows what each of us is going through but our God does and He cares.I pray that you feel His everlasting arms around you. And on the days you don’t, I pray that you will trust His heart. He is for you and not against you. You are valued and whatever you do to further His kingdom is priceless. I’m so glad you don’t compare yourself to others because God doesn’t either. You endure and you persevere and that is no small thing.
    I’m glad we gather here. Blessings to you, friend.

  17. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I love that God listened to Abraham about saving the people of the city. I pray that I would intercede more for the people around me.

  18. Diana Fleenor says:

    As I read through these passages and the devotion of today, I find myself feeling the tension between conviction of my own sin and the sin done against me. Like others have indicated thus far in the comments, my own tendency toward hesitant obedience has been highlighted. I pray in confession to be more bold and immediate in doing what the Lord tells me. I ask him to search my heart for any pride or arrogance, any lack of care for those in greater need than myself.

    Then I am reminded that my own suffering situation is not ignored by the Lord. He hears the cries of the afflicted who are ignored and not supported by those who are in more secure and comfortable situations. I have experienced the very real pain of those who proclaim to be Christians who tell me that my suffering situation scares them so they just find it easier to stay away. Or, busyness steals them away. Or, I’m told that I shouldn’t expect human help because God is enough. He is enough. Yet, he also is against shepherds and fat sheep who don’t care for the weak sheep (Ezekiel 34).

    I am grateful that the Lord doesn’t ignore injustice and in time he will bring justice that is right in every way. It is my heart to grow in trusting him completely in this promise and leave any and every inkling of vengeance to him. May I love others deeply even if it seems to not flow back. May I continue to reach out to the body of Christ, even when the response seems weak or non-existent. May I pray for those who are walking in a lukewarm way, asking the Lord to bring revival to our hearts (I say ‘our’ because I know I am not without need in this as well!). I pray for any here who have felt the deep pain of isolation because of disability and a lack of understanding and support through the church. May the compassionate Lord of the harvest send out Holy Spirit filled workers to you! Blessings sisters!

  19. Carolina says:

    Praise Him for His constant Mercy!

  20. Jessica Mills says:

    Thank you for saying something about the story of the two daughters! It seems a bit confusing to share those verses without explaining the reason for them.

  21. Steph says:

    The “men” Lot invited into his house are referred to as angels in verse 1. I think he probably saw sending his daughters out to the men of the city rather than the angels as the lesser of two evils, especially since none of that would have happened if he hadn’t insisted on the angels coming in to stay at his house.

    1. Emily Guerra says:

      But I still don’t agree with this. I can’t be for a man that would willing give his daughters up to be raped.

      1. Claudia L says:

        I also have a hard time accepting this among other things in today”s reading. But, perhaps this is meant to parallel the sacrifice of Jesus. After all, God gave his only son, so that our sins could be forgiven and we could have eternal life. Lot offered to sacrifice his daughters to protect what he knew came from God.

      2. Claudia L says:

        Oh and also (spoiler alert) Abraham will later on be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac because God asks him to do it. It was a sign of Abraham’s faith. Perhaps, this is also a sign of Lot’s faith.

  22. Jess Thomas says:

    “But he (Abraham) lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city” – Gen. 19:16

    || the LORD being merciful to him ||

    This verse particularly struck me. How often do we linger, look back at our sin, hold on to it even though we know it’s destructive? But God – one of my very favorite phrases – But God is merciful to us. He brings us out of our sin. He sets us outside of the way of destruction. He spares us, for His glory.

    Thank you Lord for your mercy that you show us every day. Thank you for your faithfulness to us, even when we are not faithful. Thank you for pursuing me and choosing me and loving me even when I am unlovable.

  23. Rachel Lockridge says:

    The story about Lot and his daughter’s is one of those stories that leads us to ask, “why is this in the Bible?!” This particular story is important because it tells us the origin of the Moabites and Anmonites. Ruth was a Moabite and Ruth is a crucial person in the line of Jesus (Ruth, Obed, Jesse, King David…) if Lot hadn’t been spared, Ruth wouldn’t have existed. It points to the grace of God and his sovereignty-his plan is MUCH bigger than ours!

    1. Katelin LaGreca says:

      Love this connection! I hadn’t thought of that. I love finding evidence of god’s big picture plan because it gives us hope when we are caught up in the day to day waiting for god to move.

    2. Dee Wilcox says:

      Thank you for sharing this here! I remembered that the Moabites were looked down. This definitely adds color to the story of Ruth and Boaz, and especially Boaz as a husband-redeemer!

  24. Mari V says:

    We are all sinners in need of grace. May I never say that I am better than this person or that person. I am just like them. I was a sinner ( and still am) in need of grace. So grateful for God‘s grace and mercy that was freely given to me and I hope and pray for my dear loved ones that someday they too will accept God’s grace and mercy.

  25. Allison Sherwood says:

    God is so good! I think the part where God promises to spare an entire city for the sake of a single righteous person leaves me in awe and so loved!

  26. Annette Kendall says:

    What a sobering story! Lot was blessed because of Abraham. Earlier we read about Abraham and Lot separating and Lot choose the good grazing ground out of a natural, human desire for the “best” for his family.
    His CHOICE to live in such a wicked place ( he could have left) had dramatically negative consequences for his family. He was saved because of God’s mercy and love for Abraham, and he had a little faith left. He believed in God’s sovereignty and power when the angels arrived, though he hesitated. His family did not believe.( you can see this in many ways, included his daughter coming up with that plan to “save” their father’s line, instead of letting God work).
    Lot’s faith and relationship with God was not strong enough to translate to his family or the people around him. What parts of my life am I choosing the ways of the world over following Christ? I do not want my family to suffer the consequences of my lack of faith! Let it not be Lord.

  27. Carol says:

    Yes and amen!

  28. ChappyBeach Girl says:

    I was in this area of Israel last year and there are large “people sized” formations of salt. It sure was a great reminder of this story.

  29. Doris says:

    GRACE! Why do we try to figure out God and why He allowed things to happen the way they did throughout the Bible? I read God’s word to see Him and His power. To know Him. His word is written for us to believe in The God of all creation. God have been remedying every choice of disobedience since Adam and Eve sinned from the very beginning of time leading us to the saving grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Don’t try to figure out “why”, just “believe”, in the God that works all things out to His glory.

  30. Kimiark says:

    So about offering up the daughters, The Voice Bible suggests that Lot knows that the men’s sexual preference is for his guests not his daughters, and is buying some time.

    1. Nikki Fuller says:

      I was wondering about that, how Lot had offered up his daughters and yet was still saved from the destruction at Sodom and Gamorrah. Does anyone have any further commentary sources?

      1. Emily Guerra says:

        I’m wondering the same thing, Nikki!! This part has always both bothered, and angered me, when I read it. I can’t see a good father doing this to their children.

      2. Annette Davis says:

        https://zondervanacademic.com/blog/sodom-and-gomorrah

        This is a great article I was just reading on this. It is really hard to try to digest all the layers to the story without understanding the culture and context, and I found this to be somewhat helpful. I hope it can provide insight for you too about what the story may have meant in its original context!

  31. Rachel says:

    As a long time reader of SRT I’ve learned to know the difference between a bible study and a devotional. They both have their pros and cons. If you have questions this short devotional didn’t answer then God may be calling you to dig deeper on your own. There are lots of online commentaries and good study bibles out there. Please don’t point the finger at a very well led and written team of women at SRT committed to getting women in the Word of God everyday. May this be the launching place for you to know God more :)

    1. AnneLyn P says:

      I have often found these devotionals have prompted me to dig deeper. A very good thing! Thank you, SRT.

      1. Dee Wilcox says:

        Yes, same here!

  32. Mikki says:

    “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.” – Romans 1:25

    Lord, help me to serve You instead of what has been created as I find myself doing too often. Amen.

  33. Lily says:

    Lately She reads truth hasn’t made a lot of sense to me. It’s sad. Why is this a devotional about God’s grace, Jesus reflecting his Father, and Lot’s salvation (but no discussion of Lot’s true nature—extremely prone to sin.)? I want to know what the writer believes sent God over the edge with Sodom and Gomorrah. I want to know what implications I can take away as regards His sovereignty, His plan. I know He is gracious but at this moment in history we can learn a lot more about His anger. It feels extremely fluffy. Several days ago it was the same and this is the first post I have been back to read since.

  34. Lindsey Bailey says:

    I have the same questions as others. Why in the world offer your daughters to vile men? It’s a hard reading. It makes me sick to my stomach.

  35. Libby K says:

    I completely agree with your questions. My guess as far as Lot’s wife goes is that it showed disobedience and that perhaps her heart was as wicked as the city being destroyed? No clue. And the daughters and father situation is rather icky. This part has always confused me!

  36. Angie says:

    Be the one.
    Join me, and we will be two.
    Reaching out, we become four or six.
    Your mercy is great Lord.
    Jesus sacrifice, complete.
    I am your child. Purify me. May one be found righteous; together may two, three, four, and so many more. Because of Jesus, all because of Jesus. Live in me, and through me. Help me to live Your love and mercy. Help me to live Your heart, hating sin, loving the sinner. I am a sinner, saved by grace. You are the Savior. Whether by judgement or Your return, the time will come when sinner and saint is separated; a time of judgement. Lord may not just one be found-but multitudes serving You! As the ripples of Your love, mercy, forgiveness, grace and righteousness spread, may we carry Your Light throughout the world. May the multitudes of righteous believers include these sisters, and our families, and our friends, and even, Lord even, those we cannot imagine. Nothing is impossible for God. Holy God, Lord, one by one by one may we live in obedience and love to You, covered by the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Amen.

    1. Nancy Singleton says:

      Amen!!

      1. Susan Clifton says:

        Beautiful!

  37. Churchmouse says:

    How often do I exchange the Truth for a lie by doubting Your Word? How often do I hesitate to obey Your voice because I’m afraid of the unfamiliar, the unknown? How often do I look back longingly on something or someone when You have called me into a new place with new people? Why do I hesitate to trust Your plan and instead suggest to You my own way? Instead of ending up on the mountain top, I find myself in a cave in Zoar. Lord, rid me of my half-heartedness, of partial commitment. Help me to replace hesitation with bold obedience. Help me to move on from the past so that I can enjoy the present. Let me not stop running with You until I reach the destination You have planned. Deliver me from my own desires and give me a hunger and thirst for Yours alone. Amen.

    1. Nancy Stinson says:

      Amen.

      1. Nancy Singleton says:

        And Amen!

      2. Susan Clifton says:

        Amen little ChurchMouse!

    2. Rosemarie Clair says:

      Amen.

    3. Jennifer Martin says:

      Amen

    4. Linda Faas says:

      My prayer as well. But you say it so well Churchmouse.

    5. Kerry Rowley says:

      My prayer as well. Thank you Churchmouse.

    6. K D says:

      Amen and amen.

    7. Mari V says:

      My prayer as well.

    8. Andrea P says:

      ❤️

    9. Mandy McCarver says:

      This is so powerful!

  38. Kristen says:

    I just listened to a good message about the pride. I was thinking about how Bailey wrote how we still wrestle with sin. Some things I didn’t think were prideful are.The Bible says that God resists the proud. It’s a good teaching that may open your eyes to sin you didn’t know you had. Here is the link: https://youtu.be/H56UeM9TiIY

    Also, the other study I’m doing is at Proverbs 31 Ministry on the First 5 app. It’s about the book of Ezekiel. If you want to study that book, it just recently started. Today’s reading is entitled: Every Beating Heart is on God’s Radar: @First5App @Proverbs31org Anyway, I’m thinking a lot about confessing sin and truly repenting. I will give a short, blanketed confession, but not give details. Yes, God knows what I did. However, the one woman was talking about giving the details, and God is a God of details. I want to think about what I did, and let it marinate in my mind. How does that action grieve God? How is this leading people away from Him? How am I representing God? Thankfully, He forgives and His mercies are knew each day! There is no condemnation! However, as I’m thinking of my sins in that way. I want to repent, and really turn away from those things. May He help me when I’m in the midst of those circumstances.

  39. Rose B says:

    … would love to hear the SRT podcast team talk about this reading! Thank you!

  40. Suzie McRae says:

    I wonder about your same questions? Why a pillar of salt and why would Lot offer up his daughters to the vile men?!